Criminality is a spectrum. Some criminals are absolute masterminds while others are... well, not so bright. The ones you'll read about in the stories on this list consist of the latter type. They are utter nincompoops; complete and total fools; the kind of criminals you only hear about in funny stories. These guys get caught red-handed, confess blatantly on tape and then try to find an excuse right after. Prepare yourselves to get a few good laughs from their antics!
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#1 Old Enough To Be An Idiot
I got a shoplifting call from the local CVS. I checked the area and saw two guys matching the description. I detained them and sure enough, they had adult beverages on them. I confirmed with CVS that they were the suspects and that the adult beverages were stolen from the store. The two were desirous of prosecution, which seemed odd.
My state requires that I take them to the station to book them into jail and get them fingerprinted. I am then to issue them citations and a court date. While driving to the station, I asked what they were doing stealing the beverages. One guy said that they were only 20 years old and since they weren’t old enough to buy them, they just decided to steal them instead.
No big deal, young people make stupid mistakes. I got to the jail, booked them in and started filling out their citations. which required their birthdates and ages. I did the math for their birthdays and sure enough, the guys were 21. Meaning, they were old enough to buy the beverages. I went back to the jail cell to verify their birthdays. I said, “You turned 21 last month.” He adamantly replied, “No, I turned 20.” I just left it at that.
#2 The Most Obvious Ambush
A friend of mine got his phone stolen one time, so he called his own phone number and the burglar answered the phone. He then told the burglar that he was willing to pay to get the phone back and the robber agreed. So they decided to meet at some random place to do the exchange and, obviously, my friend brought the police with him. They caught the robber and he was so shocked.
#3 I Used Kung-Fu!
This guy tried to get past security without a pat-down because he had a weapon on him. When security hit him with mace, he took his weapon out and started waving it around. I was driving past as the call came out and pulled up on him ditching a weapon in the dumpster. I took him into custody and he claimed it was not his weapon. He also said that his martial arts skills kicked in when he was "attacked" by security, leading him to disarm one of them.
#4 Vehicular Storage Space
There was a kid who sold illicit substances on my dorm floor. He definitely wasn’t the brightest guy. One night, he was driving back to the dorm and a police car came us behind him with the sirens turned on. His dumb butt stored all of his illicit substances in his car and assumed they were pulling him over for possession. He proceeded to drive through a red light and pull into the dorm parking lot to “hide.”
Mind you, his car was covered in bumper stickers, had a kayak rack, and a vanity plate to top it all off. Apparently, he thought the police car wouldn’t go through a red light to follow him. Long story short, they were just going to warn him for having a taillight out and nothing more. Instead, he ended up in the local jail and expelled from the college. The funniest part is that the “ledger” which listed all transactions he's made, as well as the names of all his buyers, were also right there in his car. He was one stupid criminal.
#5 Collecting On Himself
We had an inmate who would constantly call Crime Stoppers on his contraband cell phone and try to get them to give him the reward if he confessed to his crimes. He did this several times a month. Obviously, it never worked, but the police always had a good laugh whenever he would ring them up to try his luck.
#6 Not Anonymous Anymore
About 10 years ago, I got held up and robbed by a group of three guys with knives. All they wanted was the money in my wallet, so I just obliged. At the end of the ordeal, he threatened me with, "If you ever tell the cops my name is Peter, I will hurt you right now." So I went home, called the cops, told them where it happened and gave them the name the guy told me.
The name instantly rung a bell with them since the guy had come into contact with the police in the past. Cops went to the spot where I was robbed and they waited to ambush the guy. They could instantly identify the guy. He was arrested on the spot. I never understood why he, a criminal, would give out a piece of information as valuable as his name.
#7 Uniform Of Foolish Criminals Everywhere
We had a guy break into the local high school with his buddy and smash a bunch of soda machines. We had cameras all over the school, but these guys thought were smart. They said, “Nah, we’re gonna cover up our faces so they won’t know who did it.” On the day they committed the crime, they decided to wear their personalized letterman jackets, which had their names on the backs.
#8 If One Door Is Locked...
Two male suspects were attempting to break into a car. They had been at it for at least an hour. I got there and it turned out, the car was theirs. They had apparently locked themselves out. Checks confirmed that the car belonged to one of the guys. On their person was stolen mail and heaps of new phones, so they got arrested for theft anyway. What was even funnier was that the driver's door they had been trying to break into was the only locked door out of the four.
#9 Two Wrongs Make A Fool
The victim found a driver's license sitting on her driver seat that the suspect must have left behind. It seems silly, but if the culprit had any criminal smarts, he would have just said his license was stolen and that the thief probably dropped it while breaking into the vehicle. Without any other evidence, the case would have gone nowhere.
The next day, I took a report at a church that was a couple of blocks away from the vehicle burglary. The guy had apparently stolen the video cameras from the building. He must have thought the footage was recorded into the camera because when we checked the video, there was a high-definition close-up of the suspect's face as he removed the camera. Good evidence, sure, but I still didn’t know who the guy was...until I looked at the license I collected the day prior. It was the same exact guy.
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#10 Knife, What Knife?
My father is a police officer. He once told me a story of an incident involving a man and woman fighting in an apartment. The call came from the neighbors who were complaining about the noise. He was working third shift, so this was very late at night when all the crazy people were up and about. When he arrived, he could hear the yelling through the door. He knocked and let them know it was the police.
There was immediate silence and a man answered the door... completely naked. The naked man didn’t even give my dad a chance to speak or ask questions. The first thing he said was, “I don’t have a knife behind my back.” Well, he definitely did have a knife behind his back. And the naked woman he was with had illicit substances with her, which was what they were fighting over. They both got arrested that night.
#11 Always Forgetful In A Rush
I had two guys come in and ask for two bottles of Grey Goose. I asked for their IDs and they handed them over. They checked out, so I grabbed the two bottles from behind the counter to ring them up. They proceeded to grab the bottles and dip out of there, leaving their IDs on the counter. I called the police and they came in asking for a description of the thieves. I handed them the IDs. The cops were in disbelief at the stupidity. They went to the address that was listed on one of the IDs since it was about two blocks away. About 15 minutes later, they walked in just as the two guys were about to open the bottles of Grey Goose.
#12 Problem Child, Arrested Adult
My buddy is a cop and told me about this one kid who he dealt with for years. There was no cleverness to him—numerous times, he would simply walk into his neighbor's garage in broad daylight and steal his bike. He also constantly stole from stores in plain view and always got caught. However, because he was a minor, there were never any real repercussions.
A few days before he turned 18, my friend and another officer went to his house to basically remind him that if he did anything once he turned 18, he would face real punishment as an adult and get zero breaks. It was our last ditch effort to be helpful. Two days after his 18th birthday, he was caught committing an armed robbery.
#13 In The Bushes
A teen who got fired from Red Lobster returned to rob the same restaurant that night. They refused to give him money from the register so he grabbed the charity coin box (for muscular dystrophy or similar) and then left on a bicycle. I went to find him and saw the coins scattered about. I followed the trail of coins which led me to him hiding in the bushes at a church. The bicycle was leaning up against the bush he was in.
#14 The Great Bicycle Heister
My mom's cousin was a bank robber. The time he got caught, he went into a bank, scoped the place out, left to go back to his bike (yes, he actually used a bicycle as his escape vehicle), put a mask on, then robbed the bank. The police saw the tape and noticed that bank robber was wearing the same exact clothes as the guy who left less than a minute before.
#15 Provided His Own Transportation
My ex stole a car and went to pick up his friend at the police station in the stolen car. He parked right in front of a cop. The cop ran the plates and escorted him into the building. The next day, he was on the news as the most stupid criminal in town. I should have been embarrassed, but I had a whole lot of fun telling that story to everyone.
#16 I Have Committed No Crimes!
I pulled over a guy for having a brake light out. I was nothing serious. I just ran his plates and the like. It all came back clean and nothing seemed off, until he exclaimed, "I haven't had any adult beverages" in an over-enthusiastic tone. For some reason, he thought this was a good idea to say out loud. He nearly got away with it. I breathalyzed him, and he was almost 25 units over the legal limit. He was arrested on the spot and his vehicle was towed. Idiot.
#17 Too Old To Buy Alchohol?
My dad is a cop. I remember him telling me about a time when he was called to deal with an idiot high schooler who was caught stealing adult beverages. His fake ID had been rejected because it listed him as being three years younger than he actually was. The poor guy couldn’t work out why his ID didn’t work. My dad recommended that he pay better attention in math class.
#18 Crime In The Courthouse
I knew a guy who got busted selling illicit substances. He went to his hearing at the court and walked through the metal detector... with an Altoid tin full of illicit substances in his pocket. It set off the metal detector and the sheriff’s deputies searched him. They found the Altoid tin and arrested him on the spot.
#19 Wrong Time, Very Wrong Place
So I was sitting in the station, doing paperwork. As I looked out of the window, I saw a young guy smashing the glass walls of a bus stop, just a few yards away. From my perspective, it looked like he was doing that as a way to show off to a couple of girls nearby. So I sighed, walked about 20 yards over to him and arrested him.
#20 You Can't Catch Me
My cousin is a state trooper. He had a funny story about a guy he caught running illicit substances on the interstate. One day, as he was about to head off duty, he saw a car going easily 100 mph in the opposite direction, so he whipped around and caught up to him. When he pulled him over, the first words out of the guy's mouth were, "You can't pull me over!" To which my cousin replied, "Um, I just did?"
After a search of the vehicle that yielded a pound of illicit substances, a pistol with the serial number scratched off, and a notebook with his own rap lyrics, my cousin arrested the guy. While questioning him, he read some of his lyrics back to him, including the line, "Ain't no pig ever gon catch me... Screw the police."
#21 Defending My Criminal Honor
The suspect was armed with a knife, shouting at neighbors through the window about how he was going to hurt his wife. On arrival, he said that he would be exercising his right to self-defense. She had cheated on him with another guy so he said he had to defend his honor. I reminded him that anything said could be used against him, but he then started to tell me how their relationship had gone downhill since he started making and selling illicit substances. Of course, being the curious cop I was, I went back to the house with a warrant. Turns out, he was running the city’s biggest illegal operation.
#22 That's My Victim
A man was charged with robbing a woman. He was arrested and brought downtown for "purposes of identification." Apparently, he misunderstood this phrasing. As soon as the woman stepped out, he said, "Yep, that's her. That's the woman I robbed." I tried extremely hard to stifle my laughter at that moment.
#23 I Recognize These Two Guys...
I'm a part-time prosecutor. My town is small and we have two undercover officers. They make 12 to 20 arrests on any given week. The town paper constantly puts them on the front page. I see dozens upon dozens in court arrested by these two. We even made them the "Police Officers of the Year" three years in a row. To this day, there's still no slow down on their arrests.
#24 Wearing A Red Flag
A woman flagged me down and told me she left $3,000 in a machine when she went to the bathroom. Someone took the ticket and cashed out. After some investigating, we found out that there were three guys involved, one of which was in a super obnoxious CA Flag shirt with a matching CA flag hat. We put out a BOLO on the guy, hoping maybe we’d find him based on his face and physical descriptors.
The next day, I clocked in and started walking around. I was cruising through a slot section found the guy sitting at a machine in the exact same outfit, with exactly $2,000 in his pocket and $1,000 in the machine. I couldn’t believe it. I called for back-up and detained the guy. The police came and arrested him. Easily the dumbest criminal I’ve ever met. The guy was genuinely surprised that we found him.
#25 Yeah, I Know Why You're Here
A cop and his partner were sent to interview a suspect involved in an armed robbery out of state. They showed up to his house and found him sitting on the porch. They called him by name and announced themselves as police officers. Then they said, "Do you know why we are here?" The suspect replied, “Yeah, that armed robbery in Atlanta.” The guy apparently was more worried about being seen as out of the loop than being seen as innocent.
#26 One Coffee, Hold The Crime
I walked up, in full uniform, on a guy busting into cars at 10 a.m. with a crowbar. He tried to say that the car was his. I guess he was hoping I didn't see the other five cars with broken windows too? He got tasered, then obviously arrested. The funny thing was, I was just trying to get coffee! I guess waiting around for something to happen sometimes works.
#27 Begging For A Fine
I went on a ride along with a cop and boy did we hit the jackpot. We showed up to a Wal-Mart around 11 p.m. to check out a group of kids who were loitering. After telling them all to leave, we started to drive around the back to check if anything was going on back there. As we went back, one of the cars from the group that was loitering got in front of us. (keep in mind this was all happening at less than 20 mph. The passenger opened the door and dumped all of his trash out on the ground. Yes, he got pulled over instantly and got a ticket.
#28 Sleep Breaking And Entering
Some gypsy in Prague wanted to get into a house only using a tent peg. He was trying to dig through a door with the peg. I arrested him and my colleague did the processing. When the family returned, they saw the dummy trying to make a hole in a door with the peg (he had probably been at it for a few hours already, considering how the door looked when we came).
The gypsy got up and ran like heck... Only to fall asleep in the middle of the road a few blocks away. Needless to say, we found him pretty fast. He was just sleeping there, right in front of our car. We questioned him on what he was doing there and he just said, "Hey man, I'm just taking a nap!" Yeah... Sure, buddy...
So we dragged him to the family and they identified him instantly. "So just napping, were we? You are under arrest for attempted breaking and entering!" And while we were pushing him into the back of the car, he was still insisting that he must have been sleepwalking, cause he just wanted to take a nap.
#29 I Swear, We Were Going To Turn Ourselves In
A guy and his wife went to an HEB and a hardware store, both times passing obviously fraudulent checks. How the stores didn't pick up on it immediately, I have no idea. Welp, one of the employees recognized the guy from some Facebook photos he found. He ran the guy and the wife to find USPIS (United States Postal Inspection Service) warrants for both of them (six counts each).
In addition to those, we got warrants for their local activity. Apparently, they were printing fake IDs and fake checks at home. The detective sat on their house. They eventually took off in a car, we ended up chasing them until they bailed. We caught him afterward and he said, "We were going to turn ourselves in on Monday." Right... That's why you ran and added another felony to your laundry list of charges.
#30 Equal Justice For All
I had an idiot speed past our building at 85 mph in a 30. We were in the middle of a shift change and there were a dozen of us milling around out front. So, of course, everyone wanted to pull the guy over. Two patrols take off after him and pull him over. The moron was one of us from another shift, he thought we wouldn't stop him. They threw the book at him and he was surprised the whole time.
#31 A Familiar Face
We had three teens coming in with mountains of stolen clothes. Someone came to pick them up but it wasn't a relative. Macy's policy is: If they stole under $100, then they can get picked up. These kids stole about $1,300 worth of clothes. The person who tried to come and pick them up was someone who stole from us before. The fact that the person who came to pick these kids up didn't expect that we weren't gonna be looking for her was freaking hilarious.
#32 Identifying Illegalities
My Criminal Justice teacher told me the best story I’ve heard so far. Back when he was a cop, he took a burglary call. He answered the call and the guy told him some person stole a little over a pound of illicit substances from him. He told him who it was, where he lived and asked him to go arrest him. So he went to arrest him, then he called the “victim” and said, “I think I have your illicit substances but I need you to come down to the station and identify it.” Naturally, the guy was thrilled and drove immediately down. He saw his illicit substances and confirmed, "Yes, 100% that is mine."My teacher then arrested him.
#33 Ignoring The Signs
Every day, I see a big black SUV with Sheriff written on the side parked in the driveway across the street. I don't know if the guy is the sheriff or works for the sheriff but one night I woke up to a dozen sirens outside. It turned out, some idiot tried breaking into the sheriff guy's house while he was home and his vehicle was right freaking there.
#34 Melting His Way In
This guy spent about 10 minutes melting a hole into my mom’s Jeep soft top, with a lighter. He then proceeded to try and force his way through the hole he made, while our neighbors across the street watched and called the cops. He even stuck around long enough to be caught. When the cops showed up and we showed them the video, we all had a pretty good laugh at just how stupid the guy was. The best part about the whole thing was that the door to the Jeep was open since we never keep anything of value in it.
#35 Lost And Found Idiot
Once, when I went to the grocery store, there were a few officers inside getting statements from some of the staff. Apparently, some guy had dropped a gallon-sized zip top bag full of illicit substances on the floor while he was walking out. Staff members noticed it right away and called the police. Right before, the guy came back into the store demanding that the staff return his illicit substances. He was still arguing with them and threatening them when the police walked in the door.
#36 You Stole How Much?
My dad is a cop and he was interrogating a robber who was denying he had any involvement in the crime.
Dad: "The man told us that you robbed him of $500!"
Robber: "No, it was only $300!"
#37 A Brainless Child
I knew a kid in my area who was a complete idiot. He was a thief and a terrible one at that. He knew I would be in a particular shop, at the same time every day, sitting in the security office with the manager to look out for shoplifting. I'd already caught him about four times before. On this occasion, he had seen me walking in. He still filled his pockets with sweets and walked out.
I followed him out and he was with his dad. I smiled and his dad rolled his eyes immediately. I cuffed him around the back of the head. I had given him enough chances, more than I should have, partly because of his age, and partly because his family was dirt poor and couldn't afford fines or to get him to community service. But that was the final straw, unfortunately.
#38 Two Criminals With One Call
The initial call came in as "someone is in my back yard stealing my illicit substances." Sure enough, the reporting person had six or seven massive illegal plants in his back yard, each about six to eight feet high. The thief was caught about two streets over and you could just follow the cannabis leaves. The funny thing was the RP got charged with a more serious offense than the thief.
#39 Job Security In The Flesh
I had a new inmate ask me if I could bring some illicit substances in for him. I .aughed in his face, thinking he was joking. He wasn't, so I had to "inform" him that just asking that question to a staff member could land him in the hole. He didn't see what the big deal was; he told me he always asked the staff at every jail he landed in. I just shook my head and thanked him for the job security. It made two other inmates standing close by burst out laughing.
#40 Follow The Trail Of Glass Shards
Three guys broke in through a large window, leaving blood everywhere as they tried to get in. They walked right past the high-end, expensive glass and proceeded to grab as many cheap jewels as possible. They went back through the window breaking two or three gold chains in the process of crawling through the tiny hole they made. They probably cut themselves even more than they already had.
They seemed to have dropped darn near everything while running because there was literally a trail of broken glass leading to the apartment across the street. The cops came and followed the glass trail leading directly to someone's door. They looked over the little fence of their bottom floor balcony and saw all three guys all cut up, laying out their loot on a bed.
#41 Breaking In Is Hot Work
A guy committed a commercial break and enter. He used a hacksaw to cut a hole in the roof. He actually had to cut two holes, as the first hole went into a stairwell, but the second accessed the office space. I guess he got hot up there doing all that cutting because he took his coat off. Once he got inside and dropped to the floor, he couldn't get back up. He ran out the back door, setting off the alarms. I found his identification in his coat pocket. He was well known to us, as he was a known suspect of other burglaries in the area. Now we finally had enough proof to take him in. Why do criminals always seem to forget the cardinal rule of thievery: never leave anything behind?
#42 Sticky Evidence
My car was hit in the parking lot of my old apartment complex by a rental scooter. The suspect hit the front passenger side going full speed, crushing that whole side of the car in. He flew across my hood and knocked the bumper off the car next to me. He picked up his scooter and drove away, without a care. Well, stuck in the wheel of my car was the front headlight and fender cover of the scooter. On the cover was the name of the rental company, its location, and the scooter number. All on one big sticker. The cops came t0 his apartment complex which was next door, and they promptly arrested him.
#43 The Fool Returns
A little over a month ago, my apartment was broken into whilst my boyfriend was still inside. He works nights so at midday he's still fast asleep and didn't notice this guy come in. When he woke up, the culprit panicked at seeing my boyfriend and ran off. My boyfriend looked around the apartment and found that the laptops, tablets, etc. were still there. The culprit must have run off before getting to all that, but a handful of smaller valuables such as USB's, keys, wallets were gone.
What WAS there, however, were the idiot's bags. He'd left his school rucksack containing some schoolwork, some of our possessions, his ID, etc. The police had a laugh with us a little later about it, and as one of them went to take my boyfriend's statement, we heard a knock at the door. I went to answer it and it was the culprit. He looked at me, then at the police officer behind me (still holding the bags) and asked, "Can I have my bags back please?" After a stunned moment, he was grabbed by the police officer and my boyfriend confirms that he was the guy. He was arrested on the spot.
#44 Here's My Plan
I went to a domestic violence call where the woman claimed her husband hit her. When I asked her how it happened, she told me he couldn't provide the kind of life she wanted him to give her. She stated since he had a heart attack and got lupus he wasn't working so she decided she should start inviting some friends over to have intimate relations with her for money.
Mind you, she was telling me, a fully uniformed officer, all of this. She then called someone to come over and told her husband that after she got paid for the intimate relations he should hold the guy at knifepoint and take the rest of his money. She said he refused to help her with this so they got into an argument. He pushed past her to get out of the apartment. She claimed that was the assault she had called me for. I asked her if she understood that she just admitted to planning a felony.
#45 High-Snore Chase
A guy had just broken into a pharmacy and stolen some prescription medication. There was a foot chase, which got slower, and slower, and slower... At some point, I ended up just walking slowly behind him. The guy fell asleep while I was booking him in. He had taken some of the sleeping pills he stole earlier.