Top 10 Impressively Petty Crimes


Crime is never something we’d glorify here at TopTenz. That said — sometimes a person commits a crime so insane, and so seemingly pointless, you have to respect them for it. If for nothing else, then for the sheer audacity it takes to …

10. Spend 3 Years Destroying Thousands Of Dollars Worth Of Cookies


For 3 years in Bucks County, local grocers were at their wit’s end trying to solve perhaps the most amazing crime in crime history. For three solid years, someone had been walking into their shops and silently, yet efficiently, crushing every single cookie they could get their hands on.

The owners were at first confused, thinking it was just the work of kids or fat people who couldn’t figure out how to get into the cookie wrapper, and punched it out of sweaty, impotent anger. But when it turned out this criminal was still doing it three years later, the shopkeepers assumed it had to be the work of a rival store or something. But since several local shopkeepers had all reported the exact same thing, that clearly wasn’t the case.

Amazingly, it only took three years, and thousands in lost profits, for the store to decide a security camera might help catch the crook in the act. Except it wasn’t the stores that made this decision; it was the company that sold the damn cookies! This guy was causing so much grief that the company that sold the products he was destroying stepped in to stop him — that’s how you know you’re a good criminal.

When they did eventually catch the crook in the act, they discovered that this master criminal they’d been stalking was 37-year-old Samuel Feldman, just some ordinary guy. We, of course, are using “ordinary” quite loosely, since this is a guy who spent all his free time molesting baked goods. Feldman was charged with criminal mischief, and ultimately sentenced to two years’ probation. We’re actually happy he didn’t go to jail, purely because getting to say “there’s a cookie rustler on the loose” is now the single greatest moment in site history.

9. Steal Drain Covers


In the UK, where rain is more common than toothpaste, drain covers are a common sight. To stop people stealing or otherwise tampering with them, drain covers are usually mode from solid cast iron. Ironically this makes them very likely to be stolen for scrap.

But here’s why it takes an impressively dedicated criminal to make a profit from these crimes: drain covers aren’t light. They weigh like 30 pounds, and their scrap value is noted to be less than 10 pounds. To make even a decent day’s wage off of these things, you’d need to steal like 10 of them. A DAY.

But here’s the best part: they cost around 45,000 pounds to replace. This means a single criminal trying to fund a drug habit can easily cause hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage as they stumble around town ripping up drain covers.

Back in 2012, police found a guy who’d stolen 20 of these things. That guy had probably caused almost a million pounds worth of damage, for less than a few hundred pounds worth of scrap iron. When you do that, people can’t say you’re addicted to drugs. You’re committed to them.

8. Pirate Thousands Of DVDs, For Free


DVD piracy is probably one of the most harmless, yet potentially dangerous crimes around. Though no one is ever really hurt because of the crime, the potential ramifications if you’re caught are astronomical. Which is why 92-year-old Hyman Strachman is a legend, and possibly the finest hero man has ever known.

You see, for years now, Hyman has been burning hundreds of copies of all the latest films, but he’s actually losing money with every DVD he makes. This is because Hyman isn’t selling them — he’s giving them away for free, to the Army.

Yes, Hyman sends all of his illegally-copied DVDs to soldiers serving overseas. Of course, what he’s doing is still illegal as hell, so what does the MPAA think about it? Well, they claim they’ve never heard of him and, when quizzed about it, only say that they’re happy that soldiers are enjoying their films. In other words, Hyman has figured out the secret to getting away with crime: support the troops, be 90, and act adorable.

Not every old person got the memo, however …

7. Be Incredibly Old, But Still Shoplift


If we know anything about Japan, it’s that everyone over there is super polite and can at any time summon a giant fighting robot, but only once. Thanks to both good manners and robots, crime in Japan is largely non-existent. Until you reach about 60, that is.

In recent years, Japan has seen an explosion of elderly residents committing crime — in particular petty theft. The reasons vary from necessity to boredom, but the long and short of it is that Japan now has so many senior criminals behind bars, they’ve had to create special old people prisons. Why they couldn’t just move the old people to a place with a slight incline on all four sides still isn’t clear.

It has been noted though, that most of these crimes go unreported, since it takes a special kind of butthole to arrest an incredibly old man. This means we’ll likely never know exactly how many of Japan’s senior citizens are petty criminals, but we’re going to just guess and say all of them. They’re all criminals. It works way better for this article if we say that.

6. Steal Dozens Of Cell Phones, But Only From Hipsters


Virtually everyone has a mobile phone, which is great for criminals. They’re small, valuable, and everyone has one, so you can guarantee that robbing someone is going to be worth it. Some criminals have more class though and, rather than stabbing people or something similarly uncouth, they opt for a more subtle, awesome approach.

Like Calin-Lonel Rostas, a criminal who only stole mobiles from the people nobody cares about, namely hipsters. Rostas had a system so ingenious and simple that Apple is currently suing him for royalties. He’d look for someone in a coffee shop with their phone on the table (instead of leaving it in their pocket like a non-idiot,) walk over and ask them for directions, discreetly cover their phone with his newspaper, and after he’d got his directions, he’d leave with the phone.

Of course, we can’t be sure that Rostas only targeted hipsters, but considering the fact he only targeted people dumb enough to leave their phone on a table, while sitting around at coffee shops and McDonalds, it’s a fairly safe assumption.

5. Steal Tide Detergent


Sadly, these are not people stealing the tide from the ocean. But holy hell, do we want to write an article about that! So any beach bums out there with a shattered morality chip — you know what to do.

For now though, we’re talking about people who steal Tide detergent, and only Tide. As odd as it may sound, there is a lot of money to be made stealing Tide. As noted here, criminals specifically target it for theft and resale because, “it’s a leading brand, everybody needs it, and it’s pricey.” For this reason, Tide is literally as good as money on the streets — drug dealers have been known to deal exclusively in the product.

Now here comes the awesome part: because it’s so valuable, criminals have taken to stealing it in a big way. How do they do it? Well, they load up a shopping cart with as much Tide as they possibly can, and then they run out of the store. That’s it. You may not agree with crime, but you have to be impressed by a guy with the stones to leg it out of a Walmart with $400 worth of glowing orange plastic, and not think he looks suspicious in any way whatsoever.

4. Steal A Police Department’s Food For An Entire Year


Police officers in the Deer Park police department were dealing with a massive food thief, who had stolen hundreds of lunches, drinks and even 60 pounds of sausage for himself. Now, if you’ve ever worked anywhere with a communal fridge, you’ve no doubt had experience with a food thief. For those lucky few who have not: a food thief is basically some butthole who steals other people’s food from the fridge because they weren’t punched enough as a child. It’s an annoying crime at best, a borderline-felony at worst. And these cops were dealing with the worst.

After a solid year of thefts that some say were bordering on massively taking the piss, the police decided that something needed to be done. Out of frustration, the officers set up a camera and, before long, the camera caught Officer Kevin Yang stealing a can of Monster (clearly labelled as someone else’s) from the fridge. When confronted, Yang claimed that he liked to empty the fridge of leftover food every Friday, a lie that was quickly dismissed since no one forgets that they put 60 pounds of sausage in a fridge!

Yang was quickly booked and charged with a misdemeanor because, even though it seems petty, stealing food from a fridge is totally a crime you can be arrested for. We know that not everyone likes the police, but we think this is one story where we can agree that pepper spray wasn’t used enough.

3. Create Illegal Street Art Featuring Nothing But Pictures Of Tom Hanks


Graffiti is one of those crimes that divides people; some think it’s awful and makes an area look worse, others think it’s artistic expression that can improve the local aesthetic when done well. We lean closer to the latter argument; as long as the graffiti artist in question is sufficiently talented, it’s okay. Which is why we love Hanksy. This guy is a graffiti artist who copies the work of the more famous Banksy, only with a slight twist. By that, we mean Hanksy finds a way to blend Tom Hanks’ face into all of Banksy’s work. You may notice that this is, potentially, the best thing ever.

Of course all street art, regardless of its awesomeness, is still illegal. So we think we should all raise a glass to whomever is risking jail by painting pictures of Tom Hanks’ face, and only pictures of Tom Hanks’ face. Because if that person goes to jail, mornings would be slightly less satisfying, and birds would sing just a little less sweetly. So thank you, Hanksy. Thank you for everything.

Oh, and in case you’re curious about what the man himself thinks of Hanksy — the artist has met both Hanks and his daughter, both of whom love his work. Because why wouldn’t they?

2. Stealing Beer Barrels (But Not The Beer)


Like the drain cover thieves mentioned above, people are stealing beer barrels to sell them for scrap metal. According to experts in the drinks industry, this is costing bars and clubs millions per year.

But this is where we’re going to blow your mind. The barrels have such a high scrap value that they’re worth more without the beer inside. You probably started reading this piece with a lot of assumptions, but we’ll bet you never expected to learn that people stealing barrels of beer are actually making more money selling them empty than if they were full of fizzy liquid gold.

1. Stealing Bikes, FROM THE FUTURE


Stealing bikes is one of those crimes that has always been a hugely unreported issue. They’re the perfect target for a criminal; they’re light, often worth a small fortune, easy to sell, and you can ride them away from the scene of the crime faster than most people can run.

So us telling you that someone was out there stealing bikes likely won’t impress you, but us telling you that a guy was stealing them from the future might. A guy in Japan (it’s always Japan) was arrested a while ago for advertising stolen bikes on the Japanese version of eBay. The problem was, they weren’t stolen. Yet. The criminal posted the bikes online and, when he had a customer, he’d go out and steal them. But just doing this once isn’t enough for the top place on this list. After a bike owner from one such theft reported the theft, and spent all day talking to the police, he awoke the next morning to find out the exact same criminal had just stolen six more bikes. Good to know business is booming.

Or was booming; 39-year-old Nobushige Kaneshima has been arrested and charged with being the Bicycling Time Lord. We don’t yet know how exactly he did it. Did he break in six separate times and ride each one away one-by-one, while ringing his little bell and extending his middle finger to the hapless owner’s bedroom? Hopefully this is the case because, if not, this guy might secretly be Magneto.

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  1. “They weigh like 30 pounds, and their scrap value is noted to be less than 10 pounds (in England, everything is pounds.)”

    Actually, we use grams and kilograms for weight, like the rest of the world. You yanks are pretty much the only ones still using that backwards imperial system.

    • Duly noted and verified. We removed the reference. Oddly enough, this article was written by a writer living in the UK so we trust his judgement, but obviously it isn’t as widespread.