The fact that so many criminals commit so many stupid acts isn’t in and of itself stupid. It’s the fact that so many of them commit the same acts of stupidity over and over again that makes society wonder whether putting anti-depressant medication in the water supply may not be such a bad thing. Police blotters all over the country are filled with wanton acts of criminal stupidity from botched robberies were suspects leaving identifying clues that couldn’t give them away more if they took pictures of themselves committing the crime and detailed fingerprint sets at the scene to disguises that couldn’t help The Elephant Man blend into a crowd. These are the crime trends that support the criminology theory of “Stupid is as stupid does.”
1.) Leaving their wallets at the scene
This seems like the biggest no-brainer rule in the history of crime-dom, just behind “Don’t leave your brain in your pocket before you do the laundry” and yet, it keeps happening time and time again. And it doesn’t seem to happen one or two twice a year or even a month. It happens more regularity than the lunar cycle. For instance, in the span of a recent week, police in West Fargo, North Dakota found a thief’s wallet at a burglarized electrical repair store, a man in Illinois tried to skip out on cab fare but left his wallet in the cab and even a fire department investigator left behind his wallet in his car after he crashed into a utility pole and fled the scene.
2.) Falling asleep at the scene
Crime might sound like a glamorous easy life where money flows like wine and wine is most likely drunk from easy to carry boxes, but it does take a certain amount of dexterity and brains to be able to pull off (not that I’m encouraging anyone out there to consider crime a viable career option, the same goes for boy band talent agent, Family Circus cartoonist and political punditry). It seems like it must be very tiring because of all the people who keep falling asleep on the job (literally) and getting caught while napping (also literally). One burglar even took 11 Valium tablets before breaking into a home and being discovered by its owner asleep in her conservatory, which is twice as astonishing since I didn’t realize that was even a real room outside of the game “Clue”.
3.) Poor choice of transportation
As my mother often said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” and when it comes to getting the right getaway car, burglars and robbers of all shades and walks of life couldn’t fail worse if they tried to flee the scene on a child’s tricycle. Time and time again, crooks either pick a faulty, unreliable car that breaks down at more inopportune times than Basil Fawlty’s Austin 1100 or they pick the absolutely wrong car for the job. Some may choose the right car but fail to adequately used it like this Massachusetts bank robber who locked his keys in the getaway car.
4.) Targeting cops as victims
The worst mistake anyone can make in their career whether or not they are a lifelong criminal is underestimating your opponent. You can pick a fight with the wormy looking guy who is no higher than an elephant’s eye but if you’re not careful, you just might pick the one with the taser, the third degree black belt or the 6-foot 7-inch weightlifter girlfriend (actually the story of how they met is probably more interesting than what she’ll do to your soon-to-be lifeless corpse). Criminals constantly seem to make the mistake of either committing their crime in plain sight of a police officer or even trying to make a police officer the victim of their crime. And sure you might be thinking it’s hard to know that an off duty or undercover officer in plain clothes might be hard to spot, but some have been targeted even though it was painfully obvious they were boys (or girls) in blue like the Pennsylvania man who tried to rob a police officer’s convention.
5.) Choosing ineffective weapons
No one can truly map out the mind of a common criminal so who knows why some so-called “armed” robbers choose the weapons that they bring as their “Sweetness” for their capers. Maybe they couldn’t afford an actual weapon and had to make due by “McGyver-ing” one out of the stuff in their home? Maybe they didn’t want to actually hurt anybody but still wanted to look threatening or as threatening as one can look with just their fingers? Maybe they were in a hurry and forgot to bring one with them, like this Colorado robber who actually admitted to the bank teller that he forgot his gun at the scene?
6.) Reporting stolen drugs to the police
On the other hand, it doesn’t take a rocket science with a brain surgery degree to figure out why this keeps happening on a regular basis: drugs make you stupid. If manufactured chemical dependent substances made you smart, Charlie Sheen would be receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature. So it really shouldn’t be any big surprise that so many people who lose their stash in the midst of a theft, burglary or robbery wouldn’t have the common sense to know that admitting they were high at the time of the crime or reporting that their stash was stolen and how they want police to get it back for them. Some even hit the daily double of dumb like this guy who not only told police someone stole his weed but actually called them again to complain about their lack of response while he was driving drunk.