Archive | Dumb Crims RSS feed for this section

Returning to the Scene of the Crime

13 Oct

If I was a police detective searching for a criminal, my method of tracking down the felon would be to take a seat, maybe crack open a beer, and wait for him to come to me.  This might be considered an unorthodox approach to law enforcement, but it is apparently an effective one, if the stupidity of these Dumb Crims who couldn’t help but return to the scene of the crime is anything to go by.

The first such Dumb Crim is Johnny Lindner, a 48-year-old man from South Carolina, US.  Lindner robbed a convenience store in Bishopville, threatening the store clerk with a knife before fleeing with cash and cigarettes in a stolen pickup truck.  So far so good (for Lindner, not the store clerk).

Then the wheels started to fall off.  Firstly, the truck Lindner was fleeing in broke down.  Not much he could do about that.   So he walked to a nearby Burger King and called a taxi, directing the driver to take him to the nearby town of Lydia.  But the taxi driver didn’t know how to get there, nor did Lindner, so they pulled over to ask directions.  This is where Lindner made a minor error.

He pulled over to the same store that he had just robbed.

It doesn’t get dumber than that.  Except that it does.  Not only did Lindner stop off to get directions at the very store he robbed, the person he asked  directions from was THE POLICEMAN INVESTIGATING THE CRIMESCENE!  I’m surprised he didn’t volunteer to pose for a mug shot as they spoke.

I assume this is what Linder was wearing.

I assume this is what Lindner was wearing when he asked the policeman for directions.

Lindner, obviously, fit the description of the thief, and thanks to video footage, was charged with armed robbery (he was also wanted for crimes in Tennessee).  As David Capps, the officer who was asked for directions by the Dumb Crim, said, “I was there and I still don’t believe it.”

Capps might as well get used to it, because Lindner isn’t alone in his stupidity.  John T. West and Ashley Sorensen, both 20-year-olds, stole tyres and rims from a parked car in California, US.  A short time after stealing the items, the pair couldn’t help but return to the scene of the crime.  Why?  Well, as they reportedly later told authorities, they returned to “see if the lady had called the cops.”

She had.

Yes, police were at the scene as they drove by.  The Dumb Crims might not have been noticed, though, except they made another crucial error: they had put the stolen tyres and rims on the car they drove to the crime scene!  And they weren’t hard to spot, as the expensive car accessories were attached to a beat up Geo Metro, shining like a gold tooth in Lil Wayne’s mouth.  That’s like a homeless man walking by London Tower wearing the Crown Jewels. Needless to say they didn’t enjoy the rims for very long.

There's something suspicious about that car...

There’s something suspicious about that car…

Victor Marin stole over $200 from an apartment in Brooklyn, New York, US.  He returned to the building soon after committing his felony because of an unexpected hiccup: he had left his wallet in the victim’s home.  Smooth.  His wallet contained cash, credit cards, photos, and sunglasses, meaning that his theft had resulted in a net loss, an outcome generally avoided by most thieves.

As Marin attempted to re-enter the crime scene, the victim, retired rabbi Yaakov Kanelsky, returned home.  Seeing the stranger at his window, Kanelsky asked him what he was doing.  Marin replied that he had left his wallet in his house, to which the rabbi asked why he was inside his house in the first place.  “He told me he needed to use the bathroom,” Kanelsky told the NY Post.

Unsurprisingly, Kanelsky didn’t buy that, and called the police.  Marin, now at the front door, then told the rabbi that he would give him his stolen money back in exchange for his wallet, holding up a wad of bills to the peephole.

Kanelsky hadn’t even realised any money was missing, however he told the Dumb Crim to slide the cash under the door.  Marin slid $125 of large bills underneath without problem, but the other wad of bills were made up of 93 one dollar notes.  This meant that Marin had to slide the cash under the door a couple of notes at a time, allowing the police ample time to arrive at the scene and arrest him.

Perhaps the dumbest – and most irrationally optimistic – return to the scene of the crime caper happened in Columbus, Ohio, US.

Diana Martinez was parked out the front of her apartment when three men pointed a gun at her and stole her purse and cousin’s wallet.  Martinez screamed and hit one of the men with her car door, and the men fled when threatened by a nearby neighbour.  Less than an hour later, however, one of the men returned.

To ask her out on a date.

Yes, Stephfon Bennett, the Dumb Crim with the dumb spelling, had taken such a fancy to Martinez that he thought he would have a crack.  I’ve never been to finishing school, but as far as I’m aware threatening someone with a gun and stealing their property is not a traditional courting technique.


I reckon this guy would have had a better shot at a date.

Martinez, who was single, couldn’t believe her mixed luck; whilst no doubt thinking, “Why can’t I attract a nice guy for once?” she also was able to chat with Bennett long enough for her cousin to call 911 and for the police to arrive to make the arrest.  Bennett was charged with aggravated robbery and might be heading to a place where you do not want to be asking people for a date.

I suppose Martinez could have done worse than be asked out for a date by Bennett; at least Bennett wouldn’t have had to get her to pay for dinner on account of leaving his wallet in a rabbi’s apartment.

In Case I Rob You, Please Contact Me on the Following Details

8 Jul

Rule number one in committing a burglary is don’t get caught.  That’s why thieves go to a lot of trouble to hide their faces, not leave fingerprints, and not email their contact details to the police.  These guys, however, leave behind more clues than the Riddler.  That’s why they’re Dumb Crims, and that’s why I love them.  (Just like I love the guys in this post: Arrest Me, I’m a Criminal!)

Last week a twenty-six year old man from Connecticut, US, forgot about this golden rule.  Zachary Tentoni snuck up behind an unsuspected old lady and snatched her clutch bag, fleeing the scene.  In his haste, Tentoni dropped the two bags he was already carrying.  Not sure why he decided that carrying two bags whilst committing a mugging was a good idea, but it proved even worse than it might otherwise.  In the bags were hygiene products, clothes, and sneakers.

As well as his birth certificate and a note from his mother.

The birth certificate helped the police effortlessly track the Dumb Crim down and press charges against him, answering the age old question as to whether or not it’s a good idea to carry unique personal identity documents with you during a crime.  A more pertinent question might be this: what on Earth does a twenty-six year old need a note from his mother for?  The only feasible conclusion is that Tentoni was repeating the 12th grade for the 8th time and needed a note from his mother to miss class.  Sadly, the contents of that note have not been disclosed.  I hope it read, “Please excuse my son for being an idiot.”

"Leaving your birth certificate at the crime scene?  You sir, are a Dumb Crim."

“Leaving your birth certificate at the crime scene? You sir, are a Dumb Crim.”

Not every Dumb Crim needs to carry their birth certificate with them in order to give their identity away.  Take the New Zealand man who stole money from a local music shop.  CCTV footage showed the man waiting for the store employees to be distracted by customers, before opening the cash register and stealing a wad of notes.  He fled the store before anyone could give chase and it looked as though he would get away with his crime.  Small problem: minutes before committing his theft, the man had asked the store to reserve a copy of Pink Floyd’s The Wall album, and left behind his name and number so that he could be contacted.  Again, the police had no trouble tracking him down.  The only way that effort could have been more embarrassing for the Dumb Crim is if he had have reserved a copy of a Nickelback album.

Then there’s the Scottish teen was spotted by staff fleeing a sports store in Aberdeen wearing a couple of expensive, and unpaid for, tracksuits.  The teen was possibly related to the Kiwi music shop thief, because he too had only just left his name and address with the store.

On a job application.

Apparently the teen had gone to the shop in the hope of securing an interview for a staff vacancy, but after filling out his job application, thought he’d kill two birds (and one career opportunity) with one stone.  He went into a change room with the tracksuits, put them on, and then fled the sports store, presumably looking athletic but a little bulky.  Whilst it is possible that the Dumb Crim thought he’d have a better chance of the store employing him if he interviewed wearing their merchandise, a staff member was quoted as saying, “It looks highly unlikely that he will get a job.”  Quite the understatement.

I'm not sure what tracksuit the Dumb Crim stole, but I hope it looked like this one.

I’m not sure what tracksuit the Dumb Crim stole, but I hope it looked like this one.

It’s amazing that someone could be so stupid that they would go to a store to fill in a job application and then steal from it.  Perhaps the only thing more stupid would be to go into a store to steal from it and then fill in a job application.  Like this Dumb Crim.

Demetrius Robinson, a twenty-eight year old from Georgia, US, entered a convenience store with the intention of committing a robbery.  The store was busy (which was not convenient) so to pass the time until the clerk was left alone, Robinson filled out a job application.  Soon after, he threatened the clerk with a steak knife – the weapon of choice of all serious thieves – and fled with the contents of the cash register.

Like the other Dumb Crims in this post, it took police no time at all to catch Robinson, thanks to his job application.  Bizarrely, Robinson didn’t reveal his real address on the application, but did use his real name and his uncle’s phone number.  Giving only some fake information isn’t protecting you from the police, and giving only some real information isn’t increasing your chances of getting the job.  Make a decision Demetrius!  And next time make sure that decision isn’t to pass time before a robbery by giving your contact details to the place you’re about to rob!

It turned out that Robinson was already wanted for a string of armed burglaries.  It is not clear whether he mentioned his career as a thief on his job application.

If you enjoyed that HeSaidWhatNow? post, you might also enjoy these:

Arrest me, I’m a Criminal!

Pimp My Getaway Vehicle

Worst. Disguise. Ever!

Arrest Me, I’m a Criminal!

10 Jun

It can be tough sometimes being a police officer; you not only have to catch the criminals, you have to make sure that there’s sufficient evidence to make an arrest.  Luckily there are also times when idiots like these Dumb Crims do the cops’ job for them, leaving so many clues behind that they may as well walk into a police station and ask to be arrested.

A few weeks ago, Brittney Sykes and Emma Westhusing robbed a credit union in Oregon, USA, and fled with $1370.  When they returned to their home, they discovered that they also had fled with a global tracking device that the bank had hidden amongst the stolen loot.

However Sykes and Westhusing didn’t know what the device was.  Initially they thought it might have been a dye pack, and spent the next few minutes testing their theory by throwing it against the wall and stomping on it.  When it didn’t explode, the pair was stumped so, as she told investigators, Sykes “went to a computer and searched the Internet to figure out what the device might be.”  Whilst they Googled the device, the police were closing in on their location.

Eventually the women panicked and wisely decided to get rid of the device.  Unwisely, they hid it in Sykes’ car.  When the police arrived shortly thereafter, they found the device and the loot, and two stupid crooks.

Whilst it is clearly pretty stupid hiding a tracking device in your car after you commit a crime, it is less stupid than bringing your own tracking device to a crime.  That is exactly what Los Angeles resident Wilbert Matheney did.  A registered sex offender, Matheney was ordered by the court to wear a global tracking device strapped to his ankle.  He then allegedly broke into a home and stole a laptop.

The victims, who were at home when the burglary took place, described the thief as having salt-and-pepper hair.  Neighbourhood residents told police that a man of that description often walked a small white dog in the local area.  When police discovered that a group home for sex offenders was also in the area, they looked at the group’s GPS records and discovered that Matheney was at the victims’ home at the time of the robbery.  When they knocked on his door, not only did Matheney indeed have a salt-and-pepper hairdo, but a little white dog ran out the door.  Maybe it was trying to escape his stupidity.  No word on whether the little guy had a GPS anklet of his own.

This idea didn't even occur to Matheney, which is how you become a Dumb Crim.

This idea didn’t even occur to Matheney.  Which is exactly how you become a Dumb Crim.

Not to be outdone was Stuart Gibbs, of Leicester, England.  A concerned neighbour called police after spotting two strangers in the garden next door.  When they arrived, the police found the men hiding in a shed, but no property had been stolen.  Luckily for the police, they found an outgoing text message on Gibbs’ phone, sent two hours earlier, that read: “I’ve told you 20 times – don’t ring me when I’m out robbing.”  Gibbs subsequently confessed to the attempted burglary.  At court he also pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving when disqualified, handling stolen goods and possessing cannabis – possibly by sending a text message to the judge.  He earned himself 18 months in jail.

But the winner (or loser, depending on how you look at it) of the Dumb Crim who ineptly assisted in his own arrest was Christopher Lance Moore of Texas, USA.  Moore broke into a home with the intent of doing some thieving, when he was confronted by the home owner.  Who pointed a pistol at his head.

Moore then fled from the house and into his car, but not before the home owner blocked him in with his own truck.  Effectively locked in his car, Moore did the unthinkable – he called the police for help, saying that “some guy has a gun on me”.  The police arrived and promptly arrested Moore.  It’s assumed that whilst waiting for the police, Moore phoned the IRS to report that he had lied on his taxes, and called his wife to tell her that he’d been cheating on her.

Worst. Disguise. Ever!

7 Jun

When robbing a bank, it’s always a good idea to wear a disguise to hide your identity.  A mask, a balaclava, a stocking over the face – these old favourites are old favourites because they work.  The following decided to get creative with their disguises, unfortunately to their own disadvantage…

James Coldwell had a spur of the moment idea to rob a bank in New Hampshire, USA.  Sadly, his disguise reflected this lack of preparation.  Customers were confused as they saw a man walk into the bank dressed like a tree.  Yes, Coldwell decided that having twigs and leaves duct taped onto his body was a perfectly sensible disguise.  Surprisingly only to Coldwell himself, his ‘disguise’ actually drew more attention to him, giving the bank even more time to prepare themselves for the attempted robbery.  When the dye pack in the bag of cash he was given detonated, Coldwell fled the, ahem, branch empty handed, leaving a forest trail behind him.  When his picture was shown on television, a tip led the police to Coldwell’s apartment where a search of his car revealed some leaves and a roll of duct tape.  The police were unable to locate his brain.

Where is the Dumb Crim?  This is harder than Where's Wally...

Where is the Dumb Crim? This is harder than Where’s Wally…

Equally as pathetic a disguise was the one used by 51-year-old Sharon Lain of Oklahoma, USA.  Lain robbed a McDonald’s restaurant as she was unemployed and desperate for money, as evidenced by her makeshift mask – a pair of underwear.  Although the white stretch girdle known as ‘spanx’ wrapped around her face hid her identity, it was all for nothing.  Surveillance video of the robbery was shown on television, leading to several tips that resulted in Lain’s arrest.  Disturbingly, this means that several people watched the video footage and recognised Lain’s underwear.  Police searched her apartment and found the offending pair of spanx, presumably not on her head.

Probably worse than the above was this effort by Iowa men Matthew McNelly and Joey Miller.  The pair attempted to break into an apartment, but not before disguising themselves by drawing on their faces with marker pens.  It’s unclear whether or not the duo were sniffing the markers beforehand, but their efforts – which were unfinished – not only didn’t even come close to disguising themselves, but actually made them easier to identify.  In other words, the pens marked their identity.

Also the lamest Halloween costume ever

Also the lamest Halloween costume ever

Fingers crossed there’ll be a sequel to The Usual Suspects where another team of crooks team up after meeting in a police line up – wearing twigs, underwear, and marker pen disguises.  I’d watch that.

Pimp My Getaway Vehicle

20 May

It’s critical when committing a robbery that you don’t just plan how to commit the crime, but also how you’ll get away.  The following Dumb Crims may have forgotten that last bit.

Howard Shanholtzer stole some surveillance equipment from a store in California, USA, and fled in his car.  Aware that the police knew what sort of car he drove, Shanholtzer  decided to swap his vehicle for another.  Clever.  Unfortunately, he ditched his white Mitsubishi pickup truck and stole…a white Mitsubishi pickup truck.  Not so clever.  Unsurprisingly the police promptly caught him.  Shanholtzer isn’t the smartest man, but you can’t fault his brand loyalty.

The truck he was driving.

The truck Shanholtzer was driving.

The truck Shanholtzer stole.

The truck Shanholtzer stole.

Also failing to choose a getaway vehicle that would successfully elude the police were Wesley Leon Jumper and Shawn Carnell Stewart.  It was clear that this pair had problems when they decided it was necessary to steal $500 worth of soap and shampoo from a pharmacy, but their membership to the Dumb Crims club was cemented when they decided to make their getaway in an ice cream truck.  As a spokeswoman for the Charles County Sheriff’s Office stated, the ice cream truck was “a very easy vehicle to spot”.  The pair didn’t help their cause by playing Greensleeves over their speakers and stopping to serve ice cream to kids.

Finally, Harley Traverse robbed a bank in Rhode Island, USA, warning the teller that he had a gun and a police scanner.  He fled with $32,000 (which gets him one up on the ice cream brothers and their haul of toiletries) but from there his plans faltered somewhat.  Specifically in his choice of getaway vehicle: a bicycle.  Needless to say he was promptly caught and arrested.  Sadly for Traverse, prison is not easy for people who wear bike shorts.