#4. Taliban Commander Turns Himself in for the Reward Money
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In the dusty mountains of Afghanistan, Taliban commander Mohammad Ashan needed some cash for his day-to-day Taliban living. While he was walking around the southeastern province of Paktika he noticed a bunch of wanted posters had been put up by the Americans.
It's probably safe to say that Ashan wasn't the smartest terrorist who ever grace a wanted poster. Apparently mistaking the posters for some kind of scavenger hunt, he walked right into an Afghan checkpoint and turned himself in seeking the $100 for his reward.
The Afgan police quickly released who they had in their custody and arrested him on the spot. Even when arrested he still didn't catch on that he was possibly getting a free vacation to Cuba's Guantanamo resort. When the American interrogators asked him, "Is this you?" Ashan answered, "Yes, yes, that's me! Can I get my award now?"
What we're trying to say is that terrorists tend to be dipshits.
#3. Finding a Hitman in the Yellow Pages
Plotting a murder can be both complicated and time consuming, especially if you're a busy, middle-aged mother of two and the person you want dead is your husband. This was the situation Phoenix housewife Sharleen Bath found herself in in 1990, so she decided to do the only sensible thing and let a professional killer handle the situation for her. The first problem, of course, was trying to find someone willing to kill for money, since Craigslist wouldn't be invented for another decade or so. So she did the only thing she could think of: She checked the Yellow Pages.
For those younger readers, this was a relic of the pre-Internet days. Much like the magazined pornography your elders speak of.
Unable to find an "assassins" section, she ultimately decided to call a company called "Gunsmoke, Guns for Hire." The name sounded promising, but Gunsmoke is actually an entertainment company specializing in themed parties, since, you know, contract killers aren't actually listed in the Yellow Pages.
We're just amazed she was able to navigate the whole alphabetical order thing.
Having received a fair share of crank calls in the past, owner Leigh Wilson decided to roll with it for a while before he realized that Bath was deadly serious. Wilson gave her a non-committal answer, but Bath called back twice over the next few days and demanded to be allowed to speak to one of the actual hitmen she figured must have been lounging around Wilson's place. After the first time, Wilson figured that this kind of craziness was probably the sort of thing police should handle and got in touch with them.
Undercover police arranged a meeting with Bath at a nearby restaurant, disguised as hitmen, and struck up a deal with her. Eventually Bath settled on one car bombing for the bargain price of $10,000, handed over a $2,000 advance, and their business was concluded. Bath didn't even make it out of the parking lot before being arrested. She ended up in prison, but not before her lawyers did their best to plead insanity. And to be fair, that was probably the best way to go.
#2. Fugitive Lets Cops Scan his License (Just to See How it Works)
With crime-fighting technology getting better every day, the experienced criminal knows it's a good idea to stay up to date on the various ways that they could end up in handcuffs with their face smeared into the hood of a police car. This was probably the thinking of R.C. Gaitlin in 1988 when he passed by a bunch of cops in Detroit demonstrating some of their high-tech gear to local kids and decided to observe.
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Current high-tech Detroit PD gear.
After a few minutes of tips on the finer points of shooting people in the ass on account of tazers not being invented yet, things were going swimmingly for Gaitlin. He was learning a lot and had yet to awkwardly blurt out any embarrassing personal details, like the fact that he was a fugitive wanted for armed robbery.
Things took a turn for the unfortunate when he laid eyes on the driver's license scanner and asked how it worked. The cops replied that they'd be thrilled to show him if he'd be kind enough to provide some ID to demonstrate with. Being the helpful and enthusiastic type, Gaitlin keenly volunteered his driver's license to be used as an example.
Of course, the scan revealed to the bewildered cops that Gaitlin had a warrant out for his arrest, so they had the fortune of showing the kids what it looks like when they arrest a perp, which made it the best field trip ever.
"OK, kids, who wants to pepper spray him?"
#1. Robber Gets Robbed, Reports it to Police
Mauricio Fierro's plan to rob a Brazilian pharmacy started out well enough -- he pulled up outside the store in a newly stolen car and left the engine running so that he could pull off a quick getaway. When he emerged with the loot, however, he was puzzled to find that his stolen car had been stolen. By someone else. You would think that a man dedicated to a career of stealing other people's things would have seen this coming.
"So that's what it feels like."
But Fierro's troubles didn't end there. After standing in the parking lot for a few minutes, arms thrown up in the universal gesture of "what the fuck," Fierro failed to see yet another shady criminal sneaking up behind him -- who snatched the loot right out of his hands and made a run for it. It was a bad neighborhood.
Here is where most people would wearily decide to call it a night, but not Fierro. He was angry, and he was determined to make someone answer for the thefts. So he went to the police station to report that someone had stolen the cash and car that he himself had stolen moments earlier. At the police station Fierro ran into none other than the pharmacist he had just robbed, who was there reporting Fierro's robbery. He was quickly taken into custody.
But Fierro wasn't done yet. Word of the bizarre thefts had spread quickly, and it wasn't long before a local news team arrived at the police station. They interviewed Fierro right there, and he took the opportunity to go on a completely unselfconscious rant about how bad crime was in the city. You've got to admit, he had a point.
Seconds before the reporters stole his hoodie and sneakers.
Related Reading: Badass criminals have gotten themselves caught in even dumber schemes than these. As proof, we present the cold-blooded murderer who revealed his identity through a dating show. We judge these idiots, but crime isn't easy. Something as simple as checking Facebook on a victim's computer can put you behind bars. All this only makes it more surprising when ruthless criminals turn into good guys at the last second. Even carjackers can be heroes sometimes.