7 Ruthless Criminals Who Turned Good When Nobody Was Looking
If there is one thing we learned from Robin Hood, Hudson Hawk and that guy who gives Indy his hat in the beginning of The Last Crusade, it's that sometimes even the most hardened lawbreaker will defy all expectations and do the right thing to help another human being in need.
It even happens in real life.
Carjacker Defeats Terrorism
Normally, someone stealing a big red van parked out in front of some brownstones in a decent part of Brooklyn isn't considered too out of the ordinary. And if the countless hours we've spent watching Steven Seagal movies poorly edited for TNT have taught us nothing else, it is that 99 percent of the time that stolen van will find its way into some dockside warehouse to be stripped down by a bunch of dudes wearing denim vests and bandannas.
But on July 3, 2008, this criminal act was just a prelude to heroism.
"I'm doing this for America!"
As he drove his newly acquired vehicle from the scene of the crime, the carjacker noticed something strange -- the entire back of the van was stuffed to the brim with explosives and accelerant, a rat's nest of gas cans, wires and switches. This is the point at which your average person would jump out of the car like Charlie Sheen in Navy Seals without a second thought. The most civic-minded of us might call the police, once we were well out of the blast radius.
For most of us, the 911 call would go something like: "Holy balls! Holy balls! Holy fuck fuck BALLS!"
But this unnamed auto thief couldn't bring himself to flee the vehicle -- he was in the middle of a neighborhood, surrounded by buildings filled with hundreds (or maybe thousands) of innocent people. Instead he drove the bomb-rigged van some 15 blocks until he found a deserted stretch of waterfront where he could park it. Then he called a police officer he knew from past run-ins with the law and told him about the bomb.
Because the first thing cops do after arresting you is exchange phone numbers.
Police officials praised the carjacker, and no charges were filed for the break-in, teaching us all the powerful lesson that you can steal from anyone you want, as long as they're fucking terrorists.
Burglars Steal Laptop, Stop Pedophile
Laptops and smartphones have to be two of the most-stolen devices in the world -- easy to carry, easy to convert into money (or drugs!). They really are a godsend for anyone interested in a future in the criminal arts.
So when two crooks broke into Richard Coverdale's Yorkshire home in August of 2009, they went right for the most obvious target -- his laptop.
Curiously, they left his treasure dungeon untouched.
The burglars escaped without a trace, leaving British authorities with little hope of ever catching them. That is, until the thieves -- a 20-year-old woman and a 38-year-old man -- turned themselves in. As it happens, Mr. Coverdale's laptop was a cornucopia of child pornography.
"Boy, I hope this doesn't backfire somehow."
The burglars had found over 70 disturbing and thunderously illegal images on the computer, but that wasn't all -- they also found evidence that Coverdale had been impersonating a young boy in order to trick a 14-year-old girl into video chatting with him, at which point he exposed himself on camera.
The thieves, having no way to tip the cops off to the abuse without admitting that they had stolen the laptop ("Yeah, we were just walking past his house when this laptop came flying out of the window!"), did the right thing anyway and called the cops.
"That's right, officer. Some guys broke into our house and gave us a stolen laptop filled with child pornography. Do you buy that?"
The pedophile got three and a half years in jail. The robbers received 12-month community service sentences in light of their good deed, but to be entirely honest, busting a pedophile is a much better service to the community than painting curbs or picking trash off the median.
Home Invader Saves His Victim
China is pretty close to the top of our list of worst places to run afoul of the law, thanks to such atrocities as the massacre at Tiananmen Square and Richard Gere's performance in Red Corner.
"And 20 extra years for Dr. T and the Women! Bailiff, take him away!"
These were certainly on the mind of one miscreant as he broke into a home in Lanzhou, a city in northwest China, in May of 2010. The home invader was slinking about, presumably throwing valuables into a giant sack with a dollar sign on it, when he heard the sound of glass breaking. He ran into the bedroom to investigate and found the house's owner, an elderly woman, lying on the floor in the advanced stages of having her shit ruined.
She'd been woken by severe chest pains, and in her struggle to get to her medicine she had accidentally knocked it off the bedside table, creating a unique opportunity for the burglar to steal the everloving fuck out of everything in her house.
Like this, but Chinese-er.
However, the thief instead opted to help the old woman with her pills. Eventually, she recovered enough to ask what the hell he was doing in her room in the middle of the night. Keeping with his bizarre noble streak, he answered honestly, and then tore ass out of there like a flaming housecat.
Modern Robin Hood Steals From Rich, Gives to Hobos
The impulse to take from The Man is a strong one, and it rose up most recently in the heart of an Italian man named Pasquale D'Angelo, known about town as an altruist and a full-time charity worker. However, the death of his mother pushed him a little over the edge, and he decided on a way to benefit his fellow man that would rock infinitely more tits than any local charity.
"Would you like to help the unfortunate?"
Armed with a toy gun and a freshly empty space that once held the fucks he gave, Pasquale held up the Cassa di Risparmio di Forli for 1,900 lira and then immediately ran outside and started handing the money out to homeless people hanging around nearby. When the police somehow failed to catch him, Pasquale became even more emboldened and stuck up the Banca Nazionale di Lavoro in Rimini, this time making it out with 3,500 euros. Cash in hand, Pasquale made a beeline for the nearest bar and started tossing out euros to the poorest drunks he could find.
The richest drunks, he decided, could go fuck themselves.
Then he booked it to a butcher's shop, a hairdressers and a fruit stand, all the while tossing out money like the Joker in Tim Burton's Batman. He then hailed a cab and tried to make it to a church, but the police intercepted him en route and threw him in jail where he remains to this day, presumably being serenaded by hobo carolers gathered outside his cell window.
"My only regret was that I didn't rob the church."
Another Kind of Prison Redemption
When you stick a bunch of violent men in tiny prison cells, they're going to take their frustration out on the nearest symbol of authority present: the guy with a badge.
Which is exactly what happened on November 4, 2009, when 24-year-old inmate Douglas Burden put 64-year-old deputy Kenneth Moon in a chokehold. Moon was the only guard on a block of 62 inmates, and his radio was on the desk, well out of reach.
Although use of a radio requires the ability to speak, which as you may know is markedly decreased while being strangled.
Things looked pretty bleak until Jerry Dieguez Jr., convicted of armed home invasion, leapt up and delivered a blistering haymaker to his fellow convict. Hoang Vu (attempted murder) and Terrell Carswell (cocaine trafficking and robbery) were next, pulling Burden off the deputy while David Schofield (aggravated assault and battery) grabbed Moon's radio and called for help.
The prisoners were credited with saving the guard's life, but for all their heroism, the convicts received nothing but congratulatory letters from the sheriff's department. Though maybe the other cops know to back off if, a few years down the line, the guy they're about to arrest waves around a letter from the sheriff.
It reads, "For excellence in the field of ass-beating."
Meanwhile, a man named John Dearborn, imprisoned for armed robbery, was alone in a "lounge area" (which apparently exists in prisons) with a guard named Daniel Parker. Suddenly, Parker was overcome by a "stroke-like seizure," flopping around and beginning to turn blue as the other prisoners started screaming at Dearborn to "Let him die!," which is not only ruthless, but also almost definitely a breach of lounge area etiquette.
"Colbert's on. Motherfucker can seize."
The threat of prison rape ringing in his ears, Dearborn cleared the guard's airway and called for help. He received two years off of his sentence as a reward for his good deed, but was forced to switch prisons in order to avoid taking a jagged toothbrush to the kidneys.
Criminals Know CPR, Too
One late afternoon in June, three men in Phoenix, Arizona, met up for a good old fashioned drug deal. Rather than pay in cash, however, one man decided to try and settle his debt with bullets. He pulled a gun but was immediately shot dead by the dealer, clearly a much more experienced ne'er-do-well. While the dead man's friend fled with the drugs, his killer ran up and spent several desperate minutes trying to perform CPR, presumably because he still wanted his damn money.
"Live, you bastard! I only got one chance to shoot you!"
This mystery gunman wasn't the only felon who invested time in CPR training. One crook was in the middle of robbing a Titusville Circle K when he noticed that the clerk was outside, dying of a heart attack. The robber rendered life-saving aid to the clerk and then beat feet with his ill-gotten gains. Police are currently seeking out the man to "give him a reward."
For whatever reason, Titusville Circle Ks seem to be a magnet for this sort of thing. Just days later, a woman pulled into a different Circle K with her 59-year-old husband, who was unconscious and not breathing. While the clerk dialed 911, an anonymous good Samaritan began performing CPR. He kept on the dying man until emergency services arrived, at which point he snatched the woman's purse and drove off into the sunset.
Pimp Catches Child Molester
Chris Johnson, Phoenix area pimp and velvet hat aficionado, was listening in on a microphone worn by one of his girls when he heard something that made him angry. Pimp angry.
A pimp's anger is nearly as terrible to behold as his friendship.
The man on the other end of the mic, a guy hilariously named Dell Rainbow Vanderschuit, had offered to pay $1,500 for a threesome between himself, the hooker and a 10-year-old girl. Johnson's immediate impulse was to grab a friend and go shoot Dell Rainbow in the face, but he thought better of it and instead flagged down the nearest police officer, who was actually conducting a traffic stop at the time. Busting a child molester is one of those rare things that unites everyone, so the cops were more than happy to work with the pimptastic Chris Johnson to track down Dell Rainbow.
"A child molester, you say? Lead the way, good sir pimp!"
After a little police work and (we hope) at least one wacky montage of Johnson teaching detectives how to walk with a cane and platform shoes, the authorities brought Dell Rainbow Vanderschuit in on child prostitution.
He's named like a pimp and he looks like the IT guy.
But all isn't well for Chris Johnson. While he wasn't charged with any crime, he was upset by the news coverage. He now claims that he was not, in fact, a pimp, but was just keeping tabs on a friend who happened to be a prostitute. It's worth noting that his first response to the news site that labeled him a pimp was to threaten to "come down there and slap the shit out everyone I see," which we admit doesn't at all sound like something a pimp would say.