Annals of Crime: The not-so-bright criminal mind

Annals of Crime: The not-so-bright criminal mind

Epic fails. Amazing true stories about bumbling criminals who might not have been playing with a full deck.

Lassoing a bull. This technique can be used for catching criminals as well. (Image via Wikipedia entry on "Lasso."

WASHINGTON, July 3, 2016—Understanding the mind of a criminal has puzzled many. Herewith, more food for thought as we examine the methodologies of various criminals who might not be the sharpest knives in the drawer.

Gentlemen do not “kiss and tell.” It’s a useful rule that’s overlooked by some criminals.

Last month, three burglars stole more than $500,000 in jewelry from two homes in the Miami area. They then made a video about their escapades and posted it on Facebook. The video shows them waving $100 bills and boasting about their heists. Two of these three geniuses have since been arrested.

In another Florida incident, this time in Davie, a man groped two joggers in area parks. The 26-year old braggart then posted a YouTube video of himself bragging “today was a good… day, touching a–, if you don’t touch a–, you’re crazy.” In the video, shot while he was driving (nobody told him not to video and drive?), he recounts running up behind a “tight” Spanish girl in yoga pants and grabbing her buttocks, then running up behind another woman and punching her rear.

Police found this man but have not yet arrested him, pending obtaining the original video to be used as evidence.

Making criminal activity public is not limited to idiots in the United States.

A man in Clover, Yorkshire County, England, ran an ad on Craigslist offering marijuana for sale. The ad was titled “Pot… I SELL WEED — $200,” and it went into detail about the prices and locations where the sales could take place, including the seller’s photograph and telephone number. Police posed as buyers and arrested the seller.

Some who commit crimes have delusional concepts about avoiding arrest.

A man from the United Kingdom was caught and arrested for wielding a large knife and threatening to kill two security guards. This arrest took place after the man barricaded himself inside a house, jammed two chairs against the door, before stripping down and covering himself in butter. The guards had to use two rounds of pepper spray to subdue him, commenting later that it was difficult to place handcuffs on him because of the butter.

In Spring Hill, Florida, a man broke into a Family Dollar Store by throwing a cinder block through the window. Once authorities began the hunt, they discovered an area where a large amount of a white, powdery substance had been sprayed along with two spent fire extinguishers stolen earlier from a nearby apartment complex. The man who was eventually arrested admitted to the crimes and told police he had sprayed himself with fire extinguishers in an effort to elude capture.

No Sale.

When sales people do not fill an order properly, the usual response is a reasonably civil conversation. That was not quite so in several recent incidents around America and across the pond.

In Hartford, Connecticut, a woman placed a call to 911 when the small half-cheese / half-bacon pizza she ordered was delivered with half-hamburger instead of the bacon. The pizzeria agreed to replace her pizza at no charge.

A Bloomfield, Michigan, woman ordered a “Batman vs. Superman” birthday cake for her 7-year old son. When she arrived at the bakery to get the cake, she was dissatisfied with the cake’s appearance. Like any normal parent of a caped crusader fan, the woman went behind the counter in an attempt to fix the cake herself. She became truly enraged when employees told her she could not go into that part of the store, so she took the cake and drop kicked it, causing pieces of cake and frosting to be strewn about the bakery. For good measure, she then stomped several times on what was left of the cake. While exiting the store she kicked over a “wet floor” sign.

Over in the U.K., six young men described as a “gang of thugs,” and armed with bats, machetes and a handgun, launched an attack on a barber shop because one of them claimed to have been given a bad haircut. Windows were smashed and a vehicle parked outside the shop was destroyed. The attack was the latest in an ongoing year-long “spat” over one of the men getting a haircut he didn’t like. Several of the young men were arrested, and one was sentenced to 15 months in jail.

Three Ohio women assaulted a McDonald’s employee for “working too slowly.” After their order was filled, the women assaulted a female employee in the parking lot and in front of their kids. Surveillance footage clearly showed the assault. In later police “mug” shots the women were described as “looking positively gleeful.” Assault and child endangerment charges were placed against them.

(Un)Happy Meals

Given its considerable number of locations worldwide, McDonald’s has been the target of more than a few criminal endeavors.

In Arkansas, a McDonald’s customer was charged with robbery. After going through the drive-through and asking for water, the customer parked, entered the store, dumped the water and filled the cup with soda. The manager noticed this and told the soda thief to return the soda. Undeterred, the thirsty 18-year-old patron ran out of the store with the soda, got back into his car and, while in reverse, hit the manager who had came out of the store in pursuit. He was later arrested at a bowling alley. Assault charges have not yet been filed, but the man faces a charge of felony robbery.

Those who believe they can do it better than the salespeople sometimes apply for the job. One sure way not to get the job, however, is to announce that you want to rob the store’s safe.

A man asked for a job application at a Lexington, Kentucky Chuck E. Cheese restaurant. A few hours later he returned for the job interview. During the interview he told the manager he wanted to rob them and he implied he had a firearm. The manager told the potential new employee that he did not have access to the safe. The interview abruptly ended as the applicant fled. He will not be invited to join the Chuck E. Cheese team, and police are searching for him.

For some patrons, fast food possesses an almost mystical allure — so much so that one man in Washington, D.C., followed a delivery man into a Five Guys restaurant, waited until the store closed, then got himself a fountain drink, made himself a meal and chatted on the phone before finally departing. Surveillance footage reveals the man was in the store for almost two early morning hours preparing his meal and talking on his cellphone.

Intent, or motive, is an element that must be proven in all criminal prosecutions, and it is often presumed simply based on the actions of the criminal.

However, the motive remains unclear in the case of a 20-year old woman in Moorestown, New Jersey, who took less than a dollar in change from a mall water fountain. (Perhaps there was a local “meal deal” happening at a nearby McDonald’s.) Police said they would not normally arrest someone for stealing change from a wishing well, but the woman admitted to taking the coins after they arrived in response to a call from a nearby Macy’s reporting a shoplifting attempt.

On a happier note, gallantry is not dead in America, at least in some locales. In Eagle Point, Oregon, a woman started yelling in a Walmart parking lot that her bike was being stolen. A nearby man unloaded a horse from a trailer, jumped on to the horse, chased the thief and lassoed him. Yippee ki yay!


Paul A. Samakow is an attorney licensed in Maryland and Virginia, and has been practicing since 1980.  He represents injury victims and routinely battles insurance companies and big businesses that will not accept full responsibility for the harms and losses they cause. He can be reached at any time by calling 1-866-SAMAKOW (1-866-726-2569), via email, or through his website

His book “The 8 Critical Things Your Auto Accident Attorney Won’t Tell You” can be instantly downloaded, for free, on his website:

Samakow has now also started a small business consulting firm. His new book “Step By Step, Achieve Small Business Success” is available at

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