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Real Crimes Committed By Dumb Criminals
Chicago: A man was wanted for throwing bricks through jewelry store windows and making off with the loot. He was arrested last night after throwing a brick into a Plexiglas window...the brick bounced back, hit him in the head and knocked him cold until the police got there.

Portsmouth, RI: Police charged Gregory Rosa, 25, with a string of vending machine robberies in January when he: 1. fled from police inexplicably when they spotted him loitering around a vending machine and 2. later tried to post his $400 bail in coins.

Lake City, Florida: Karen Lee Joachimi, 20, was arrested for robbery of a Howard Johnson's motel. She was armed with only an electric chainsaw, which was not plugged in.

When Stan Caddell wanted to wash his Chevrolet, he backed the car into a foot of water in the Mississippi River at Hannibal, Missouri. When he got out to clean the car, it floated away. Police were able to retrieve the vehicle some distance downstream. According to an officer on the scene, no action would be taken against the driver because "you can't ticket a guy for being stupid..."

Kentucky: Two men tried to pull the front off a cash machine by running a chain from the machine to the bumper of their pickup truck. Instead of pulling the front panel off the machine, though, they pulled the bumper off their truck. Scared, they left the scene and drove home. With the chain still attached to the machine. With their bumper still attached to the chain. With their vehicle's license plate still attached to the bumper.

A bank robber in Bumpus, Tenn., handed a teller the following note: "Watch out. This is a rubbery. I hav an oozy traned on your but. Dump the in a sack, this one. No die packkets or other triks or I will tare you a new naval. No kwarter with red stuff on them, too." Dr. Creon V.B. Smyk of the Ohio Valley Educational Council says such notes are, lamentably, the rule. "Right across the board, we see poor pre-writing skills, problems with omissions, tense, agreement, spelling and clarity," he moaned. Smyk believes that the quality of robbery notes could be improved if criminals could be taught to plan before writing. "We have to stress organization: Make an outline of your robbery note before you write it," he said. "Some of the notes get totally sidetracked on issues like the make, model and caliber of the gun, number of bullets, etc., until one loses sight of the main idea -- the robbery."

A lawyer defending a man accused of burglary tried this creative defense: "My client merely inserted his arm into the window and removed a few trifling articles. His arm is not himself, and I fail to see how you can punish the whole individual for an offense committed by his limb." "Well put," the judge replied. "Using your logic, I sentence the defendant's arm to one year's imprisonment. He can accompany it or not, as he chooses." The defendant smiled. With his lawyer's assistance he detached his artificial limb, laid it on the bench, and walked out.

A man in Orange County Municipal Court had been ticketed for driving alone in the carpool lane. He claimed that the four frozen cadavers in the mortuary van he was driving should be counted. The judged ruled that passengers must be alive to qualify.

A man was arrested for stealing a car. When he was taken to court for his arraignment the judge asked, how do you plead? Instead of saying guilty or not guilty the man said: "Before we go any further, judge, let me explain why I stole the car." The judge ruled in record time.

A pair of Michigan robbers entered a record shop nervously waving revolvers. The first one shouted, "Nobody move!" When his partner moved, the startled first bandit shot him.

After drinking a little too much, Stewart Butcher went to sleep on a West Virginia railroad track. A while later, something woke him-- a 15 car coal train. "I raised up," said Stewart, "and it knocked me out..."

An Australian man accused of murdering his wife can't seem to get his story straight. June Mathew, John Rushton's second wife, testified that Rushton told her his first wife died of a heart attack, ran off with a Baptist minister after committing 55 acts of adultery, and drowned after being washed overboard. Rushton also claimed he was a nuclear physicist, a naval commander, and had been knighted for saving the Queen's life. Mathew, who was married to Rushton for five years, believed him because he was a "good talker..." but those pesky microtremors finally gave him away...

An off-duty police officer in Newark, NJ, had a pistol-shaped cigarette lighter, which he had been using all night while drinking at a local tavern. After many hours and drinks, he apparently mistook his 32 revolver for the lighter. When he went to light his cigarette, he shot and killed John Fazzola, who was seated 5 stools away at the bar...

An unidentified man in Buenos Aires pushed his wife out of an eighth-floor window but his plan to kill her failed when she became entangled in some power cables below. Seeing she was still alive, the man jumped and tried to land on top of her. He missed...

Ann Arbor: The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into a Burger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan at 7:50am, flashed a gun and demanded cash. The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn't open the cash register without a food order. When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren't available for breakfast. The man, frustrated, walked away.

Arizona: A company called "Guns For Hire" stages gunfights for Western movies, etc. One day, they received a call from a 47-year-old woman, who wanted to have her husband killed. She got 4-1/2 years in jail.

Arkansas: Seems this guy wanted some beer pretty badly. He decided that he'd just throw a cinder block through a liquor store window, grab some booze, and run. So he lifted the cinder block and heaved it over his head at the window. The cinder block bounced back and hit the would-be thief on the head, knocking him unconscious. Seems the liquor store window was made of Plexi-Glass. The whole event was caught on videotape.

Baggy clothes may save your life: a 13-year-old boy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia fell 130 feet from his hi-rise apartment and survived with only minor injuries. Witnesses said Daniel Gurgus' baggy sweater caught tree branches on the way down... remember, kids, just say no to Spandex...

Burglars in Larch Barrens, Md., tried to cut through a safe using a Laser Tag gun.

Carlos Diaz of New York got 18 years to life for committing a series of robberies by pretending a zucchini hidden under his jacket was a gun...

England: A German "tourist," supposedly on a golf holiday, shows up at customs with his golf bag. While making idle chatter about golf, the customs official realizes that the tourist does not know what a "handicap" is. The customs official asks the tourist to demonstrate his swing, which he does--backward! A substantial amount of narcotics was found in the golf bag.

Germany: Oil of Olay no longer turning the trick for her, a woman decided that she would bathe in the milk of a camel (a modern-day Cleopatra). So she stole a camel from the local zoo (where *else* can you find a camel when you need one?) and transported it back to her house--where she realized that the camel's name was "Otto." (Editor's Note 2: She might not have gotten much milk from Otto, but she probably made a friend for life while trying to ...)

In Bent Forks, Ill., kidnapers of ice-cube magnate Worth Bohnke sent a photograph of their captive to Bohnke's family. Bohnke was seen holding up a newspaper. It was not that day's edition and, in fact, bore a prominent headline relating to Nixon's trip to China. This was pointed out to the kidnapers in a subsequent phone call. They responded by sending a new photograph showing an up-to-date newspaper. Bohnke, however, did not appear in the picture. When this, too, was refused, the kidnapers became peevish and insisted that a photograph be sent to them showing all the people over at Bohnke's house holding different issues of _Success_ magazine. They provided a mailing address and were immediately apprehended. They later admitted to FBI agents they did not understand the principle involved in the photograph/newspaper concept. "We thought it was just some kind of tradition," said one. Educators agree that such mix-ups point to poor reasoning and comprehension skills, ignorance of current events, and failure to complete work in the time allotted.

Indiana: A man walked up to a cashier at a grocery store and demanded all the money in the register. When the cashier handed him the loot, he fled--leaving his wallet on the counter.

Industrial thieves broke into the Bilgetek plant in Canasta, Wash., by crossing a metal catwalk and then blew it up, having forgotten it was their only means of escape.

Joseph Owens of Mount Pleasant, Michigan, didn't think police were listening to his complaints that someone was harassing him, so he came up with a brilliant plan. Owens convinced his friend to shoot him in the shoulder with a shotgun so police would take him seriously. After a trip to the emergency room, Owens faces up to four years in prison for filing a false police report...next time, a little higher and to the left...

New York: As a female shopper exited a convenience store, a man grabbed her purse and ran. The clerk called 911 immediately and the woman was able to give them a detailed description of the snatcher. Within minutes, the police had apprehended the snatcher. They put him in the cruiser and drove back to the store. The thief was then taken out of the car and told to stand there for a positive ID. To which he replied, "Yes Officer, that's her. That's the lady I stole the purse from."

Newark: A woman was reporting her car as stolen, and mentioned that there was a car phone in it. The policeman taking the report called the phone, and told the guy that answered that he had read the ad in the newspaper and wanted to buy the car. They arranged to meet, and the thief was arrested.

Rustlers in Spavin, N.D., made off with three Saint Bernard dogs, a stationary bicycle and the visiting in-laws of a farmer, after having failed to correctly identify the valuable cattle on the premises.

San Antonio, Texas: 45 year-old Amy Brasher was arrested after a mechanic reported to police that 18 packages of marijuana were packed in the engine compartment of the car which she had brought to the mechanic for an oil change. According to police, Brasher later said that she didn't realize that the mechanic would have to raise the hood to change the oil.

Seattle: When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on a Seattle street, he got much more than he bargained for. Police arrived at the scene to find an ill man curled up next to a motor home near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline and plugged his hose into the motor home's sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges, saying that it was the best laugh he'd ever had.

South Carolina: A man walked into a local police station, dropped a bag of cocaine on the counter, informed the desk sergeant that it was substandard cut, and asked that the person who sold it to him be arrested immediately.

Tennessee: A man successfully broke into a bank after hours and stole the bank's video camera. While it was recording. Remotely. (That is, the videotape recorder was located elsewhere in the bank, so he didn't get the videotape of himself stealing the camera.)

Texas: A man convicted of robbery worked out a deal to pay $9600 in damages rather than serve a prison sentence. For payment, he provided the court a check--a *forged* check. He got 10 years.

The best-laid plans of a Canadian couple in a suicide pact went awry because the weapon they used nearly as old as they are. Harold Pinna, 89, and his 92-year-old wife decided to end it all with a .22 caliber pistol that hadn't been fired in 60 years. Mr. Pinna shot his wife in the head, but the rusty bullet ricocheted off a hair curler, and she suffered only a mild scalp laceration. He then put the gun to his right ear and fired again. The shot was so weak that the bullet lodged in his ear. The dazed couple then gave themselves up to the police... it was either that or throw themselves out the first floor window...

The judge called the case of People vs. Steven Lewon Crook. The bailiff opened the door to the holding cell and called, "Crook, come forward." Five of the prisoners entered the courtroom.

The police showed up at the victim's house after receiving a call of a break in while the man was away at work. The house was in a nice upper-middle class neighborhood. The police walked around to the side of the house with the victim, where they were shown the pried open sliding glass patio door. Clearly the entrance for the criminal. When asked if anything in the house was missing the man said nothing except his stash of marijuana. Police, not believing what they had just heard asked the man to repeat himself. The man, realizing that he had just admitted to possessing an illegal drug stammered and finally said, "oh forget the whole thing." He waved the police off and went back into his house. The police walked away laughing.

The two suspects had been apprehended and now sat in a courtroom at the defendant's table. A witness was on the stand being asked questions by the prosecutor. "And ma'am you say you were robbed of your purse on the street?" Yes sir, the witness answered. "And the two men who robbed you, are they here in the courtroom today?" Before the witness could answer both defendants raised their hands. The judge and jury laughed openly.

Times of London: A thief who sneaked into a hospital was scarred for life when he tried to get a suntan. After evading security staff at Odstock Hospital in Salisbury, Wiltshire, and helping himself to doctor's paging devices, the thief spotted a vertical sunbed. He walked into the unit and removed his clothes for a 45-minute tan. However, the high-voltage UV machine at the hospital, which is renowned for its treatment of burns victims, has a maximum dosage of 10 seconds. After lying on the bed for almost 300 times the recommended maximum time, the man was covered in blisters. Hours later, when the pain of the burns became unbearable, he went to Southampton General Hospital, 20 miles away, in Hampshire. Staff became suspicious because he was wearing a doctor's coat. After tending his wounds they called the police. Southampton police said: "This man broke into Odstock and decided he fancied a quick suntan. Doctors say he is going to be scarred for life.

Virginia: Two men in a pickup truck went to a new-home site to steal a refrigerator. Banging up walls, floors, etc., they snatched a refrigerator from one of the houses, and loaded it onto the pickup. The truck promptly got stuck in the mud, so these brain surgeons decided that the refrigerator was too heavy. Banging up *more* walls, floors, etc., they put the refrigerator BACK into the house, and returned to the pickup truck, only to realize that they locked the keys in the truck--so they abandoned it.

When asked for her occupation, a woman charged with a traffic violation said she was a schoolteacher. The judge rose from the bench. "Madam, I have waited years for a schoolteacher to appear before this court," he smiled with delight. "Now sit down at that table and write 'I will not pass through a red light' five hundred times."

When James Nagel tried to abduct a Los Angeles woman, someone tipped off police. Nagel led officers on a "low speed chase" for 30 minutes, then tried to get away on foot. He shot at police several times, but missed. Nagel then climbed a utility pole and threatened to kill himself. Police tried to talk him down, then shot him with ten rounds of plastic bullets. Nagel finally surrendered after being sprayed for five minutes with a high-powered water hose, but not before accidentally shooting himself in the forehead...

William deLashmutt of York County was fined $100 after he was stopped at a police checkpoint with a car license plate, registration, title and driver's license issued by "the Kingdom of Heaven...".

(Location Unknown): A man successfully broke into a bank's basement through a street-level window, cutting himself up pretty badly in the process. He then realized that (1) he could not get to the money from where he was, (2) he could not climb back out the window through which he had entered, and (3) he was bleeding pretty badly. So he located a phone and dialed "911" for help ...

(Location Unknown): A man walked into a Circle-K (a convenience store similar to a 7-11), put a $20 bill on the counter and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register, which the clerk promptly provided. The man took the cash from the clerk and fled-- leaving the $20 bill on the counter. The total amount of cash he got from the drawer? Fifteen dollars.

(Location Unknown): A man went into a drug store, pulled a gun, announced a robbery, and pulled a Hefty-bag face mask over his head--and realized that he'd forgotten to cut eyeholes in the mask.

Costa Mesa, California: A man allegedly robbed taxi driver James Hooper with a large caliber handgun, then tried to escape on foot. One foot, to be exact. Police say Timothy Lambert's gun accidentally discharged, shooting his own foot. Officers followed a trail of bloody prints a short distance before arresting Lambert.

Great Falls, Montana: When Raymond Lutz of was stopped for going 104 miles per hour in a 45 mph zone, he had a darn good reason. Lutz told Sheriff John Strandell that "he had just got done washing his truck and was trying to dry it off..."

Germany: A German toolmaker has been arrested for extortion after threatening auto maker Daimler-Benz. The unnamed man had demanded a helicopter and millions of German marks, or he would "kill drivers of Mercedes cars...".

Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania state police have refused to return the "water bong" they seized from Timothy Martin during a traffic stop on Interstate 80. Martin told police the bong was "an heirloom," and that he wanted it back.

Reno, Nevada: A 78-year-old man shot and wounded five people in a Reno, Nevada casino, and was caught as he made his escape with his walker.

Oakland, California: Police in Oakland, California spent two hours attempting to subdue a gunman who had barricaded himself inside his home. After firing ten tear gas canisters, officers discovered that the man was standing beside them, shouting pleas to come out and give himself up.

Illinois: An Illinois man pretending to have a gun kidnapped a motorist and forced him to drive to two different automated teller machines. The kidnapper then proceeded to withdraw money from his own bank accounts.


Topeka, Kansas: A man walked in to a Kwik Shop, and asked for all the money in the cash drawer. Apparently, the take was too small, so he tied up the store clerk and worked the counter himself for three hours until police showed up and grabbed him.

Medford, Oregon: A 27-year-old jobless man with an MBA blamed his college degree for his murder of three people. "There are too many business grads out there," he said. "If I had chosen another field, all this may not have happened..."

Los Angeles, California: Police in Los Angeles had good luck with a robbery suspect who just couldn't control himself during a lineup. When detectives asked each man in the lineup to repeat the words, "Give me all your money or I'll shoot," the man shouted, "That's not what I said!"

Virginia Beach: A bank robber in Virginia Beach got a nasty surprise when a dye pack designed to mark stolen money exploded in his Fruit-of-the-Looms. The robber apparently stuffed the loot down the front of his pants as he was running out the door. "He was seen hopping and jumping around," said police spokesman Mike Carey, "with an explosion taking place inside his pants."

Modesto, CA: Steven Richard King was arrested for trying to hold up a Bank of America branch without a weapon. King used a thumb and a finger to simulate a gun, but unfortunately, he failed to keep his hand in his pocket.

New York: Richard Avella, a 350 pound New York man, entered a Long Island jewelry store, drew a gun, and told the clerk, "This is a stick-up," then tripped and fell to the floor. He was unable to get up before police arrived.

Long Beach, California: When his .38 caliber revolver failed to fire at his intended victim during a hold-up in Long Beach, California, robber James Eliot peered down the barrel and tried it again. This time, it worked.

Crystal, Kentucky: Ron Hoffman of Crystal, Kentucky, picked up a machete and lopped off the red roof light of a Pennsylvania state police cruiser. After his arrest, Hoffman explained it was "just something he always wanted to do..."

Toronto, Canada: A gas station attendant had no trouble identifying a robber for police, even though the man had worn a pair of women's panties over his head as a disguise. The thief, who later admitted that his mind was clouded by intoxicants, had stuck his face through one of the leg-holes so he could see.

Sacramento, California: Francis Karnes, a 39-year-old man was charged with reckless endangerment after he pulled a gun and shot his lawnmower when it wouldn't start.


California: A 37-year-old California man reported to police that an intruder dressed in black and carrying a big knife broke into his home, forced him to smoke two packs of Pall Mall Golds, then left.

Miami Beach, Florida: Our Nice Try Award this week goes to the Miami Beach attorney who entered a 'not guilty' plea for his client based on astrological forces. The lawyer maintained that the position of the stars at the time of his client's birth caused him to break into a couple's home, tie them up and threaten them, and walk out with a brassiere on his head.

Netherlands: An airline pilot has been sentenced to four months in jail. Wim de Nijs was convicted of jamming the air traffic control frequency and jeopardizing airport safety, by singing the "Flintstones" theme over the radio for 20 minutes while landing his plane.

Levelland, Texas: E.C. Stewart, Jr. may never get out of jail after the District Attorney recommended last week that his bail be set at "a zillion dollars". The judge agreed.

Wichita, Kansas: Police arrested a 22-year-old man at an airport hotel after he tried to pass two (counterfeit) $16 bills.

(Location Unknown): A young teller was new to the job when she was approached by her first robber. Noticing that the man's grammar was not the greatest, the teller figured that the would be criminal was slightly slow. She told the robber that he had to have an account to rob a bank. Disappointed, the man left.

(Location Unknown): A criminal who broke into a couple's house started to take the TV, but instead he turned it on and began to watch. He supposedly liked the program that was on and laid down on the bed. Since it was at night he was tired and fell asleep. So when the couple came home the next day they found him and called the police.

Providence, Rhode Island: David Posman, 33, was arrested in Providence, Rhode Island, after knocking out an armored car driver and stealing four bags of money. Each bag contained $800 dollars. However, the bags weighed thirty pounds each since they all contained pennies. The hefty bags slowed the fleeting criminal to a sluggish stagger. Police easily ran down and arrested the suspect.

Washington D.C.: A convict broke out of jail in Washington D.C., then a few days later accompanied his girlfriend to her trial for robbery. At lunch, he went out for a sandwich. She needed to see him, and thus had him paged. Police officers recognized his name and arrested him as he returned to the courthouse in a car he had stolen over the lunch hour.

Radnor, Pennsylvania: Police interrogated a suspect by placing a metal colander on his head and connecting it with wires to a photocopy machine. The message "He's lying" was placed in the copier, and police pressed the copy button each time they thought the suspect wasn't telling the truth. Believing the "lie detector" was working, the suspect confessed.

Ionia, Michigan: When two service station attendants refused to hand over the cash to an intoxicated robber, the man threatened to call the police. They still refused, so the robber called the police and was arrested.

Some criminals are not too bright and here's one to prove that: (at the time of booking)
Officer: What is your D.O.B.?
Criminal: What's a D.O.B., man?
Officer: When's your birthday?
Criminal: May 5th
Officer: What year?
Criminal: Every year, man.

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