A life of crime is not all it is cracked up to be. There are inconsistent hours, no dental, and the stigma of screwing over your fellow man. And to top it all off, crime is actually harder than it looks. Not everyone is cut out for a life in the shadows, as evidenced by many of the insalubrious characters who are featured on this list.
Sometimes, life has a way of telling you to take your genes out of the gene pool. If you are the man who got himself stuck in a chimney mid-burglary or the twosome who locked themselves in a janitor’s closet while trespassing, you might want to rethink your enterprising career in crime. Nonetheless, these simpleminded reprobates offer civilized society a chuckle and teach kids about the perils of crime.
10 Snorting A Dead Guy’s Ashes
In 2014, a group of Missouri miscreants burgled a property in St. Charles County. Devin Gesell served as the crew’s lookout while two unnamed juveniles rummaged for high-value items. They snatched over $800 in cash, a $500 necklace, an $800 tablet, and several Xbox gaming consoles.
The narcotic-craving criminals also lifted prescription bottles of morphine and Oxycodone in addition to what they thought was a box of cocaine. However, the box did not contain cocaine—it was the ashes of the homeowner’s deceased father.
The teens eventually realized that the purloined remains were not cocaine but only after one of the buffoons had tasted it. Lacking even an ounce of remorse or honor, the group tossed the ashes at the side of the road.
Devin’s crew will be happy to hear that they do not have a monopoly on stupid. In 2011, a gang of five repeat offenders broke into a residence in Florida. The merry men were pleasantly surprised when the nice middle-class home they were robbing had a not-so-secret stash of cocaine. It was in fancy jars and everything.
Their celebration quickly evaporated when they realized that the powdery substance was ashes, and the fancy jars were urns. The ashes belonged to two Great Danes and the homeowner’s father. The thieves also snatched a flat-screen television, a DVD player, a laptop, and some jewelry.
Naturally, the burglars did not use mass spectrometry to determine the chemical composition of the drugs. They tasted and snorted the cremated human/canine cocktail. Even after conducting a “taste test,” the crooks still believed that they were walking around with stolen cocaine.
It was only when one of the burglars read a news article about the stolen ashes that reality dawned. The group—consisting of David Diaz, Matrix Andaluz, Waldo Soroa, and two juveniles—racked their guilt-ridden brains. After some debate, they decided against returning the ashes. The police found the remains of the father and one of the dogs in a lake.
All the perpetrators were apprehended. The suspects were charged with various offenses, including residential burglary.
9 Gun + Waistband Holster = Shot Genitals
His face the epitome of mischief, a 19-year-old man sidles up to a hot dog stand. The proprietors, who are manning their humble stand, are oblivious to the danger of the criminal mastermind who stands before them.
The professorial hot dog lover, allegedly one Terrion Pouncy, brandishes a firearm and demands that the helpless employees empty the cash register. Little did they know that their holdup’s epic denouement would culminate in the suspect inadvertently shooting his own penis.
The unfortunate event took place on Chicago’s South Side on Halloween 2017. After the crook snaffled the money, he rather carelessly holstered his weapon in his waistband. The gun discharged, jeopardizing the future of his manhood. The dim-witted thief attempted to hotfoot it out of there, his wound gushing blood as he fled. After a brief tussle with one of the hot dog vendors, he managed to escape.
Shortly after the robbery, an Illinois man phoned 911 and told them he had been shot. The Chicago police found an incapacitated Pouncy slumped in the doorway of a residential property. The youngster had gunshot wounds to his genitals and leg.
Connecting two and two, the police arrested Pouncy at the Oak Lawn hospital on suspicion of armed robbery. Surveillance footage showed the perpetrator stooping over to snatch his loot, exposing his boxers in the process. The pattern of the boxers seen on CCTV was said to match the bloodstained boxers taken from Pouncy.
Freud would probably have something to say about a man who shoots his own penis while robbing a hot dog stand. But perhaps the young man’s self-inflicted sterilization was for the good of mankind.
A similar incident took place at a convenience store in Indiana. In 2008, Derrick Kosch almost neutered himself while trying to rob the Village Pantry store in Kokomo.
The gun-toting felon barged into the store, grabbed a worker’s hair, and demanded money and cigarettes. As the female clerk set to work, the man holstered the semiautomatic weapon in his waistband. In doing so, the 25-year-old local inadvertently pulled the trigger, discharging the gun and pumping his scrotum full of hot lead.
Although Kosch escaped, his concerned grandmother phoned 911 after learning of his injuries. He was taken to the hospital and subsequently charged. Kosch, perhaps a Darwin Award winner in the making, is certainly one to look out for.
8 The Terrifyingly Stupid Terrorist
Terrorists are not exactly known for their intellect at the best of times. They blow themselves up (deliberately), spend much of their time preaching nonsense that nobody understands, and very rarely get dates. Even so, Afghan Taliban commander Mohammad Ashan has to represent one of the least cerebral of these operatives.
The United States believed that Ashan was involved in plotting IED attacks against US and Afghan forces. In response, officials targeted the Paktika province, where Ashan and his insurgent followers operated, with a flurry of wanted posters. The flyers promised informants $100 for any information that led to the commander’s capture.
In 2012, the bizarre happened. A cash-strapped Ashan sauntered into a checkpoint in the Sar Howza district and handed himself over. Suffice it to say, Afghan troops were somewhat bemused when Ashan tried to claim the $100 bounty. Clutching a wanted poster with his own mug shot, the clueless rebel essentially demanded payment for his own capture.
“This guy is the Taliban equivalent of the Home Alone burglars,” stated one US official.
Biometric scans confirmed the man’s identity. He did not get his reward, unsurprisingly. It seems unlikely that the commander’s superiors will promote him beyond his “low-level” grade anytime soon.
7 Deja Vu Burglary
One British burglar made quite the blunder after attempting to ransack a house he had already visited. Darren Kimpton, who has a string of prior convictions, stole £85 from a Northampton home. But, apparently possessing the mind of a lobotomized kleptomaniac, our troubled thief revisited the same residence. His return trip was not without incident, however.
Upon entering the property, a surprised Kimpton was met by an equally surprised pair of police officers. The officers were taking a witness statement from the homeowner when Kimpton reached in through the door that he had previously vandalized. The cops gave chase and apprehended the amateur burglar.
Prior to his arrest, the 49-year-old had attempted to break into a separate property in the same area. He failed, injuring himself in the process and leaving behind DNA evidence on the door lock. Forensics confirmed that the blood belonged to Kimpton.
Kimpton’s own counsel described his criminal escapades as “clumsy” and “pathetic.” Stranger still was the judge’s sentencing. Judge Rupert Mayo said the defendant was “not a very good burglar.” Then the judge sentenced the man to a four-month curfew and 80 hours of unpaid work.
“Were there any sense of professionalism, I would not be giving you the chance I am giving you,” concluded Judge Mayo. Let that be a lesson to wannabe thieves: Act like a professional thief, or you won’t get jail time.
6 The Robber And The Resume
Even the most studious offender can leave behind a trail of incriminating bread crumbs. In the blink of an eye, the slightest mishap can end a crook’s criminal prospects and land him in the slammer. But there is no excuse for Umar Mirza’s botched robbery.
In 2017, the 26-year-old strolled into a Paddy Power betting shop in Birmingham, England, and robbed the establishment using an imitation firearm. The masked man handed a betting slip to an employee. It read: “I got a gun open the door or Il shoot you!!! [sic]”
Mirza then locked the bookmaker’s doors and demanded the contents of the safe. The terrified assistant emptied both the cash register and safe and stuffed over £16,000 into a bag. With his spoils, a gormless Mirza made a bid for freedom. In doing so, he prematurely removed his mask, exposing his face to the ever-watchful CCTV cameras.
Not to worry. It will probably take the cops a while to analyze the CCTV footage, deduce the man’s identity, work out his place of residence, and arrest him. Well, here is where Mirza’s second mistake landed him in a spot of bother.
Mirza had previously applied for a job at the very same Paddy Power that he had just robbed. He even left his resume. The hilarity continues. Mirza, clearly a strong candidate for Mensa, was addicted to gambling. In fact, the store manager recognized the man as a customer from the CCTV footage.
The manager handed over the man’s details to the authorities. The police searched Mirza’s home and found all the evidence they needed: the imitation firearm, the betting slip, and the bag in which he transported the cash. He was sentenced to six years in jail.
5 Self-Incarceration In A Closet
A couple of trespassers had 48 hours of soul-searching after accidentally ensnaring themselves in a Daytona State College closet. In 2014, John Arwood and Amber Campbell spent two days trapped in the school closet before eventually calling 911. When the police found the infamous and inescapable closet, located in the college’s Marine and Environmental Science Center, they discovered that the door was unlocked the whole time.
Upon inspecting the pair’s DIY prison, officers found copper scouring pads and mounds of feces. As pointed out by the Orlando Sentinel, copper scouring pads are often used as filters in makeshift crack pipes. However, officers could find no trace of drugs.
Then they looked at both the inside and outside of the door to work out what had happened. The bemused rescuers could not fathom any way the pair could have locked the door. The humiliation of defecating in a janitor’s closet was, seemingly, entirely avoidable.
Both Arwood and Campbell were charged with trespassing. Campbell was also charged with violating the terms of her probation. It turned out that the 25-year-old had previously tangled with the law.
In 2013, she had escaped from a mental health facility in Daytona Beach. Officers detained the troubled woman and placed her in the back of a police vehicle. Unwisely, cops loosened her cuffs and opened a car window after Campbell complained of breathing difficulties. She escaped again and made a mad dash for the nearby woods.
During the chase, Campbell repeatedly assaulted one of her pursuers. She was given the stun gun treatment and rearrested on multiple charges.
4 The Chimney Sweep
In 2017, a bumbling burglar was left red-faced after getting stuck in a chimney. Keith Schultz, no doubt implementing an Ocean’s Eleven-inspired robbery plan, tried to gain access to the California home through the chimney.
Alas, the nearly infallible scheme played out like a scene from The Pink Panther. The man’s partner in crime panicked and tried to break into the house to set Schultz free. This tripped the property’s security alarm, alerting the police to the robbery.
At that exact moment, a woman called local police and told them that her friend was lodged in a chimney. Officers at the Ridgecrest Police Department, not lacking common sense, saw that both addresses matched. It became painfully clear what was happening.
Firefighters plucked the 28-year-old delinquent from his coal-covered tomb. After a quick checkup in the hospital, Schultz was handed over to Bakersfield jail and charged with first-degree burglary. The man’s soot-smeared face made for a timeless mug shot. The authorities have yet to apprehend his wily accomplice, who fled the scene before the cops arrived.
3 The Evidence Trail
It is pretty remarkable what crime scene investigators and forensics specialists can extract from a crime scene. Whether detectives discover DNA-packed skin cells or deploy sniffer dogs to detect a crook’s distinctive scent, law enforcement officials have an arsenal of tools at their disposal. On some occasions, however, investigators can simply follow a literal trail of evidence to the absentminded criminal’s doorstep.
It was 2008. A battered and bruised vending machine stood half-empty at the Arlington Recreation Center in Minnesota. Shards of its glass belly now decorated the floor. St. Paul police officers were quick to react. A fleeting investigation revealed that the famished thieves had used a chair to break into the snack dispenser. But there was something else: a trail of Cheetos.
In the early hours of the morning, the beady-eyed cops followed the Cheetos trail to a nearby home. With the help of an eyewitness, the police gate-crashed the Cheetos party and seized the ill-gotten snacks. This was no isolated case, however.
In 2015, three burglars looted the Build-A-Burger restaurant in Livingston County, New York. The group swiped a cash register, parts of the store’s CCTV system, and a bowl of macaroni salad.
The Livingston County Sheriff’s Office said that the team discovered parts of the cash register and surveillance equipment alongside “rubber gloves, loose change, and a steady trail of macaroni salad.” According to a statement, the perpetrators “took turns eating along their escape route.”
Suspects Matthew Sapetko, James Marullo, and Timothy Walker Jr. were apprehended and charged with a variety of offenses, including third-degree burglary.
2 The $360 Billion Check
A Texas man strolls into a bank. Donning his “serious business face,” he tells himself that this is the day he bags $360 billion. While aspiring to become the richest man on the planet, Charles Ray Fuller devised his own get-rich-quick scheme. He was to walk up to a teller in a Fort Worth bank and hand over a check for $360 billion. And in 2008, that is exactly what he did.
To put that into perspective, $360 billion rivals the annual revenue of most Fortune 500 companies. Employees at the Chase Bank branch raised a quizzical brow and made contact with the check’s supposed author, Paula Prettyman. But Prettyman, his partner’s mother, confirmed that she had not issued the check, bringing Fuller’s dreams crashing down around his ears.
The 21-year-old had hoped to use the bogus check to start his own record company. Blinded by such dizzying ambition, Fuller made a series of blunders that only compounded the situation. When the police arrived, they discovered that he was also in possession of marijuana and a handgun.
A year earlier, a man in Pittsburgh tried to use a $1 million bill to pay for supermarket goods. (As you would expect, he asked for change.) When the Giant Eagle store manager confiscated the fake note, the belligerent customer took his anger out on store equipment.
A North Carolina man, Michael Fuller, attempted the same stunt at a local Walmart in 2012. Fuller (not believed to be related to Charles Ray Fuller of the $360-billion-check scheme) was arrested after trying to use the counterfeit $1 million bill to buy electrical equipment.
In 2004, a woman in Georgia tried to buy over $1,600 worth of items with a fake note. She also hoped that Walmart workers would “break a million,” amounting to over $998,000 in change. Alice Pike pleaded ignorance, saying she genuinely believed that the bill was real. “You can’t keep up with the US Treasury,” lamented Pike.
1 Sleeping Beauty
Understandably, the criminal class consists of a sleepy bunch. The job is physically demanding, the police are always hunting them down, and the work is rather stressful. So it comes as little surprise when these pilfering prowlers fall asleep on the job.
This is precisely what happened to one exhausted intruder after successfully breaking into a house in Glasgow, Scotland. The surprised occupants returned to find their very own burglar, dozing and covered in Doritos. According to the local police, the hungry thief also consumed half a pie.
“Sleeping on the Job! We all feel tired when we start a shift & a thief who started his shift at 2345 yesterday was no different. He broke into a house on Corsewall St, decided on a pit stop, ate half a pie and fell asleep covered in Doritos. He woke up in cuffs #fingerlickinggood,” tweeted Monklands Police.
Reports of burglars falling asleep in their victims’ homes are not uncommon. In 2014, Christopher Provazek was charged with burglary after falling asleep in somebody else’s Houston home.
Kevin Connolly woke up at around 4:00 AM to a catch a flight, only to discover Provazek slumbering in his guest room. Connolly also found that a number of his personal possessions were missing. He tried waking the sleeping beauty but to no avail. While he waited for the cops to arrive, the Houston resident even took snaps of his intruder.
Connolly speculated that the little Van Winkle had made several trips to his house before succumbing to fatigue. The stolen items turned up on the thief’s porch along with a half-empty bottle of alcohol. A guitar, clothing, an iPad, and the ashes of Connolly’s dead dog (always with the ashes) were among the retrieved items.
To add insult to injury, Provazek was wearing one of Connolly’s coats. Cheeky.