It’s a tough world out there for most of us. Especially for those who choose to live it on the wrong side of the law. In fact, it might actually require quite a bit more focus and skill than everyday, normal professions. And this just goes to prove that not everyone is built to handle illegal business, as much as some might try. Think about the amount of planning that might need to be done just for one single crime. Or if it’s a spontaneous act – you still need some kind of precision, speed or agility – heck, maybe even a sixth sense – in order to execute it.
And while the best criminals are probably those we’ve never heard of, word about the failures among the outlaws spreads pretty fast, which is exactly what this list is about. We’ve gathered fifteen of the funniest, creepiest and dumbest criminal minds out there, who got caught either because one way or another, they simply weren’t careful enough. You can hardly blame them for it, though, everyone can have a bad day at work. With the only difference that for most people the bad day isn’t necessarily going to end behind bars.
15. If You Can’t Drive, Don’t Steal A Car
Wouldn’t that seem obvious? Well, turns out that young Mganga Mganga decided to give carjacking a try, without really getting into all the details. One early morning in Omaha, NE, a mother was sitting in her van, preparing to take her son to school, when she was suddenly forced out of her vehicle (together with her boy) at gunpoint. The 17-year-old Mganga had successfully gotten his victims out of the car he was about to steal, and just as he was getting ready to take off – he couldn’t do it. No second thoughts, mind you, he just wasn’t counting on hijacking a car with manual transmission. Desperately trying to get the vehicle moving, he turned the lights on and off, activated the windshield wipers, but was only able to drive a few feet, before abandoning his catch and fleeing the scene. Meanwhile, one of the neighbors who saw the whole thing called the police and the officers managed to catch Mganga on foot several blocks away. We should probably also mention that the gun he was using was a toy.
14. Announced Robbery
Few people like it when guests show up unannounced, catching them completely unprepared and probably busy with something. Looks like this outlaw decided that banks feel the same about robbers, so Albert Bailey went ahead and gave the bank him and his accomplice were about to rob a friendly phone call in advance. Apparently, his idea was to give the workers in the bank enough time to get the money ready for him. Only he didn’t seem to have considered that giving your future victim a heads-up is the least productive thing to do. Naturally, one of the employees had already alerted the police and Bailey together with his partner in crime, were arrested shortly after they had come to collect their cash.
13. The One-Million Dollar Bill
One way – one very illegal way – to make a little cash is by using fake money to buy something for only a fraction of that amount and then receive change in real money. It’s a simple strategy, but difficult to execute because of how hard it’s become for counterfeiters to copy real dollar bills. To make the task even more challenging, one Michael Anthony Fuller, 53, brought a one-million dollar bill to his local Walmart. He then attempted to purchase goods for the total cost of $476 and expected to receive his change. In Walmart. It makes you wonder which of the two is more mind-blowing: the fact that he actually thought a $1M bill would fly or that he genuinely counted on receiving just under one million dollars in cash from Walmart.
12. When In Doubt, Hand Over Your Gun
Sure, if you don’t know what you’re doing with a weapon, it’s probably best to hand it over to someone who does. How this applies to the robber-victim situation, however, will probably elude most, but certainly not the London banker, who attempted to loot the Halifax bank. It would appear the wrongdoer got pretty confused from all the excitement he was causing and instead of handing the bank worker the bag for the demanded £700,000, he gave him his gun. A few seconds later, both had realized the absurd mistake and the unnamed robber made a run for it, using the bank employee’s bike as an escape vehicle.
11. Here’s My Number, Call Me Maybe?
Looks like there is no limit to how naive criminals can be. And you would think that they should be the most suspicious and non-trusting people, but practice shows otherwise. Take this case, for example, when a young Ruben Zarate, only 18 years of age at the time, decided to rob a shop in Chicago. The not-too-bright criminal entered the shop and demanded to be handed over all of the money. The employees told him that most of the cash was kept in a safe the manager alone could open, only he wasn’t in just then. So, this should have been his queue to call it a day and flee as fast as he possibly could. But, no; he decided to check back later and gave the shop workers his phone number. He asked them to give him a call when the manager came back, so he could kindly open the safe and the robber could then peacefully collect the money. Obviously, the police were informed and then the Zarate was called and lured back to the shop, where he was arrested.
10. Say What?
Okay, if you consider this situation, while just carelessly daydreaming and toying around with random ideas, without giving them any real consideration, it could work. But how do you actually get away with a bank robbery as a deaf man? That’s right, you don’t. And it’s something Klaus Schmidt from Germany should have probably given more thought to. Back in 1995, he really gave the bank workers in Berlin a fright, showing up armed and angry. Pointing his gun at the employees, he demanded they give him money and shouted ‘Of course it’s a real gun!’, when asked if he wanted a bag for the cash. This was the final tell-tale sign of his disability and one of the workers set off an alarm, which was pretty impossible to miss. However, Mr. Schmidt noticed nothing and soon the police arrived to arrest him.
9. Street Drugs Are Non Refundable
Seems like a perfectly legit statement, don’t you think? Well, not everyone will agree. Eloise Reaves is one of those people, who learned the hard way that the local police will not assist you in getting a refund from your drug dealer. Apparently unhappy with the latest batch of crack cocaine she had purchased, Eloise went straight to a policeman to complain about the quality of her product and ask for help in getting her money back. We’re guessing maybe the crack wasn’t that bad after all. After she revealed the batch that was hidden away in her mouth, she was promptly arrested and the awkwardness was over.
8. Facebook Addiction
This list would by no means be complete if we had missed to include cases, where our beloved friend that is social media was involved. More so, Facebook had in fact helped to solve this particular crime and catch the man behind it. After breaking into a house he intended to burgle, this criminal couldn’t resist logging onto Facebook from a computer inside the house. Police were able to identify him immediately (surprise, surprise) as Trevor Jones, 34, and finding him thereafter was only a matter of time. If you plan on robbing someone’s home – maybe you should revisit your priorities first (read: your Facebook likes should not be at the top of the list).
7. Wait, Let Me Take A Selfie
Ah, how can we forget about our latest narcissistic obsession? Apart from being so popular and somewhat controversial, there have been some interesting cases involving selfies, from unintentionally capturing freakish moments to accidentally getting shot. Believe it or not, selfies have also helped solve crimes and this particular drug dealer’s vanity cost him quite a lot. Gang member Peter Cavanagh, decided to take some selfies with all the cash he had made from one of his deals. The photos then served as evidence of his wrongdoings, when to other dealers of the gang got busted.
6. Chose Your Weapon Wisely
We’re not quite sure what our next wise guy was thinking, but we’re pretty certain it had nothing to do with focusing on the place he intended to rob. Derrick Mosley’s target was a gun store in Oregon, which he proceeded to hold up – with a baseball bat. He had a knife with him, too, but that hardly made matters any better. Held at gunpoint by the gun shop worker, the baseball bat robber had no other choice than to drop his weapons and lay on the floor until police arrived to arrest him. Probably easier to rob stores that aren’t full of weapons already.
5. Taking Notes
We’re no criminal experts here, but assuming you are planning to commit a crime and have probably even executed it, wouldn’t your first priority be to make sure no evidence was left behind? It’s what you’d think, right? Well, when your criminal business becomes routine, it’s likely you will get sloppy and that is exactly what happened with Arthur Cheney. Affable wine tour guide by day, and bank robber by night, having robbed at least 17 banks, Cheney was pretty established at what he was doing. Until one day police noticed a post-it note in his car that read: Robbery. Only 50s and 100s. It turns out whenever he would hold up a bank, he would pass the employee a note demanding cash.
4. “Sorry I Robbed You”
This criminal mastermind had for some reason decided to take out his wallet while burgling a New York apartment he had broken into. He didn’t get away with much, only $218, but looks like his own wallet seemed too heavy to carry, so he placed it on the victim’s bed. And left! It didn’t take long for him to realize he had forgotten something, but by that time it was already too late. The apartment owner had already gotten back and had locked the door. Never fear, though, why not just try and make things right by exchanging the stolen cash for your wallet, which contains important information like your identity and credit cards? The resident on the other side of the door agreed to the exchange, only it was to happen under the door. The time wasted on trying to stuff all the bills underneath was enough for authorities to arrive and arrest the forgetful felon.
3. Cold Calling
If you have a product or service you would like to sell, many businesses employ the tactic of cold calling, or out-bound marketing. That’s provided your product is legal. Young Shaquille McKinney was probably unaware of that last bit, so he tried his best to promote his business by calling people and offering them… drugs. If you won’t call your dealer – the dealer will call you. Only thing is, one of his potential customers turned out to be a cop. They scheduled a meeting in a parking lot and that was the end of the drug marketing campaign.
2. Fake ID
What are the odds that you get your ID stolen and it’s then handed back to you by the person who stole it? Only that person isn’t giving it back to you, but presenting it as their own. Well, it’s certainly not something that happens every day. An Applebee’s waitress was serving a table of four people, who were ordering drinks, when one of them, a 26-year-old woman, decided to order a margarita and show her driver’s licence. Only it was the waitress’ licence, that had been stolen days before along with her other belongings. The waitress calmly went to get the margarita, but actually called the cops. Justice was served.
1. A Non Fiction Crime Novel
Krystian Bala takes the cake when it comes to personally exposing yourself as a criminal to the world. Only unlike the other crimes on this list, there’s not much to laugh about here. In fact, this case has a bit of an eerie note to it. Bala is a Polish author, known for his debut work and best-selling novel Amok, in which he included his own experience as a murderer. It was later found that he was responsible for the murder of a Polish businessman and it wouldn’t have been possible, if the investigators hadn’t linked the creepy book with the crime they had been struggling to solve. Krystian Bala was found guilty and sentenced to twenty five years of prison.