English writer G.K. Chesterton once wrote, “The criminal is the creative artist; the detective only the critic.” But not all criminals can reach the threshold of being a creative artist. This has been proved by the dumb ways in which many criminals have been caught in the past. They have often failed so miserably that it borders on being hilarious. Here are ten such criminals who got caught due to their hilarious stupidity.
1. In 2013, two men tried to rob a restaurant but were told by the owner to come back after an hour. When the men returned back after an hour, they were arrested.
In August 2013, on a late Sunday night, two men, Mario Garcia, 39, and Domingo Garcia-Hernandez, 28, entered a West Rogers Park restaurant and demanded food. The owner told them that he was too busy. Upon hearing that, Garcia Hernandez said, “I will kill you. I have a gun with me.” Garcia-Hernandez, who is 4-foot-8-inches tall and weighs 160 pounds, then displayed a gun from under his jersey that was partially concealed in a red t-shirt. Concerned for the safety of his patrons, the owner asked them to come back in an hour. The duo left soon after.
After they left the premises, the owner called the police. Surprisingly, both the men returned after an hour with a baseball bat. Police arrested them on the spot and charged them with one count of attempted, aggravated robbery. Later, the police found the “firearm’’ which turned out to be a black toy water pistol. It was wrapped in a red t-shirt and hidden in the back yard of the suspects’ home.(source)
2. A Chinese thief snatched a woman’s phone and ran into the nearby building to escape. The building turned out to be a police station.
A thief in China got caught when he ran into the police station after committing the crime. The incident took place in the city of Shenzhen in China’s Guangdong Province. The suspect, surnamed Chang, had only arrived in Shenzhen recently and was not familiar with the neighborhood, but this didn’t deter him from snatching a woman’s phone. After grabbing her phone, he ran through the traffic and straight into a building which was actually a police station. The brave woman chased after the thief, stumbled, but managed to get up and continued chasing him. Upon reaching the police station, she shouted for help. A police officer promptly arrested the man on the spot.(1,2)
3. Taliban commander, Mohammad Ashan, turned himself in to the police claiming $100 as finder’s reward after misunderstanding a wanted poster featuring his face.
A Taliban insurgent in Afghanistan, Mohammad Ashan, proved to be the world’s dumbest terrorist after attempting to claim a $100 reward for turning himself in. The incident took place in 2012 when Mohammad Ashan strolled towards a police checkpoint in the Sar Howza district of Paktika Province. He had brought along with him a wanted poster bearing a picture of his own face and demanded the finder’s fees. According to officials, Ashan had misunderstood the meaning of “wanted.” Officers arrested Ashan on the spot.
Biometric checks confirmed that the man Afghan police were holding was the alleged insurgent U.S. troops had been looking for. He was suspected of plotting at least two attacks on Afghan security forces. SPC Matthew later told the press: “We asked him, ‘Is this you?’ and Mohammad Ashan answered with an incredible amount of enthusiasm, ‘Yes, yes, that’s me! Can I get my award now?’ “(1,2)
4. A guy with a mask tries to rob a Radio Shack he works at with a stun gun and pepper spray. He ends up tasing himself, returns later to work his shift, and gets arrested.
In 2014, a man decided to rob the Radio Shack at Sunset Point Road in Florida where he worked. Wearing a blue ski mask, the man, Andre T. Puskas, entered the store at 9:30 a.m. He had pepper spray and a stun gun along with him. Inside the store, an employee dropped to the floor but tried to move. Andre saw her and pepper-sprayed her. As the woman ran, Puskas then tried using a Taser on her but ended up tasing his own hand. Soon he ran out of the store and tossed the mask in a dumpster.
Andre returned back to the same Radio Shack at 4 p.m. for his regular shift and was arrested. He later admitted to the police that he had tried to rob the store.(source)
5. A thief got caught when he dialed 911 after the truck he had stolen ran out of gas.
In 2009, a 19-year-old Tacoma man stole a 1985 Chevrolet truck from the storage yard of City Transfer, Inc. This incident was witnessed by an employee of the company who reported it to police. Later that day at about 12.30 p.m., another employee of the same company spotted the stolen truck on Highway 167 and called 911 to report that someone was in the truck. A few minutes later, police received a call from the Tacoma man who reported that his truck had run out of gas and is now stranded on Highway 167.
When police reached the spot, the Tacoma man was wearing a City Transfer green reflective jacket and tried to claim he worked for the company. But the City Transfer employee who initially saw the man take the truck came to the scene and identified the driver as the same man he saw earlier in the day at the storage yard. Washington State Patrol troopers arrested him on the spot. State Patrol troopers and City Transfer employees discovered the truck stalled because the Tacoma man had filled the tank with unleaded gas when the truck required diesel.(source)
6. A Brazilian robber went to rob a bank but got robbed himself – twice. He then went to a police station to report the crime and got arrested on the spot.
Mauricio Fierro, a Brazilian robber, was robbed twice in the same night. The bizarre event took place when Fierro parked his car in front of a pharmacy that he wanted to rob. He left the engine running so he could quickly flee with his ill-gotten gains. As he was collecting the cash from the pharmacy, another thief sprinted over to his vehicle and made off with it. After a while, Fierro came back from the shop carrying a bag of money only to find his escape car was no longer there. While he looked around, another man grabbed his loot and made off.
Angry at being robbed, he went to the police station to report the crime. But when he was there, he bumped into the pharmacy owner whom he had just robbed. Police arrested him on the spot and then allowed a local television news crew into the station for an interview. While speaking to the reporters, Fierro moaned about the “insecurity” of the city. He also said and that he had not been able to enjoy his car, which had cost him “a lot of blood, sweat, and tears” to obtain. When the reporters asked him whether he had bought the car or not, Fierro revealed that he had in fact stolen it the day before.(source)
7. Two American robbers attempted robbery after disguising their faces with permanent marker. they got caught when police stopped their vehicle and their faces matched the description.
In October 2009, Iowa police received a call on a Friday night that two men with hooded sweatshirts and painted faces had tried to break into a man’s home in Carroll, Iowa. Police responded to the call and a few blocks away stopped a vehicle matching the caller’s description. When police looked at the two persons, they were stunned by their disguise. The two men, Matthew Allan McNelly, 23, and Joey Lee Miller, 20, had streaked their faces with a permanent, black marker. Their strange disguise made it easier for the police to recognize them. Both men were charged with attempted burglary, and McNelly was charged additionally with operating a vehicle while intoxicated.(1,2)
8. Robber James Allan got caught when, in a fury, he revealed his face to a security camera because he couldn’t figure out how to open the door of the store he was robbing.
There are many things that can go wrong in an armed robbery, and figuring how to open a door is likely to be least of the problems. However, it was a door that led to the undoing of criminal James Allan when he had trouble working out which way it opened. Allen robbed a shop in 2012 disguised in a baklava and then tried to get out through the door. But he failed to distinguish the difference between the door’s “push” and “pull” mechanism. After a lot of tries, the frustrated 28-year-old took off his balaclava – only to reveal his face to the store’s CCTV camera. Out of frustration, he kicked a panel near the door and knocked over a display, then fell to the ground exhausted. He then demanded the store manager to let him out.
After the store manager opened the door, Allan ran out. He was found by the police on the same road three hours later with the balaclava in his pocket.(source)
9. A car thief in South Africa got himself auto-locked in the car while trying to steal it and got caught.
This incident took place in South Africa’s capital city Pretoria near the North Gauteng High Court. The owner of the car parked it at this location and then walked away. As soon as she walked away, a man used a jamming device and got into the car. But the auto-lock system of the car locked him inside and he couldn’t get out. As the man started to panic, he asked passersby for help, saying he was one of the city’s many car guards. The police were called in, but the man was stuck inside for more than an hour-and-a-half before the owner returned and unlocked the vehicle.(source)
10. A cat burglar in China got caught when he was left dangling while attempting to squeeze through a fifth-floor window.
When a Chinese burglar tried to break into an apartment, he got caught in the most unlucky way. He was trying to enter the apartment through a window. But the size of the window proved to be a bit too small for him, and he got stuck. Police and firefighters arrived at the scene and started to help him. One rescue worker climbed out of the window and pushed the man back inside. It took them a half hour to get the would-be thief safely into custody.(1,2)