Go Directly to Jail: 4 Brilliantly Bungled Crimes

They Should Have Stolen a Watch First

Long before he was an outlaw country crooner, Merle Haggard was a real outlaw - albeit a bad one. At the rebellious age of 20, Haggard and a few friends planned to rob a restaurant.

They got drunk and waited until 3 o'clock in the morning, when they knew it would be empty. But when they broke in, they were surprised to find the restaurant full of people. Turns out, in their drunken haze, they accidentally wandered in at 10:30 pm. The attempted burglary landed Haggard in notorious San Quentin State Prison, where he saw Johnny Cash perform three times, inspiring him to pick guitars instead of locks.

Always Case the Joint


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In the olden days, crooks used to "case" joints, staking out a place and detailing all the intricacies before attempting to rob the business. But on March 12, 2008, two young criminals in Port St. Lucie, Florida, proved that tradition is dead. The would-be robbers confidently entered the lobby of a business, hid their hands in their jackets like guns, and demanded money from the woman at the front desk. Unfortunately, there was one flaw in the plan - the "business" was actually a police station.

When God Closes a Window ...

Never come between a defensive lineman and his chalupa. Employees at a Lawrence, Kansas, Taco Bell learned this lesson the hard way in 1999 when they forgot to include one of the deluxe tacos in the order of Dion Rayford, a former member of the Kansas Jayhawks.

Enraged, Rayford lunged through the store's drive-thru window, going after the employees like they were chalupas themselves. But drive-thru windows aren't meant to accommodate a 6'3", 270-lb. lineman, and Rayford got stuck. There he remained, half inside and half outside the Taco Bell, until the police arrived to dislodge him, and then arrest him.

Pier Review

Despite being a former child star, late actor Brad Renfro (The Client, Sleepers) could never afford a $175,000 yacht. So, in 2000, the 18-year-old actor decided to steal one from a Ft. Lauderdale marina.

Unfortunately for him, the 45-ft. vessel was still tied to the dock. When Renfro fired up the engine for a joy ride, the yacht inched forward and was quickly yanked back into the dock, damaging the stern and alerting everyone that something fishy was afoot. Nearby boaters held the beardless pirate until police arrived. (Photo: Brad Renfro's mugshot at The Smoking Gun)

Go Directly to Jail: 4 Brilliantly Bungled Crimes is written by Adam K. Raymond. It is reprinted with permission from the Scatterbrained section of the May/June 2009 issue of mental_floss magazine.

Be sure to visit mental_floss' entertaining website and blog for more fun stuff!


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There is a saying I ocassionally have to say to myself:

There but for the grace of god, go thee or I

its a reminder that, but for the presence of mind, I too could throw a headfit, and do the wrong thing.

underlying all of the crimes mentioned, is a sense of need that is not being catered for, for two of the parties, there was the need of money.
the last one, is a need for chilling out and realisation we can all forget something, even the king of chalupas.

these can be desperate times, live peacefully.
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well these have to be some of thee most ridiculous things i have ever heard...people are so fu**ck**ing dumb sometimes i mean seriously...its a friggin chulupaa! and the dumb dipthongs who tried to 'rob a police station' i mean seriously i see why the idiots who tried to rob the resturaunt got aressted...they were under the influence...this guy...was SOBER! WHAT HAS THIS WORLD CAME TO?
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I was a student at the University of Kansas then. The chalupa was just brand new and they were running those "drop the chalupa" ads where some guy couldn't do some kind of manual task because he was holding a chalupa the whole time.

We always thought that Taco Bell should hire Reyford for their ads, showing a guy stuck in a drive-thru because he was holding a chalupa.

BTW zav, the window title is a twist on the old line "When God shuts a door, he opens a window". It's a metaphysical "where there's a will, there's a way".
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