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The 6 Most Needlessly Overcomplicated Crimes Ever Planned

The difference between a comic book villain and a real-world criminal is that the former will rob a bank by staging a complex plan that involves dressing up in a ridiculous costume, leaving clues all over the city and killing at least two henchmen, while the latter just walks in with a gun and asks for the money. Or so we thought. It seems that real crooks have taken a page or two from the likes of the Riddler and Lex Luthor and started planning their crimes in the most elaborate, pointlessly complicated ways possible ... which, as the following people found out, tends to blow up in their faces.

#6. Gang Builds Massive Tunnel to Break into a Blockbuster Store

Getty

The Crime:

A gang in Manchester wanted to get their hands on the money in an ATM inside a local Blockbuster store, perhaps figuring that it should be stuffed with cash, since no one's rented there since 2002. As we've pointed out before, it really isn't that hard to hack into an ATM and make it spit money out, but these guys decided it would be simpler to just take the entire machine ...

The Needlessly Elaborate Plan:

... by building a 40-foot tunnel complete with lighting and scaffolding. They didn't just want their tunnel to take them under the ATM; they wanted it to be nice enough to live in.

Manchester Evening News
Who says criminals don't take pride in their work?

The tunnel was discovered when some workmen stumbled upon a disguised trapdoor in a field and opened it to find what they must have initially mistaken for a passageway to Narnia. Soon they realized that the tunnel, which was still unfinished, stopped about 20 feet short of a cash machine. Naturally, police filled it with cement, and the thieves (who were never found) presumably opened the trapdoor one day to find that they'd been seriously cockblocked.

So, were they discouraged to see months of work buried in cement? Fuck no. Four years later, they tried again -- except this time, they totally got away with it. By once again digging a tunnel underneath a local Blockbuster (the reports don't specify, but we'll just guess it's the same one, since it's probably the only one left in all of England), they dug through and ran into some concrete. Completely undeterred, they drilled right through a foot of it, got the cash machine, and made a getaway.

The Telegraph
They would later go on a spree of travel agency and Betamax robberies.

So how much did their years of tireless criminal labor net them? Around 6,000 pounds (just under $10,000), which is probably about as much as the tunnels cost in the first place. Hopefully they also grabbed a few dozen used copies of Big Momma's House 2 to make their trip worthwhile.

#5. Pervert Poses as Disabled Person to Trick Women into Looking at His Junk

Getty

The Crime:

Eric Carrier had a simple mission in life: showing his penis to unsuspecting women. But, rather than buying a trench coat and going to the park like most decent folk, he had a slightly more complicated approach ...

The Needlessly Elaborate Plan:

... namely, posing as a mentally challenged man on Craigslist to trick women into changing his diapers. Although how much faking was necessary, if any, is debatable.

Neighborhood News
"Hey, hey, I'm crazy, not mentally challenged."

After some consideration, Carrier decided that adult diaper changing was the only normal situation in which anyone would be forced to "accidentally" take a peek at his sack (fortunately, the man had never heard of ChatRoulette). Posing as his own no doubt very proud father, Carrier put up an ad on Craigslist looking for a caretaker for his brain-damaged son. Once women responded to his ad, Carrier would try to get them to change his soiled diaper, a ruse that worked on at least one occasion.

One of the women says that she pretty much immediately knew something was up when she noticed that the man who supposedly contacted her on the phone (that is, Carrier with a deeper voice) was nowhere to be found, and afterward she was never contacted again. Despite having been discovered trying to pull off the old Craigslist diaper dodge in 2011, Carrier tried it again a year later and was arrested.

Union Header
"Me? I'm in for ... let's go with child molestation."

Let's think this situation through, since this guy clearly didn't. Even if the adult diaper changing was a crucial part of his particular fetish, we're guessing there are people you can pay for that in this day and age. Hell, Craigslist probably has a whole section where diaper fetishists can hook up for free. Honestly, this guy just went about it in the worst possible way you could ever show your penis to someone else.

#4. Software Executive Pulls Off Thousand-Dollar LEGO Scam

bdesham

The Crime:

Thomas Langenbach was the vice president of a highly successful Silicon Valley software firm, lived in a fancy $2 million home, and had almost everything he wished for. Except for massive, massive amounts of LEGO. Rather than just using some of his fortune to buy himself a literal brick block palace, Langenbach decided he would take a different route ...

The Needlessly Elaborate Plan:

... ripping off Target stores in an intricate, year-long LEGO-stealing scheme. Perhaps feeling inspired by the LEGO company's own thievery, Langenbach used his computer smarts to print up fake bar codes that he then slapped on the boxes of LEGO playsets inside the stores. He then simply walked up to the registers and paid a discount rate, trusting that the minimum-wage cashiers wouldn't think that it was weird that he was taking, for example, a $250 LEGO Millennium Falcon for only one-fifth of its price.

Mountain View Police
"On one hand, this man is clearly a thief. On the other hand, fuck it."

This wasn't a one-time thing, or even a ten-time thing: Langenbach pulled this stunt so often at different Target stores that they eventually noticed that something odd was going on and circulated a flyer with his face among security personnel. When he was finally caught red-handed, he still had some of the fake bar codes in his pocket and car, and upon searching his home, literally thousands of unopened LEGO boxes were found stacked inside.

Mountain View Police
Most shockingly, they also found a wife.

Turns out Langenbach had been re-selling the LEGO sets on eBay for a year under the name "TomsBrickyard," raking in an estimated $30,000 in profits for selling approximately 2,100 different playsets. That sounds pretty impressive until you remember that he was the VP of a freaking company and probably made as much money in a week. He could have just bought the things in bulk and still made a profit selling them online.

eBay
Keeping it small scale allowed him to focus on customer service.

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