Movie lovers enjoy indulging in escapism. A good movie will temporarily eradicate the mundanity of everyday life, allow viewers to forget their problems, and to immerse themselves in fascinating alternative worlds. Star Wars fans know all too well about the joyful escapism of George Lucas’ galaxy, to the point where many fans are subject to derogatory stereotypes because of their absolute obsession with the series.
Not every Star Wars enthusiast is a nerdy fanfic-writing, action figure-collecting, roleplaying fanatic. However, a minority of overzealous fans do take things a little too far and begin to neglect their social life in order to replace their reality with the world of the sci-fi classics.
Then, there are those who take their fanaticism to deluded, unsafe levels, going so far as to commit crimes in the name of Star Wars – either by disguise, intent, or weaponry. Really. The following are twelve crimes committed by just such fans, crimes inspired by Star Wars which largely ended horribly for the culprits who took their fantasies too far.
12. With You, The Police Force Is
In 1999, the upcoming release of Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace was causing excitement levels to reach a fever pitch amongst fans. Star Wars merchandise started to disappear from stores, including Pepsi promo signs that featured Star Wars characters that were stolen from a service station.
The culprits were an Ohio mother and son, Shiella Moffett and James Zawacki, who were caught and arrested. Police found a tape in their car of the duo “speaking like Yoda.” According to an officer, on the tape, a male voice says, “We are bandits in the night,” followed by a woman’s voice saying, “Yoda is accomplice to burglary. May the police force not be with us.”
11. Lonely Storm Trooper Can’t Catch a Break
In 2007, a 32-year-old member of the Star Wars 501st Legion was sitting in a mall, dressed in full stormtrooper get up, eating breakfast by himself, creating what can only be described as one of the loneliest mental images imaginable. He was en route to a photo shoot for the Australian newspaper MX, when all of a sudden he was pinned to the ground and handcuffed by Victoria police. Apparently, his replica laser blaster was sticking out of his backpack, and alarmed mall-goers thought that it could be a real weapon, so they alerted security guards.
He was arrested for carrying his $500 “weapon” in plain view, though he was later released.
10. Darth Vader’s Morbid Afterlife
Despite dying in Return of the Jedi, Darth Vader made a short-lived, surprise comeback in 2003, when three teenagers exhumed and removed a corpse from a Long Island, N.Y., family crypt.
They proceeded to dress the corpse in a Vader mask (hey, it kept Anakin alive in the movies, maybe it would do the same for the stolen corpse?) and then take the body to a Thanksgiving weekend party. The teens were accused of stealing the body, and two of the three pleaded guilty and received fines and probation.
9. Obi-Wan Kenobi Joins The Dark Side
Some fans wonder what Ben Kenobi was doing during his 18 years of exile on Tatooine, following his vanquishing of Anakin Skywalker. Was he assisting the Rebel forces to defeat the Empire? Was he slumming it up with Yoda in a different galaxy far, far away? No, apparently he was stealing cars in North Dakota.
A man was arrested in 2001 for car burglary, in which the culprit claimed that he was the honorable Jedi knight and was, “Just obeying orders from The Force.” He even signed a police document as “Obi-Wan Kenobi.”
8. Luke Skywalker’s Masterful Jedi Mind-Trick
In 2003, Luke Skywalker took a break from his fight against The Empire in order to partake in a little crime. He traveled to Pennsylvania where he appeared in a courtroom after indecently assaulting a man.
According to the Press Association News, when the court clerk asked him, “Are you Luke Skywalker?” – we’re assuming he had legally changed his name – the man nodded. He denied the charges, probably by waving his hand in front of his face and saying, “You will not charge me,” and he was released on conditional probation so that he could go back to join the Rebellion and continue fighting the good fight.
7. Darth Vader’s Return to the Big Screen
In 2005, just before the release of Revenge of the Sith, Springfield, Illinois fans were clamoring to get a glimpse of the return of Darth Vader, which would occur at the end of the film. Unfortunately, they got a much more up-close-and-personal glimpse of Vader at around 9:15 that night.
A man wearing a Vader mask walked into a Showplace Eight theater, shoved an employee out of the way, and ran off with an undisclosed amount of money from a cash register. He dashed off into the nearby woods. Since that report came nearly 10 years ago without any further update, it’s safe to assume he made it safely back to the Death Star and continued his fight against the Rebels, albeit a little richer.
6. Sell You Weed, I Will Not
In May 1999, the buzz for the release of the prequel Star Wars trilogy was reaching an all-time high. Merchandise and displays were being produced at a rapid pace. In Antioch, California, a supermarket created a fuzzy, $4,000 Yoda display as a way to promote and sell more Star Wars Cookbooks.
Two thieves ended up stealing the display as part of their foolproof plan to sell it to buy marijuana. The getaway driver was caught hours later, while the other thief was never caught. The Yoda display vanished just like Ben Kenobi did during his lightsaber battle with Darth Vader in A New Hope, never to be seen again.
5. I Find Your Lack of Pepperoni Disturbing
On a fateful night in October 2004, a Florida man answered the fabled calling… Of a hungry household wanting pizza.
The pizza delivery man went to the house and found no one at the address. When he returned to his car, the man was shocked to find that he’d been tricked by The Dark Side, as a man dressed as Darth Vader suddenly appeared and demanded all of the deliveryman’s money.
The delivery man attempted to get in his car and flee, but Darth Vader sliced his arm off with a lightsaber. Just kidding. The frustrated Vader shot the delivery man with a stun gun, but was apprehended and arrested soon after.
4. Use The Force, Dave
In 2011, a 33-year-old man named David Canterbury was arrested at a Toys R Us on Hayden Island in Portland, Oregon. The man was caught breaking the Jedi code when he began harassing customers, talking incoherently, and ultimately attacking patrons with a toy lightsaber.
The ambidextrous menace attacked three people with a pair of toy lightsabers, proving that he was deserving of being named a Sith Lord, before the police were called.
The police were forced to use a taser on the unwieldy assailant, and in a true display of his power, David even blocked a wire from the taser with one of his lightsabers. He was then subdued, banned from all Toys R Us stores, and transported to a hospital for a mental evaluation. He was charged with resisting arrest, interfering with a police officer, disorderly conduct, and three counts of fourth-degree assault. It seems it doesn’t matter how strong The Force was with this one; the law was stronger.
3. All of My Money on Skywalker, I Will Put
Yoda seems to be a popular choice for aspiring criminals and Dark Side protégés, despite being one of the oldest, most honorable Jedis around. In June 2000, the trend continued when two criminals attacked a bookie’s office in London. One of the men wore a Yoda mask, while they both carried weapons – one holding a pistol and the other holding a knife.
The two robbers snatched all of the cash they could carry and then took off in an earthbound van. The raid was linked to another in the area, but neither of the men were caught for the crime or for tarnishing the image of the Jedi order.
2. Sith Lord Serves Hard Time
In 1999, the clerks at B.J.’s Wholesale Club in Leominster, Massachusetts, were shown the true terror of the Dark Side when two gun-toting men dressed as Darth Maul burst into the superstore. The men took $80,000 in cash and merchandise, and then the hooded villains stole a clerk’s pickup truck to make their getaway.
Detectives lifted prints off the truck and arrested 23-year-old Jason Palmer, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison. The other masked Sith Lord was never caught, and neither was the treasure that the man must have taken back to Darth Sidious.
1. The Odds of Successfully Navigating This Situation Are…
In a strange turn of events, Darth Vader became the surprising victim in a San Antonio library hostage situation in 1996. The aggressor was C-3PO, or rather, 23-year-old Jeff Cole, who was wearing a Superman T-shirt at the time.
Cole pulled a gun on a teenage student and then forced the teen to wear a Vader mask, before donning a C-3PO mask himself. According to the San Antonio Express-News, police were called in to end the hostage situation. Cole made a phony bomb threat, and then was apprehended by police, but not before he yelled “Monkeys! Monkeys!” at the gathered crowd.