Over the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that the words “smart” and “criminal” seldom go together.
In the past, there were career bad guys who somehow managed to elude the law for long periods and even gained a reputation for their cunning. But these days, the likes of John Gotti, Lucky Luciano, Al Capone and John Dillinger have been replaced with an endless parade of evil doers who can only be characterized as dumb and dumber.
A recent example was the lady shop-lifter who decided to gather a free wardrobe at a Florida clothing store. After “layering” a number of outfits in the dressing room, she hurried out of the store. Unfortunately, she was in such a rush to complete her get away, she left a few things behind, namely her purse — and her baby.
Another less than brilliant Florida crook targeted an unlocked car in a residential driveway. He managed to disconnect two expensive new GPS units and some electronic sound equipment. But, in his struggle to remove the loot, he failed to notice he dropped his wallet in the car. The officer who reported on the crime said crooks who leave behind their name and address make police work much easier.
In San Francisco, a man decided to rob the Bank America. He wrote on one of their deposit slips, “This iz a stikkup. Put all your muny in this bag.” As he stood in line waiting to see the teller, he worried someone might have noticed him. He left and went across the street to the Wells Fargo bank. There, he handed his note to the teller. When she read it, she guessed he wasn’t the most accomplished robber. So she told him she couldn’t give him the money because his note was on a Bank America deposit slip. He would have to either write one on a Wells Fargo slip, or go back to Bank America. When he left to return to the first bank, the Wells Fargo teller notified police who promptly picked him up.
In Kentucky, two men tried to pull the front off an ATM by running a chain from their bumper to the machine. Instead, they pulled off the truck bumper. The two quickly gave up and drove away. But they left behind the chain attached to the ATM, the bumper attached to the chain, and their license attached to the bumper.
In Georgia, police investigating a purse snatching picked up a man who fit the thief’s description and drove him back to the scene. He was told to exit the car so the victim could get a look at him. Before the woman had a chance to say anything, the suspect eyed the victim and said, “Yeah, that’s the woman I robbed.”
But the prize for the dimmest bulb on the criminal string has to go to the guy who tried to siphon gas out of a motor home parked on a Seattle street. When police were called to the scene, they found the man curled up next to the motor home, beside a pool of spilled sewage. A police spokesman said the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline and had mistakenly plugged his hose into the sewage tank instead. The owner of the motor home declined to press charges, saying it was worth the trouble since it gave him the best laugh he’d ever had.
If today’s crooks continue to emerge from the murky end of the gene pool, the rest of us may just have a fighting chance.