We have to admit: We love us a good "dumb criminal" story. It's reassuring to know that the people who would do us harm are less "evil genius" and more "kid who always lost at hide-and-seek because he hid behind a tree that wasn't quite wide enough to cover him."
So let's take a moment to celebrate the bad guys who tried to escape capture while ...
#6. Disguised as a Hill
The Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals in Oregon contains, as the name so aptly suggests, lots of rocks and minerals. Oh, and "a gold specimen bigger than your hand," which made the museum particularly interesting to alleged thief Gregory Liascos, who decided to pay it an after-hours visit to get a bit more up close and personal with that exhibit.
"Selling it should net me just enough money to repair the damage smuggling it does to my rectum."
Liascos' master plan was to pull a reverse Shawshank Redemption and gradually chip a hole through the wall of the museum to get to all the shiny stuff inside. It might have worked out OK if he hadn't forgotten his DustBuster, but as it so happened, the museum's caretaker noticed an unusual amount of dust buildup over a period of several days. Following the dust trail to an elevator shaft behind the toilets, he then discovered a suspicious lack of wall.
And a sad little drawing of Liascos having sex with Angelina Jolie.
The caretaker urged the police to set up surveillance equipment at the museum, and when the alarms went off the next day, they stormed the museum, finding a bike, a backpack and absolutely no sign of the would-be gold thief. But luckily, the police had brought along a tracking dog. The dog led its handlers to a wooded area near the museum, where it suddenly lost its shit and started biting the ground. Even weirder, the ground started squealing in pain.
Once the officers had assured each other that no one was having a bad trip, they did a closer inspection and found that what the dog was biting wasn't the ground at all, but the illegitimate love child of Chewbacca and Swamp Thing.
"Arrrrrrr-ghghghghgh!" (Hey, let's see you try to spell the sound Chewbacca makes.)
Actually, it was Liascos, wearing an outfit that would later earn him the nickname "Moss Man." Officially, it's called a ghillie suit -- the type of camouflage that snipers use to blend into the foliage when shooting from grassy knolls. He hadn't yet stolen anything at the moment he was caught, perhaps because he realized the grass suit wasn't a great means of disguising himself once he was inside a rock and mineral museum (dressing up as the Thing from The Fantastic Four would seem like a better choice).
Albeit not the subtle choice.
Of course Liascos denied the whole thing, claiming that he was just trying out a Halloween costume that his kids had given him. Then he promptly went on the lam and is still out there somewhere, presumably pretending to be someone's backyard.
#5. Inside an Express Handling Box
Baggage handlers at London's Heathrow Airport were having your average baggage handler day -- taking turns dropping cargo and administering savage beatings to it -- when suddenly something not-so-average happened. While following their baggage handler employment manual to a "T," they dropped an especially heavy express handling box while unloading it from the plane. The box cracked open and out popped a bleeding man, who took off running across the tarmac and escaped.
"Damn. Maybe if we seal it back up no one will notice."
You have to hand it to him; Rawson Watson's plan was fairly ingenious. He had two crates specially made so that he could assemble them while en route in the plane's cargo area -- one for him and one for the over $2 million in Spanish pesetas that he planned to swipe from the plane's cargo.
He had sneaked into the cargo area without much difficulty, but once there his plan went sour when he realized that he wouldn't be able to reseal the cash containers holding the stolen pesetas to cover up his tampering. Abandoning Plan A, he threw one of the cash containers (holding about $320,000) into the smaller box, sealed himself up inside the larger one and settled in for the ride.
"Yeah, I know that box, intimately. Bitch never called me back."
He was all set for a smaller-than-planned payday, until those meddling baggage handlers interfered and he had to run away completely empty-handed. Even worse, he cut his finger on the crate, leaving behind a nice big dollop of DNA evidence that allowed police to arrest him for the crime nearly three years later.
After his arrest, Watson pulled a page directly from our middle school survival playbook as his defense: You see, he couldn't have committed the crime because he'd been in Africa at the time, having a "holiday romance" with a woman you totally wouldn't know (because she's in Africa) and whose number (as well as any holiday photos) he had totally lost.
"Of course I know what sex is. We did nose to belly button quite a few times."
We would applaud the man's creativity, but Watson wasn't the only criminal to have the bright idea of stashing himself away inside of a cargo hold. It turns out thieves have also been known to wind up ...
#4. Stuffed into a Suitcase
After a string of reports of items mysteriously disappearing from the cargo bay of a Barcelona airport bus, the sight of a man struggling to load an unusually heavy suitcase into a bus struck an employee as a strange enough occurrence to warrant calling the police.
When the authorities arrived, they discovered that there was indeed something strange about the suitcase: It was warm to the touch and soaked with sweat. Either someone was hiding inside the bag, or they had just stumbled upon the world's first leftover-meatloaf smuggling ring.
Why can't it ever be both?
They opened the suitcase to find a Polish man curled up "like a contortionist" and making the world's most pathetic attempt to look all innocent. When questioned, he claimed to have been too broke to afford the fare.
"Yes, this costume was necessary."
The cops thought it was unusual for a man short on change to be wearing a head lamp and carrying a special tool for opening zippers and locks, as well as a bag of stolen valuables, so they brought him and his strong-backed accomplice in for theft and criminal misuse of a circus routine.
Officers described the smell of the sweat-crusted luggage as "Lovecraftian."
When asked about the crime, a police spokesman said, "I believe this is what the British call an open-and-shut case," before whipping on his sunglasses as Roger Daltrey screamed in the background.