We tend not to think of most criminals as genius masterminds -- if they were really smart, they wouldn't get caught in the first place. But there are some recent criminals who have such an antiquated concept of modern technology that they seem to view the Internet, cellphones, and incriminating footage as part of some untraceable cloud of witchcraft.
#5. Suspect Gets into Facebook Comment War on His Own Mugshot, Gets Arrested
Matthew Oliver was wanted by police for punching a man in the face and stealing his wallet at a Family Dollar, because bargains can affect your judgment in powerful ways. (Well, drugs too.) The Pasco County sheriff's office decided to post his mugshot on their Facebook page as the "fugitive of the day" to try to generate some tips, but were stunned when Oliver himself began commenting on it in an incandescent rage normally reserved for a Pacific Rim fan thread.
Matthew Oliver / Facebook
"A total inability to control my temper will prove my innocence."
In addition to berating his accusers as "crackheads" and "dick bags," voicing his opinion on the unrelated issue of teen pregnancy, and issuing a bizarre, grammatically challenged suggestion that everyone visit a library to return their overdue books, Oliver insisted that the warrant was a mistake. However, he made no other attempt to contact the sheriff's office. Luckily, Oliver's Facebook friends saw his explosive rants and contacted the sheriff for him to let them know where he was hiding, a chain of events that never would have occurred had he not commented on his own freaking wanted poster on the official police Facebook page.
#4. Robber Leaves His Cellphone Behind, Victim Calls His Mom
A West Seattle resident named Eliza Webb was surprised to find that someone had broken into her car to steal a pair of sunglasses and running shoes, as those are two items with a resale market that can at best be described as "challenging." However, Webb was even more surprised to find the thief's cellphone laying in her backseat, having presumably slid out of his pocket during the hectic confusion of his master heist. Rather than call the police, Webb scrolled through the contacts list in the abandoned phone and called the thief's mother. Most of us would rather be in trouble with the police.
Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images
Honestly, the theft would be worth it just for the satisfaction of making that call.
Webb learned that the thief was a 19-year-old kid living at home who had gone on a car-burglarizing spree with a friend of his after they'd had too much to drink. Webb said she would not press charges if the two teens agreed to go door to door through the neighborhood returning all the items they'd stolen (and presumably also insisted that the mother accompany them to apologize to each victim for "raising such a goddamn asshole").
#3. Fugitive Woman Tweets "Catch Me if You Can" at Authorities
Wanda Podgurski was on trial for committing more than $650,000 worth of insurance fraud on a fake disability claim, but decided not to show up for court on the day her verdict was read because she sagely predicted that she would be going to jail. Instead, Podgurski fled to Mexico, where she might have remained had she not sent this tweet:
Podgurski's sole follower at the time was the district attorney prosecuting her case, and the DA immediately alerted the U.S. marshals and the Computer and Technology Crime High-Tech Response Team, which is officially our favorite law enforcement agency ever because they unironically use the term "high tech" to describe themselves in 2013. It took them just under a month to track Podgurski down and arrest her, tacking an additional 10 years onto her original 20-year sentence for trying to troll the justice system.
#2. Man Steals Flowers for His Girlfriend in Front of Live News Camera
A Polish man, recently dumped by his girlfriend for reasons we cannot even begin to imagine, decided to win her back by presenting her with a bouquet of roses he'd stolen from a flower shop window. The problem was, he managed to pick the one time in the history of journalism that a news crew was filming a live broadcast in front of a Polish florist, inadvertently capturing his crime on national television.
Behold, the Professor Moriarty of Polish flower theft.
The segment aired to millions of viewers, and police received hundreds of calls from people who'd seen the clip and recognized the less-than-subtle thief in question. The cops quickly tracked him down and arrested him, despite his poignant insistence that he'd only stolen the flowers that would've surely saved his relationship because he didn't have the money to pay for them.
#1. Teens Steal Credit Card, Use It to Take Photo Booth Pictures of Themselves
A woman in Crofton, Maryland, recently lost her credit card at a shopping mall and inexplicably notified the police instead of simply telling her bank to cancel and reissue it. However, her baffling decision to call the cops paid off, as a brief investigation revealed that her missing credit card had been discovered by four teenagers who then immediately used it to purchase tickets at a nearby movie theater. The box office transaction was recorded by surveillance cameras, which would have been enough evidence right there, but the four burgeoning criminals decided to give the authorities a little something extra and swiped the stolen card to take a bunch of jackassed selfies in the movie theater's photo booth.
#YOLO #LIVEFORTHEDAY #BESTDAYSOFOURLIVES #CARPEDIEM #LOLSPANISHORFRENCH?
The cops identified the four within two days of publishing their photos on the Internet, because apparently the entire Crofton community simply cannot stand these motherfuckers. Criminal charges are pending, and may compound in severity depending on what movie the kids went to see (i.e., a month in solitary for seeing The Big Wedding).
Tired of cliche wizards and space opera? Check out XJ's $0.99 science-fiction/fantasy novella on Amazon here, with the sequel OUT NOW. And of course, you should look at his writing blog and poke him on Twitter. And happy belated birthday, Erika!