"Stealing" the Empire State Building Easier Than You'd Think

In an effort to expose problems in the New York City register's office -- namely the fact that city clerks aren't required to ...
by | December 3, 2008

Empirestate In an effort to expose problems in the New York City register's office -- namely the fact that city clerks aren't required to verify information -- the New York Daily News pulled off one of the biggest heists in American history.

The newspaper "stole" the Empire State Building.

And it only took 90 minutes.

The News swiped the 102-story Art Deco skyscraper by drawing up a batch of bogus documents, making a fake notary stamp and filing paperwork with the city to transfer the deed to the property.

Some of the information was laughable: Original "King Kong" star Fay Wray is listed as a witness and the notary shared a name with bank robber Willie Sutton.

The massive ripoff illustrates a gaping loophole in the city's system for recording deeds, mortgages and other transactions.

The loophole: The system - run by the office of the city register - doesn't require clerks to verify the information.

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