Movies and television often portray burglars as skilled and capable. From Catherine Zeta-Jones in Entrapment to Brad Pitt and George Clooney in the Ocean’s franchise, the common perception of criminals and thieves is surprisingly positive. Fortunately, real world crooks are more on par with the “Wet Bandits” from Home Alone; they’re inept, incapable, and generally not too bright.
If you’re not familiar with the home alone robbers I’ll sum it up. Harry Lime and Marvin “Marv” Merchants aka “The Wet Bandits” plan to break in. After Kevin (the kid) hears Marv and Harry discussing their plans to break into his home, Kevin devices a bunch of cartoon-style traps around the house in response. Eventually the movie ends with the police taking the robbers away to jail as they regain consciousness.
Every day plenty of robbers and burglars make news with crimes that have gone hilariously wrong. To pay homage to these criminally bad crooks, The Security Blanket has discovered the worst burglars that could never rob your home. If home owners take even the most basic of security precautions, the criminals on this list should pose little concern. Believe us when we say, these “burglars” are more of a danger to themselves than anyone else…
Facebook Busts Burglar
Oddly enough, there are more than a few stories about burglars getting caught after boasting of their crimes on Facebook. In one of the more famous examples, one burglar actually posted photos of himself to his victim’s account. He did this on purpose. These criminals are quickly apprehended but still require some detective work.
Then there’s the story of Jonathan Parker, a residence of Fort Loudoun, Pennsylvania. In late 2009, a robbery victim returned home to discover open cabinets and other signs of a burglary. The robber took smaller items of value, such as two diamond rings, but left larger items, like the victim’s computer. After reporting the crime, the victim turned on her computer only to discover that Parker had checked his Facebook account… and forgot to log out.
With the name and more than a few clear photos of the suspect, police were able to track Parker down pretty quickly, especially after one of his Facebook “friends” told police where he was staying and that Parker had asked him to join the caper. The man refused but cooperated with police in convicting 19-year old Pennsylvania resident. The items Parker stole, worth over $3,500, were returned to the victim.
Burglar’s Only Real Crime Was against Fashion
Criminals leave some weird things behind in the homes they rob. From cell phones to wallets, anything a burglar leaves behind will be used as evidence. Burglars, even stupid ones, must be aware of this fact, which makes the tale of one North Carolina man much more interesting.
In March 2011, Nichita Davis and Delaney Douglas were enjoying an evening at home when two burglars broke into their Charlotte home. The burglars took a wallet and some jewelry before fleeing in their car. This story could’ve ended like too many others, without any closure for the victims and no leads for police. Fortunately, these particular thieves were much more considerate than others in their profession. As the pair sped away, a black shirt fell out of the car. What makes this story worth mentioning? The shirt had a full color photo of one of the suspects with the caption, “Making money is my thang.”
After the shirt quickly became a local media (and viral) sensation, the man on the shirt, 25-year old John Huntley, turned himself into authorities. The best part of the story? The pic of Huntley on the now infamous shirt was actually a booking photo taken for a previous arrest for, you guessed it, armed robbery and home invasion. Guess experience doesn’t yield skill after all.
Pocket Dialing the WRONG People
This tale is a little more light hearted as the “crime” at hand could almost be considered an elaborate prank. A couple of thieves in Stockton, California were planning on stealing a rather large bamboo plant during November 2010. In the middle of the rather strenuous work, one of the would-be robbers accidentally dialed “911” from the cell phone in his pocket. Local police listened to the would be caper for 10 minutes before they dispatched additional officers to the scene. The group was quickly picked up and released as the value of their foiled heist wasn’t substantial enough to warrant felony theft charges.
Officer Pete Smith with the Stockton Police Department said: “It’s really nice when a suspect takes the time, while committing a crime, to call 911 and let us know where they’re at and what they’re doing.”
Strangely enough, there are a shocking number of stories involving criminals that pocket dial authorities while committing crimes.
According to Snopes.com, the oldest version of this true story goes all the way back to 1986 when 3 drug dealers called the cops on themselves while trying to dial a phone number with a “921” area code. Believe it or not, Snopes.com has confirmed no less than 9 of these stories. Apparently burglars aren’t the brightest bunch.
The Dog Ratted You Out
People in small towns know everything about everyone else. You’d think crime would be non-existent in such tight knit communities. Unfortunately, you’d also be wrong.
With a population of 16,000 people, Centralia, Washington is a small town located 30 minutes south of Olympia. While Centralia is just big enough to offer a slight bit of anonymity, locals seem to know every detail about their neighbors. The alliteratively named Raymond Rhodes found this out the hard way while committing a string of burglaries in the Centralia area.
As we’ve already noted, criminals have an unusual habit of leaving incriminating pieces of evidence in the worst places. While Rhodes wasn’t stupid enough to leave a photo of himself at the crime scene, what he did was actually worse in the eyes of animal lovers everywhere. When Centralia police arrived at the home of one of Rhodes’ victims to investigate, they quickly discovered a rather large pitbull that, amazingly, was recognized by one of the responding officers.
“An officer had seen Rhodes earlier in the day walking with the dog,” Centralia Police Officer John Panco told reporters at the time. “When an officer showed up at the residence, the victim said ‘Yeah, he left his dog.’ Turned out it was the same dog the officer had seen earlier.”
Following their four-legged lead, police quickly located a surprised Rhodes at his home, surrounded by evidence. I guess people from a one-horse town are bound to recognize the horse when they see it…
Just like any other job, there are rules to being a burglar. Surprisingly, the rules for being a burglar and the code of conduct in your office are very similar. Whether burglar or accountant, it’s generally considered bad form to imbibe drugs or alcohol during working hours. However, one English burglar forgot this time honored workplace tradition.
Mark Smith, a 24-year old resident of North Shields, England, decided to drink some vodka and pop a few valiums before robbing a house. He grabbed a pair of gold earrings, then a check book. Apparently, this ransacking left him feeling a little tuckered out so Smith decided to sleep for a few minutes. When the victim, 54-year old Heather Stephenson, returned home, Smith was passed out under her bed, still clutching the gold earrings.
Amazingly, Stephenson tried to awaken the sleeping burglar but couldn’t. (Stephenson originally thought Smith was a drunk that had wandered into the wrong home, which wasn’t too far from the truth.) When officers arrived, they dragged the still sleeping Smith from under the bed and carted him off to jail. In the end, Smith received an 18 month sentence for his little nap. Sitting in an English jail, Smith will face his real punishment: notorious British wit.