They say crime doesn’t pay, but that statement seems to be only true for those who get caught. Fortunately for the justice system there are a lot of criminals out there making it far too easy to round them up through some of the most ridiculous mistakes imaginable.
10. The Door Pusher
Who among us hasn’t had the embarrassing experience of walking up to the entrance of a building and pushing the door only to discover it’s a pull. You take a moment to look around and see if anyone noticed your foible, then pull the door open and leave. That’s not how things worked for James Allan.
Allan was attempting to rob a store when a series of almost bafflingly stupid decisions and accidents ensured his prompt arrest. Allan, who already tried to rob the same store a week and a half earlier, ended up tripping over a display of drinks, accidentally pulling off his disguise, and then getting stuck behind the door. He tried to kick his way out and fell over. A customer, one of his victims, actually opened the door for him so he could leave. Presumably they just wanted the embarrassment to stop.
Allan ended up being convicted of both the first and second robberies, as well as using a firearm, even though it was a fake. Had he not pulled his own disguise off in an effort to get out of his own stupid clumsiness, he may have gotten away with it. But given his inability to even open doors, maybe not.
9. The Worst Courier in Australia
If you’re a drug dealer, there are certain things you need to do to maintain your criminal secrecy. Chief among those is avoiding police at all costs. And if you’re driving a van loaded with 500 pounds of crystal meth, do your best to not crash into a police car.
Simon Tu somehow managed to plow into two parked police cars back in 2019 with a load of meth on board his vehicle. In a panic, he drove away and, in a surprise to no one, the police later tracked him down.
The criminal offered no substantive explanation for how he got the drugs and his lawyer argued that he was basically an idiot tasked with just driving a vehicle and he was too dumb to even do that properly. The word “shambolic” was used in court.
According to the official record, Tu had been driving past the police station when he fell asleep at the wheel. He crashed into two separate parked police cruisers and then continued on his way. The most ridiculous part of his entire circus of poor decisions was that it took the police one hour to find him. That means one of two things happened – he either kept 500 pounds of meth in his car for an hour after hitting two cops or he went and picked the meth up after hitting two cops. Either way, he had an hour in which to not have a car full of meth and didn’t take advantage of that fact.
8. The Camera Man
Few things are creepier than discovering a hidden camera where one has no business being. And of all the places to hide one, a public restroom is just off putting in the extreme. So when a passenger on United Airlines went to the washroom on her flight, she was likely very concerned when she noticed a flashing blue light.
The light was located around the cabinet in the washroom and when the passenger looked more closely, she saw it was a camera. Using a paper towel, she pulled it out and gave it to the flight crew. The flight crew gave it to airport security when they landed. Now theoretically this should end the story. The camera was confiscated and some bathroom perv was denied his invasive trophy. But the story didn’t end there.
As part of their due diligence, security watched the footage on the camera. It showed the man who hid the camera, actually installing it and recording himself in the process. They even found partially deleted footage on the camera indicating he had done the same on different flights in the past. He ended up being charged with video voyeurism.
7. The Facebook Plotter
Back in 2015, Andrew Hennells got it in his mind to rob the local Tesco supermarket in Norfolk. Robbing a supermarket may not be all that uncommon, but going on Facebook before you rob it and saying you plan to do it complete with a selfie of you and your robbery weapon is.
Hennells posted “Doing. Tesco. Over” and included a photo of himself with a knife. Fifteen minutes later, police picked the man up with the same knife and a few hundred pounds stolen from the store. The crime was called in by a witness who’d seen him in the act and the Facebook post pretty much clinched his guilt.
With his own words working against him, he pleaded guilty to the crime and ended up with four years in prison.
6. The Business Man
Depending on the crime you’re committing, there are arguably dozens of ways you could go about keeping your identity hidden from law enforcement. Steps can be taken to keep your nefarious deeds on the down low and to ensure you face no justice. But no matter what the crime, a good rule of thumb is that you’re going to get caught if you leave your business card behind when you’re done.
Matthew Crowder robbed a consignment store in Albuquerque, New Mexico and, who knows, maybe he would have gotten off scot-free. The problem was the man had earlier given a clerk at the store his business card after trying to pick her up to go on a date.
Crowder went on to engage in the downfall of too many other criminals by boasting about what he’d stolen on Facebook, sealing the deal that, yes, he was the guy who did it and he had no reasonable defense. He was already on the hook for similar crimes at three other locations as well and had warrants outstanding. Thanks to him leaving his card behind, cops were able to pick him up on all four warrants.
5. The Confident Man
By now it’s clear that too many criminals are willing to sound off on Facebook and get themselves caught as a result. But Anthony Lescowitch took things to another level of stupid when he got too confident with his online presence.
Lescowitch was wanted by police in Freeland, Pennsylvania for aggravated assault and other charges. The local police posted on their own Facebook page that they were looking for him. Anthony went ahead and shared the status on his very own Facebook page in a bit of smug foolishness. Since the cops are able to see who’s sharing their status, they saw that Lescowitch himself had shared it.
Moments later, Lescowitch got a message from an attractive stranger on Facebook asking if he’d like to meet for a drink. He turned the mystery woman down, but only for a drink. He then agreed to hook up with her to share a cigarette.
Obviously there was no mystery lady and Lescowitch was immediately arrested when he showed up to meet the strange woman. To add insult to injury, the police made fun of him on Facebook again for getting arrested within 45 minutes.
4. The Clothed Man
Milton J. Hodges claimed he was at the Lowe’s in Kissimmee, Florida (yeah, that location checks out) to shop for mango and banana trees. In fact, he was there to commit armed robbery. When Hodges fled the scene, he went for the nearest place he thought would offer him some cover. When he hopped a nearby wall, he found himself in the Cypress Cove Nudist Resort.
Still hoping to flee police, Hodges pulled a knife on some of the nudists and stole a golf cart to get away. And maybe his plan would have worked if not for one small but significant mistake he made in his getaway attempt. When cops showed up, Hodges was remarkably easy to spot because he was wearing clothes and the rest of the people at the resort were not.
3. The Helpful Friend
Committing a crime in front of the police always seems like a bad idea. Kevin Doak’s crime was definitely of the unexpected sort and qualifies as one of the dumbest mistakes any criminal may have ever committed.
Doak hadn’t actually committed any crime to put him in contact with the police. In fact, he was at the police station to bail out a friend who was there, stemming from charges related to a car crash. So far, so good.
When Doak reached into his pocket to pull out the bail money, he also dropped the meth that he was carrying out on the counter where everyone could see it. Doak tried to pull a fast one on the cops and insisted it was just a bag of salt he was carrying around. Cops weren’t buying it, and Doak ended up in prison alongside his friend.
2. The Illegal Driver
Jake Kevin Watts already had a criminal history when he completely dropped the ball and made everything ten times worse for himself. He has to report to the local police station as a condition of his bail for a past crime, so he drove to the station to meet those conditions. The problem is that Watts had already lost his driver’s license and wasn’t allowed behind the wheel of a car.
Right away it sounds like Watts made a dumb mistake, but it gets so much worse. At some point after arriving, he must have realized he’d screwed up, so before entering the police station he threw the car keys into a bush. Arguably he could say he didn’t drive if he had no keys on him. Except a passerby saw him drop the keys and picked them up, and then followed him to the police station to give them back. And that’s still not the worst part.
After police got wind that he had been driving with no license, they went to check the car. For baffling reasons, Watts had shown up in a car weighted down with drugs and weapons. There were seven pairs of brass knuckles, meth, steroids, a gun and even estrogen for some reason.
1. The Window Tosser
Most of us have seen a film in which the police engage in a high speed car chase with a criminal. It’s pretty much a cliche at this point. But what’s a criminal to do in that situation when they know they’re caught and have a massive quantity of cocaine on board?
Cops from Devon and Cornwall were pursuing a suspect who had a whopping $30,000 worth of cocaine in the van he was driving. His quick thinking plan to save himself from drug charges was to toss the drugs out of the window of the moving vehicle.
The one mistake that this particular criminal made was to not actually open the window before tossing the sack of drugs. The result of that was the bag of cocaine busting open on the window and falling into the back of the vehicle. When police finally did pull him over, there was a fine dusting all over the inside of the van.