5 Daring Crimes (That It Turns Out Never Happened)

#2. Super Chinese Ransom Bros.

The "Crime":

In July 2008, a couple from Shangqiu, China was aghast to find that their son, Yang, had been kidnapped. His captors demanded a 10,000 yuan ransom for his release. Naturally, Yang's folks took no chances and coughed up the cash to return their shanghaied son to Shangqiu.

The Facts:

First off, do you know how much 10,000 Yuan is? It's about $1,400. Yang's parents ostensibly complied with the kidnappers' demands since they knew a good discount when they saw it. After all, a grand-and-a-half is a bargain basement price for one's son to have a pulse.

This watch is worth approximately five and a half Yangs.

The kidnappers next gave Mr. and Mrs. Yang an even weirder request. They didn't want the ransom in cumbersome, unmarked bills. No, they would withdraw the money from an ATM. A nice, totally traceable ATM.

When police inevitably caught the idiot crooks using Mr. Yang's PIN, they were in for a twist of Shyamalanian proportions--Yang had kidnapped himself. Together with some pals, Yang schemed to extort a relatively small amount of money from his parents. Surely he must've put his parents through hell for some noble and worthwhile reason, right?

Well, no. Yang was pissed that mom and dad wouldn't buy him a "Nintendo computer" as the article says.

In short, this kid put his parents through extreme psychological torture instead of getting an after-school job. Also, we're not sure how authorities punished Yang for swindling his folks, but seeing as how Chinese society places a high premium on respecting one's elders, we're pretty sure he's currently farming rocks in the Gobi Desert or something.

#1. The Runaway Bride

The "Crime":

On April 26, 2005, Jennifer Wilbanks made national headlines when she disappeared before her wedding in an upscale Atlanta suburb. After a three-day bride-hunt, FBI involvement and media hoopla on par with the return of Jesus Christ, Wilbanks surfaced at a 7-Eleven in New Mexico, claiming she'd been kidnapped and sexually assaulted by a white woman and, gasp, a toothy Hispanic man.

The Facts:

Hmm, where we have heard these situations before? Let's see, mysterious cross-country disappearance plus ethnic abductor with poor dental hygiene equals... one total crock that the media totally ate up. Calling off a wedding is hard, but Wilbanks thought she could skip all that nasty lashback by falling off the damn planet.

When Wilbanks went for a jog one evening, something in the Forrest Gump section of her cortex snapped. From her home, she jogged to a taxi, which took her to a Greyhound bus, which took her to Las Vegas and then Albuquerque, where she bumbled around until she realized A) she was broke and homeless; and B) her fame had exploded so much so that, days later, a piece of toast bearing her likeness would sell for $15,400 on eBay.

The buyer was smart enough to welsh on the investment.

Upon her return to Duluth, authorities soon gleaned that Wilbanks's shaky story was a big load of horsepucky. To her credit, this vanishing act led to her break-up - Wilbanks and her fiance finally split 12 months, $43,000 worth of wasted police funding and one epic national embarrassment later.

For more comedy at the expense of stupid people, visit The Last Gaffe.

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