1. Lottery Thief Sets Himself on Fire
ROME, GA June 2
A convenience-store thief got away, but the video from the security camera told a strange, strange tale. A man broke into the store overnight, and tried to cover his tracks by burning the place down. He threw charcoal lighter fluid around, but by the time he ignited it, the fumes had permeated the store, and he set himself on fire. While in flames, he grabbed a roll of lottery tickets and fled. At the time of the story, police were looking for a man with facial, neck, and possibly wrist burns.
2. Ten Hours Stuck in Restaurant Vent
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL June 8
An employee of the Lucky Buffet noticed a strange sight on arriving at the restaurant. There were legs hanging out of a vent over the grill! 45-year-old Billy Jordan had tried to enter the restaurant the night before by climbing through the ductwork, but became stuck and stayed there for ten hours. Hillsborough County Fire Rescue workers used a rope to pull Jordan back out through the roof, after which he was arrested for burglary.
3. Immovable ATM
MILWAUKEE, WI July 27
Three men backed a stolen vehicle through the glass front of a gas station. Their intent was to steal an ATM. But they didn’t realize that ATMs are bolted to the floor. After some thought, they tied a rope around the machine and attched it to the vehicle, but still could not dislodge it. They left empty-handed. The ATM was still in working order the next day.
4. The Famous Duct Tape Bandit
ASHLAND, KY August 13
Police say Kasey Kazee entered Shamrock Liquors and attempted to rob the store. Employees were astonished that he had disguised his face by wrapping it in duct tape! The store manager chased him out with a baseball bat and an employee held him in the parking lot until police arrived. Police removed the duct tape after taking pictures, and arrested Kazee, who denied any memory of the incident.
See a video report here.
5. The Sign of the Crime
ADLINGTON, ENGLAND September 6
Peter Addison and his friend Mark Ridgeway vandalized the Toc H centre, a children’s campsite building. They smashed crockery, set off fire extinguishers, and drew grafitti on the walls. Part of the grafitti said “Peter Addison was here.” Police found Addison through a computer database. Both teenagers pled guilty and were ordered to pay for the damage.
Inspector Gareth Woods, of Cheshire Police, said: "This crime is up there with the dumbest of all in the criminal league table.
"There are some pretty stupid criminals around, but to leave your own name at the scene of the crime takes the biscuit.”
6. He Didn’t See the Cop
LITTLE ROCK, AR September 7
21-year-old Langston Robins walked right past a uniformed police officer at the Metropolitan Bank and handed a robbery note to the teller. The unarmed would-be robber was arrested after a foot pursuit. Little Rock police spokesman Lt. Terry Hastings said:
"I just don't know why he didn't see a uniformed police officer standing basically right in front of him," Hastings tells the Associated Press. "My guess is he's just not the brightest of people."
7. He Stole a Car to Turn Himself In
GENEVA, NY September 13
29-year-old Vincent Estrada Junior was pulled over because the car he was driving had been stolen from a parking lot. Estrada explained that he had stolen the car in order to drive to the Geneva City Police Department and turn himself in on a family court warrant! He didn’t make his destination, as police took him to the Ontario County Jail instead, where he was held on car theft charges.
(image credit: Ontario County Sheriff's Office)
8. Burglar Falls Asleep Under Victim’s Bed
WHITLEY BAY, England September 17
Usually, the burglar robs the house while the victim is asleep, but in this story, the roles were reversed. 24-year-old Mark Smith sneaked into Heather Stephenson’s home, crept past her while she was ironing, and rifled through her belongings in the bedroom. Then he fell asleep under her bed. Mrs. Stephenson couldn’t wake him, and police officers had to drag him out from under the bed. Smith’s vodka and valium consumption were to blame. He received an 18-month sentence for burglary.
9. Cash My Million-Dollar Bill!
PITTSBURGH, PA November 9
A man flew into a rage at the Giant Eagle supermarket when employees refused to cash a million-dollar bill. 66-year-old Samuel Porter slammed an electronic machine on the counter and refused to give his name to authorities. He was then taken to the Allegheny County Jail. The largest bill currently in circulation is the $100 dollar bill.
Bonus: It happened again soon afterwards in Georgia!
(image credit: AP)
10. Carjacking at a Crime Scene
RALEIGH, NC December 11
There had been a stabbing, and police were on the scene talking to a woman who had been a witness to the crime. 38-year-old Anthony William jumped into the woman’s car and drove away! He was arrested the next day, easily identified by the cops who saw him steal the car.