13 Real-Life Villains Who Would Have Gotten Away With It, Too, If It Wasn’t For One Little Mistake

They caught the Son of Sam because he'd parked his car illegally.
13 Real-Life Villains Who Would Have Gotten Away With It, Too, If It Wasn’t For One Little Mistake

Ah, the age-old adage: crime doesn't pay. For centuries, criminals have tried to outsmart the law, but time and time again, they've been foiled by the most minor of details. From license plates to paint jobs to light up shoes, this list is a testament to the power of the teensy, little things.

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The criminals featured here are some of the most notorious in history, and yet, their stories all have one thing in common: they were caught thanks to something seemingly very, very insignificant. Whether it was a floppy disk or a piece of tape, these small details were all it took to bring these criminals to justice.

So, sit back and enjoy this compilation of criminals who got caught thanks to dumb, minor details. Their stories are a reminder that no matter how smart or sly you think you are, it's the little things that will always trip you up.

"Modern" paint job foiled the fraudsters.

CRACKED WOLFGANG AND HELENE FISCHER Two art forgers managed to trick people into buying 36 fake paintings for a total of $45 million before they were caught out by a tiny mistake - they hadn't noticed that the paint they used was a more modern kind of titanium white.


Linguist catches Unabomber.

CRACKED THE UNABOMBER James R. Fitzgerald, an FBI profiler, was able to figure out who the Unabomber was by studying the language patterns used in his writings. Fitzgerald's work significantly helped in catching the Unabomber.


McVeigh: stopped, arrested, convicted.

CRACKED BI F TIMOTHY MCVEIGH On April 19, 1995, a trooper from the Noble County Sheriff's Office in Oklahoma pulled over McVeigh during a regular traffic stop. McVeigh was later found guilty of the Oklahoma City bombing after his arrest.

Police1 / PBS 

Frank Wills: Unsung hero of Watergate.

CRACKED THE WATERGATE BURGLARS Frank Wills, a night watchman at the Watergate office complex in D.C., noticed something strange: a piece of tape on the latch of a door in the parking garage. His discovery led to the arrest of five burglars.


Snowy surprise: cannabis farm.

CRACKED SOME HAPLESS DUTCH WEED GROWERS In February 2015, the Dutch police noticed that one house in the city of Zutphen was the only one not covered in snow. They identified and raided it, and it turned out to be a cannabis farm.


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