6 Baffling Mistakes Criminals Apparently Make All the Time

About once a week you get a wacky "dumb criminal" story in the newspaper, like the guy who tries to rob a police station, or the dude who sticks up a bank and then boasts about it on his Twitter account. Either crime is apparently way harder than it looks, or else criminals are a whole lot stupider than we previously thought possible.

We're thinking it's the latter. Here are some seemingly easy rules that real criminals have failed to follow, often in spectacularly retarded ways.

#6. Make Sure You Have the Proper Tools

The traditional approach to criminal weaponry is "keeping it simple." Guns, knives, a rabid weasel tied to a stick... anything will do as long as it conveys the message that you are not to be fucked with. If you don't own a gun or a knife, any number of objects can be used in their place. A South Carolina man had some success in stealing a laptop while making stabbing motions at store employees with a regular toothbrush; John Szwalla almost robbed a cafe with a banana in his pocket pretending to be a gun; and in 2007, one of the nerdiest kingpins of crime held-up a Food Mart with an old NES Zapper.

Didn't they notice that it wasn't plugged in?

There also exists, however, a group that rebels against the orthodox school of criminal thought. Not wanting the world of robbery to go stale, they came up with such innovations like threatening people at snakepoint, where real life snakes are used to intimidate the victims in lieu of broken beer bottles. But the undisputed king of nu-crime (which is less commercial and more original than mainstream crime), has to be the Colorado Springs mugger who in 2009, successfully robbed two convenience stores using a Star Trek bat'leth replica.

Pictured: A bat'leth with its typical user

There is an undeniable streak of genius in employing snakes or Star Trek props in your crimes, because sufficiently weird weapons like that will keep the victims from taking a good look at your face, making future identification very difficult indeed.

John Oldenburg, on the other hand, did not concern himself with such trifling things as the proper choice of criminal tools. When he went out to steal gas, all he ever used was his trusted personalized power-drill with "J. Oldenburg" etched into its body. Normally labeling your property is a good thing, but not when you are a gas thief and lose it during a job, leading the police straight to your apartment. Especially if that apartment doubles as the local meth lab.

Professor Moriarty, he is not.

#5. Fight the Urge to Give Away Personal Information

No matter how badly you want to be recognized for your criminal achievements, not bragging about them is the basic requirement for avoiding a prison shank between the ribs in your immediate future.

The absolute worst you can do in terms of boastfulness is sharing every bit of info about yourself with the people you're planning to rob, as one New Zealand crook did. Approaching the cashier at a Sydenham music shop he requested a CD to be held for him, but when the employee's back turned he grabbed a handful of dollars from the register and sprinted away to spend it all on some slutty sheep... mere seconds after writing his personal information on the CD reservation form--information he didn't bother to falsify--leading to his arrest.

PS, thanks for the money, suckers!!!LOL!1

Aaron Evans is another cautionary tale against bragging. Evidently fearing that someone might take false credit for his illegal deeds, Evans had his full name and birth date tattooed on the back of his neck. This was a particularly poor decision considering he was a car thief from the UK--the place which treats Orwell's 1984 as a set of instructions concerning video surveillance. Thanks to the footage of his ink, Evans was sentenced to seven months after trying to steal a car in 2008.


Besides modesty, the other thing that might spare you the embarrassment of identifying yourself all over the target is "leaving your wallet at home when you go a-thieving." Let's learn from the Niagara Falls criminal who executed the classic "Grab n' Get the Fuck Out Of There" play at a Walgreens with a carton of smokes. He could have gotten away with it if not for one tinsy-winsy mistake: He left his driver's license with the clerk, who was checking his age. The arrest literally took minutes.

But absentmindedness is one thing, complete lack of understanding how personal identification works is another. Like with the West Virginia man who used his debit card at the store he then tried to rob. Piece of advice: If you think that signing the receipt "John Doe" will throw the cops off your trail, you probably deserve to go to prison.

#4. Keep in Mind That There is a Time and a Place For Everything

You are a busy man. There are countless houses and people out there who won't just rob themselves. We get it. But that doesn't mean that you have to catch up on your daily activities while inside a victim's house. Nothing good will ever come out of it.

"No sense waiting to do my taxes."

One Pennsylvania burglar learned that the hard way. In 2009, Jonathan Parker broke into a Martinsburg home and stole two diamond rings, worth over $3,500. But instead of just leaving then and exchanging the jewelry for enough narcotics to make a chess match between two narcoleptic accountants seem exciting, Parker used the victim's computer to check his Facebook... forgetting to log out afterwards. So when the owner came back and went to her own FB account (because the first thing you want to do after being robbed is apparently post about it on your wall) she found Parker's profile who was then arrested.

To be fair, maybe Parker had some urgent strawberries to harvest on FarmVille. That would actually make his actions very understandable (if not completely forgivable), but it's a whole different story with the burglar who entered an Easton, PA house, cleaned it out and was later discovered by the owners cooking chicken in their kitchen. Dude, stop at a freaking KFC on the way home. Businesses like that exist for busy people just like yourself.

Still, coming home to a stranger eating your dinner can't be nearly half as insulting as finding some guy masturbating in your chair after having packed all of your stuff into a big bag marked "swag." Luckily, only a certain New Orleans homeowner knows what that's like, after catching Richard Barnes red(rocket)-handed, rubbing one off to online porn on her computer. Unluckily for Barnes, real life is nothing like the porn flicks he loves so much, so instead of offering to "help [him] with that" the lady called the police.

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