Criminal is powered by Vocal.
Vocal is a platform that provides storytelling tools and engaged communities for writers, musicians, filmmakers, podcasters, and other creators to get discovered and fund their creativity.
How does Vocal work?
Creators share their stories on Vocal’s communities. In return, creators earn money when they are tipped and when their stories are read.
How do I join Vocal?
Vocal welcomes creators of all shapes and sizes. Join for free and start creating.
To learn more about Vocal, visit our resources.Show less
Once in a blue moon, you will hear of a person (or a group of people) who committed the perfect crime. They pulled a perfect heist or committed a perfect murder, and then were never caught by police. Perfect crimes are rare; even Ted Bundy couldn't escape investigation.
Master criminals like this end up being the stuff of legend, with many people forever wondering who the criminals who pulled it off were. That's why people still love to read up on serial killers that were never caught, want to know who D.B. Cooper was, and still wonder what was going on with that Max Headroom incident in the 80s.
While everyone remembers the criminal masterminds of history, not many people remember the klutzy criminals who end up practically arresting themselves. Or rather, if they do, it's due to the sheer stupidity they have shown.
If you take a look at some of the idiotic ways criminals were caught in the act, you'd think Darwin himself made a point of examining the inner workings of criminals who wanted to be the next D.B. Cooper.
Stephan Crane's Newsroom Mayhem
Quite a few dumb criminals were caught by posting their crimes to Facebook or logging onto social media while they were using a victim's computer. Such was the case with Stephen Crane when he decided to break into the Ravalli Republic newsroom.
Not really interested in doing much aside from causing chaos, he looked up porn on the computers, ate some candy, logged onto Facebook, and then sprayed the room with a fire extinguisher.
Cops found him by the Facebook data, cuffed him, and that was that. We guess that's one way to get caught up in social media madness.
Now that's just meth'd up.
Christopher Wilson was a tweaker who decided that he was going to be the next D.B Cooper. After lighting up a pipe of the icey stuff, he came up with a brilliant idea to go into a hardware store and steal everything his heart desired.
Unfortunately, as he left, he dropped a vial of meth that had his name and phone number on it. As you can imagine, it didn't take too long to find him after that.
Nelson, The Bad Disney Prince
When Katy McCaffrey went on a cruise ship, she didn't expect a guy by the name of Nelson to steal her phone. Yet, he did—and he decided that the best way to use a stolen phone would be to take selfies with it. The selfies were immediately uploaded to McCaffrey's iCloud.
Being a pretty awesome girl, McCaffrey decided to upload the photos that Nelson took to her Facebook and introduce him to the world as the guy who stole her phone. It ended up that Nelson, whose last name is clearly Einstein, forgot to take off his name tag in many of his shots.
It then became apparent that he worked at Disney, and that his name was Nelson. The shots went viral, and Nelson was caught while Katy made some snarky comments. He was put on "administrative leave" by Disney, and all was well with the world.
It's worth pointing out that many criminals were caught because they couldn't help but to take selfies while criming it up.
Well, at least he's polite about it.
Manners are very important, but sadly, they aren't always good to have when you're trying to rob a bank. Over the years, there have been instances where criminals were caught due to the fact that they were just too polite.
Such was the case with a mild-mannered Graham Price.
Price loved his job at the bank, and was so grateful, he decided to write a thank you note. Unfortunately, he also had ripped off the bank of millions of pounds and mentioned that in the note as well.
Crime doesn't pay.
57-year-old Marque Moore was a serial bike thief who made a living by selling the stolen goods on Craigslist. All went well for a while, until he unknowingly decided to sell a stolen bike from the person who was his victim.
The victim lured him out, recognized his bike, and called the police. When cops searched his house, they found over a dozen bicycles that were also claimed stolen.
Goldilocks is the heartwarming (not really) tale of a girl who breaks into a home she doesn't own, eats a bunch of bears' porridge, and then passes out on a bed that's not hers. Believe it or not, some criminals were caught because they decided to reenact the classic fairy tale themselves.
Such was the case with Lukasz Chojnowsk, who was discovered by homeowners fast asleep in their bed. Though others have also broken into homes to take a nap, Lukasz Chojnowsk took it a little bit further.
He actually did the dishes, bought groceries, and did his laundry. Go figure.
It's like 'Free Willy,' but stupid.
Two Welsh tourists by the names of Keri Mules and Rhys Owen Jones might have had a little bit too much to drink when they decided to break into Sea World in Australia.
Keri and Rhys ended up letting loose a fire extinguisher in the shark enclosure and swam with dolphins. But, that's not all. The two woke up in their rented apartment with a penguin they stole from the aquarium.
They idiotically tried to care for the penguin, but realized they were in over their head. Not wanting to get caught, they ended up releasing the penguin into a stream nearby. (Because, you know, giant penguins belong in streams.)
People noticed the strange activity, called the cops, and they were caught. Dirk the penguin was returned to Sea World shortly after his ordeal.
No, you can't get reward money for turning yourself in.
Mohammad Ashan was a low-level Taliban commander who was listed as a wanted criminal by the US government. When America released an award for his capture, Ashan realized that he might be able to turn a profit by turning himself in.
No one told him that you can't keep the reward money for turning yourself in. Sadly, many criminals were caught this way, because greed really tends to override common sense.
That's one novel approach to murder.
A common twist in horror stories about writers involves the author's words coming true. Scary, right? Well, it's not always fiction. One crime author by the name of Krystian Bala decided to write an entire novel based on a crime he committed—the gruesome murder of Dariusz Janiszewski.
The book, named Amok, drew so many parallels, authorities opened up an investigation. Bala admitted to the murder and was arrested soon after questioning.
I don't think that's how this works.
Gary Rough was a British guy who decided to pull off a robbery. Seeing as guns weren't legal in the UK, he did the next best thing he could think of: he got armed with a cucumber.
He demanded cash while brandishing the plant, and unsurprisingly, was tackled to the ground by a security guard. He then asked if he was going to jail for the crime. (The answer was yes.)
We don't know how this seemed like a good idea, but that's what makes stories about dumb criminals funny. Few criminals were caught this way, but darn, we wish more were. It's just too funny.