The World’s Dumbest Criminals

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It’s more than a little dumb to try to break the law in any way. Most of you know that, and are ok with that social construct. There’s a reason our civilization has these rules, and that’s so things don’t devolve into absolute anarchy. 

But there is a certain subsection of criminal that is wildy, recklessly dumb. It’s honestly almost funny how bad these people are at committing crimes, and the capers themselves aren’t exactly at the caliber of the Ocean’s Eleven franchise. No, these are dumb crimes carried out by the dumbest people you can imagine. 

9. Two Guys Steal a Penguin From SeaWorld Australia

The SeaWorld in Queensland, Australia is home to some 29 fairy penguins, named so because of their adorable small size. They’re about a foot high, which apparently made a trio of bandits think they could just hijack the little fella

In 2012, those three men broke into the park under cover of night and stole Dirk, one of those adorable fairy penguins. Their motive was unclear, but a day later Dirk was found under a nearby pier. The thieves then showed their utter stupidity by going on social media and bragging about stealing a protected zoo animal. Not surprisingly, police were on to them quickly, and arrested them for trespassing and unlawful theft. 

8. Serial Burglar Leaves His Own Evidence At The Scene Of The Crime

Burglars usually have a pretty long body of work; if they’re good at it, they need to scratch that itch often. Andre Henry was one of those people. Henry had already earned probation for breaking into offices in the Northern Virginia area, but that didn’t stop him from burgling as much of the Metro Washington, D.C. area as possible. 

He hit dozens of D.C.-area offices in 2012 and 2013, including the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorological Services and Supporting Research, for whatever reason. He didn’t find much at that last location, just a digital picture frame and some collector coins. But he left so much more. Namely, his own personal court records with his name on them, relating to his previous burglary cases. The authorities had a slam dunk case, and Henry was sentenced to 18 years in prison. 

7. Man Robs Hot Dog Stand, Shoots Off Own Weiner

It takes a certain amount of criminal incompetence to decide to rob a hot dog stand in the first place. How much money could really be hiding in that register, when your wares don’t really cost more than a couple of dollars? Terrion Pouncy didn’t care, he just wanted that sweet hot dog money. The teenager robbed two employees of the stand as well. But he saved the best for last. 

As he was trying to collect their money and belongings, a bucket of grease tipped over and everything went flying. As Pouncy struggled to gather up the cash and make his getaway, he attempted to tuck his gun into his waistband. Unfortunately for him (and probably hilariously to his victims) he then accidentally shot himself in the penis. He made it across the street, but then slumped to the ground due to his injury, and then basically called 911 on himself. The cops didn’t have to work too hard to put two and two together. 

6. Guy Scams Del Taco, Then Posts It To YouTube

When you’re trying to scam money out of a potential mark, your mark of success is usually the amount of money you’re able to swindle. When your total amount of money netted is around fifteen dollars, you likely did something wrong along the way. 

Robert Echeverria thought he found a foolproof system of making complaints to get free Del Taco food. He would call up a Los Angeles-area location, saying he was an important businessman and that he had let Del Taco’s corporate folks know that he was served an improper order. The workers at the restaurant must have panicked at his supposed status in the world, and offered him free food. Echeverria thought his technique so amazing that he posted it to YouTube, and even mentioned his personal phone number in the video. Police love that, and he was sentenced to 30 days in jail and no more Del Taco ever again. 

5. Man Tries To Mission: Impossible Into Nightclub


If you’ve ever been removed from a nightclub before, it’s an embarrassing situation all around. Most people who have been through that understandably don’t keep trying to visit that same club. Hugh McMahon of Ireland isn’t most people. While visiting an Australian club during an extended stay in the country, he found himself twice on the receiving end of forceable removals by the venue’s bouncers. 

Hugh McMahon persisted. He thought long and hard about how to elude those pesky security folks. His plan? To sneak in through the air conditioning vents like Bruce Willis in Die Hard. Which, if you’ve seen any HVAC equipment in your life, you know those ducts are not very big. He of course got stuck, the clubgoers heard his screams echoing through guts of the building, and the cops eventually transported him from one tight cell into another. 

4. Would-Be Robber Robs Gun Store With Baseball Bat

A true stick-em-up that you’ve seen portrayed in movies and TV usually involves a masked man bursting into an establishment and pointing a gun in a poor cashier’s face, demanding all the money in the register. Regardless of its morality, it’s probably a mostly effective method. 

Derrick Mosley never saw any of those shows or films. The Oregon man entered a store and began smashing display cases with a baseball bat and began reaching in them to steal the items inside. Which were guns. Because he was attempting to rob a gun store. The manager of the store obviously had access to said guns, and he used one to halt the would-be thief. He kept the man subdued until the authorities arrived, and then likely laughed until he passed out. 

3. Man Buys Crack Cocaine, Is Given Wrong Change, And Tries To Press Charges

Sometimes people buy drugs, and they may not have the exact amount of money that those drugs cost. This becomes a sticky situation. The onus should be on the buyer to bring the correct amount of money, as drug buying isn’t like getting a loaf of bread or paying a bus fare. But things happen. 

Dexter White of South Carolina ran into this problem when trying to purchase some crack cocaine in 2011. He wanted $60 worth, but upon further investigation was only given twenty. When asking the dealer for his change, he was denied. Caveat emptor in action. His bright idea was to contact the police and demand that he receive his forty dollars back. He even requested a canine unit to be sent to the location. Of course, he did smoke his twenty dollars worth before making the call, and was arrested.

2. Burglar Cooks Tater Tots In Victim’s Home, Passes Out

One rule of thumb that every burglar should know is to do your breaking in on a full stomach. Seriously, the adrenaline of it all demands that you have calories to spare in your body. James Adams neglected this crucial rule before burglarizing a house near San Francisco in 2015, and he paid the price. 

Adams must have noticed some tummy rumbles after breaking into the house that afternoon, because shortly after his illegal entrance, he decided he had to raid the freezer and cook up some tater tots. Which… take a while to bake in the oven. And he must have done some damage with those tots, because he almost immediately fell asleep on his victims’ sofa afterwards. The homeowner walked in on him snoozing and ran to a neighbor’s house to call the police. 

1. Taliban Member Turns Himself In To Attempt To Get $100 Reward

Have you ever wished you could come across one of those famous “Wanted” posters and then soon after be able to report seeing the culprit? How cool would that be? You’re literally helping keep scum off the streets. Afghani Taliban member Mohammad Ashan thought he had come across a similar score, but the reality was not as glorious as he thought it would be. 

Ashan approached a security checkpoint with a wanted poster and asked for the $100 reward listed on it. The police were understandably confused, as Ashan was clutching a picture of himself in his hand. As part of the Taliban, he was also suspected of being a part of several recent bombings. They were happy to take him into custody. And just as a public service, if you see yourself on a poster and you’ve broken the law, no, you don’t just get money for recognizing yourself.


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