The 6 Stupidest Things Done by Criminals in Front of Cops

Every job looks different in the movies than it does in real life, but we'd have to say there's one profession Hollywood gets wrong more than any other: "criminal." Fictional bad guys tend to be some combination of sophisticated and ruthless, requiring a whole room full of Law and Order cast members to meticulously build a case to take them down. But with most real bad guys, it's, uh, not quite that complicated ...

A Drug Smuggler Transports Coke In a Car With "SMUGLER" On the License Plate

Noel Hendrickson/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Drug smugglers are so ingenious and creative about what they do that we once did an entire article about just that -- these are the kind of people who build their own fucking submarines when they need to get cocaine across a river. The ability to not get caught with contraband is the pretty much the only talent required for success in the field. That's what caused the beef between Han Solo and Jabba the Hutt, after all. Well, Jasmin Klair was no Han Solo.

The 6 Stupidest Things Done by Criminals in Front of Cops

Above: An artist's impression of "Jasmin Klair."

Our story starts in December of 2011 when, after receiving a tip from a criminal investigator, police were staking out a Pizza Hut close to the U.S./Canada border. They observed a woman pull up in a GMC Yukon, pick up a package, and drive away. The woman was Jasmin Klair, and the package she collected happened to be 24 pounds of cocaine, which, as the keen-eyed officers noticed, is quite a bit larger than most things Pizza Hut serves. Even the Bigfoot.

It's debatable which is worse for your heart. (Yes, that's Haley Joel Osment at :07.)

That piece of information alone would've been enough to warrant a closer look, but Klair upped the suspicion ante by investing in a very specific set of vanity license plates for her Yukon. What did they read, you ask? "SMUGLER." We assume the only reason the plates weren't more incriminating is because there wasn't enough space to include "DRUG."

Police followed Klair's clearly-labeled drug mobile to a hotel called (no shit) The Smuggler's Inn, which boasts rooms named after infamous criminals like Al Capone and DB Cooper. The hotel's owners put a pirate on their sign, but come on -- the hotel is on the northern border of Washington state. We know exactly why you named it "The Smuggler's Inn," and it wasn't because you're super into pirates.

The S1llugglers Sni S

"And I would have gotten away with it, if it weren't for -- actually, this was never going to work."

Klair told police that a man named Gurjit Singh Sandhu told her he would pay her $4,000 plus expenses to drive into the U.S., collect nine bricks of Colombian brain dust from a Pizza Hut, and leave said bricks outside her bedroom door. Klair pleaded guilty to conspiracy, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, and failure to understand situational irony.

The 6 Stupidest Things Done by Criminals in Front of Cops
Vancouver Sun

Slow smugglers, indeed.

Man Downloads Child Porn While Being Interrogated About Having Child Porn

The 6 Stupidest Things Done by Criminals in Front of Cops
Marco_Piunti/iStock/Getty Images

When a child pornography task force in the city of Boulder Creek, California got a warrant for the arrest of Walter Gafvert in July 2013, they found thousands of heinously illegal images of children on his home computer. Gafvert was understandably hauled off to the police station for questioning. As detectives began the unenviable process of combing through the images to see if they were random downloads or if Gafvert, who had a history of producing porn, might have taken any of the photos himself, Santa Cruz deputy police chief Steve Clark sat Gafvert down to interrogate him.

The 6 Stupidest Things Done by Criminals in Front of Cops
via Santa Cruz Sentinel

They made him wash his hands first.

However, Gafvert seemed distracted. You see, he still had his cell phone on him, and he was doing something with it during the interview. Clark leaned over, expecting to have to slap Candy Crush out of the suspect's hands, only to see that Gafvert was industriously downloading even more child porn onto his cellphone. While sitting in a police station, being interrogated for the possession of child porn. We assume at that moment, Clark began looking around for the hidden camera and/or Ashton Kutcher, because this sort of varsity shamelessness is generally confined to the realm of practical joke television.

The 6 Stupidest Things Done by Criminals in Front of Cops
Heiko Kuverling/iStock/Getty Images

"Nah, it's just our own security camera, turned off so we can beat the suspects."

At his arraignment two days later, Gafvert tearfully pleaded not guilty. The court responding by quintupling his bail amount, because holy shit, he couldn't even stop downloading child porn while being interrogated for the stacks of child porn he had just been arrested for downloading.

A Man Walks Into a Police Station to Deliver a Tip, Steals a Bag of Pot

The 6 Stupidest Things Done by Criminals in Front of Cops
3pic_ph0tography/iStock/Getty Images

After presumably deciding to dedicate his life to making the impossible possible, 27-year-old Pennsylvanian David Allan Thompson attempted something far more impressive than anything Houdini ever did -- stealing a bag of pot from a policeman's desk.

The 6 Stupidest Things Done by Criminals in Front of Cops
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images News/Getty Images

"Hi, yeah. I'd like to report a robbery."

Though to Thompson's credit, his crime had benevolent roots. He had initially walked into his local police station to volunteer a tip, as a civic-minded person tends to do. But while performing his duties as a Good Samaritan, he happened to spot a bag of evidence-weed minding its own business on a table in the patrol room, awaiting registration. Thompson caught one whiff of the bag (this may seem like a hilarious embellishment on our part, but it becomes important later), and his hissing reptilian brain took over.

Even though the bag was sitting in full view of an utterly awake and conscious officer, the aroma of the sweet, sweet cheeba proved to be too much for Thompson. According to his own words, the smell of the supremely dank weed enchanted him to the point where he no longer had control of his actions. Without a second thought, he pocketed the bag and casually strolled out of the police station, presumably whistling the theme to Hawaii Five-O.

The 6 Stupidest Things Done by Criminals in Front of Cops
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"I left their donuts. It's not like I had a death wish."

Thompson thought he'd gotten away with his prize, and he may well have, had an officer not remembered him being there moments before the pot went missing. The cops went outside to look for Thompson and found him standing in plain sight a little ways away from the police station, where they unceremoniously asked for the weed back. Thompson peacefully obliged, but was inexplicably indignant to find out he was being charged with a crime, reasoning that a bag of weed in exchange for his hot tip was more than fair, despite the fact that this is not at all how the police force works.

This is, incredibly, only the second-dumbest example of someone committing pot-related crimes under the watchful eye of the police. But we'll get to that in a moment ...


A Thief Keeps Stealing the Same Car and Returning It

The 6 Stupidest Things Done by Criminals in Front of Cops
SAKDAWUT14/iStock/Getty Images

A man in Manalapan, New Jersey woke up to find that someone had broken into his garage overnight and stolen his car, a black Chrysler 300, which is a shitty way to start your day, particularly if you have somewhere to be.

Anna Webber/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

"Hell yeah, I have somewhere I supposed to be: inside my black Chrysler 300."

However, when he looked out his window later that day, he saw that the thief had returned the car, parking it a bit down the road. After busting into the garage and stealing the Chrysler, which the owner had left the keys in for some insane reason, the most responsible thief in the world brought the freaking thing back, returning it during daylight hours once he'd finished running all his burglar errands.

Now, that's admittedly not how anyone expected this to play out, but things get even weirder. Less than a week later, the car thief struck again. Because the Chrysler's rightful owner had learned a powerful lesson about leaving his keys inside his parked car, the thief broke into the kitchen adjacent to the garage, grabbed the keys and some money, and drove off. The following day, the car was found a short ways down the road, unharmed but missing a quarter tank of gas. We cannot stress this enough -- the same thief stole the same car twice in one week, and brought it back both times.

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"If he topped off, I might had let this shit slide ..."

This is either an incredibly reliable thief or a person who completely misunderstands the relationship he has with the owner of the car. Third possibility: The recurring crime is being committed by a man who believes that taking other people's property without permission doesn't count as theft as long as you return the property once you are finished using it.

And, yes, three days after that, the guy came back again, but this time the car's owner caught him in the act. At this point, he was probably watching his Chrysler like a kid waiting at the top of the stairs for Santa Claus to show up.

Manalapan Police Dept

And he was obligated to provide coffee, because the thief was now a "preferred burglar."

The thief ran off before the police arrived, and hasn't come back to "borrow" the car since. We kind of wish the owner had hung back, for no other reason than to see how many times the guy would have kept stealing it.

Several People Have Cooked Meth Inside Walmart

Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/Getty Images

In June of 2012, Jennifer Vaughn was caught shoplifting at a St. Louis Walmart, which admittedly isn't too shocking, given that petty larceny is like 50 percent of the reason Walmart even exists. However, when confronted, authorities found a portable meth lab in her purse, which sounds like a joke but absolutely isn't. Vaughn was brewing up a fresh batch using the "one pot" method, which is when you combine all the ingredients into a bottle and wait for the chemical reaction.

The thing is, the items Vaughn was stealing from Walmart had absolutely nothing to do with making meth. Apparently, she just really believed in the value of multitasking.

The 6 Stupidest Things Done by Criminals in Front of Cops
St Louis Post-Dispatch

What was this woman smoking to think up something that stupid?
(Crack, surprisingly. Crack.)

The store was immediately evacuated for fear that the homemade meth might leak into the ventilation system and sicken the other customers, or rupture and explode at any moment, splattering all the unbelievably low bargains with a Schedule II substance.

Resko was charged with six different crimes for her public-endangering errands, which was unfortunately not enough to prevent her from doing the exact same thing 12 days later at a gas station. Gas stations, as you may know, are places where random explosions are much more serious.

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Mark Wilson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

This was 2012. Gas was expensive.

Because meth-bottling retail bandits apparently communicate telepathically, less than two weeks after that incident, a man named James Richardson was spotted at a Walmart in Ohio, collecting the various staples of a traditional meth recipe -- drain cleaner, camp fuel, stain remover. He then began mixing the chemicals in a salt shaker (also stolen) and left it on a shelf while he hopped inside the Subway restaurant that comes standard with most Walmarts to grab himself a drink, because brewing meth really works up a thirst.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

"I don't like the choices I make on meth. I ... I drink Mountain Dew."

Acting on store security's tip, the cops arrived before he could finish eating fresh. When asked what he was doing, "He advised that a drain at home was clogged and it needed to be fixed, he said the reason he poured some of it into the salt shaker was to see what it looked like before he bought it." Which makes sense -- you don't want to dump any old riff-raff down your drain without getting a good look at it first.

Pot Growers Set Up a Major Grow Factory a Dozen Feet From Police HQ

The 6 Stupidest Things Done by Criminals in Front of Cops
AdamWebster89/iStock/Getty Images

If you had to grow a lot of marijuana in a country where such an activity is illegal, the obvious strategy would be to set up your pot farm as far away from any authorities as you can, right? That's like the first thing all those drug dealing villains from the 1980s taught us -- don't package your cocaine within ten miles of Crockett or Tubbs.

Apparently, three cannabis growers in Wales didn't watch much TV growing up, because they decided to set up their weed factory directly next door to a police station. And we're not embellishing for comedic purposes -- their growing operation was as close to the local cop house as possible without occupying the same building.

Police Custody Centre Cannabis Factory

What could go wrong?

The supremely confident trio used several units at the Bridgend Industrial Estate to store and grow plants in what was apparently a professionally-run operation, save for one catastrophically hilarious error during the preliminary stages. What makes this case even more bizarre is how much care the growers took in literally every other aspect of their business. For example, the crew had the sense to eliminate the telltale heat signature created when growing pot by using insulation. Basically, they knew enough about clandestine operations to make their weed farm invisible to thermal imaging and/or a Predator, but not enough to move it even one freaking block away from all of the cops in the area.

Even an investigation into the site's "suspicious" nature was unable to turn up any illegal activity, so these bold Welshmen definitely knew how to hide all the plants and scales once the cops came knocking. The one thing these master criminals apparently forgot was the fact that a shitload of weed smells exactly like a shitload of weed, and the space between Potopia and the police station was a matter of a few odor-traversable yards.

The 6 Stupidest Things Done by Criminals in Front of Cops

They forgot that smells travel south, because of gravity.

Noting the pungent, unmistakable aroma of dead skunks and citrus fruit, the cops finally raided the Bridgend building and discovered a "major operation," which, considering everything we've just told you, is at least a mild understatement. Three intrepid men had managed to keep a huge cannabis factory in business, potentially for as long as a few years, within spitting distance of a building full of policemen. The only thing that would've made this crime more bold is if they had hung a neon sign reading "TOTALLY NOT A POT FARM" in giant flashing letters.

IPGGutenbergUKLtd/iStock/Getty Images

Or got "POTFRMR" license plates, we suppose.

Kevin Phelan is an entertainment reporter in New York's Lower Hudson Valley, you can follow him on Twitter or Facebook. Ryan Menezes is an interviewer and layout editor here at Cracked. Follow him on Twitter.

For more ridiculous criminals, check out The 6 Most Insanely Reckless Smuggling Tactics and The 5 Ballsiest Con Artists of All Time.

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