Every profession has its cream of the crop, and that goes for criminals too. Check out these stories about bad guys that even impressed police officers.
"I had a shoplifter hitting the Walmart for TVs. He would go to the store, put a TV in the cart, and go to customer service. He would request a refund for the television, to which the customer service employee told him he needed a receipt. He would proceed to get agitated to the point where security would come over and walk him and the tv back to his car. Away he would go. He took three local Walmart's for almost 20 TVs.
Sometimes it's the simple strategy that's the best."
"I continually had to interview a man who was repeatedly arrested for running weapons.
Sometime around my fourth interview with the guy, he explained to me that he earned about $250,000 in three months of smuggling. He inevitably got caught and was sentenced to a nine-month stint (two years but only serve nine months).
He also told me that no one ever seized his funds, they were all done in cash and left in a safe place. He said he had a steady job where he made $250,000 for a year's worth of work and would retire in a few more years. Since it was all tax-free, and he lived cost-free for his nine months of incarceration, he was banking it all.
The dude basically made my entire life's earnings in seven years, but the guy's arresting him thought he was an idiot."
"A guy in our local jail wanted to escape. Our jail is pretty much escape proof if you are behind bars, but not so much if you are a trustee bringing food into the kitchen, going to court, or going to the hospital.
So this guy went to the hospital for a problem and halfway from the doctor's office to the car, there was a bathroom in the hallway. He told the guards he had to go, they walk him in, he pees, then they take him back to jail.
He tells the story to his girlfriend. She dresses up as a dude, goes to that same bathroom, removes the 'hockey puck' from the urinal and drops a hacksaw blade down the drain and attaches the blade by fishing wire back to the puck.
Next time he goes to the hospital, he goes to that same urinal. The guards are standing right there, but there is a urinal screen so it looks like he is shaking out the last drop. In fact, is reeling in the blade.
They take him back to the jail again. The hacksaw blade isn't strong enough to get through all the steel in the jail, but it is enough to make a hole in a window. He now went into the business of reeling 'product' up from the ground with the fishing line."
"Back in an earlier part of life, when I was a cop in Baltimore's Western District, our sector had been getting hit with weird commercial burglaries that owners couldn't figure out how they were happening. Alarms weren't going off, and owners were showing up to ransacked shops.
We drove a lot of back alleys, and walked a lot of foot patrol, for months, trying to catch this guy.
Eventually, one winter midnight shift, we caught up to him. He finally hit a place that had motion alarms as well as entry alarms and he triggered it. It was about 3 a.m., and it had been snowing lightly for a couple of hours.
We got to the place in less than a minute, and the cop who took the back alley saw this dude running down the alley with about a half a block head-start. He took off after him, radioed, and we all started converging. By the time we all got back there and had closed off the ends of the alleys in the block, nobody could find this guy anywhere. That's okay, it was snowing. We're walking along, following tracks in the snow in the alley, and they turn into a side alley and stop at the dead end. We looked at each other confused, and start shining flashlights around. My side partner says, 'Spiderman.' We look, and he's got the guy in his light. About 15 feet up, against the buildings. He had wedged himself into the corner of two buildings, and pressed his arms/hands and legs/feet out against the two walls, and used isometric pressure at that 90-degree angle to lift himself up and stay wedged up there, just looking down at us. Like some free climbing mountaineer.
He came down and got locked up. After interviewing him over the course of days and weeks, a bunch of us went back to old burglary locations from the past few months and found where he had gotten in through roof access points. Dude was wiry and really strong. He skittered up the sides of buildings in that same isometric counter-pressure kind of way if he couldn't find any easier access.
"There were three guys that tricked cops in my city.
These guys bought uniforms and IDs of anti-corruption agents (my country has a special unit for this) and a huge blue van which this unit uses. Of course, the buses they use are undercover, and by undercover, I mean regular, easy to fake. These guys were driving to an exchange and they were arresting employees, saying the money they have is fake, and they have to take it. You see an ID, a badge, and three big dudes so you normally don't think and obey, right? After the arrest, they were taking them to court in handcuffs. The trick here is that court in my city has a huge hallway through the whole building, from one side to the other. One guy stayed in a van and the two other guys in the crew, in uniform, dragging an innocent man in handcuffs into the middle of a courthouse that is full of cops! Yep, they did that every time. Besides, they had balaclavas and big three letter acronym on the back, so they didn't stand out. Then, they would leave this handcuffed man in the middle of court saying that someone will come back soon. Then they would go on to the other side of the hallway, get in the waiting van, and head back home. They robbed every single exchange in my state for two years."
"This guy in high school, we'll call him Luis, was a known dealer. He didn't make it a secret. Everyone bought stuff off of him. The cops constantly pulled him over to search him, and whenever a dealer-related thing happened at school, he was often the first kid they pulled into the principal's office.
But they would never catch him with any contraband.
The principal used to turn all of his possessions inside out on a weekly basis. Apparently, schools can do that, but cops can't. They regularly cut locks off his gym locker and his regular locker in hopes of finding his stash, but they never found it.
One time there was a rumor going around that his stash was stored in a locker not assigned to anyone, which prompted the administration to search every single locker in the school. I remember we had to stand in the hallway and unlock it so the principal could have a look inside. They definitely caught people with stuff, but not Luis. Turns out he started that rumor.
Dogs were a regular occurrence. They brought them into the school once a month to sniff around, and they were present at every sports game.
Luis was one of the only, if not the sole supplier for the whole school. The administration had no idea what to do. They would catch kids with stuff and the kids would flat out say, 'I bought this from Luis.' Luis would encourage them to say it. They would then flip Luis' junk inside out, cops would search his car, and he consented to all of it, and laughed when they found nothing.
This was probably close to 15 years ago now. The vice principal loves to tell the story of how they eventually 'caught' him. The VP's younger son asked for these shoes for Christmas that had a secret compartment in them. Light bulbs go off in his head. The first day back after the holiday break, he calls the school's DARE officer and pulls Luis out of class. They bring him into to office and flip all of his stuff out on the table. Then the VP tells him to take his shoes off. Turns out his hunch was right. He had hidden compartments in his shoes.
But there was no contraband in there. I guess Luis was laughing at this point. Luis had the audacity to explain that he hasn't seen any of his classmates for three weeks, and he hadn't taken any orders yet. Had the VP waited a day, he would have caught him."
"I'm not a cop, but I worked with the police after I was mugged. Basically, this young, really sweet-looking couple would mug or pickpocket people and go to the bank of the victim. They would then claim that his/her wallet had been stolen, and they had no money to get a new ID. They would say they needed an ID to get a bank card. The sympathetic banker would buy the story and help them to get a new debit card under the victim's account.
They were super charismatic and memorized all the other information they could find from the wallet: full name, address, sometimes actual numbers from the bank card. Apparently, in my case, the guy showed up with my credit card saying he had canceled it by mistake as he thought it had been in 'his' wallet when it was stolen. The banker gave him a new credit card and a debit card for my account.
This happened to me four years ago, and they were still going strong this year. The only reason they were caught was that I happened to be at a bank, saw them pulling this nonsense, and recognized them from when they mugged me."
"Before I attended Police Academy and was able to become a road deputy, I worked corrections. One of the smartest people I've ever dealt with in that facility was a man on the second story of the 'tower,' I'll call Inmate X.
Inmate X would spend most of his days in his cell, 'asleep.' He never went out in the pod, and he never brought a lot of attention to himself. He just seemed like the typical guy who made an honest mistake and wanted to sleep his time away and go home. About a month after we received Inmate X, we had to elevate the security level of another inmate in his cell because we found metal in his rack. Two more months go by and Inmate X now has less than 90 days left of his initial 180-day sentence. Suddenly, an alert goes off in the pod, a deputy triggered his radio for backup when he went in the pod to find all but one of the 87 inmates completely wasted off their behinds, having taken contraband smuggled in the jail in clear wrap.
After we shook the pod down and searched for more, all we found was that Inmate X was the only one who hadn't taken any contraband because he was 'asleep.' He had established a pattern of this so we believed him. Two days later, another alert goes up. This time everyone but Inmate X had taken some more contraband and the pod broke out into a happy dance frenzy. Three days after that, the courts send us over a copy of their security footage. As we watched the highlighted segment, we see a red coupe pull up outside the jail, a white cloth falls from the second story window, a woman exits the car, loads the cloth, and it's hoisted back up.
This absolutely blew our minds. There was no way it could be possible because the windows were reinforced glass and steel mesh surrounded by bars. But as we ran up to the second story, we inspected every window, couldn't find any traces of tampering. About a week passed, then the courts called over to us 'the red coupe is back' and we all rushed into the pod, only to finally catch Inmate X out of bed, having skillfully removed the sealant in the window in a fashion where it wouldn't break. He was using a handmade system of his underwear and some string from his blanked to hoist the contraband up through the hole.
That day we busted him with rocks. The driver of the coupe turned out to be his girlfriend and she was arrested. Our minds were blown at how clever he was to do it the way he did, right under our noses. He was sentenced to 45 years in prison, and his girlfriend received 25 years."
"A friend of mine was in jail with an actual jewel thief. Apparently, before the actual robbery, he would case the place as a potential customer looking for an engagement ring for his made-up fiancé. While 'shopping,' he would put a hidden camera somewhere in the store aimed at the security pad, and then leave. Over the next few days, he would determine the schedule of the employees and the security code to turn off the alarm. Once he was confident he had an accurate idea of both, he would go back shortly before closing, put a down payment on a ring or put it on layaway, and then spend some time talking to the employee. He would use some impressive sleight of hand to get the key to the jewelry case off of their key ring without them noticing.
Once he had that key, he was ready. The following morning, around three hours before opening, he would go back to the store, pick the front lock, and then put in the security code to turn off the alarm. Then he would open the jewelry cases with the key he had snagged from the employee, take all the jewelry he could, and walk out.
The only reason he was caught was that the manager of the last store he tried to rob was in the middle of a divorce and sleeping in his car in the parking lot, so he saw it happening and called the cops.
The cops connected him to the other robberies and told him he could tell them where his stash was and get eight years, or do a full 16. He chose the 16 years. He has millions in jewelry stashed away, so once he is out, he's set if he can make a clean getaway."
"My brother-in-law. I helped him before I married his sister to 'get clean' and make it through treatment court. Then I spent lots of time after he finished this treatment court giving him advice and helping him get a job. I even helped take care of his kids.
Anytime something would happen in our neighborhood everyone would blame the ex-addict, and I'd listen to his story of how hard it is to be labeled like that but he understood why. He made it seem like he understands the consequences of his actions. He had previously been arrested on felony charges including theft, burglary, assault, and lots of traffic charges.
About a year after his treatment court graduation, I had noticed a couple hundred dollars missing from our house. My wife had, multiple times throughout the year, called me at work and told me she knew someone was in our house. She never could find any evidence of it, but she just knew. Occasionally, I'd go to get a drink from the fridge and knew that I had less than I had last time. Very strange. I ran into the mailman one morning and he told me he saw my brother-in-law leaving a garage a couple houses down with a giant compressor at 4 a.m. I started watching him closely and found that he was still using and had been for a long time. He was breaking into houses all over the neighborhood. He even broke into my grandfather's house and stole a spare key to my house which he was using to come into our house when we weren't home. I could not believe I didn't see it sooner."
"My dad works at a hospital and helped bust a guy one time that worked in the hospital's cafeteria.
Basically, the guy was doing the simplest thing you can do to steal. He was skimming small amounts of cash out of the cash register. The key to not getting noticed was ringing up cash payments as credit card payments and pocketing the cash. That way, numbers matched up, even if the money wasn't there. It was a small enough amount, and the hospital didn't keep close enough track for it to matter much. The genius part is that he did it every single day for at least six years. The guy drove a Mercedes and sent two of his kids to Ivy League schools on the salary of a cafeteria cashier. They finally busted him by putting a security camera on top of him when he wasn't working. An investigation revealed that in the previous six years, he'd stolen around $500 thousand dollars in petty cash."
"My dad and his best friend successfully robbed a train in Athens, Ohio, of dozens of bottles of adult beverages. Athens, Ohio is a college town - home to Ohio University (no, not Ohio State). Ohio University has been consistently ranked as one of the top 'party schools' in the country for almost half a century now. My mom, dad, and older sister all went there for college. My dad passed away from colorectal cancer back in 2003, so I only heard this story for the first time about five years ago from his best friend.
Athens is situated right on the Hocking River, which is more of a creek. It's not very deep and doesn't have much of a current.
In 1973, my dad and his best friend, Dave, were out partying and decided to head back to their dorm. Back in the '70s, there was a train that ran through campus. It would slow down as it went through Athens and a lot of people would hop on a car and ride the train back to wherever they lived. My dad and Dave were no exceptions.
They jumped a car and ride it back toward their place. Dave was looking for a place to jump off when, all of a sudden, he heard this big creak. He looks over, and my dad had pulled open the hatch on the cargo car they were sitting on and climbed inside. My dad then shouts, 'Hey Dave!' and reaches his hand out to show off a bottle of good stuff. Turns out, he had pulled open a crate and found it to be full of the stuff!
So Dave and my dad started grabbing bottles of the stuff. They tried to roll them or gently toss them off the train car, but they kept breaking on the pavement/concrete/ground. That's when they had a great idea. They started grabbing armfuls of the stuff. Other students on the same and adjacent cars also joined in and started grabbing armfuls of stuff. They then waited until the train crossed the bridge going over the Hocking River and threw as many bottles of it into the river as possible. Then, they hopped off at the other end of the bridge and went wading!
Dave said it actually made the papers that week, and that bottles of that stuff constantly showed up at parties for the next year or so."
"I am not a cop, but I worked with police after I was mugged. Basically, this young, really sweet-looking couple would mug or pickpocket people, go to the bank of the victim and one of them would claim that his/her wallet had been stolen and they had no money to get a new ID and needed ID to get a bank card. The sympathetic banker would buy the story and help them to get a new debit card under the victim's account.
When they mugged me, they told me they had a knife and I was too chicken to want to find out. I wasn't going to take any chances as my grandfather was stabbed to death in a mugging years before I was born.
They were extremely charismatic and memorized all the other information they could find from the wallet: full name, address, sometimes actual numbers from the bank card. Apparently, in my case, the guy showed up with my credit card saying he had canceled it by mistake as he thought it had been in 'his' wallet when it was stolen. The banker gave him a new credit card and a debit card for my account.
This happened four years ago, and they were still going strong up until this year. The only got caught because I happened to be at a bank, saw them pulling their routine, and recognized them from when they mugged me."