Dumb Criminals Part 1

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Dumb Criminals Part 1

This is a true story according to a recent issue of Road and Track Magazine: When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motorhome 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 motorhome near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline and plugged his hose into the motorhome`s sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges, saying that it was the best laugh he'd ever had.

Three guys decided, late one night, to rob a petrol station. Taking in baseball bats and knives they entered and demanded money from the station clerk. But they weren't aware of a couple of rather important things:
(1) The clerk was an ex-Israeli.
(2) The clerk was an ex-Isreali Army officer.
(3) The clerk was an ex-Isreali unarmed-combat instructor.
Needless to say they ended up in hospital. For a long time. (No charges were pressed by the petrol station owner, and the police decided that there wasn't much point following through.)

A young couple from Motzkin, Israel, decided to introduce some variety to their love life and took photos of themselves making love. They gave the negatives to be developed to a local photo shop.
A couple of hours later they returned and were appalled to see that the shop's owner decided to make some copies for himself (for personal use). They demanded the negatives and the shop's owner refused. When they turned to the police the owner tried to accuse the couple of blackmail. An investigation is currently being held against the shop's owner on the charge of intrusion of privacy. (Alan's note: "Not only did the shop owner *hide* the fact that he made copies of the pictures for himself, he actually *insisted* on
his "right" to keep them. How's THAT for stupid?")

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.

Excerpted from the Waterbury Republican newspaper, 11/4/96 (Waterbury, Connecticut)
PENNSAUKEN, N.J. - A would-be-burglar allegedly left behind just the ticket for police to nab their man. It seems Jose Sanchez needed to make sure the door to Hill-Rom Corp. wouldn't fully close while he allegedly looted the place, police said -- so he stuck a piece of paper in the door: a traffic ticket he'd been issued the night before. Police found the ticket Thursday -- with Sanchez's name and address on it -- in the door at the robbery scene. He'd been issued the ticket for driving with a cracked windshield. Sanchez, 31, was arrested at his Camden home and jailed on $5,000 bail. Authorities recovered some of the stolen property at a Camden tavern.

Police in Cottonwood(?), Idaho, were amused when they arrived to write up a burglary, and the homeowner told them that the thief got his VCR, his bong, and his stash of marijuana. Luckily, however, the thief had missed his marijuana pipe. The police ticketed the guy for possession of drug paraphernalia.

Smarter Than The Average Rock By Maki Becker Special to the Times (L.A.?) 28 August 1996
The way police told it, Southwest Los Angeles home-invasion robbery suspect Carlos Hawthorne was trying to throw detectives off his trail. Hawthorne, 20, was one of two men who allegedly invaded Vanessa Arlene Sells' home Sunday, shot her and her daughter, and fled in their 1992 Lexus. Police said Hawthorne called them about 7:30 p.m. Monday to report that he had seen three men running away from a Lexus near the 2500 block of Clyde Avenue in Culver City. Police officers from the LAPD's special-problems unit responded to Hawthorne's call and spotted the Lexus. Meanwhile, Hawthorne remained on the phone with a communications operator who was able to determine where he was calling from: a phone booth at 3560 La Cienaga Blvd., less than a mile from where the car was found. The officers found Hawthorne at the phone booth, still talking to the operator and with the keys to the Lexus in his hand, and detained him. When they searched his pockets, they found a silver necklace and a bracelet that matched the description of jewelry that had been stolen from Sells' home. They later booked him on charges of robbery and attempted murder.

45 year-old Amy Brasher was arrested in San Antonio, Texas, 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.

Portsmouth, R.I. 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.

Karen Lee Joachimmi, 20, was arrested in Lake City, Florida for robbery of a Howard Johnson's motel. She was armed with only an electric chain saw, which was not plugged in.

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.

David Posman, 33, was arrested recently in Providence, R.I, after allegedly knocking out an armored car driver and stealing the closest four bags of money. It turned out they contained $800 in PENNIES, weighed 30 pounds each, and slowed him to a stagger during his getaway so that police officers easily jumped him from behind.

The Belgium news agency Belga reported in November that a man suspected of robbing a jewelry store in Liege said he couldn't have done it *because he was busy breaking into a school at the same time.* Police then arrested him for breaking into the school. Drug-possession defendant Christopher Johns, on trial in March in Pontiac, Michigan, said he had been searched without a warrant. The prosecutor said the officer didn't need a warrant because a "bulge" in Christopher's jacket could have been a gun. Nonsense, said
Christopher, who happened to be wearing the same jacket that day in court. He handed it over so the judge could see it. The judge discovered a packet of cocaine in the pocket and laughed so hard he required a five-minute recess to compose himself.

"World's Dumbest Mugger Apologizes to Crime Boss"
NEW YORK -- A man who snatched a wallet from the mother of reputed Genovese crime boss Vincent Gigante was hoping everybody would forgive and forget on Monday. Willie King, 37, was sentenced to 1-1/2 to three years in prison for grabbing the wallet of 94-year-old Yolanda Gigante as she walked with another son, the Rev. Louis Gigante, last month. "My client wishes to express great remorse," King's lawyer Steven Wershaw said. "He's admitted his guilt at the earliest opportunity because he wants to put this incident behind him, and he hopes the Gigante family will, too," Wershaw said. King grabbed the wallet from the woman's house coat as she walked on a street in Greenwich Village. He was caught a few blocks away, and the city's tabloids quickly dubbed him "The World's Dumbest Mugger."

BALITMORE, Maryland, Oct 9, 1996 (Reuters) -- Two TV cops had a chance to make a real-life bust when a shoplifter bolted onto a scene of "Homicide: Life on the Street" in Baltimore. The thief, who had taken about $100 worth of film from a drug store, thought he had stumbled into real cops when he saw actors holding prop guns and standing over a "murder victim." He muttered, "Oh, no," and figured he'd been caught. One of the actors' bodyguards grabbed the thief until real cops working security around the scene arrived. "The Screen Actors Guild bylaws say I don't have to arrest anyone," joked Richard Belzer, who plays Detective Munch. "If he's convicted," said Clark Johnson, the show's 'Detective Lewis,' "the judge should drop the theft charge and send him away for being stupid."
Police in Wichita, Kansas, arrested a 22-year-old man at an airport hotel after he tried to pass two (counterfeit) $16 bills.

A man in Johannesberg, South Africa, shot his 49-year-old friend in the face, seriously wounding him, while the two practiced shooting beer cans off each other's head.

A company trying to continue its five-year perfect safety record showed its workers a film aimed at encouraging the use of safety goggles on the job. According to Industrial Machinery News, the film's depiction of gory industrial accidents was so graphic that twenty-five workers suffered minor injuries in their rush to leave the screening room. Thirteen others fainted, and one man required seven stitches after he cut his head falling off a chair while watching the film.

The Chico, California, City Council enacted a ban on nuclear weapons, setting a $500 fine for anyone detonating one within city limits.

A bus carrying five passengers was hit by a car in St. Louis, but by the time police arrived on the scene, fourteen pedestrians had boarded the bus and had begun to complain of whiplash injuries and back pain.

Swedish business consultant Ulf af Trolle labored 13 years on a book about Swedish economic solutions. He took the 250-page manuscript to be copied, only to have it reduced to 50,000 strips of paper in seconds when a worker confused the copier with the shredder.

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.

Police in Radnor, Pennsylvania, 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.

When two service station attendants in Ionia, Michigan, 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.

A Los Angeles man who later said he was "tired of walking," stole a steamroller and led police on a 5 mph chase until an officer stepped aboard and brought the vehicle to a stop.

LAKEWOOD, Colo., Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Two officers shot and killed a suspected robber who doused them with chemical spray as he fled a King Soopers market with a bag of money, police said Wednesday.
Moments earlier the suspect sprayed two employees and bound them with plastic flexi-cuffs before grabbing an undisclosed amount of cash and running to an emergency exit, said Lyn Kimbrough,
spokeswoman for police in the Denver suburb of Lakewood.
"He came face-to-face with a police officer," said Kimbrough. "What the officer saw was the suspect's hand coming up, then (he felt) a pain in his face. He thought he'd been shot. He fired two shots from his handgun."
Inside another officer saw the suspect's hand raise and heard shots, which made him think his partner had been shot, so he fired one round from his shotgun, she said. The suspect, an unidentified man in his thirties, died just outside the exit, she said. The officers, a sergeant with 11 years and a 23-year veteran patrolman, are on administrative leave.

A Pisgat Ze'ev (a northern neighborhood of Jerusalem) resident discovered one morning last week that his car had been stolen. He immediately called his car's cellular phone. The person who answered told him he would trade the car for NIS 4000 [about $1300]. The man agreed and arranged a time and place for the exchange. The Jerusalemite went directly to the police who sent a detective to the exchange. He arrested the three men in the car.

On Friday, a man wearing a home-made suit of armour robbed a bank in downtown Montreal, his unlucky 13th in a spree. He gave a cabbie a $100 bill and ordered him to drive. In addition to a gun, the man was armed with nails and tacks that he intended to toss out the window to blow out the tires of pursuers a la Wile E. Coyote. The story goes on, but the only other detail of any interest is the fact that he neglected to wear a helmet and was shot in the head (superficially). Here's someone who needs to see the cartoon laws of physics (and then be given a very careful explanation that these laws do not apply "in real life.".)

Excerpted from the Guardian Newspaper (London), sometime in 1995
A gang decided to rob a security van, and they planned it down to the minutest detail. They knew that it picked up a large amount cash at a shop at a certain time every week. They planned that one of them was to threaten the security staff with a shotgun whilst the others swooped. To give the shooter the element of surprise they dressed him as awoman pushing a buggy complete with doll with the shotgun under the blankets. Unfortunately the shooter's approach to the van took him past a building site. The builders spying this tall willowy woman with eye-popping bosom and long blonde hair started wolf-whistling and cat-calling. The shooter was so incensed by this slur on his manhood that he started pulling out the shotgun to silence them. On seeing this, the rest of the gang tried to restrain him, and there ensued a fight for possession of the gun -- in full view of the scattering builders. The security guards promptly fled in their van. With the cash, of course.

In Tampa, FL, a man ordered a pizza from Domino's to his house. When the pizza arrived, he robbed the delivery guy. When police arrived later, the man was sitting in his living room eating the pizza.

This lovely young future leader is actually responsible enough to get a real job, at Burger King. On the way home from work one day, he stops off to sell some marijuana. To undercover police officers. While still wearing his uniform. Complete with name tag.

I no longer have the news clipping, but one character that I dealt with got drunk, and held up a bar. I forget why he returned, but the patrons this time noticed that his Uzi was a plastic toy. The police arrived in time to rescue him, but he had been stabbed about 20 times.

A friend of mine was a teller supervisor at an S&L in San Diego. One day they were robbed by a not particularly bright character, wearing a 49ers jacket. His getaway involved a beeline to the nearest mall, where he cleverly bought new clothing so that he wouldn't be noticed -- a 49ers T-shirt, over which he again wore the jacket. Content in his disguise, he went to the pizza place in the mall, where he was happily gorging himself when the police arrived. Realizing that they were there for him, he quickly told them, "Your money is in this pocket. The money in the other pocket is mine." Having apprehended him, the police brought the teller to the scene for identification. Before anyone could say anything, Bright Boy announced, "Yep, she's the one I robbed."

Another attorney related a tale to me of having represented a couple of geniuses (geniui?) in federal court in San Diego. As the two left the building, they drove around for several blocks, and found a likely place to light up and celebrate. It was the back entrance to the courthouse....

"Not Two Good at Speling" Deseret News, January 30, 1989
Clever drug traffickers used a propane tanker truck entering El Paso from Mexico. They rigged it so propane gas would be released from all of its valves while the truck concealed 6,240 pounds of marijuana. They were clever, but not bright. They misspelled the name of the gas company on the side of the truck.

Careless Robber Leaves Fingerprint Los Angeles Times, July 27, 1977
Chicago - A man robbing a dry clea ning store blew off part of one finger with a shotgun, police said. "This is no toy; the gun is loaded," the robber said to his victims Monday in the Pekin Cleaners on Chicago's south side.Police said the robber, wearing a red handkerchief over his face and carrying a sawed-off 12-gauge shotgun, then opened the gun to show it was loaded. When he closed it, the weapon fired, taking off two-thirds of the little finger of his left hand. After the gun fired, he took $10 from the cash register and a portable television set from the counter and fled. Police said they recovered the tip of the finger and were able to get a fingerprint. A store employee, Hattie Butler, said she did not realize the robber had injured himself because he did not show any signs of pain.

An Important Post Script Deseret News, November 1985
Oklahoma City - Dennis Newton was on trial for the armed robbery of a convenience store in a district court this week when he fired his lawyer. Assistant district attorney Larry Jones said Newton, 47, was doing a fair job of defending himself until the store manager testified that Newton was the robber. Newton jumped up, accused the woman of lying and then said, "I should of blown you [expletive] head off." The defendant paused, then quickly added, "-- if I'd been the one that was there." The jury took 20 minutes to convict Hewton and recommend a 30-year sentence.

Police Computer System Works Well Deseret News, October 16, 1988
R.C. Gaitlin, 21, walked up to two patrol officers who were showing their squad car computer equipment to children in a Detroit neighborhood. When he asked how the system worked, the officers asked him for a piece of identification. Gaitlin gave them his driver's license, they entered it into the computer, and moments later they arrested Gaitlin because information on the screen showed that Gaitlin was wanted for a two-year-old armed robbery in St. Louis, Missouri.

According to the FBI, most modern-day bank robberies are "unsophisticated and unprofessional crimes," committed by young male repeat offenders who apparently don't know the first thing about their
business. This information was included in an interesting, amusing article titles "How Not to Rob a Bank," by Tim Clark, which appeared in the 1987 edition of The Old Farmers Almanac.
Clark reported that in spite of the widespread use of surveillance cameras, 76 percent of bank robbers use no disguise, 86 percent never study the bank before robbing it, and 95 percent make no long-range plans for concealing the loot. Thus, he offered this advice to would-be bank robbers, along with examples of what can happen if the rules aren't followed:
1. Pick the right bank. Clark advises that you don't follow the lead of the fellow in Anaheim, Cal., who tried to hold up a bank that was no longer in business and had no money. On the other hand, you don't want to be too familiar with the bank. A California robber ran into his mother while making his getaway. She turned him in.
2. Approach the right teller. Granted, Clark says, this is harder to plan. One teller in Springfield, Mass., followed the holdup man out of the bank and down the street until she saw him go into a restaurant. She hailed a passing police car, and the police picked him up. Another teller was given a holdup note by a robber, and her father, who was next in line, wrestled the man to the ground and sat on him until authorities arrived.
3. Don't sign your demand note. Demand notes have been written on the back of a subpoena issued in the name of a bank robber in Pittsburgh, on an envelope bearing the name and address of another in Detroit, and in East Hartford, Conn., on the back of a withdrawal slip giving the robber's signature and account number.
4. Beware of dangerous vegetables. A man in White Plains, N.Y., tried to hold up a bank with a zucchini. The police captured him at his house, where he showed them his "weapon."
5. Avoid being fussy. A robber in Panorama City, Cal., gave a teller a note saying, "I have a gun. Give me all your twenties in this envelope." The teller said, "All I've got is two twenties." The robber took them and left.
6. Don't advertise. A holdup man thought that if he smeared mercury ointment on his face, it would make him invisible to the cameras. Actually, it accentuated his features, giving authorities a much clearer picture. Bank robbers in Minnesota and California tried to create a diversion by throwing stolen money out of the windows of their cars. They succeeded only in drawing attention to themselves.
7. Take right turns only. Avoid the sad fate of the thieves in Florida who took a wrong turn and ended up on the Homestead Air Force Base. They drove up to a military police guardhouse and, thinking it was a tollbooth, offered the security men money.
8. Provide your own transportation. It is not clever to borrow the teller's car, which she carefully described to police. This resulted in the most quickly solved bank robbery in the history of Pittsfield, Mass.
9. Don't be too sensitive. In these days of exploding dye packs, stuffing the cash into your pants can lead to embarrassing stains, Clark points out,not to mention severe burns in sensitive places--as bandits in San Diego and Boston painfully discovered.
10. Consider another line of work. One nervous Newport, R.I., robber, while trying to stuff his ill-gotten gains into his shirt pocket, shot himself in the head and died instantly. Then there was the case of the hopeful criminal in Swansea, Mass., who, when the teller told him she had no money, fainted. He was still unconscious when the police arrived.
In view of such ineptitude, it is not surprising that in 1978 and 1979, for example, federal and state officers made arrests in 69 percent of the bank holdups reported.

Linguistic Thuggery: Hanz Up by Colin McEnroe
It has become commonplace to read in our newpapers of a crime somehwere in America amusingly bungled by the criminal's ineptitude.
Droll though these news items may be, they reflect an overlooked cost of our current national crisis in education. The basic learning skills of criminals have deteriorated to a shocking degree.
Consider the following:
o ITEM. A 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."
o ITEM. 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.
o ITEM. Burglars in Larch Barrens, Md., tried to cut through a safe using a Lazer Tag gun.
o ITEM. Industrial thieves broke into the Bilgetek plant in Canasta, Wash., by crossing a metal catwalk and then blew it up, havingforgotten it was their only means of escape.
o ITEM. 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.
"No problem-solving abilities, no communication skills, no 'plays and relates well with others,' no nothing," FBI regional director J. Paine Bloomey said, reviewing the state of modern criminality. "We are talking plain, flat-out, hard-boiled, stupid as pea turkeys."
By contrast, Japanese criminals score in the range 10 to 15 points higher than their American counterparts in basic skills tests.
In the Japanese underworld, it is considered a matter of honor to execute a thoughtful, grammatical, error-free crime.
Still, experts such as Smyk stop short of demanding a total overhaul of the educational system. "For all their acumen," he says, "Japanese criminals wind up sacrificing a lot of the joie de vivre you see in our guys."

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