Okay, we all know that people do dumb things.
Now, I’m not talking about locking yourself out of the car or a fast food worker putting French fries in your bag upside down. Sure, they are silly mistakes, but you can explain them – people in a hurry, with too much on their minds.
But I am talking about really stupid things that people do. Sometimes it can be life-altering.
Ask Lorraine Graves. In a bit of irony Graves was wanted by Tulsa police in connection to a killing. In a bit of stupidity Graves helped police to arrest herself.
That’s right. Tulsa police have a Facebook page where they post the week’s most wanted fugitives. When they posted Graves to the list, police got a surprise.
Within two hours Graves responded to the post – from her own personal Facebook account – asking about the reward money being offered. Of course, the police were able to track the computer ID of Graves’ device and find her location. Soon she was in grave danger of going to prison.
OK, so you need more proof of those criminals less than masterminds?
Let’s go to Connecticut, where Albert Bailey and his partner have decided to rob a bank. Now, that’s not as easy as it sounds. What if you get there and the bank is closed? Or has no money to steal?
Just to make sure – before they wasted their time – the would-be Barney and Clod called the bank ahead of time to make sure it was OK to rob it!
Bank robbery is trickier than it looks.
There was a man in England who walked into a bank with a gun in one hand and a bag in the other. He ordered the teller to fill the bag – and be quick about it. But instead of handing the teller the bag, he handed over his pistol!
Amanda Lee, 50, is a different breed of criminal. For the past 25 years she has racked up an impressive string of convictions for such things as anti-social behavior, public disorder, harassment and abusing England’s 999 emergency phone system.
People have long been raising a stink over Lee’s obnoxious behavior, and Lee has been leaving her own noxious stink behind.
It seems that Lee has a long history of using public places as her own personal bathroom. Calling in Britain’s top secret agent – Double 0-No You Didn’t – the poopertrator was soon flushed out into the open.
Authorities have tired of her poo-pooing societal rules and she was issued a public order – the next time she is caught with her pants down Lee will face four years behind bars.
Speaking of making an ass of yourself, there were these Colombian robbers – who pulled off their heist. But they were undone by their choice of a getaway vehicle.
They loaded the loot on a stolen donkey, but Eeyore wasn’t about to be an accomplice. The donkey made such a ruckus that police immediately responded to the scene.
The getaway is an undervalued – yet essential – part of the criminal life. A Connecticut man, Zachary Tentoni, grabbed a woman’s wallet and fled with his prize. But, in his hasty retreat, he dropped his birth certificate and a letter from his mother. It wasn’t long before police were on Zack’s tracks.
Darren Kimpton was a burglar. But, apparently, he was one who didn’t scope out his target in advance. Kimpton fought the law – and the law won.
You see, Kimpton decided to break into a house that had been burglarized earlier that day – and the police were still there, conducting an investigation.
In Criminal 101 class, one of the first things you learn is to conceal your real identity when doing your illegal act. Unfortunately, Dennis Hawkins must have missed class that day.
Still, he made a valiant attempt. He donned a blonde wig, wore a stuffed bra and clown pants. His attempt to go unnoticed didn’t pan out. Nor did his plan to appear as a woman. Hawkins did not bother to cover his face – or shave off his beard and mustache.
That brings us to Ruben Zarate, of Chicago. He decided to rob a muffler shop, but it turned out that he didn’t have the Midas touch.
The staff told him the manager had the key to the safe, but he wasn’t there. With his options exhausted, Zarate did the only logical thing he could think of: He left his phone number and told the staff to call him when the manager was back.
A short while later a muffler shop employee called Zarate to tell him the manager was back and ready to be robbed. Zarate returned, only to find the police waiting.
John Christian Hopkins lives in Sanders, Ariz., with his wife, Sararesa. He is a veteran journalist – but never an enemy of the people – and a former nationally syndicated columnist for Gannett News Service. He is the author of many books, including “Carlomagno: Adventures of the Pirate Prince of the Wampanoag.” He is a member of the Narragansett Indian Tribe of Rhode Island.