Real Crimes Committed By Dumb Criminals
Chicago: A man was wanted for throwing bricks through jewelry store windows
and making off with the loot. He was arrested last night after throwing a brick
into a Plexiglas window...the brick bounced back, hit him in the head and
knocked him cold until the police got there.
Portsmouth, RI: Police charged Gregory Rosa, 25, with a string of vending
machine robberies in January when he: 1. fled from police inexplicably when they
spotted him loitering around a vending machine and 2. later tried to post his
$400 bail in coins.
When Stan Caddell wanted to wash his Chevrolet, he backed the car into a
foot of water in the Mississippi River at Hannibal, Missouri. When he got out to
clean the car, it floated away. Police were able to retrieve the vehicle some
distance downstream. According to an officer on the scene, no action would be
taken against the driver because "you can't ticket a guy for being stupid..."
Kentucky: Two men tried to pull the front off a cash machine by running a
chain from the machine to the bumper of their pickup truck. Instead of pulling
the front panel off the machine, though, they pulled the bumper off their truck.
Scared, they left the scene and drove home. With the chain still attached to the
machine. With their bumper still attached to the chain. With their vehicle's
license plate still attached to the bumper.
bank robber in Bumpus, Tenn., handed a teller the following note: "Watch
out. This is a rubbery. I hav an oozy traned on your but. Dump the in a sack,
this one. No die packkets or other triks or I will tare you a new naval. No
kwarter with red stuff on them, too." Dr. Creon V.B. Smyk of the Ohio Valley
Educational Council says such notes are, lamentably, the rule. "Right across the
board, we see poor pre-writing skills, problems with omissions, tense,
agreement, spelling and clarity," he moaned. Smyk believes that the quality of
robbery notes could be improved if criminals could be taught to plan before
writing. "We have to stress organization: Make an outline of your robbery note
before you write it," he said. "Some of the notes get totally sidetracked on
issues like the make, model and caliber of the gun, number of bullets, etc.,
until one loses sight of the main idea -- the robbery."
lawyer defending a man accused of burglary tried this creative defense: "My
client merely inserted his arm into the window and removed a few trifling
articles. His arm is not himself, and I fail to see how you can punish the whole
individual for an offense committed by his limb." "Well put," the judge replied.
"Using your logic, I sentence the defendant's arm to one year's imprisonment. He
can accompany it or not, as he chooses." The defendant smiled. With his lawyer's
assistance he detached his artificial limb, laid it on the bench, and walked
A man in Orange County Municipal Court had been ticketed for driving
alone in the carpool lane. He claimed that the four frozen cadavers in the
mortuary van he was driving should be counted. The judged ruled that passengers
must be alive to qualify.
man was arrested for stealing a car. When he was taken to court for his
arraignment the judge asked, how do you plead? Instead of saying guilty or not
guilty the man said: "Before we go any further, judge, let me explain why I
stole the car." The judge ruled in record time.
pair of Michigan robbers entered a record shop nervously waving revolvers.
The first one shouted, "Nobody move!" When his partner moved, the startled first
bandit shot him.
After drinking a little too much, Stewart Butcher went to sleep on a West
Virginia railroad track. A while later, something woke him-- a 15 car coal
train. "I raised up," said Stewart, "and it knocked me out..."
An Australian man accused of murdering his wife can't seem to get his story
straight. June Mathew, John Rushton's second wife, testified that Rushton told
her his first wife died of a heart attack, ran off with a Baptist minister after
committing 55 acts of adultery, and drowned after being washed overboard.
Rushton also claimed he was a nuclear physicist, a naval commander, and had been
knighted for saving the Queen's life. Mathew, who was married to Rushton for
five years, believed him because he was a "good talker..." but those pesky
microtremors finally gave him away...
An off-duty police officer in Newark, NJ, had a pistol-shaped cigarette
lighter, which he had been using all night while drinking at a local tavern.
After many hours and drinks, he apparently mistook his 32 revolver for the
lighter. When he went to light his cigarette, he shot and killed John Fazzola,
who was seated 5 stools away at the bar...
An unidentified man in Buenos Aires pushed his wife out of an
eighth-floor window but his plan to kill her failed when she became entangled in
some power cables below. Seeing she was still alive, the man jumped and tried to
land on top of her. He missed...
Ann Arbor: The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into a
Burger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan at 7:50am, flashed a gun and demanded cash.
The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn't open the cash register
without a food order. When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they
weren't available for breakfast. The man, frustrated, walked away.
Arizona: A company called "Guns For Hire" stages gunfights for Western
movies, etc. One day, they received a call from a 47-year-old woman, who wanted
to have her husband killed. She got 4-1/2 years in jail.
Arkansas: Seems this guy wanted some beer pretty badly. He decided that he'd
just throw a cinder block through a liquor store window, grab some booze, and
run. So he lifted the cinder block and heaved it over his head at the window.
The cinder block bounced back and hit the would-be thief on the head, knocking
him unconscious. Seems the liquor store window was made of Plexi-Glass. The
whole event was caught on videotape.
Baggy clothes may save your life: a 13-year-old boy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia
fell 130 feet from his hi-rise apartment and survived with only minor injuries.
Witnesses said Daniel Gurgus' baggy sweater caught tree branches on the way
down... remember, kids, just say no to Spandex...
Burglars in Larch Barrens, Md., tried to cut through a safe using a Laser
Carlos Diaz of New York got 18 years to life for committing a series of
robberies by pretending a zucchini hidden under his jacket was a gun...
England: A German "tourist," supposedly on a golf holiday, shows up at
customs with his golf bag. While making idle chatter about golf, the customs
official realizes that the tourist does not know what a "handicap" is. The
customs official asks the tourist to demonstrate his swing, which he
does--backward! A substantial amount of narcotics was found in the golf bag.
Germany: Oil of Olay no longer turning the trick for her, a woman decided
that she would bathe in the milk of a camel (a modern-day Cleopatra). So she
stole a camel from the local zoo (where *else* can you find a camel when you
need one?) and transported it back to her house--where she realized that the
camel's name was "Otto." (Editor's Note 2: She might not have gotten much milk
from Otto, but she probably made a friend for life while trying to ...)
In Bent Forks, Ill., kidnapers of ice-cube magnate Worth Bohnke sent a
photograph of their captive to Bohnke's family. Bohnke was seen holding up a
newspaper. It was not that day's edition and, in fact, bore a prominent headline
relating to Nixon's trip to China. This was pointed out to the kidnapers in a
subsequent phone call. They responded by sending a new photograph showing an
up-to-date newspaper. Bohnke, however, did not appear in the picture. When this,
too, was refused, the kidnapers became peevish and insisted that a photograph be
sent to them showing all the people over at Bohnke's house holding different
issues of _Success_ magazine. They provided a mailing address and were
immediately apprehended. They later admitted to FBI agents they did not
understand the principle involved in the photograph/newspaper concept. "We
thought it was just some kind of tradition," said one. Educators agree that such
mix-ups point to poor reasoning and comprehension skills, ignorance of current
events, and failure to complete work in the time allotted.
Indiana: A man walked up to a cashier at a grocery store and demanded all
the money in the register. When the cashier handed him the loot, he
fled--leaving his wallet on the counter.
Industrial thieves broke into the Bilgetek plant in Canasta, Wash., by
crossing a metal catwalk and then blew it up, having forgotten it was their only
means of escape.
Joseph Owens of Mount Pleasant, Michigan, didn't think police were listening
to his complaints that someone was harassing him, so he came up with a brilliant
plan. Owens convinced his friend to shoot him in the shoulder with a shotgun so
police would take him seriously. After a trip to the emergency room, Owens faces
up to four years in prison for filing a false police report...next time, a
little higher and to the left...
Lake City, Florida: Karen Lee Joachimi, 20, was arrested for robbery of a
Howard Johnson's motel. She was armed with only an electric chainsaw, which was
not plugged in.
New York: As a female shopper exited a convenience store, a man grabbed her
purse and ran. The clerk called 911 immediately and the woman was able to give
them a detailed description of the snatcher. Within minutes, the police had
apprehended the snatcher. They put him in the cruiser and drove back to the
store. The thief was then taken out of the car and told to stand there for a
positive ID. To which he replied, "Yes Officer, that's her. That's the lady I
stole the purse from."
Newark: A woman was reporting her car as stolen, and mentioned that there
was a car phone in it. The policeman taking the report called the phone, and
told the guy that answered that he had read the ad in the newspaper and wanted
to buy the car. They arranged to meet, and the thief was arrested.
Rustlers in Spavin, N.D., made off with three Saint Bernard dogs, a
stationary bicycle and the visiting in-laws of a farmer, after having failed to
correctly identify the valuable cattle on the premises.
San Antonio, Texas: 45 year-old Amy Brasher was arrested after a mechanic
reported to police that 18 packages of marijuana were packed in the engine
compartment of the car which she had brought to the mechanic for an oil change.
According to police, Brasher later said that she didn't realize that the
mechanic would have to raise the hood to change the oil.
Seattle: When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on
a Seattle street, he got much more than he bargained for. Police arrived at the
scene to find an ill man curled up next to a motor home near spilled sewage. A
police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline and
plugged his hose into the motor home's sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the
vehicle declined to press charges, saying that it was the best laugh he'd ever
South Carolina: A man walked into a local police station, dropped a bag of
cocaine on the counter, informed the desk sergeant that it was substandard cut,
and asked that the person who sold it to him be arrested immediately.
Tennessee: A man successfully broke into a bank after hours and stole the
bank's video camera. While it was recording. Remotely. (That is, the videotape
recorder was located elsewhere in the bank, so he didn't get the videotape of
himself stealing the camera.)
Texas: A man convicted of robbery worked out a deal to pay $9600 in damages
rather than serve a prison sentence. For payment, he provided the court a
check--a *forged* check. He got 10 years.
The best-laid plans of a Canadian couple in a suicide pact went awry because
the weapon they used nearly as old as they are. Harold Pinna, 89, and his
92-year-old wife decided to end it all with a .22 caliber pistol that hadn't
been fired in 60 years. Mr. Pinna shot his wife in the head, but the rusty
bullet ricocheted off a hair curler, and she suffered only a mild scalp
laceration. He then put the gun to his right ear and fired again. The shot was
so weak that the bullet lodged in his ear. The dazed couple then gave themselves
up to the police... it was either that or throw themselves out the first floor
The judge called the case of People vs. Steven Lewon Crook. The bailiff
opened the door to the holding cell and called, "Crook, come forward." Five of
the prisoners entered the courtroom.
The police showed up at the victim's house after receiving a call of a break
in while the man was away at work. The house was in a nice upper-middle class
neighborhood. The police walked around to the side of the house with the victim,
where they were shown the pried open sliding glass patio door. Clearly the
entrance for the criminal. When asked if anything in the house was missing the
man said nothing except his stash of marijuana. Police, not believing what they
had just heard asked the man to repeat himself. The man, realizing that he had
just admitted to possessing an illegal drug stammered and finally said, "oh
forget the whole thing." He waved the police off and went back into his house.
The police walked away laughing.
The two suspects had been apprehended and now sat in a courtroom at the
defendant's table. A witness was on the stand being asked questions by the
prosecutor. "And ma'am you say you were robbed of your purse on the street?" Yes
sir, the witness answered. "And the two men who robbed you, are they here in the
courtroom today?" Before the witness could answer both defendants raised their
hands. The judge and jury laughed openly.
Times of London: A thief who sneaked into a hospital was scarred for life
when he tried to get a suntan. After evading security staff at Odstock Hospital
in Salisbury, Wiltshire, and helping himself to doctor's paging devices, the
thief spotted a vertical sunbed. He walked into the unit and removed his clothes
for a 45-minute tan. However, the high-voltage UV machine at the hospital, which
is renowned for its treatment of burns victims, has a maximum dosage of 10
seconds. After lying on the bed for almost 300 times the recommended maximum
time, the man was covered in blisters. Hours later, when the pain of the burns
became unbearable, he went to Southampton General Hospital, 20 miles away, in
Hampshire. Staff became suspicious because he was wearing a doctor's coat. After
tending his wounds they called the police. Southampton police said: "This man
broke into Odstock and decided he fancied a quick suntan. Doctors say he is
going to be scarred for life.
Virginia: Two men in a pickup truck went to a new-home site to steal a
refrigerator. Banging up walls, floors, etc., they snatched a refrigerator from
one of the houses, and loaded it onto the pickup. The truck promptly got stuck
in the mud, so these brain surgeons decided that the refrigerator was too heavy.
Banging up *more* walls, floors, etc., they put the refrigerator BACK into the
house, and returned to the pickup truck, only to realize that they locked the
keys in the truck--so they abandoned it.
When asked for her occupation, a woman charged with a traffic violation said
she was a schoolteacher. The judge rose from the bench. "Madam, I have waited
years for a schoolteacher to appear before this court," he smiled with delight.
"Now sit down at that table and write 'I will not pass through a red light' five
When James Nagel tried to abduct a Los Angeles woman, someone tipped off
police. Nagel led officers on a "low speed chase" for 30 minutes, then tried to
get away on foot. He shot at police several times, but missed. Nagel then
climbed a utility pole and threatened to kill himself. Police tried to talk him
down, then shot him with ten rounds of plastic bullets. Nagel finally
surrendered after being sprayed for five minutes with a high-powered water hose,
but not before accidentally shooting himself in the forehead...
William deLashmutt of York County was fined $100 after he was stopped at a
police checkpoint with a car license plate, registration, title and driver's
license issued by "the Kingdom of Heaven...".
(Location Unknown): A man successfully broke into a bank's basement through
a street-level window, cutting himself up pretty badly in the process. He then
realized that (1) he could not get to the money from where he was, (2) he could
not climb back out the window through which he had entered, and (3) he was
bleeding pretty badly. So he located a phone and dialed "911" for help ...
(Location Unknown): A man walked into a Circle-K (a convenience store
similar to a 7-11), put a $20 bill on the counter and asked for change. When the
clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in
the register, which the clerk promptly provided. The man took the cash from the
clerk and fled-- leaving the $20 bill on the counter. The total amount of cash
he got from the drawer? Fifteen dollars.
(Location Unknown): A man went into a drug store, pulled a gun, announced a
robbery, and pulled a Hefty-bag face mask over his head--and realized that he'd
forgotten to cut eyeholes in the mask.
Costa Mesa, California: A man allegedly robbed taxi driver James Hooper
with a large caliber handgun, then tried to escape on foot. One foot, to be
exact. Police say Timothy Lambert's gun accidentally discharged, shooting his
own foot. Officers followed a trail of bloody prints a short distance before
Great Falls, Montana: When Raymond Lutz of was stopped for going 104
miles per hour in a 45 mph zone, he had a darn good reason. Lutz told Sheriff
John Strandell that "he had just got done washing his truck and was trying to
dry it off..."
Germany: A German toolmaker has been arrested for extortion after
threatening auto maker Daimler-Benz. The unnamed man had demanded a helicopter
and millions of German marks, or he would "kill drivers of Mercedes cars...".
Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania state police have refused to return the "water
bong" they seized from Timothy Martin during a traffic stop on Interstate 80.
Martin told police the bong was "an heirloom," and that he wanted it back.
Reno, Nevada: A 78-year-old man shot and wounded five people in a Reno,
Nevada casino, and was caught as he made his escape with his walker.
Oakland, California: Police in Oakland, California spent two hours
attempting to subdue a gunman who had barricaded himself inside his home. After
firing ten tear gas canisters, officers discovered that the man was standing
beside them, shouting pleas to come out and give himself up.
Illinois: An Illinois man pretending to have a gun kidnapped a motorist
and forced him to drive to two different automated teller machines. The
kidnapper then proceeded to withdraw money from his own bank accounts.
Topeka, Kansas: A man walked in to a Kwik Shop, and asked for all the
money in the cash drawer. Apparently, the take was too small, so he tied up the
store clerk and worked the counter himself for three hours until police showed
up and grabbed him.
Medford, Oregon: A 27-year-old jobless man with an MBA blamed his college
degree for his murder of three people. "There are too many business grads out
there," he said. "If I had chosen another field, all this may not have
Los Angeles, California: Police in Los Angeles had good luck with a
robbery suspect who just couldn't control himself during a lineup. When
detectives asked each man in the lineup to repeat the words, "Give me all your
money or I'll shoot," the man shouted, "That's not what I said!"
Virginia Beach: A bank robber in Virginia Beach got a nasty surprise when
a dye pack designed to mark stolen money exploded in his Fruit-of-the-Looms. The
robber apparently stuffed the loot down the front of his pants as he was running
out the door. "He was seen hopping and jumping around," said police spokesman
Mike Carey, "with an explosion taking place inside his pants."
Modesto, CA: Steven Richard King was arrested for trying to hold up a
Bank of America branch without a weapon. King used a thumb and a finger to
simulate a gun, but unfortunately, he failed to keep his hand in his pocket.
New York: Richard Avella, a 350 pound New York man, entered a Long Island
jewelry store, drew a gun, and told the clerk, "This is a stick-up," then
tripped and fell to the floor. He was unable to get up before police arrived.
Long Beach, California: When his .38 caliber revolver failed to fire at
his intended victim during a hold-up in Long Beach, California, robber James
Eliot peered down the barrel and tried it again. This time, it worked.
Crystal, Kentucky: Ron Hoffman of Crystal, Kentucky, picked up a machete
and lopped off the red roof light of a Pennsylvania state police cruiser. After
his arrest, Hoffman explained it was "just something he always wanted to do..."
Toronto, Canada: A gas station attendant had no trouble identifying a
robber for police, even though the man had worn a pair of women's panties over
his head as a disguise. The thief, who later admitted that his mind was clouded
by intoxicants, had stuck his face through one of the leg-holes so he could see.
Sacramento, California: Francis Karnes, a 39-year-old man was charged
with reckless endangerment after he pulled a gun and shot his lawnmower when it
California: A 37-year-old California man reported to police that an
intruder dressed in black and carrying a big knife broke into his home, forced
him to smoke two packs of Pall Mall Golds, then left.
Miami Beach, Florida: Our Nice Try Award this week goes to the Miami
Beach attorney who entered a 'not guilty' plea for his client based on
astrological forces. The lawyer maintained that the position of the stars at the
time of his client's birth caused him to break into a couple's home, tie them up
and threaten them, and walk out with a brassiere on his head.
Netherlands: An airline pilot has been sentenced to four months in jail.
Wim de Nijs was convicted of jamming the air traffic control frequency and
jeopardizing airport safety, by singing the "Flintstones" theme over the radio
for 20 minutes while landing his plane.
Levelland, Texas: E.C. Stewart, Jr. may never get out of jail after the
District Attorney recommended last week that his bail be set at "a zillion
dollars". The judge agreed.
Wichita, Kansas: Police arrested a 22-year-old man at an airport hotel
after he tried to pass two (counterfeit) $16 bills.
(Location Unknown): A young teller was new to the job when she was
approached by her first robber. Noticing that the man's grammar was not the
greatest, the teller figured that the would be criminal was slightly slow. She
told the robber that he had to have an account to rob a bank. Disappointed, the
(Location Unknown): A criminal who broke into a couple's house started to
take the TV, but instead he turned it on and began to watch. He supposedly liked
the program that was on and laid down on the bed. Since it was at night he was
tired and fell asleep. So when the couple came home the next day they found him
and called the police.
Providence, Rhode Island: David Posman, 33, was arrested in Providence,
Rhode Island, after knocking out an armored car driver and stealing four bags of
money. Each bag contained $800 dollars. However, the bags weighed thirty pounds
each since they all contained pennies. The hefty bags slowed the fleeting
criminal to a sluggish stagger. Police easily ran down and arrested the suspect.
Washington D.C.: A convict broke out of jail in Washington D.C., then a
few days later accompanied his girlfriend to her trial for robbery. At lunch, he
went out for a sandwich. She needed to see him, and thus had him paged. Police
officers recognized his name and arrested him as he returned to the courthouse
in a car he had stolen over the lunch hour.
Radnor, Pennsylvania: Police interrogated a suspect by placing a metal
colander on his head and connecting it with wires to a photocopy machine. The
message "He's lying" was placed in the copier, and police pressed the copy
button each time they thought the suspect wasn't telling the truth. Believing
the "lie detector" was working, the suspect confessed.
Ionia, Michigan: When two service station attendants refused to hand over
the cash to an intoxicated robber, the man threatened to call the police. They
still refused, so the robber called the police and was arrested.
Some criminals are not too bright and here's one to prove that: (at the time of
Officer: What is your D.O.B.?
Criminal: What's a D.O.B., man?
Officer: When's your birthday?
Criminal: May 5th
Officer: What year?
Criminal: Every year, man.