Committing a crime is a dumb decision on its own, but some people put effort in their plan to not get caught. The people in these stories couldn't be bothered with a well-thought-out plan. Or they did have a plan but were too stupid to realized how bad of a plan it was. The stories compiled here showcase the dumbest criminals who got caught almost immediately.
"When I worked at Hollywood video (before that evil corporation went out of business) a man came into my store and bought one bag of popcorn. When I opened the register he pulled a box cutter out of his pocket and told me to give him all the money. My first reaction was to laugh. I couldn't believe I was being robbed. He then waved the box cutter around and swore he wasn't horsing around to which I told him he wasn't getting anything. He said he'd cut me and I told him good luck climbing over the counter to get me. He then placed his hands on the counter and leaned towards me. I grabbed a box cutter of my own and said look at that, a Mexican stand off.
Now here is where it gets silly.
The man asked if I was threatening him. I said no sir, still laughing at the situation. He then proclaimed he was calling the police and I said please do. He did and he WAITED for the police to arrive! He told them I brandished a box cutter and threatened his life. I then showed the fine officer our security footage and wouldn't you know it? He arrested my new friend."
"I worked at a bowling alley in high school. We had a guy climb up into the ceiling in the restroom and wait until we closed, so he could climb down and rob it. Not only did he not get any money (everything was locked up in a gigantic safe from the 1930's that probably weighed over a thousand pounds), but he couldn't even get out of the building - all the steel fire doors were padlocked on the outside, and I guess he didn't want to risk being seen smashing the glass on the front doors, since it was right by a busy road. He did the only logical thing, which was go back to the bar and drink all night - the manager found him passed out on the floor when he opened up in the morning."
"Back when I worked at Walmart, one of the best laughs I ever got while working there was watching two middle aged women run into the store, grab about fifty of those visa gift cards from the rack, then run out of the store, laughing while they did it.
You have to activate them. They are completely worthless without being activated. I bet they were pretty upset when they realized they had just stolen a boatload of nothing."
"In college I worked as a Loss Prevention guy for one of the Big Boxes, you know, sit in a little room and watch cameras to catch shoplifters.
We were having a problem with customer's wallets being stolen out of the Men's fitting rooms. The victim would go in, try on a new pair of pants, come out to show his wife and when he went back into the fitting room his wallet would be gone.
So one afternoon I get a call from the sales staff about a fight in the Men's fitting room. I run down there to find a 6'2" black guy with a 5'2" white guy in a headlock. The black guy caught the white guy coming out of his room with his wallet. Turns out the black guy's 'wallet' was his Secret Service badge and credentials.
"A few weeks ago I'm getting home from late night classes when this guy jumps out and says 'gimmie all your money' or something like that. Problem is, he has no weapon. He wasn't even a threatening looking dude. I just sorta walked past him back to my dorm.
Guy keeps at it until we get near my dorm. He gets in front of the door and demands money. I pick up a rusted pipe that was always near the door and he backs off. Laziest criminal ever."
"Not really a 'stupid criminal' more of a 'gentleman robber' actually.
I went out at like 2 in the morning to buy cigs. Tried a few shops but they were all closed. While walking home in sorrow I was accosted by a young man with a knife, who asked quite politely for all my money... I was a very poor backpacker at the time and the $50 in my pocket was pretty much the last of my money for the month. I showed the guy my empty wallet hoping he would leave it at that but he noticed my bus-pass and decided to take that instead. He then handed me 2 cigs and apologized for the 'inconvenience' and walked away.
In a state of semi-shock I realised that without my bus-pass I had no way of getting the 5am bus to work (darn Vancouver transport company) and expressed my frustration out loud. The guy came back and asked me what was wrong, after I explained he handed me back my bus-pass and said, 'We've all got to make a living somehow'.
I got mugged and came out losing nothing and gaining 2 cigs."
"I didn't actually witness this, but I did witness the 'effects'.
One afternoon while trying to cook dinner, the power started acting funny. It wasn't a black out, but more of a brown out, where power dimmed, and came back on, flickered, went out, came back on, dimmed. Up and down for several minutes.
Then eventually the power went out. It would come back on for a few minutes now and then, but it was more or less out for another hour or two.
I found out a couple days later, that some idiot tried to steal copper wire from some power station. The flickering of lights and such was him being cooked by several thousand volts. Idiot got killed trying to steal $100 worth of copper wire."
"A couple of people broke into my storage facility once. They cut through the fence and was going through units when they realized there was a camera mounted near them pointed right where they were standing.
They panic, cover their faces up, and then decide to get rid of the camera. They climbed up on something and start trying to tear the camera down. While doing this, there is nothing covering their faces anymore and they are literally staring into the lens of the camera no more then 3 feet away."
"I once foiled a clever plan by an elderly man at the department store I used to work at.
He had a blazer with countless hidden pockets and he was filling them with bottles of Oil of Olay moisturizer. The loss prevention guy called me to help corner him. As he was leaving the door, he saw that I was looking at him and started to run. We ran after him and he looked back at us. That's where he messed up, he tripped over his own feet and fell like a sack of potatoes. Most of the moisturizer bottles exploded and he was lubed neck to knee.
He smelled fantastic though."
"An old co-worker told me that a guy once went up to a register with a 50 dollar bill, placed it down, held up the cashier who gave him the money in the register, and left.
The total in the register had been about $37 dollars and the guy had left without his $50.
Idiot stole -$13 dollars."
"This one actually happens a lot, but it happened to me one night several years ago during a graveyard shift.
I was working alone on a Sunday night at a gas station, now this wasn't a 'bad' area but it wasn't great either so the GM figured that they didn't need two people watching the store. I disagreed with him, but I digress. I was in the back of the store mopping, doing my best to keep an eye out for people approaching the store so I could run back to the registers before they got inside. Anyway, I'm mopping when a van suddenly pulls up in reverse to the store. Just as I started to put the mop aside, literally no more than two seconds after this, the doors to the back open up and two dudes with sweaters tied around their heads jump out the back. They rush inside the store, yelling, run up to the counter and grab both of the teller machines. They rip out the power cords, run out of the store with their loot and jump into the back of the van. It speeds off and they hit the road. All of this happened in about twenty seconds, and I just stood there and watched it.
What these idiots didn't realize is that the freaking machines are separate from the cash drawer for this very reason. They effectively made off with zero dollars, but did me a favor because I didn't have to work for the next two days since the store couldn't operate until they got the new machines in."
"Working as a cashier for a grocery store, a customer came and placed a random assortment of things up at my register. Candy, soda, a couple kids toys and a pre-cooked chicken from the deli. She mentioned to me that she was from Oregon and would like the tax removed (we can do that in WA for customers from specific states). To do this, she had to give me her ID so I could record the info on it before removing the tax from the transaction. After giving her her total she said she would like to pay with a check. She as filling it out as I noticed it was pre-signed. I asked her who's they were and if they were available to come sign the check in front of me. She said they belonged to her mom who was in the car. When she left I saw her get in the passenger seat of a van and leave, so I took down the license plate as they drove off. After this all happened I called my floor manager over and told him what happened. We both shrug and basically say, 'Weird' leaving it at that.
Later that day the loss prevention guy calls me up stairs, which is never normally a good thing. He tells me that I had made a good catch, because two women had been going around town with a stolen book of checks and I was the reason the cops had an ID and a license plate to go after.
So to sum it up- a lady gave me her ID to prove she deserved a $0.78 discount on goods she intended to pay for with stolen checks. I was summoned to court to tell this story to a judge."
"I am arresting a guy for something, I don’t remember what. After the guy was handcuffed, I put my medical gloves on and proceeded to search his pockets. I pulled out a clear plastic baggie with powder in it. As soon as the guy saw I had the bag in my hand, he blurted out, 'These ain’t my pants”. I was laughing on the inside but with all seriousness and feigned concern, I asked him whose pants they were. He said the pants belonged to his brother. I asked which one, he said he only had one brother.
My suspect was 5'7" and about 150 pounds. I transported the suspect to his residence and called for the brother to come outside. The brother steps out of the house at 6 foot 4 and about 275 pounds. Again, being perfectly straight-faced, I asked the brother if the pants that my arrested was wearing were his. The brother looked at me as if I was a little green alien or something. I then smiled and said, 'I didn’t think so'.
The fact that I went that extra step and documented it accordingly forced the suspect into a guilty plea and seven years in state prison."
"Gang members making an entire rap album in which they describe, in detail, the shootings, robberies, and murders they’d pulled off.
I am not a cop. I covered crime for the better part of 10 years as a newspaper reporter, and this was one of the all-time dumbest things I’ve ever seen criminals do.
These guys didn’t just rhyme about abstract instances of violence. It wasn’t one of those cases where the defense could have argued the gang members were just upping their street cred with braggadocio.
No. These guys described their crimes in painstaking detail, using specifics no one else but the killers could have known.
'Wit gats out thugs creeped up on the Clinton Street stash house
Capped this fool in his fat mouth an ditched the Glock in a crackhouse
Aiyo I don’t play yo, it’s Jay-Flo, left his brains lookin’ like Playdough
Now we got their piff, their cheddah and all they yay-yo'
They called out their rivals in their music, proclaiming who was next on their kill list.
They had their album professionally pressed, complete with cartoonishly violent cover art, before putting it in local bodegas where people could pick it up for $9.99 on its own little display near the cashier.
When I say these guys were specific, I’m making an understatement. We had a field day with the indictment when we got our hands on it in the newsroom.
The lyrics were absurd:
'Got that amazing ish off Prospect, nggs blaze this piff
On May the Fifth I shot that thug at Tubman Towers and got his chick'
The next day the cops and prosecutors held a press conference where they proudly announced some two dozen arrests as a result of their investigation.
The arrests took the gang’s most violent members and leadership off the streets, essentially crippling its ability to operate.
Of course they played up their own detective work — and to be sure, nailing these guys on major charges involved a lot more than a few cops huddling together in a precinct, earphones on, nodding along to the insultingly terrible beats the gang members made.
It took serious policework, man-hours, overtime and cooperation. But the confessional rap album was like a gift to detectives on a silver platter.
After the press conference I approached the lead prosecutor, whom I’d known for a few years.
'Hey Jim,' I said. 'Just one more question.'
He turned to me and nodded.
'You guys acknowledged how valuable the gang’s album was in terms of self-incrimination, but how would you rate their flow and mic presence? Would you say it was dope or did it need more work?'
For a moment the prosecutor's eyes bulged.
'I don’t listen to that trash!' he started to say.
Then he saw the grin on my face and started laughing.
As for the gang members, they’ve all been rotting in prison for a few years now, and they’ll remain there for the rest of their lives, or at the very least until they’re old men re-emerging into a society that looks nothing like the one they left.
So what’s today’s lesson, kids? You can be a criminal or an emcee, but it’s not a good idea to do both. I recommend skipping the criminal part entirely if you value your life and freedom."
"Now my mother is a rather slim and elegant woman who gives no outward appearance of having come up through the School of Hard Knocks as she did. You cross my mom at your own peril, no matter who you are. When this happened she was in her early 40s and I was in high school.
She was going back to her car outside a building in the little milltown where I grew up. A young man tried to mug her but rather than freezing she ran for her car, which was unlocked and had the window open because it’s a small town in the Deep South and there was nothing inside the car worth stealing.
She made it to the car and got inside but the man had run after her and he reached into the window. Unbeknownst to him, my mother had not reached into her purse for her keys, but for her knife, and proceeded to cut a gash into his arm. He screamed and ran and she drove to the police station.
The police put out an alert for a man of the assailant’s description. And as it turned out, the cut was severe enough that the guy had no option but to get himself to the county hospital’s emergency room, so my mom was still at the station when word came in that a fellow matching the alert was at the ER.
The cops drive my mom down to the hospital and take her into the ER where they’d just finished sewing this guy up. He’s sitting on the edge of a bed when the police walk in with my mother, and upon seeing her he immediately points at her with his good arm and shouts, 'That witch cut me!'
"Dispatch put out a radio call about an armed robbery at a convenience store. They gave us make and color of the vehicle, and a brief description of a guy wearing a ski mask.
I stopped a car matching that description, and called for back up. I ran a 10–28 and 10–29 via radio to ascertain owner and to determine if it was stolen.
Within seconds of my getting out of my car, the back-up arrived, and we approached the car from the rear, on both sides. I asked the man for his drivers license, and registration. He obliged.
'I suppose you wonder why I stopped you?' I asked.
'Yeah. I have a pretty good idea why. But you can’t prove it was me. I was wearing a mask!' He answered.
I was stunned, my fellow officer was stunned, and the guy suddenly thought about what he said, and started beating his head against the steering wheel for obvious reasons.
Back at the station, I was ribbed for several days about my, 'amazing interrogation methods.'"
"My sister used to work at a bank in a Walmart, and her coworker had this somewhat older pickup truck (about fifteen years old at the time of this story). The truck was pretty unremarkable in every way: Stock parts, stock stereo, average looking. Some idiot punched out the driver-side window and stole the CD player, which didn't play past track 7 on any given CD (mind you, it was stock and ALSO 15 years old). Instead of disconnecting the plugs like a normal thief, he cut all the wires, making it a stolen CD player that now required repair. The idiot bled all over the inside of the truck because he punched the window in, and proceeded to wrap his hand up in one of the girl's spare work shirt.
After taking the CD player, he then walks into Walmart and tries to steal a TV. Not one of the newer TVs that only weights like 25 pounds-- the big tube TVs that weighs like 80. When he walked out, the alarm went off. He told the person at the door that it was a return, and he was simply taking his old one back to his car. Keep in mind that he still had a bloody bank teller's polo wrapped around his hand... That had an employee's name on it. An employee who was working at that store at that moment.
Of course the friend and the store pressed charges. The friend was also offered an appearance on one of those judge TV shows, but declined because the case was too stupid... For a daytime judge show."
"I one time (while sitting in my cruiser), witnessed a man walking around a used car lot at night in the middle of winter. It had snowed for a while and was still snowing at the time.
Before going to talk to him, I radioed one of my buddies to come meet with me an watch him for a minute. The guy opens one of the car's doors (which is unlocked) and proceeds to start hotwiring the car. As we start to drive over, he gets the car started, puts it in drive, and floors it.
He forgot to wipe the snow off the windshield and drove straight into a light pole about 4 feet in front of the car he stole."
"Not my own story, but an acquaintance from years ago...
He was working nights at a gas station/convenience store, and had a group of usual customers who he got to know the comings and goings of. One man in particular was known to pretty much always wear the same clothes and stood out because he only had one eye and, being poor, wore a patch over the non-functioning eye. He came there every night to buy cigs, and also rented movies a couple of times per week. So: the store had his name and address.
One night, old acquaintance was working at the station when eye patch man came in, but was wearing a large paper bag on his head.
Employee: Hey man. Here for your usual smokes?
Patch: No, this is a freaking robbery!
Employee: Haha! Good one. (and proceeds to put this guy's cigs on the counter)
Patch: I'm serious! Give me all the money in the drawer!
Eventually, the guy figured out the robbery attempt was real, handed over the money, and then called the police when eye patch man left.
Now, it's pretty stupid to rob a place where you regularly shop and where they have your name on computer as a video renter, but even more dumb than that:
He only cut one eye hole in the paper bag."