No wonder our prisons are packed

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 8, 2005

Have you ever seen the web site about dumb crooks or seen the Daytime Show on Fox that highlights a dumb crook each day? In case you missed those, here are some true stories that explain why prisons are so full.

A bungling bank robber, unhappy with his small haul, accidentally set himself on fire in front of stunned tellers and customers.

The man walked into a Canada Trust branch in Burlington, Ontario with a lit Molotov cocktail and demanded money. When the robber didn’t get as much as he wanted, he grew agitated and began shaking the bottle and screaming. The makeshift bomb exploded, first setting his right hand on fire, then engulfing him in flames.

Police in Des Moines, Iowa easily subdued Ronald Siedelman in the Norwest Bank after he had given the teller a long, poorly written note that officers characterized as implying a bank robbery. It asked for $19 trillion. Siedelman further astounded tellers by walking outside as tellers were deciphering the note. He said he wanted to smoke a cigarette and didn’t want to violate the bank’s no smoking policy.

Xavier Hunter robbed a bank in Chicago, Illinois then ran outside into a mass of police officers that were lining the streets because President Bush was making a campaign appearance.

In New York, a man tried to rob a bank that was on the ground floor of a building in which the FBI had offices. Since it was the agents’ payday, many of them were in line to deposit their checks. When the robber made his demand, he instantly heard the clicking of 15 guns behind him.

In Lincoln, Nebraska, Freedon Hunter drove up to a bank drive-through window and tried to cash a stolen check made out to Tim Holt. The crook didn’t notice the teller’s name plate which read &uot;Tim Holt.&uot; Freedon handed the forged check to Tim Holt, along with Tim’s own driver’s license, which had been stolen from Tim a few days earlier.

Bruce Damon walked into the Mutual Federal Savings Bank in Brockton, Massachusetts and asked for $40 million. The teller told him that was impossible, so Damon reduced the demand to $40,000. But as the clerk reached for the money, Damon told him to skip the cash and just issue him a check. Damon was arrested at his own bank later, when he tried to deposit the check into his account.

In Sacramento, California, Ed Rose and Theodore Kuhl were arrested for robbing a bank. Officer found Rose standing in front of the bank immediately after the robbery looking for Kuhl and the getaway car. When Kuhl finally showed up, he told police he’s noticed the car was dirty and had taken it to a carwash.

Alfred Acree, a dope dealer in Charles City, Virginia, really didn’t want to help pursuing officers catch him, but he could hardly have made their jobs easier. When police chased Acree into a thickly wooded area, they certainly would have lost him if he hadn’t had those lights in his shoes. While fleeing from the cops, Acree was wearing his new battery-operated &uot;Light Gear&uot; sneakers. Lights in the heels of the shoes flash on each time the wearer’s heel strikes the ground.

In this case, they led straight to Acree and the discovery of his 12 bags of cocaine.

Amy Brasher, 45, was arrested in San Antonio, Texas, after a mechanic reported to police that 18 packages of marijuana were packed in the engine compartment of the car which she had brought to the mechanic for an oil change. According to police, Brasher later said she didn’t realize that the mechanic would have to raise the hood to change the oil.

Police conducting a road block operation in Texas, stopped a man for not wearing his seatbelt. During the stop, the police observed three, silver pipe-like packages on the floor. The police began to question the man as to whether or not the objects were pipe bombs. The man blurted out, &uot;Man, that ain’t no pipe bomb. That’s cocaine.&uot;