Dumb, cartoonish criminals have been around for as long as crime has existed. Some just aren’t cut out for a life of crime. Of those, some believe they still are. And when you live on that edge of being morbidly self-confident and profoundly oblivious, you naturally tend toward absurdity. This list is about such criminals and crimes that are worthy of their own cartoon.
10 May I See Your ID?
I think we all know what bank heists are. But have you heard of one so underwhelming that the lack of effort begins to fall into the realm of comedy? Well…
Edner Flores entered a bank in Chicago intending to rob it. He casually waited in line and produced a deposit ticket to the teller that read “No die Packs” and “armed” in poor handwriting. The teller, giving no care to the situation, continued with bank business as usual and politely asked the robber if he wanted to make a deposit or withdrawal. The robber, now lulled into his own demise, proceeded to scribble “$10,000” dollars on a withdrawal slip along with a gibberish account number before also handing the teller his Illinois state-issued ID.
Why, Edner? At least make it interesting. Show them your professional calling card or maybe your gun—not your identification. Way to let down your fellow criminals!
Chicago officers arrived shortly after because that stubbornly professional teller had also hit the silent alarm. You’d think Flores would have at least attempted to make a quick, surgical extraction from the bank after his debauched attempt at a life of crime. Not quite. He was still there, in front of the teller, when the cops arrived, so they arrested this slow-to-escape robber.
9 Found by…Flatulence
When a criminal wants to hide, they will find an obscure hiding spot and wait it out until the coast is clear—as everyone knows, right? It’s what I’d do. Hypothetically speaking, I might have been in hiding before—not from anyone explicitly, just in general—but I can’t get into specifics “under the grounds that it.” Moving on, though, I’d like you to meet a man who did none of the above and took the definition of hiding very loosely.
Liberty PD was looking for a man wanted in Missouri for possession of a controlled substance. He was right under their noses, but they couldn’t quite pinpoint him. That is until he let out a mammoth fart. He cooked up a stink storm so powerful that “they were able to locate and arrest the suspect after he passed gas so loud.”
The real crime here is the cartoon-level disregard for himself and the enormity of his farts. Passing gas and law-breaking don’t really go hand in hand unless you’re this guy. Note to anyone in hiding: don’t reveal your hiding spots with high-volume farts.
8 Who Issued That License?
I’m not going to pretend to know the ins and outs of criminal mischief, but to be both a clown and a criminal is a tough life. Maintaining duality of mind and context along with these opposite personas is not for the faint of heart. I only say this because it seems like this person on the list must be a low-end, last-resort-type clown.
The story goes that a young man in the UK—apparently stoned—was pulled over by the coppers for reckless driving. This happened after a 35-mile (56-kilometer) chase when the police observed the driver dangerously weaving in and out of traffic. Starting the pursuit in southeast London and ending in Kent, the services of a helicopter were even called in. So what’s the clown angle?
It turns out that when the driver finally stopped and was asked for his driver’s license, he complied and was then arrested. The problem was that the license was issued by Legoland. Evidently, the driver was the proud owner of a “Driving Licence,” an apparent card-carrying member of the “Legoland Driving School.” I guess that’s a step up from a license issued by the ACME Company.
7 Hungry for a Banana
Sometimes hunger pangs can be unbearable. “So hungry, I could eat a horse” and “hungry as a wolf” are common phrases that indicate hunger. Here’s a not-so-common one: “So hungry, I could break into a store with my Ford Freestyle station wagon and eat a banana off the shelf.” Although rare, its usage has been traced to at least one person: this unnamed man on the list.
At 1:48 am in a Connecticut gas station, a surveillance video showed a man drive up to the gas station and back into the store entrance a few times to break the glass. Then, with no attempt to conceal himself whatsoever, he got out of the car, walked into the store, grabbed a banana from the shelf, peeled it, ate it, and left.
That’s got to be the most “cartoon gangsta” thing I’ve ever heard. Committing a crime just because you were craving a banana can be a cartoon sketch on its own. At least nobody was hurt, except for the man’s Ford Freestyle station wagon, which was left damaged and dented after the banana heist.
6 He Hid the Pistol Where?
When authorities in Louisiana went to arrest Justin Savoie for “suspicious activity,” he didn’t know how far the authorities would take their search. Of course, if the police are involved, you have to assume no stone will be unturned and no nook or cranny will be left unearthed—in a very literal sense.
After the police uncovered marijuana and other drug paraphernalia in an initial search, they simply weren’t satisfied. So, like a dissatisfied partner, they stripped Justin down and went searching for the truth. Maybe they had the magic touch or something because, from his bum, out popped a loaded .25 caliber Titan pistol. He was sentenced to prison for that and other firearms found in his truck.
Looks like the gun in his crack was special and was shown more love than the rest. Using your bumhole as a holster seems like a GTA mod or game hack. Maybe we’re in a game? I digress.
By the way, the pistol was four inches long with a 2.5-inch (3.4-centimeter) barrel, so you can use your imagination there.
5 The Getaway Not-Car
Usually, when you think of criminal getaways, you think of fast cars and expert drivers. When you plan to make a getaway and have neither of these, you stop being a criminal and become a punchline.
Noemi Duchene and an accomplice posted up in front of a Texas jewelry store with a getaway vehicle ready to go. The getaway vehicle was a wheelchair, and Noemi was wearing a garbage bag on her head. We can already see this robbery going nowhere, but the duo pushed on, driven by some unforeseeable power of will. Noemi entered the store and attempted the robbery at knifepoint. Almost immediately, the clerk noticed the thief’s incompetence and thought, “I knew I could outrun her.” A Tom-and-Jerry-like chase ensued around the store, after which the thief was tackled by another customer.
When asked about the incident later, the clerk responded, “You cannot be terrified when someone cannot run and has a black bag on their head.” Looks like the garbage bag made the thief less threatening. So, what would have been the slowest getaway on record was foiled by the real hero, the garbage bag. Seems like criminals are only getting dumber, and garbage bags are being abused.
Another criminal in cuffs, one knife-wielding crazy lady down.
4 Uh, Are You Hiring Now?
A blue-collar robbery doesn’t need to be complicated. Cover yourself up, go in, make your threats, get the goods, and dip. A teenage boy from Florida didn’t understand that. He went in trying to rob the place; he ended up filling out a job application.
Cody Conner went into a sex shop on a Wednesday afternoon, pulled out a gun, and demanded money. The clerk, Cheryl Hunter, instead offered him a job, and, after some contemplation, they both sat down to fill out a job application.
Cody, play by play, you were doing fine. But with that last move there, you’re now a member of the “criminally challenged,” and there’s no coming back.
Cody, now completely trusting the clerk for reasons that are unobvious to me, put his full name on the application and left. I take back what I said before; you’re not a member of the criminally challenged. The disturbing, lampoon-level asshattery displayed here makes you a member of the “criminally unqualified.”
Cheryl then called the cops; they found Cody a few blocks away from the shop and arrested him. “I don’t always fill out job applications, but when I do, it’s cuz I can’t rob the place,” Cody Conner probably said in his head. Anyways, another criminal busted’ one criminally unqualified member recruited.
3 Sign Here and the Money’s Yours
Desperate criminals will try asinine things to get their hands on some cash. How asinine? Finty-nine-year-old Mark Smith from California will tell you.
Smith went into a bank and told the workers he had a bomb in his backpack and was ready to blow the place up. Apparently having no notion of risk and reward, the would-be thief demanded a grand total of $2,000. He could have just gone to a low-key corner store for that and had better chances. After hearing Mark’s empty threats, the bank manager politely suggested Mark take out a loan to help with his cash flow problem. In response, like any sane criminal, Mark waited patiently to fill out the loan paperwork.
Mark, you just threatened a bank, its workers, and customers with a death-by-backpack-style bomb explosion. There is no chance you’re getting a loan from them. Maybe, you should have ended with “just kidding” and re-strategized when you got back home.
While Mark was distracted with the loan, like a toddler with a rattle, the bank manager called emergency services, and they arrested this gullible thief. Mr. Smith, welcome to the criminally unqualified club, and congrats for being on this list.
2 Don’t Take a Knife to a Gun Fight
When criminals don’t think things through, we end up in a situation like this.
On a summer day, Derrick Mosley from Oregon thought he’d have a go at armed robbery. At a gun store. With a knife. We see the paradox begin to unfold, yet we’re only helpless observers from here. Derrick, feeling unjustifiably lucky, decided to press his luck and brandish his knife at the store, which ended in a foreseeable, not-so-lucky outcome: with him on the ground taking orders from the store manager.
To be fair, Derrick did try. He smashed a display case and took a handgun, but the manager immediately drew his own weapon and ordered the suspect to the ground. On his way down, he likely felt deep regret, heard the words “shame… shame” in his head, and felt the scorn of a thousand suns. Just speculating. Washington County authorities arrived shortly after and arrested his delusional self.
1 Please Call Me Back
One day, Ruben Zarate decided to walk into a Chicago muffler shop and rob it. Armed with a gun, he demanded an undisclosed amount of cash from one of the employees. However, there was a minor complication. Most of the money was in a safe that only the manager could access, and the manager wasn’t there. So he did the next logical thing. Ruben was obviously a decorated ninja-criminal five-star-mastermind man who leaves no trace behind—except for his calling card… literally. Zarate left his name and phone number on a desk and asked the employee to call him back once the manager returned.
As soon as Zarate left, one of the employees called the Chicago police, who immediately got ready for a sting operation to take Zarate in if he returned. The employee was instructed to call Zarate back. Not surprisingly, he returned only to be welcomed by the police. After a brief shootout, Zarate was tackled to the ground and arrested.
You can’t make this stuff up. This one is for the comic strips.