World's Dumbest Criminals

When crime really doesn't pay

Every species has its runt of the litter. For every Lionel Messi there is a Darron Gibson; for every Jonathan Franzen there is a Jeffrey Archer.

So for every criminal mastermind basking in the glory of their ill-gotten gains there is a numbskull languishing in a cell somewhere because they didn’t have two brain cells to rub together.

Ladies and gentleman, we present for your reverie and amusement, the world’s top ten crap criminals, futile felons, bungling burglars, rubbish robbers, laughable lawbreakers and vapid villains.

(Images: All Star, Rex Features, Solent News)

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1. The Million Dollar Bill

The largest bill currently in circulation in the US is $100. That didn’t stop 53-year-old Michael Anthony Fuller going in to his local Walmart recently and attempt to use a $1 million note. Fuller, who really should have done his homework, tried to use the fake note to buy a microwave, vacuum cleaner and other goods totalling $476. By his reckoning he was due $999,524 in change. After the police were called, Fuller was charged with attempting to obtain goods under false pretense (deception in UK law) and uttering a forged instrument. Damn those forged instrument utterances.

Rex Features, World's Dumbest Criminals, ShortList

2. Ringing Ahead

It’s often said that to be forewarned is to be forearmed. However, in criminal vernacular, ringing a store to find out how much cash it has in its register could also be said to tip the wink to the aforementioned convenience store. Yet, that is exactly what Ontario crook Daniel Glen did in 2008. Aroused by why someone should want to know how much money was on the premises, the shop owner called the local cops who promptly arrested Glen as he made his way to the store. So, for the shop, and the police, being forewarned was the equivalent to be being forearmed after all.

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3. Be Prepared

If there were two things we learned from our undistinguished spell at Cubs one was to always be prepared. Then again, the other was something to do with dibs and dobs. Go figure. Anyway, criminals should always be prepared. However, in the process of this preparation it probably isn’t wise to write down in your diary the day you intend to commit a robbery. And where. But that’s just what getaway driver Jonathan Ochola did on June 12, 2010. ‘Go to Portsmouth, robbery happens’ was his diary entry. And that is exactly what happened. And that evidence is exactly what helped convict him. So less of the dib and more of the dob then. Dobbing yourself in.

Rex Features, World's Dumbest Criminals, ShortList

4. Write a Book

Not that we’re encouraging anyone to commit murder, but should you ever do so we reckon it would be fairly wise, once you have done the deed, and indeed seemingly got away with it, to keep schtum. Don’t tip the wink and all that. Unfortunately, Polish author Krystian Bala was unable to do such a thing after brutally murdering Dariusz Janiszewski in 2000. Three years later he wrote about a similar murder in his novel, Amok. When police stumbled upon the book they unearthed a trail linking Janiszewski back to Bala. Silly, silly, arrogant man.

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5. Ask The Police To Arrest You

Curiosity killed the cat. It also got Detroit man R.C. Gaitlan arrested in 1988, after he asked cops demonstrating the latest in crack-bang-whizz hi-tech computer felon-location equipment to children to show him how such technology worked. Handing over his driver’s licence to be scanned, the police discovered Gaitlan was wanted for an armed robbery in St. Louis two years previously. Talk about giving the cops a get-out-of-jail-and-get-yourself-sent-to-jail-card.

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6. The Writings on the Wall

Peter Addison was here! Not very imaginative teenage graffiti when daubed on a park bench; a stunning act of incompetence when scrawled upon the wall of the children’s campsite you’ve just burgled and vandalised. But that’s what one Peter Addison did after breaking in to the Toc H Centre in Cheshire in 2007. It didn’t take the police long to catch up with Addison and accomplice Mark Ridgeway, after which they commented: “There are some pretty stupid criminals around, but to leave your own name at the scene of the crime takes the biscuit. The daftness of this lad certainly made our job a lot easier.”

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7. Falling Asleep on the Job

Not being expert cat burglars we can only imagine that one of the key stipulations in the cat burglar’s handbook is get in quick, get out even quicker. We’re fairly sure failing asleep under your victim’s bed is not a key criterion for success - as burglar Mark Smith found out to his cost in May 2007. Dosed up to the gills on valium and vodka he went for an unwitting 40 winks while robbing a house in Whitley Bay. When finally woken by police, Smith was starting at an 18-month stretch inside. Less cat burglar then, and more cat napper.

Rex Features, World's Dumbest Criminals, ShortList

8. Social Media Fail

If while committing a robbery the person whose worldly goods you’re messing with happens to see your face, we’d advise not sending her a Facebook friend request, thus allowing her to see all 592 photos of your gormless self, pulling those inane heavy metal signs in your local Shooters and Hooters bar. Unfortunately that is precisely what Juan Gonzales Jr of Colorado did. So in essence Facebook allowed the book to be thrown at his face. Who says social media is a bad thing?

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9. Hand Yourself In

Unlike, say, buying a TV, purchasing class A drugs comes with no certificate of guarantee. There is no Which? magazine to help you make an informed choice or defend your consumer rights. You literally pays your money and takes your chances. So, under no circumstances should you go to the police complaining about the quality of the crack cocaine you’ve just bought. They will not get your money back for you. They will only arrest you. As happened to an Eloise D Reaves in Putnam County in the state of New York in 2006. What do they teach these people in criminal college?

Rex Features, World's Dumbest Criminals, ShortList

10. Don't Tell Them Your Name, Pike

So, you’ve broken into a restaurant looking for booze – well done. However, you’ve triggered the alarm. We reckon at this point running is your best option. No? Ok, you’re still looking for some vodka, whisky or whatever. Don’t whatever you do answer the phone, it’s the alarm company. Oh, too late, you have. Just don’t tell them your name, Christopher Kron. Oops. And to compound your litany of mistakes, do not return to the restaurant the next morning. Come on, Christopher, you’re not going to do that are you? Oh…

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