In the 2013 video game Grand Theft Auto V, players can invest in a virtual stock market set in the game’s fictional universe. While your character is required to invest in specific companies, you’re allowed to invest in whatever fictional company you want. Once you invest in said companies, you can target the trucks and vehicles of their direct competitors, destroy them, and watch as your stock rises due to their rival’s dwindling resources.
In the real world, however, this doesn’t really happen, thanks to laws preventing wanton destruction and mayhem (among many other reasons). Yet one Florida man tried to do just that, albeit with a store instead of a truck.
Mark Charles Barnett, a 48-year-old Ocala-based sex offender, recently plotted to bomb Target stores in Virginia, Florida, and New York. Luckily, investigators thwarted his plan well before he could carry it out, but Barnett could have caused serious damage by hiding explosive devices throughout said stores. What’s even more bizarre, however, was his reasoning for doing so: to drive down the price of Target ($TGT) stock.
Why would Mr. Barnett go so far as to try and impact Target’s stock? Better yet, how did he think such a plan would work?
Mark Charles Barnett believed that by bombing Target stores, the company’s stock price would decrease.
This would allow him to buy shares of $TGT at a much cheaper price, while seeing an increase in value when the shares eventually increased again. Target currently costs $65.65 per share as of this writing, though the company’s stock is down by 9% in the last year.
Barnett offered another man $10,000 to plant IEDs disguised as food items at several Target locations.
This would have likely killed and injured many people, a fact that Barnett counted on for his plan to work. Luckily, the unnamed man involved alerted the authorities after Barnett gave him the IEDs, along with globes, a mask, and a license plate cover to avoid detection.
Needless to say, Barnett was arrested.
Not only was Barnett in trouble for plotting to blow up Target locations and possessing IEDs, he was also charged with possessing a firearm as a previously convicted felon. He faces a decade in prison if convicted.
Instead of plotting destruction and possible loss of life, Mr. Barnett could have bought Target during their slump in 2014. He should have also researched the current state of big-box retailers and how they’re affected by the Amazons and Alibabas of the world. Instead, he chose to commit crimes and will pay dearly for them.
If you really want to buy Target stock and don’t want to pay $65.65 a share, maybe wait and see if it goes down in the coming weeks and months. Regardless of whether or not you choose to invest in the company, you’ll still be making a better, more logically sound decision that whatever Barnett concocted.