Despite what the media would have you believe, most of us do in fact know that Grand Theft Auto is just make-believe. You don't commit outlandish crimes in plain view and then brazenly escape the cops. In the real world, crooks get caught unless they hole up somewhere and disappear.
Well, most of the time. Here are some guys whose stories would have gotten cut from a GTA campaign for being too over-the-top.
7Crazy "Lazie" Lynch Escapes Jail, Publicly Mocks Police
When Craig "Lazie" Lynch escaped from custody in Suffolk, England, after being arrested for burglary, one of the first things he did after getting to a place with Internet access was log on to Facebook. He then figured, "Hey, I may as well screw with my former jailers while I'm at it."
Unfortunately all his shirts were recaptured by police.
So he began posting pictures of himself with middle fingers raised to the cops. When he made it to Christmas without being caught, he posted: "Yes! Yes! I fuckin made it to Xmas. I beat their fuckin system and I love it!"
But he didn't stop there. He continued posting Facebook taunts to the police. For months.
Including this picture, accompanied by the heavily London-accented words, "If any of you was doubtin my freedom. Here's proof. How the FUCK could i get my hands on a bird like this in jail. Ha ha."
You're gonna get garland all over your freedom bird, dude.
And this picture:
We're not sure "pull my finger" jokes really translate to Facebook.
And this picture:
Lost kittens, yard sales, dangerous wanted men ... the poster board sign knows how to get the job done.
This went on for more than four months, interspersed with several interviews with news stations that Lazie Lynch conducted by phone for the hell of it. By the time authorities eventually caught up to and nabbed Lynch, he had nearly 40,000 Facebook friends, a YouTube song in his honor, and T-shirts bearing his image, so it was obviously worth it, because that's seriously a lot of Facebook friends.
6Train Robber Hides Out by Throwing Barbecues, Recording Songs
Reuters, via Theaustralian.com
The Great Train Robbery is one of those events that all of us have heard of but few of us can recount in any detail. It went down in 1963 when 15 robbers boarded a Royal Mail train between Glasgow and London and made off with today's equivalent of $70 million. Some of them were eventually arrested, one of them escaped from prison and was later caught, and a couple of them were never captured at all. And then there was Ronnie Biggs.
Now that's a wanted poster that deserves a frame.
Biggs was first arrested a year after the robbery when 9 of the 15 robbers were swept up in a raid. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison, but could only be contained for 15 months before he broke out by scaling a wall with a rope ladder, thus setting off a 36-year life on the lam. And by lam we mean a multi-continent party. He first moved to Australia because, you know, no one had ever done the U.K.-to-Australia route, and who would expect such a thing? Biggs' idea of keeping a low profile involved getting a day job at Melbourne's Channel 9 news, which was convenient, because he was able to get the heads up in October of 1969 when Channel 9 ran with the headline, "Ronnie Biggs Reported to Be Hiding in Melbourne."
"Could you rewind the teleprompter? I'm pretty sure it just said 'Get your shit and leave tonight.'"
Biggs then fled to Brazil, where he took audacity to whole new levels, doing things such as boarding a British Royal Navy ship to attend a cocktail party and hosting fundraising "fugitive barbecues" at his home in Rio, where he entertained paying tourists by regaling them with tales of his role in the Great Train Robbery. In 1980, Biggs recorded two songs for The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle, a mockumentary about the Sex Pistols.
It takes a lot to make Sid Vicious' life choices seem sensible by comparison.
This kicked off Biggs' fugitive musical career, which included vocals on the song "Police on My Back" (which they were) with the German punk band Die Toten Hosen in 1991, three more songs for an Argentine punk band in 1993, and finally a 1997 collaboration with an American bass player on "Mailbag Blues," a musical narrative of Biggs' life (we're assuming the title song referred to the stolen mailbag full of $70 million).
If you're thinking that all of this was embarrassing for U.K. authorities, you are correct. In 1981, a team of British ex-soldiers kidnapped Biggs in Rio and attempted to haul him back to the U.K. on a ship but failed when the ship broke down off the coast of Barbados, drawing the attention of the coast guard. The Barbadian authorities weren't very sympathetic to the whole "We're just trying to bring a British fugitive to justice" cause (they saw it more as kidnapping), so Biggs was set free to return to Rio. The leader of the botched kidnapping operation would later hint that they'd been working under the direction of MI6, which actually sounds about right.
In 2001, Biggs was finally arrested in just about the only way he was likely ever going to be captured: by returning to the U.K. and surrendering, at the age of 69. He served a third of his 30-year prison sentence but was released early on compassionate grounds, despite being "wholly unrepentant."
"Robbed a train, got kidnapped, and became a punk icon. Time to throw a rude gesture and call this a life complete."