Really Dumb Things Criminals Were Caught Doing

In Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, ex-law student and professional poor person Rodion Raskolnikov fancies himself the Napoleon Bonaparte of crime when he's really a Napoleon Dynamite minus likability and dancing. Driven by his unearned ego and desire to make a quick buck, Raskolnikov kills a pawnbroker and her sister. That's bad, and you shouldn't do it. Not just the murder part but also the Bonaparte.

Raskolnikov acted like an even stupider Icarus, thumbing his soon-to-be-waterlogged nose at the sun while holding a lit torch to his wax wings –- all because he refused to see his lowliness. That should be a lesson to all aspiring criminals. However, many ultimately drown in a sea of their own humiliating hubris, Bona-partly because they're too dumb to wear wings at all.

Using public funds to buy a dog tuxedo

The famous tale of Hansel and Gretel had two major takeaways: (1) children must taste way better than gingerbread houses, and (2) leaving a trail makes things way easier to find. The first point seems silly because a real witch could just make the gingerbread taste like children, eliminating the need for cannibalism. The second takeaway makes a lot more sense, however. If a criminal leaves an evidence trail; cops will gobble it up like breadcrumbs and arrest (or possibly even eat) the source.

Like the story of Icarus Raskolnikov, criminals fail to heed the lessons from that grim fairy tale and suffer as a consequence. Case in point: Kristi Goss. According to the Associated Press, Goss worked as an administrative assistant for an Arkansas judge. That fact alone should have encouraged her to keep a low profile. Instead she used a county credit card to make unmistakably illegal purchases.

Goss went on a $200,000 spending binge, devouring taxpayer money to acquire luxuries like diamonds, sequined throw pillows, tickets to sporting events, and a dog tuxedo. Yes, for some reason, Goss wanted to make her pooch presentable for a black tie event. Also, sequined pillows? Tacky. Predictably, Goss's gross misconduct proved easy to trace. She pleaded guilty in September 2017, with sentencing to be determined in November.

Calling the bank beforehand to arrange a heist

Imagine you're at home with your tacky sequined pillows when a mysterious stranger calls. The unnamed unknown asks you to pile all your cash and sparkly pillows in a neat pile and patiently wait to be robbed. You'd likely burst out laughing because no criminal's that stupid, right?

Wrong. In 2010 two criminals were exactly that stupid. As CNN detailed, 27-year-old Albert Bailey and an underage accomplice set out to rob the People's Bank in Fairfield, Connecticut. From the get-go, it was a terrible idea because, statistically speaking, bank heists have pretty low payoffs. (Plus, it's immoral, illegal, and all the other blah words one should say.) What made this plan especially egregious was the decision to arrange the robbery by phone.

Evidently unaware that bank heists don't work like Pizza Hut, one of the culprits called to order takeout loot. The caller told an employee to prepare $100,000 in large bills for pick-up. Failure to comply would result in a "bloodbath." Soon after, one of the feckless crooks walked in with a note and received a disappointing $900. (See? Low payoff.) By this point, the building was locked down, so the criminal couldn't flee without requesting permission to exit. The bank cooperated, allowing the robber to run headlong into the cops. The perp then made a beeline for his partner, who sat waiting in a getaway vehicle. Shockingly, they didn't get away.

Trying to steal an occupied cop car

Virgil famously asserted that "fortune favors the bold." But to paraphrase Aristotle, it really depends on the situation. Bravery can work wonders when trying to get a promotion or ask someone to prom. But when it comes to ridiculously risky crimes, boldness is just boneheaded.

Take Florida resident Aaron Rodriguez, for example. Per Treasure Coast News, Rodriguez really wanted a ride home one morning in July 2017. He had $20 and two cellphones, so presumably he could have called a cab. But who knows? Maybe the phones didn't work or he needed the money to buy more weed for the pot pipe he was carrying. Whatever his reasons, he reasoned that his best recourse was to steal a presumably unlit cop car that happened to be running.

Unbeknownst to Rodriguez, a rather confused policeman was sitting in the driver's seat as the certainly-would-not-be thief tried unsuccessfully to break into the vehicle. After finally noticing the cop inside, Rodriguez darted behind a nearby car, no doubt believing he'd mastered the art of camouflage. He hadn't. The officer nabbed the ineffectual felon and charged him with unfortunate boldness.

Trying to traffic drugs in traffic court

Despite its slightly ambiguous name, traffic court isn't a space reserved for trafficking things. You definitely shouldn't traffic drugs there. Yet, like a man with an incarceration fetish, Christopher Durkin tried to do precisely that, right inside the courtroom, while a sheriff was present. Wow.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that in 2017 Durkin scored a court date with a Pennsylvania judge after driving with a suspended license. During his hearing, he noticed some random dude in the room and thought, "I bet I could sell that guy some Suboxone pills." (Suboxone, in case you were wondering, is a highly addictive drug prescribed to treat opiate addiction.) Durkin eagerly accepted his own wager and tried to make a deal.

A sheriff noticed the interaction and immediately told Durkin to beat it. After Durkin presumably fight-danced out of the courtroom, the random dude reported the offer to the officer. Sure enough, when the sheriff entered the hallway, he found Durkin waiting with two doses of Suboxone. Durkin should have just moonwalked home when the officer asked him to leave. Instead, he tried to be a smooth criminal and stuck around, resulting in an even smoother drug bust.

Robbing a gun store with a baseball bat

When planning to rob a gun store, you should always remember to punch yourself in the brain and not go through with the robbery. If that's not an option, you should don a ski mask and gloves, wear a fat suit (if you're already fat, wear a thin suit), cautiously approach the gun store entrance, punch yourself in the brain, and leave. The next 500 tips repeat the previous two suggestions using different words. Tip 503 is: Don't use a baseball bat to rob a gun store. You'd think that goes without saying, but that wasn't obvious to Derrick Mosley.

According to CNN, in 2013, Mosley moseyed on down to the Discount Gun Sales store in Washington County, Oregon. Armed with a bat, a knife, and incredibly poor judgment, he proceeded to smash a display case with his bat and grab a firearm. The store manager, realizing that Mosley was literally outgunned, whipped out his weapon and took control of the situation.

By the time law enforcement showed up, Mosley was lying on the floor hoping that his body wasn't about to be inhabited by bullets. He was subsequently charged with illegal possession of a firearm, which must have come as a surprise. Save for a few comically doomed moments, Mosley's only firepower lacked the power to fire anything.

Parking a stolen vehicle at a police station

Given the wealth of incompetent criminals the world, a crook has to clear a pretty high bar to sink to an ugly new low. But if you fail hard enough, police might dub you the dumbest delinquent in the entire country. In 2015 that dubious honor went to a pair of British bandits who excelled at self-defeat.

Per Manchester Evening News, the incident occurred on a fateful Friday in June. It was technically the 12th, but this Friday behaved more like the 13th where the criminals were concerned. Sometime before 2 a.m., the thieves kidnapped a car in the city of Salford and ran off with it to Middleton, located 15 miles away. To be clear, they didn't literally run away with a car, but they might as well have, since their actual escape proved even stupider.

Ostensibly hoping to keep a low profile, the pair attempted to stash their mechanical conquest in an underground parking lot. But in a moment of cosmic justice and criminally bad planning, the witless bandits unwittingly chose a police station as their hiding spot. After being thwarted by the lot's security gate, the thieves tried to make a hasty retreat, only to be intercepted by officers on their way to the station. Police roundly ridiculed the criminals on Facebook, calling them "Britain's dumbest criminals." Considering their line of work, that's really saying something.

Napping during a crime spree

In 2015, Canada's Dawson Creek Mirror made everyone think of that catchy Paula Cole song from the hit '90s TV series Dawson's Creek. It also reported on a couple of schmucks who ran amok on April Fools' Day. The shenanigans began in Grande Praire, where grand theft auto was on the menu. The men helped themselves to a pickup truck worth more than $60,000 and then rode to Dawson Creek to pick up another one.

Without James Van Der Beek to keep them honest, the buddy-buddy baddies got bolder, breaking into about 15 different vehicles in search of valuables. They also stopped at a local laundromat to clean out the cash machines. In all, the criminals amassed $200,000 worth of stuff, including a bunch of wallets, a bike, and a likely very-hard-to-hide boat. All that nonstop lawbreaking must have really tuckered them out because rather than hightailing it out of town, the crooks stopped to take naps. As Paula Cole might say, they didn't want to wait for their crimes to be over.

Inexplicably, the men didn't even pick discreet locations for their ill-advised shuteye. They remained in their stolen rides and parked outside local businesses. One "hid" in the parking lot of a towing company while the other hungrily snoozed near a Tim Horton's restaurant. Meanwhile, the Mounties showed up to set things (Dudley Do) right. Much to the bandits' chagrin, instead of letting them rest, the police promptly arrested them. 

Granting citizenship in exchange for egg rolls

As a general rule, good crimes don't exist. Even when lawbreakers have pure motives, their actions suggest something's wrong with their life or the law they've broken. Simply put, you're either a crap-caked toilet or you're in one. Well, not you, per se, but criminals –- unless you are a criminal, in which case, definitely you. But in addition to maybe you, that crappy metaphor applies to individuals like Mai Nhu Nguyen and all the people who bribed her.

As a U.S. immigration officer, Nguyen handled applications for U.S. citizenship and residency. Per the LA Times, between 2011 and 2013, she demanded favors from applicants to ensure desired outcomes. This example perfectly encapsulates the toilet theory of criminality. The immigrants being forced to commit bribery were clearly at the mercy of the corrupt toilet that was Nguyen. To keep herself clogged, she made desperate people hand over thousands of dollars and a baffling 300 egg rolls for an office party.

More confusingly, Nguyen didn't just ask for the money to buy 300 egg rolls. To earn U.S. citizenship, someone actually had to procure that preposterous quantity of appetizers and personally bring it to Nguyen's office. That's needlessly risky and contemptibly lazy. Naturally, Nguyen got busted. In fact, according to the LA Times, she got busted holding a bag of egg rolls and an ill-gotten dessert. In 2014, Nguyen got her just desserts: a two and a half year prison sentence.

Wearing incriminating evidence in court

During the 2000s, a group of mostly female high school students left Hollywood's elites quaking with opulent terror. Nicknamed the Bling Ring, the sticky-fingered fiends burgled homes with abandon, taking an estimated $3 million in jewelry and clothes just so they could have them. Given that this happened in Hollywood, the stolen items probably consisted of two bracelets and half a leather jacket. Wait, no, according to the LA Times, it was a full leather jacket belonging to Paris Hilton and probably more than two bracelets.

You might think any burglar who can outfox famous millionaires must have brains. That's technically true, but the strength of those brains is debatable. Keep in mind that these teens jeopardized their futures over shiny objects and Paris Hilton. Then there's Bling Ring member Courtney Ames (pictured above), who stood trial in 2010 for stealing Hilton's jacket. Per the Associated Press, Ames got herself into an even crunchier pickle when she appeared in court sporting a necklace stolen from Lindsay Lohan. Brains indeed.

Despite basically holding up a sign that read, "I did it," Ames initially pleaded not guilty. But once her fashion faux pas was revealed, prosecutors heaped on additional charges, forcing Ames to change her tune. In exchange for probation and community service, she confessed to "receiving" Hilton's stolen jacket. Had she studied harder in high school, she might have been a better burglar. 

Shamelessly splurging after a history-making heist

Few things foil a robber like their own success. And few robbers demonstrate that better than Steve and Michelle Chambers. In 1997, they helped pull off the second largest bank heist in American history, turning them into instant millionaires. Their quality of life jumped drastically, and their inhibitions jumped off a cliff.

In 1999, Washington Post reporter Sue Pressley documented the duo's doings. It all began when Steve, Michelle, and a host of others stole $17 million from a Loomis Fargo Bank in North Carolina. One of the thieves wisely went to Mexico, and Steve and Michelle went crazy. Not even three weeks passed before the couple moved from their drab trailer to a fab mansion. The couple got breast implants (well, one of them did), limousine rides, a BMW, a portrait of a dog dressed as General George Patton, a velvet painting of Elvis, and the ludicrous list keeps going. They were essentially a how-to guide on self-incrimination.

At one point, Michelle became so brazen that she entered a bank with stacks of stolen cash that still had the Loomis Fargo wrappers on them. She then innocently inquired, "How much can I deposit without the bank reporting the transaction?" Amazingly, it took the FBI five months and an informant to build an airtight case against these knuckleheads and make an arrest. Then again, maybe they just spent the first four months enjoying the show. There's nothing like watching fools part with money.