"You should always respect your elders" is a thing elders keep saying. But that's not true in all cases. What happens if your doting grandma trades her knitting needles for switchblades and embarks on a late-life of crime and villainy? It's not so far-fetched. Just because you're old doesn't mean you can't ruin someone's day. Just look at ...
Between 2009 and 2017, the police force of Osaka, Japan was powerless to prevent a string of over 200 burglaries performed by a master thief. The elusive shadow managed to abscond with over 29 million Yen (close to $27,000) in valuables, leaving nothing but murky video footage of a person cloaked in all-black moving over rooftops like a sleek cat. The thief's elusive nature became the stuff of legend, and people started calling him the "Ninja of Heisei."
After eight impotent years, the police finally caught a break and tracked the ninja to his lair. There they found that the shadow was not some young acrobat, but Mitsuaki Tanigawa, an unemployed old geezer. By the time his epic crime spree had ended, the ever-spry Tanigawa was 74. But Tanigawa remained old-school ninja to the end, simply declaring when caught: "I am defeated."
Hot damn! That's the most badass thing we've ever heard. Is there such a thing as grandpa trade-ins?
In 2018, the O Calvaro neighborhood in the Spanish city of Vigo was hit by a wave of car vandalism. In that one year, over a thousand cars were scratched, dented, and had their locks broken. But to the police's greatest shock, witnesses didn't describe a gang of no-good teen punks, but a single septuagenarian. The culprit behind the rampage was Jose Antonio Vazquez, a 79-year-old with obvious anger issues. Only a year prior, Vazquez had been sent to a mental health institute after attacking his neighbors, but was let go after three days when the doctors confirmed he was as "mentally sane" as the next nihilistic agent of Chaos.
Vazquez was finally caught in January 2019, when he tried to break his personal best by vandalizing 120 cars in a single month. As per the writing of this article, a magistrate was planning on convicting him for 12 acts of car vandalism, but Vasquez is also facing countless civil complaints by car owners ... and the three people he beat up who confronted him during the rampage.
Virginia Kelly was the president of the Latino Foster Parents Association, helped raise thousands of abandoned children, and even fostered four of her own. She seemed like the sweetest old lady you would ever meet -- or that's what she wanted you to believe. In 2003, police swept in and arrested the then-73-year-old for the serious crimes of grand larceny and embezzlement.
What did she embezzle, you might wonder? Toys. Thousands of them. For years, Kelly had organized big collection drives for Toys for Tots. But instead of giving those toys to the needy, she sold them for cold hard cash at various garage sales.
San Diego Police
And we're not talking about a few missing teddy bears. When the police raided Kelly, they found over 11,000 toys hidden in three different locations. And those were just the ones she couldn't offload before the cops crumbled her little empire. According to the police, Kelly had stolen over $200,000 worth of toys -- the average yearly overhead of 17 Santa workshops.
While the evidence was insurmountable, Kelly maintained her innocence. Her lawyer claimed she simply was too good at her job, and collected more donations than she could give away. You know how poor kids are, always in such a hurry not to play with lots of toys. Fortunately, she was found guilty of grand theft Hot Wheels, and spent the rest of her life exposed as the Grinch she truly was.
In 2017, 83-year-old Donald Winkler was taken to the Nassau University Medical Center in Long Island after complaining of heart problems. But Winkler was particularly dissatisfied about the care he was receiving, so he decided to check himself out of the hospital -- and into one of its ambulances. In need of a ride, Winkler wandered the parking lot at 1 a.m., where he found a running ambulance with the keys in the ignition. So the old coot got in and drove himself home.
The police managed to catch up with Winkler three miles from the hospital (the furthest any elderly driver has gone without getting into an accident), where he was chilling at a 7-11. The rebel without a car freely admitted he had taken the ambulance, and was escorted back for a psychiatric evaluation. As it turned out, Winkler had a history of disobeying automotive rules. He often took his own car out for a spin despite his children expressly forbidding him to drive. Winkler was charged with second-degree larceny, and was arraigned by the police in his hospital bed. They will never hold him. Clearly, he was born a rambling man.
At the Carlisle condominium complex, the trouble all started when one elderly resident moved in with his 42-year-old-wife. Maybe that's not cradle-robbing, but it's certainly "the garden section at Home Depot" robbing. See, the condos have a 55-and-over restriction, so the other seniors complained about the clear rule violation. But according to the disgruntled residents, instead of just talking things out like experienced adults, the couple launched a four-year campaign of petty terror.
Highlights include removing all the doorknobs from the exercise room, throwing eggs and oil on the windshields of cars, and even exposing a salacious affair between two grandparents gone wild by writing smutty details about their loose-skinned dry-humping on their front doors. But the other retirees gave as good as they got. The couple claimed that in retaliation, residents spray-painted the woman's car, hid under a blanket in the backseat trying to take compromising pictures, and even shot a flare gun at her while driving. They also claimed they received a note on Christmas Day referring them to a website explaining how to commit suicide -- the closest any tech-phobic grandparent has ever gotten to cyberbullying.
In the end, the awesome feud devolved into boring old litigation, with an exasperated civil court judge accusing the elders of being like "emotional children who have not yet learned the basic tenets of acting civilly towards each other, not senior citizens." Hey, you're only as old as you feel. You might look 80, but inside you can still be the worst kind of teenager.
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