Ever worried you might have done something stupid? It’s probably nothing compared to the efforts of these inept burglars, bizarre bosses and blundering politicians. Of course we’re laughing at these guys!
Whether it’s criminals, bosses or politicians, these are some of the people who left their thinking caps at home in very public ways.
Check Out the Scene First
One wintr y night in the Austrian market town of Steinach am Brenner, a 20-year- old broke a shop window to get at a display of cigarettes and made off with several cartons. When police arrived the thief was gone, but his footprints in the snow led the officers straight to his apartment. One way or another, it turned out to be a bad gig for the criminal. The cigarette cartons he stole had been for display only. They were empty.
Notorious burglar Raymond Betson, 52, was sentenced to 13 years in prison after a botched raid in the English village of Swanley, Kent. Betson had led his gang of six in what promised to be a multimillion dollar heist, using a stolen heavy-duty digger. But he smashed into the wrong wall of a cash depot and he and his crew burst into... an empty room.
Two burglars broke into a house in Marwit z near Berlin, Germany, and stole jewellery, cigarettes and cash, and made a clean getaway in their car – or so they thought. However, they had been spotted by a witness, and police were soon in hot pursuit. When the burglars noticed that they were being followed by a police patrol, they threw the stolen goods out of the car window. At the same time they floored the accelerator, lost control of the car and ended up in the village pond. They were rescued by the police. And then arrested.
Plan a Good Exit
In the early hours of November 20, 2013, Richard Wilson of Howden, UK, heard moaning coming from the bathroom. He opened the door and saw a man who’d become stuck, head down, while wriggling in through the window. His head rested on the toilet, while his leg remained jammed under the window sash. Would-be thief Daniel Severn, 27, had tried to phone for help but had dropped his mobile phone in the bath. Wilson took a photo of the hapless young man and his wife called the police. Severn was sentenced to two years and four months in jail.
A20-year-old from Ostrava, Czech Republic, had spent the evening drinking with friends in their local park. When he decided to go home,
he didn’t have money for the train ticket, but he did have an idea. He would steal some cash from a fast food restaurant, now closed for the night, next to the station. Seeking a way in, he climbed onto the roof. All was going well until he slipped and got stuck between the exterior walls of the station house and restaurant. And there he stayed until 5am when a station worker heard his desperate knocking. The fire department freed the young man, and then the police charged him with attempted theft.
A48- year- old Dutchman passed a construction site one night in Vleuten near Utrecht and noticed a pile of steel plates. He decided that he could use some, and started loading the plates with his truck’s crane. But with each one-tonne plate he added, his truck sank further into the muddy ground. He tried for hours to shift it. When construction workers arrived in the morning, he gave up: “You may as well call the police. I’m stuck here.”
If only he’d thought of unloading the plates from his truck.
Don’t Leave Any Trace Behind
Police identified an admitted jewel thief in Paris, and all because he made the mistake of planting a kiss on his hostage. The 20-year-old Frenchman, identified only as “Pierre G”, and an accomplice allegedly followed a 56-year-old jewellery store employee home, where they tied her to a chair and threatened to set fire to her if she didn’t give them the store’s alarm
codes. The woman talked and Pierre’s accomplice went off to steal the jewels while he stayed with the hostage. He untied her four hours later – and gave her a parting kiss on the cheek to “ease her trauma”. The woman called the police immediately and they swabbed her cheek for DNA. A few months later they got a match and the suspect, who by this time was already in jail for another crime, confessed.
Thief Billy Joe Donnelly, 22, was peckish as he set out to burgle a house in the English village of Preston, so he raided a greenhouse down a country lane and took a bite out of a cucumber, leaving the remains. He then ransacked the house nearby, stealing treasured possessions and then escaped in the owners’ car. Unfortunately for the hungry Donnelly, the partiallyeaten cucumber was discovered – with his DNA on it. He was jailed for two and a half years.
Always on the Lookout
Police in the Norwegian village of Mjøndalen near Oslo were served two offenders on a silver platter last spring. A couple who were high on drugs decided to have a nap and parked their car next to a building with a huge sign reading “Police”. They were rudely awoken when the long arm of the law knocked on the window. The dopey pair was arrested for possession and use of drugs and for dr iving under the inf luence. Fortunately they didn’t have to walk far to the interrogation room.
Two men in the Russian city of Dimitrovgrad decided to steal computers and other equipment from an office. The masked criminals tied up the night guard and began packing the computers. One of them decided it was too dark and turned a light on… except it wasn’t a light switch he pressed, but the alarm button. Three minutes later the police arrived and caught the robbers red-handed.
Christchurch police posted a mug shot of Sam Lake, 23, to their Facebook page, asking for the public’s help tracking him down. The brazen New Zealander was wanted for breaching his home detention.
“I need to get a new mug shot,” Lake posted back. His wisecrack was liked more than 3000 times.
“Come see us and will arrange at no cost,” the cops fired back. This reply was liked nearly 6000 times.
“If only they were as good at finding me as they were with comebacks,” Lake quipped in return.
The police had the last laugh. They caught up with Lake and he was resentenced to six months in prison.
Two young men and a woman from Radom, Poland, decided to get rich by making counterfeit
50-zloty banknotes on their home printer. They soon realised, however, that their fakes were useless and they had to get rid of them. They went to a nearby forest to burn them, but did not take into account that smoke from a fire in a forest on a rainy day might just draw someone’s attention – in this case, police who were cruising in the area. When the police arrived the damp wads were burning with difficulty and the woman still had 50 sheets of counterfeits stuffed down her blouse. The three young people had not only failed to get rich, but were also very embarrassed. In fact, authorities found their attempt at forgery so foolish that the public prosecutor withdrew charges against them.
Thirty-nine-year-old Paweł C. from Lodz, Poland, specialised in stealing bikes and tools from lock-ups in the city’s older districts. His needs were small, but he did allow himself a mobile phone. Last year he was stealing from a cellar when his wallet fell out of his pocket. Discovering the next day that it was missing, he became worried; he had no idea where he had lost it. No documents meant trouble if, for instance, the police decided to stop him. So he called them, reported his loss and gave his phone number.
In fact the police had already found the wallet at the crime scene. They called his mobile and invited him to pick up the documents. He was soon at the station – in trouble again.