Crime is a serious problem that has plagued society throughout history. Crime can destroy the lives of individuals, families, and communities. Criminal behavior often even harms the lives of the criminals themselves. This is especially true when the criminals are especially bad at the crimes they commit.
Robbery may be no laughing matter, but these criminals have done some things so stupid that they are more of a danger to themselves than others. And it’s hard not to laugh at their misfortune. Let’s just hope that these ten robbers can find more honest employment because they were never meant to be criminal masterminds. Remember that all suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, regardless of how incompetent they are.
10 Daniel Rahynes: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
When Daniel Rahynes entered a Metro Bank in Harrisburg in March 2011, he told the tellers that he was interested in opening an account with them. The helpful employees got Rahynes started on the process of opening an account immediately, including taking two forms of identification for their records.
After he had given the bank his ID, Rahynes informed the teller of his ulterior motive: to rob the bank. After taking a small amount of cash from the surprised teller, Rahynes fled the bank and drove off in a car parked nearby. He ran into another vehicle a few blocks away but kept going. It didn’t take police long to find Rahynes and recover the money. Duh! ID, remember?
9 Kasey Kazee: Catlettsburg, Kentucky
Kasey Kazee earned the nickname “Duct-Tape Bandit” in August 2007. With his face wrapped up in duct tape and a t-shirt pulled up over the back of his head, Kazee attempted to rob a liquor store. The bemused store owner chased Kazee out of the store with a club, where he was tackled and held until the police arrived to arrest him. The sweat from the struggle caused his makeshift mask to fall away, revealing the would-be thief.
Stranger still, Kazee continued to deny any involvement in the crime and insisted the police had the wrong man despite being caught red-handed. After his proclamation of innocence was mocked for its dubious nature, he pleaded guilty, and the Duct Tape Bandit went to prison.
8 Cory Philips: Paducah, Kentucky
An unidentified armed man entered a Kentucky hotel in October 2019. With his face covered, he pointed a gun at the clerk and demanded all the money she had. The clerk retrieved several stacks of bills, spread them on the counter, and handed the crook a plastic bag in which to carry the loot.
As the thief went to stuff the money into the bag, he figured he needed to use two hands and set his pistol down on the counter. The quick-thinking clerk grabbed the absent-minded robber’s gun before he realized his mistake. He tried to jump over the counter to take back his stolen gun, but when the clerk pointed it at him, he beat a hasty retreat instead. A suspect named Cory Philips was later arrested on suspicion of attempted robbery for this blunder.
7 Albert Bailey: Fairfield, Connecticut
Calling ahead to a business to let them prepare for your order can be a smart time-saving tip. It’s not so smart if your business is illegal. That’s what Albert Bailey discovered when he called a bank in Connecticut and told the teller to get the money ready because he was on the way to rob them.
The teller called 911, and the bank went on lockdown, but not before an underage accomplice of Bailey had come in the bank with a holdup note threatening a “blood bath.” The note requested a dye pack to be left out of the bag, but one had been put in anyway. It exploded when the duo threw the bag on the ground as both Bailey and the accomplice were arrested after leaving the scene.
6 Anthony Prince and Luke Carroll: Vail, Colorado
A couple of Australian buddies living in Vail, Colorado, had a sudden idea to rob a bank without taking the time to think a plan through, leading to a number of errors. The duo showed up for the robbery wearing masks. Unfortunately, they were still in their work clothes, complete with name tags, just for starters. They also took no effort to disguise their thick Australian accents, which stood out in Colorado. Brandishing realistic-looking BB pistols, they struck a teller and stole over $100,000 in cash.
The bungling crooks left a money trail of evidence behind almost immediately. They used the cash they stole at nearby businesses: buying a Rolex watch and airline tickets to Mexico and giving a $20,000 tip to a cab driver. They even posed for pictures holding the fanned-out loot in case there was any doubt. The detectives said it took less than 10 minutes of investigating to identify the culprits.
5 Unidentified Man: Aurora, Colorado
On September 2, 2018, an unknown man in Denver Broncos merchandise went into an e-cigarette store with the intent to rob it. As he approached the counter, he whipped out a replica pistol to point at the clerk. The butterfingers bandit lost his grip on the gun as he pulled it out of his pocket, and he ended up tossing it over the counter next to the surprised clerk.
The panicked robber tried to vault over the counter to retrieve his weapon, but he wasn’t quite able to clear the counter before the clerk picked up the gun. Realizing he was beaten, the crook took off, running for the door. He kicked the door open to run out, but his loose-fitting sweatpants fell down as he did so, adding further insult. The would-be robber has still not been identified; perhaps people are too embarrassed for him to turn him in?
4 Shawn Brown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
In October 2019, a man in Philadelphia went into a cell phone store with a gun and demanded money from the clerk. The store did not keep much cash on hand, and the robber was not happy about his paltry loot. The employee told the robber that another employee outside had the rest of the money, and if the crook would just wait patiently in the store, the employee offered to go get the cash for the gunman.
The robber agreed, and the employee left the store, locking the door with the robber inside. The tricked criminal panicked and tried to shoot his way out, firing ten rounds and leaving seven bullet holes in the front of the store, but he was still stuck. Police arrived and arrested Shawn Brown on the site inside the store.
3 Forest Kelly Bissonnette: Englewood, Colorado
On September 5, 2007, Forest Kelly Bissonnette decided to rob a Bank of the West by handing a teller a note saying, “Give me all the money in your drawer Now.” The paper he used to write the note was Bissonnette’s own bank check, with his own name and account number on the back. He had attempted to scribble over them, but they were still legible.
Bissonnette left with $5000, and a warrant was quickly put out for his arrest by the FBI. He eventually surrendered to police
2 Unknown: Poynton, Scotland
In February 2013, some unknown criminal geniuses got the idea to tunnel into a bank vault by breaking through the ceiling below into the Royal Bank of Scotland in Poynton. The well-organized heist team had one flaw in their master plan. They should have checked the location of the bank twice. Instead, they broke through the ceiling and into the vacant office space next door to the bank.
The robbers made another attempt to break into the bank by making another hole that did lead to their destination, by going into another room. They weren’t able to complete the job and left empty-handed, however. The local police are looking for tips for some hard-working but frustrated suspects.
1 Macarthur Wheeler and Clifton Johnson: Swissvale, Pennsylvania
Macarthur Wheeler and Clifton Johnson hatched a robbery plan so bad in January 1995 that it has inspired studies on how people come to such bad ideas. Wheeler and Johnson discovered that lemon juice can be used as invisible ink. The pair reasoned that if they rubbed this lemon juice on their faces, it would make their features invisible to detection as well.
Having doused themselves in lemon juice, they confidently robbed the bank. Ignoring the stinging in their eyes, they told the confused tellers not to be alarmed that their faces were invisible. Of course, the employees, as well as the bank cameras, had no problem making out their undisguised features, and they were soon apprehended.
When confronted with the security footage, the men were astounded. “But I wore the juice!” Wheeler exclaimed to detectives. This case inspired psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger to study the phenomenon of people who lack the knowledge to understand that their knowledge is limited. Known as the Dunning-Kruger effect, it states that the most inept tend to be the most confident of their brilliance, criminals included.