Cat napping cat burglar
We’re sure that breaking and entering can be a tiring business. But most burglars have the sense to wait until they’re safely home for a post-pilfering snooze. Not Mark Smith, who in 2007 broke into a house in Whitley Bay while high on Valium and vodka. Have forced his way in to the empty house the excitement obviously got too much for him, and he fell asleep in the homeowner’s empty bed. He was awoken, presumably not with a kiss, by the local police, and sentenced to 18 months.
Last of the big spenders
You’ve heard the phrase ‘Go big or go home’? Perhaps it was this kind of thinking that led first-time fraudster Charles Ray Fuller to attempt an over-ambitious withdrawal at his local bank. The 21 year old tried to cash a cheque for $360 billion in the small Fort Worth bank, claiming it had been given to him by his girlfriend’s mother. Whether it was the insane sum involved, or the improbable story of a mother-in-law’s generosity, the bank teller smelt a (very expensive) rat and called the police.
Even the smallest corner shop has one of those funny pen things for checking if large denomination notes are fake. So how did Michael Anthony Fuller think he could get one over on Walmart? Especially when the note he was using was a $1 million bill? The foolish fraudster tried to use the note to buy a microwave and vacuum cleaner, leaving him due $999,524 in change. Walmart called the police and he was charged. Whether he and the above Charles Ray Fuller are related is unknown.
I’m out robbing, LOL
Although this thief was – incredibly – never apprehended, we know his name is Trevor Jones. How? Clever profiling, DNA clues…? No, he logged into Facebook at the house he was burgling and forgot to log out. He also left his car with keys and wallet in it in the driveway, which got confiscated when the homeowner arrived home to see the front door open. And when he realised the game was up, he did what any right thinking criminal imbecile would do – he ran off and jumped into a nearby pond. Obvs.
Date with robbery
Even robbers can be reasonable. You go to hold up a restaurant but these are busy places, right? When the owner asks you come back in an hour and do the hold-up then, you can sympathize. There’s a room full of people waiting to get fed after all. That seems to be the more than generous stance of would-be robbers Mario Garcia and Domingo Garcia-Hernandez who tried to rob a Chicago restaurant with what turned out to be a water pistol, but agreed to come back in an hour at the owner’s request. Of course when they did the police were waiting.
Chose your weapons
Like a criminal game of Scissors, Paper, Stone, some weapons are guaranteed to trump others. So, if you were robbing somewhere like a toy shop, a baseball bat would be a pretty intimidating thing to be waving around. Less so if you wanted to rob a gun shop, however. Yes, dopey Derrick Mosley walked into Discount Gun Sales in Oregon and smashed up the display cabinet (grrr) before the owner pulled out his own pistol and put a stop to the wrong-headed raid.
The title almost tells you everything you need to know. Any ambitious robbery relies on the speed, reliability and, um, unobtrusive nature of your getaway vehicle. Which for most thieves counts out a donkey. But for three car-less felons in Juan de Acosta, Colombia, you have to make the best with what you have. The trio stole Xavi, a ten-year old donkey, before loading him up with goods stolen from a grocery store. But law-abiding Xavi, unhappy at the illegal cargo, started braying loud enough to attract the local police. He was right to be cautious – for this bit of civic duty the donkey was held for 12 hours in the police station, while the robbers made off on foot.
The art of disguise
What’s wrong with a pair of tights over the head as a disguise? It’s cheap, looks threatening and really does make you harder to identify. But fashion-forward felons Matthew McNelly and Joey Miller felt that the nylons were too last-season. Instead they decided to disguise themselves by drawing on their faces in marker pen. The pair were arrested in Iowa, and, presumably to give everyone else a laugh, the local police took their mugshots with the drawn-on beards and masks still intact.
Don’t eat the evidence
Had it gone right, this could actually have been the perfect crime. Can you think of a ‘weapon’ that isn’t actually a threat to anyone and that can easily be disposed of without a trace? Yes, that’s right, a banana. 17 year old John Szwalla tried to hold-up an internet café in North Carolina with this fruit-based firearm but was restrained by the owner. Making the best of a bad situation, he then ate the banana while waiting to be arrested.
Show me what you got
No one wants to go to the trouble and risk of holding up a store if there’s not even enough in the till for a post-heist milkshake. So Ontario criminal Daniel Glen wisely decided to do a recce first. Less smart was his methodology – he called the convenience store in advance and asked how much cash was in the register. The owner didn’t need to be Poirot to suspect something was up, and called police to intercept Glen on his way to the store.