6 Baffling Mistakes Criminals Apparently Make All the Time

#3. Choose Your Targets Wisely

On one end of the "Wrong Fucking Place to Rob" scale we have a Colombian robber who tried to hold up a karate school. It sounds like a scene from a Police Academy sequel but it actually happened and as you'd expect, the students karate'd the shit out of him. Same for the suicidal criminal from Pennsylvania who decided to help himself to the wallet of a retired police officer... during a 300-guest police convention. To his credit though, he almost made it into a taxi before a dozen burly cops relived their high school football days directly atop his spine.

Sadly, failure to properly evaluate the risk/gain ratio of your target can have less hilarious consequences, like with David Zaback who, in 1990, tried to rob a gun store near Seattle, with a uniformed police officer standing by the counter. Zaback's poor mathematics cost him 23 new breathing holes through the torso.

On the other, sadder end of that spectrum you have criminals who go for the low-risk, low-reward angle. You know, like the 45-year-old bank cashier from Germany who risked and lost her entire career by pilfering children's piggybank accounts. While the possibility of getting a spiked hammer to the genitals as retribution is significantly low if you steal from kids, the most you will get out of them is apparently $75. Hardly worth losing $3,000 in fines and any ability to find employment in the non-whoring sector of the job market.


Don't let this pig control your fate.

Then again, it might be a welcomed alternative to the years of unpaid sexual encounters that await the criminals who were arrested after robbing 1) a Burger King and 2) an Amish buggy--making off with 1) a BK cap/jacket combo plus some invisible tape, and 2) a tobacco stuffed pipe. It would seem the low security on those places wasn't just a clever ruse to protect their priceless hidden treasures.


Nonetheless, the Burger King demands you pay in blood.

#2. Be Wary of Strangers Offering you Money/Drugs

Nowadays, even the family dog has a cell phone, making the device common loot in many criminal endeavors. This subsequently gives your victims a chance to contact their robber, but such communication should only be used to taunt them with graphic description of all the prostitute-related activities you will engage in after pawning their stuff, and nothing else.

A typically observed error is trying to get more money out of the people you've already robbed. Joshua Taneal Curry from Florida made that mistake when in 2009, he stole someone's cell and demanded $240 for its return. Perhaps he was hoping to then steal it again and repeat the cycle, creating a never-ending loop of thievery that would earn him "infinity dollars." Unsurprisingly though, when Curry showed up at the designated place to collect the money he was immediately arrested/laughed at by the police.


"So, uh... when am I going to get paid?"

Not pushing your luck can save a responsible criminal a lot of grievance. It certainly would have helped the three Ohio carjackers who--obviously on an intense post-crime high after stealing a BMW--did not question a text message they got on their victim's phone. The message supposedly reminded the owner of the car about all the hot bitches and drugs waiting for him at a certain location, and since the carjackers now owned the guy's property, they felt entitled to a piece of that action. But how often does life really throw free drugs/chicks your way? Three to four times at most. But that time wasn't one of them, so the only thing that awaited the criminals in the stolen car was a squadron of pity-smiling police officers.

It might seem unfair, but civilians are allowed to play dirty even when you're the supposed bad guy, so it never hurts to always be skeptical. Like, when a stranger calls up your stolen cell offering to sell you illegal firearms, it's a good idea to be suspicious about his intentions, unlike James Smith, who must have thought it was just his lucky day. Smith's arrest was as fast as it was hilarious when he agreed to meet this new supplier, aka the phone owner's boyfriend.

#1. Cover Your Tracks

Our studies show that the leading cause of arrests in America is "getting caught" which in itself is most often the result of the authorities discovering where you live. A number of things can be done to prevent that.


There's a return address on the back of this stupid riddle.

As a career criminal not wanting to get caught, the first thing you may want to avoid is bringing cornflakes with you on a job. Amber McCarthy from East Sussex got into some cereal trouble (get it??) after lifting some money from a florist's till and accidentally breaking a bag of cornflakes she had on her. The trail of cereal led straight to her apartment and a three-year supervision sentence.


This time a fake cock was used to fight crime.

The second thing you should do is take the weather into consideration. If it's been snowing in the area, a smart criminal will employ snowshoes or a flock of trained eagles that will carry him above the ground to avoid leaving painfully obvious footsteps in the snow. Unlike Rashaun Preston, a not smart criminal who, in 2007, robbed his employers and left a deep, visible trail leading from the scene of the crime straight to his apartment--like some lovably inept cartoon badguy.

Then again, maybe it was Preston's first time and he got caught up in the heat of the moment that is crime, forgetting to clean up afterward? Maybe... but that definitely wasn't the case with a pair of Arkansas robbers who, in 2008, stole a liquor store soda vending machine using an industrial dolly. The dolly points to at least some level of premeditation and planning, but the criminals were discovered nonetheless after their exceptionally heavy machinery left deep tracks more than a mile long ending at their front yard. Based on the fact that they didn't go for the store's booze or the money, we are left to conclude that their slight miscalculation was already the result of alcohol or them being from Arkansas.

You can find more Cezary at Gunaxin.

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And check out what kinds of mistakes fictional criminals keep making, in 6 Baffling Mistakes Every Movie Criminal Makes. Or find out about some fearsome crooks with hearts of gold, in 5 Inspiring Acts of Kindness by Terrifying Crime Syndicates.

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