Brainless bandits good for laughs

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 28, 2008

While standing in the grocery store queue, a headline on People magazine got my attention.

Past all the screaming headlines like, “Hollywood’s Hottest Bodies” and “Exclusive Secrets from the ‘Gossip Girl’ set was a small, but subtle, title stating: “CLUELESS! The world’s dumbest criminals.”

Yep, this was going to be a good read.

In the three page article written by Daniel S. Levy and Sean Scully, six dumb criminals and their hi-jinks are highlighted.

After reading just a few of the criminals’ stories it made me wonder just how the law enforcement officers who arrested them kept a straight face.

Take for instance the genius who used duct tape to disguise his identity when robbing a liquor store in Kentucky.

This man actually wrapped his whole head in duct tape. At least he was smart enough to leave openings for his eyes and mouth so he could see and breathe while committing the crime.

Of course, this whole charade worked until the store’s owner whipped out, ironically, a duct taped club and went after the would-be robber.

And just when you think this man cannot be anymore of a moron, it’s revealed he is.

After having the duct tape removed from his head by EMTs, who document the process with photographs, and taken into custody by officers—he denies he’s “The Duct Tape Bandit.”

In an interview with a local television station, he even questioned, “Do I look like The Duct Tape Bandit?”


And then there is a tale of the criminal who gladly hands over his fake identification cards to a Missouri State trooper.

The trooper had pulled the man over speeding and upon the officer asking him for his license, the man handed over five of them—each one a fake.

To make matters worse, while searching the counterfeiter, the trooper found nine more fake I.D.s in his back pocket, not to mention the more than $3,900 in cash, fake checks, printers and even more fake I.D.s in his vehicle.

Reading these stories about moronic crooks made me wonder just how many other dim bulbs there are in the drawer.

A quick Google will reveal in the world of dumb criminals, the waters run deep. The television channel Tru TV features a show devoted to these fools, appropriately called, “Smoking Gun Presents: The World’s Dumbest Criminals.”

The Smoking Gun’s web site features some of the brainless capers’ mug shots, including a man who ups the ante on disguises (even, perhaps, on duct tape man) when he taped tree branches to his head and body to hide his identity while robbing a bank in New Hampshire.

The man got away with the money, but his ill-thought out disguise soon led authorities to his door after being recognized by someone who had seen the surveillance tape.

Another mug shot is of a man in Texas who literally got “caught” in the middle of committing a crime.

Instead of using other routes of entry robbers typically use, this dim-wit decided to climb down the chimney of a bodega and got stuck in the hood of the deep fryer, hence fire personnel and police being called to the scene to rescue the man.

The web site even quotes one of the police officers stating, “Hold the onions on that burglar.”

My personal favorite is of a man who made his entry through the roof of a liquor store, literally tearing down half of the ceiling at the same time and knocking himself out for a few seconds.

Once on his feet, the man continued by getting a cart and filling it up with bottles of his desired liquor. However, when the criminal goes to make his great escape he’s unable to get out the door of the store.

After trying to smash his way through the door, the thief finally gives up and sits down to have a smoke and call the police…on himself.

It seems in the world of dumb criminals anything goes.

Amanda VanDerBroek is a Staff Writer for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. For comments and column suggestions email: or call (252) 332-7209.