5 Ways to Use Babies as Criminal Accomplices
I became a father for the first time last year, and like most new parents I've spent much of the past few months fantasizing about using my baby to commit crimes.
"You cover the crowd while I'm in the vault."
And so, on one of the many sleepless nights which are now my life, I began doing research to find out the best way this might be done. I present my findings to you below: the hottest, most nurturing parenting tips that the authorities don't want you to know about.
People love babies, especially people who don't deal with them regularly. And even if you don't particularly like babies, it's hard to hate them. They're new enough not to have committed any serious sins, and it's a cold person indeed who'd wish them any real harm. For many people, the sound of a crying baby on a dark night is a sign of a baby, and likely a parent, who could probably use a bit of help.
Unless it's on an airplane, in which case they should be towed behind the plane until they settle down.
It's this use of a baby as bait which lies at the heart of an old urban legend where someone uses a recording of a crying baby to encourage people to get out of their cars, or unlock their front doors, or reveal themselves in some way while trying to help. Once they are exposed, our criminal does some kind of murder crime on them.
"Stop! That's illegal!"
Although there doesn't appear to be much evidence to support the reality of that urban legend, similar cases have sort of, kind of happened. Like this story of a baby stroller left in the middle of the road in Fresno, possibly as bait. Although, again, in that case no actual crime appears to have been committed, and experts remain uncertain about whether that's just how people in Fresno store their babies.
But still, the "baby as lure" trick looks like it definitely could work. Even if you have no particular interest in extensively premeditated murder (except in self-defense), you could probably use this in a heist-like situation. Imagine a baby slid across the tiled floor of a museum, underneath a bunch of laser sensors, that suddenly starts crying, thus luring a guard out of position while the dad steals a massive diamond or just lies down somewhere for a nap. Since I thought of it, I can't imagine anything else.
As a Ticket
The presence of, or lack thereof, a baby is often a pretty good sign of whether or not someone belongs in a place. An adult in a toy store or near a playground without a child is slightly unsettling, and whether or not our culture's fears over child abduction are overblown, it's probably inevitable that we all apply just a little extra scrutiny to these people.
No one's going here for the pizza.
The flip-side of this is that when you have a baby you're given a pass lots of places you wouldn't be otherwise. For example, there's this sad case of a couple that was caught wandering around a maternity ward with a fake baby, with no doubt only the best, most well-reasoned intentions at heart. But even beyond that, I've seen plenty of evidence that a baby can get you a pass almost anywhere. People will either sympathize with you and the crying, stinking baby you're dealing with, or get so distracted by how cute your crying, stinking baby is, that they'll hold doors wide open for you, forgetting the fact that you have no business being in this vault.
I'll be sorely disappointed if the next James Bond movie doesn't feature him and a 5-month-old in a Baby Bjorn sprinting full speed at a space shuttle where someone holds a door open for him.
As a Human Shield
Most human beings are reluctant to do harm to babies for the reasons discussed above (morality) and also because when a baby is cut in two it just becomes two separate babies, which soon leads to an unwinnable fight.
Also, if you ever look at a baby in anything other than a mirrored shield, you'll turn to stone.
Consequently, using a baby to shield oneself during the commission of a crime seems like exactly the kind of thing that mindlessly awful people would do. And they have! I looked it up! All the stories are really depressing and sad!
Who'd have thought a simple column about reckless child endangerment could turn so dark?
There are less sad variations of this, though, like the hilariously named Gypsy Baby Toss. This particular crime involves throwing a (hopefully) fake baby at someone to distract them while they're being pick-pocketed. In the end, the victim is left with zero money and one baby, which is usually revealed to be a doll or a large tube of luncheon meat or something of that nature.
"Ha! There was nothing but luncheon meat in my wallet anyways!"
If you're a crime-minded new parent but find that none of these appeal to you, say if you value your child's life or something, you can at least consider even milder versions, such as holding your baby over your head to keep rain off you while you're jaywalking.
Babies come with a lot of crap, and not in the literal sense, although, yes, also in the literal sense. Between the diapers and bottles and wet wipes and clothes and harnesses and sacred idols, there's an awful lot of junk to carry around.
This stroller holds 6 cubic feet of baby and baby crap, and like all baby-specific gear it costs about $1,600.
Drug smugglers have long taken advantage of this fact in all those situations where authorities make a point of inspecting their junk. People with babies simply look more sympathetic, and of course anyone might be dissuaded from going through your shit if there's a chance of finding literal shit, which makes it an ideal place to hide the good shit, as it were.
If that seems a little high-risk to you, or if you're worried your baby won't be able to keep cool, consider lower stakes options; I can personally confirm that this technique works great for getting past various "no outside food or drink" situations.
"Is this the baby's Subway?"
As Part of a Scam
Probably the simplest way people use babies to commit crimes is as part of a basic sympathy scam. Someone with a baby, or even just a picture of a baby, convinces people that their baby is sick, or missing, or on fire, and that they need money to heal, find, or extinguish the child.
"The one on top is my daughter. Yeah, she's on fire right now. And below is my son and other daughter,
and they're being menaced by bears. So any little bit helps."
Travelers in Cambodia have to watch out for a version of this called the Baby Milk Scam, in which a woman with a child approaches and asks for help to buy formula. She's not asking for money, she just needs you to come to the store with her and buy formula. This sounds so honest and plausible and non-scam-like that many tourists fall for it. They'll go with the mother to a nearby store, buy her some formula, wave cheerily, and walk away, while the formula is immediately returned, typically with the store keeping a cut of the money.
The scam is particularly effective because formula is more expensive than fucking mithril.
This is also a big problem on social media, where so-called "sick baby hoaxes" occasionally pop up on Facebook, where someone uses pictures of sick kids (whose only illness is that they don't actually exist) to convince people to "Like" a Facebook page. This seemingly harmless step gets used against the victims in a variety of other ways, either by convincing people to donate to a charity that doesn't exist or simply spamming everyone who signed up for it.
"THIS STAY AT HOME MOM FOUND 25 SHOCKING WAYS TO EXTINGUISH A CHILD
THAT THE FIRE DEPARTMENT DOESN'T WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT."
These scams feel particularly scummy because of the way they prey upon people's good will, good will being one of those things that the world kind of needs more of. So if you feel the need to use your baby to scam people, don't prey on their good intentions. Prey on their selfishness or stupidity. Claim that this is their baby, and demand a reward. Claim that this baby lays golden eggs, and you're looking for early investors to (mumbling) something, something, wealth!
Or just ask for "donations" to help you quiet your little miracle down on the next plane ride you go on.
Chris Bucholz is a Cracked columnist and terrific father. Join him on Facebook or Twitter for more hot parenting tips.
For more from Bucholz, check out The 3 Most Perfect Crimes (and How to Commit Them) and 5 Ways to Make a Gang of Children Lift a Car Off the Ground.