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by Pauli Poisuo
Some criminals are true masterminds who are all about careful machination and orderly execution ... every piece of their villain puzzle is carefully designed to get them paid without getting caught.
These are not those people.
The Great Urine Robbery
October 2007, Crescent City, California. A DHL van driver’s day turns infinitely more interesting when two ladies flag him down on U.S. Highway 101 and start smooth-talking. They explain that they forgot to put something really important in a package of theirs that he’s delivering. Surely, a handsome, strong driver like himself could let a couple of helpless gals take a quick peek at the back? Pretty please?
This perfectly good setup for a classic honey trap heist took a turn for the weird the second the driver opened the back doors. The women dove in like wolves at a deer, rummaging around and uttering frantic lines such as, "I gotta get the stuff or I'll go to prison." It didn’t exactly help that they were tearing through a bag of urine samples as they said this. After what must have been a pretty hefty double take, the driver intervened. The women escaped without whatever it is they were after, presumably making whooping noises as they ran to the hills.
The two lovely ladies were Denise McClure and Krystal Evans, two friends who were both on probation, and thus subjected to regular drug tests. Evans had become deathly worried that she’d fail her latest one, which would land her up to two years in prison. To prevent this, they decided to pull off the Great Urine Heist: If they stole the sample, no one could test it!
"It's C+ work at best."
However, there were a couple of problems with their plan: They had no real idea where the sample was, and they were butt-awful thieves. So they just tried to direct their heist everywhere the sample could possibly be, with varying degrees of awful bumbling failure. The DHL van was actually the second one they tried to stop that day -- the first one just whooshed by. The night before, the county probation department saw a burglary attempt so inept that they weren’t even 100% sure whether it happened or not.
Even more ridiculous, at no point did the ladies make any attempt to conceal their identities. As Del Norte County District Attorney Mike Riese pointed out: "It's one of the more nonsensical crimes I've seen in the 20 years I've been in law enforcement."
The police tracked the women down without much trouble, and promptly subjected them to an oral swab test for drugs. Evans tested positive for meth. Meanwhile, her urine sample they were so desperate to steal ... turned out to be completely clean.
The Murder Order That Returns To Sender
Quinton J. Thomas starts our story facing charges of the robbery-murder of one Steven W. Kelley, after bragging to pretty much everyone that he was about to “rob a white boy named Steve.” The prosecution had a witness. In fact, they had the full cooperation of a woman who had helped Quinton plan the whole thing. Heck, even Quinton’s own lawyer was pressing him to plead guilty for first degree murder, because come on.
However, Quinton knew something his accusers hadn’t considered. He was locked up in Montgomery County jail, which religiously screened the incoming mail for inmates to prevent contraband smuggling. The thing is, they didn’t really bother with the outgoing letters. After all, what were the inmates going to smuggle out of prison? Tears of regret?
So Quinton hatched a plan: He would write a letter to an accomplice, and that guy would remove whatever witnesses he felt were hurting his case, with whatever means necessary. Here’s what he wrote (among other, even more misspelled things):
“This white [expletive] can't make it to court on May 7 through May 12, ya feel me? [...] I don't care what you gotta do, you don't even gotta stink the cracker, he just cant make it to Rockville that whole week Homie. [...] Man put they [expletive] IN THE DIRT, REAL TALK."
On the upside, his handwriting is really pretty.
However, this nefarious plan was thwarted by the fact that his letter never reached its destination. The story doesn’t say if he forgot a stamp, if his friend had moved, or if he just plain misspelled the address (though looking at his style of writing, we’re guessing it’s the latter). Whatever the reason, the letter got a big ol’ "RETURN TO SENDER" stamp. So it got sent back to the prison. Where the incoming mail is opened and checked.
The guards in charge of checking the mail opened the letter and pushed whatever giant red button prisons have for these situations. A quick search of Quinton’s cell uncovered a bunch of other letters, where he tried to convince his girlfriend to give him a false alibi. Quinton immediately lost his letter-writing privileges, but don’t feel bad for the man. He still had some correspondence coming his way ... in the shape of three new counts of solicitation to commit murder and witness intimidation, which the prosecution added to his original indictment the second they found out about the letters.
The Literal Paper Trail
Following paper trails is usually reserved for white-collar crime investigators who rarely get action movies named after them. However, for one glorious moment in 2009, beat cops in Hickory, MS got to witness a very literal variation of the theme.
It all started when a burglar broke into Captain's Galley Seafood restaurant and made off with two cash registers. The officers at the scene were probably expecting a run-of-the-mill investigation. What they got instead was a very clear, very white line of paper that ran from the scene of crime to the open door of a ratty apartment some 50 yards away. They peeked through a window, and saw a local dude called Donny Guy attempting to pry open one of the stolen registers. When they told him that the jig was up, he slammed the door in front of the officers and went to hide under a couch until reinforcements arrived and he was dragged away.
"I don't get it. He just vanished into thin air!"
A look at the restaurant’s security camera footage revealed the baffling logistics of the most easily solved crime in history. The burglar had knocked both registers over and attempted to lift them together. This was not a particularly successful move, especially as the registers were still plugged in through a hole in the counter. As he was wrestling with his loot, the cash registers’ tape rolls fell out. One of them managed to trail behind the thief, not unlike a piece of toilet paper stuck on a hapless public restroom patron.
What makes this particular crime doubly stupid is that there was nothing to gain from it in the first place. Like most small businesses that enjoy keeping their money, Captain’s Galley Seafood empties its registers for the night, so even without the unfortunate register tape, Guy would only have netted a handful of coins. Still, at least his antics gave the restaurant’s owner a good laugh.
We'd have made copies to use as employee training videos.
The World’s Worst Bar Burglar
Bar worker Christopher Kron had a plot to enter the ranks of criminal masterminds: He would rob his own workplace in the middle of the night. As far as crimes go, it was a fairly solid plan; he knew the layout of the bar, the security systems, and probably where the money was kept. Or rather, it would have been a solid plan if he’d actually remembered a single one of those things.
As soon as our villain entered the premises, he immediately set off a loud alarm. At this point, most criminals would have cut their losses and hauled ass in the general direction of "not here". Kron, however, decided to take the opposite route, and doubled the hell down. Completely ignoring the screeches of the alarm system, he continued to rummage around the premises. This brings us to the second easily avoidable mistake he made, as he was clearly caught on the security cameras. Two guesses as to whether he was wearing anything to cover his face:
Wait, is that Eminem?!
The security company noticed and gave the restaurant a call, in case the owner had just forgotten the alarm code or something. Ever the polite criminal, Kron answered the phone and gave his real name to the alarm company. Then, he stole a single bottle of Grand Marnier and finally left, happy with a heist well done.
Now, we’re not saying that all of the above might have made sense for Kron at the time. Maybe he was hopped up on bath salts or just grew bored with his own freedom. However, we are saying that when he woke up the next morning, he should have immediately realized his mistake and escaped to a suitably distant location, like Mars.
To the delight and bafflement of the deputies investigating the case, Kron instead showed up to work like nothing had happened.
The Grand Australian Penguin Heist
In 2012, three British tourists in Australia got drunk and broke into Queensland Sea World. As authorities would later point out, this in itself was an absurdly dumbass move that could have easily resulted in headlines such as “Three People Mauled By An Orca”, or “Hospital Removes Narwhal Tusk From Tourist’s Colon”. Fortunately for the men, they survived their misadventure. The next morning, they woke up in their hotel room, heads pounding and with little recollection of the night before.
Which is when they discovered that there was a freaking penguin in their bathroom.
Realizing that they were now penguin thieves and living a real life version of The Hangover, they started frantically trying to fix what their wasted selves had broken. Of course, this didn’t involve contacting the zoo. That would have been smart, and these men were ... not. So they started trying to care for the frightened bird -- a fairy penguin called Dirk. Following rock solid toddler logic, they tried to feed Dirk bread and put him in the shower, because penguins are famously fond of both.
MUST PET IT RIGHT IN THE BIRDFUR!
Having exhausted their extremely limited supply of clever ideas, the men finally decided to release Dirk in the nearby Broadwater estuary. This was bad news for a penguin that had spent its entire life in captivity, because Broadwater was crawling with lethal wildlife. Dirk spent his night going from one Disney-style adventure to another. When he was finally spotted by a couple walking the beach, they witnessed him being chased away from the water by a shark, then immediately chased back in by a dog. Presumably, both were singing a catchy tune about the dangers of the wild.
Still, against all odds, our story ends on a light note: Somehow, Dirk the Tiny Penguin managed to survive not only three drunk idiots, but the entirety of Australian wildlife long enough to be recaptured. He was safely returned to his girlfriend and went on to be the life of every penguin party with stories of his adventures.
The three drunken morons were soon caught. Interestingly, the two who were actually responsible for the theft were only slapped with $1,000 fines, because the judge didn’t want to give them a criminal record and thus ruin their chances of one day living in Australia. Or collectively becoming the Prime Minister.
Like this article? Check out "5 Moronic Criminals Who Basically Caught Themselves" and "5 Impressively Clueless Marketing Stunts That Totally Backfired".