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Stupid Case File for December 4, 2007

Men Steal From Spy Store

Courtesy of WNBC

DALLAS - Police said two burglars struck a Texas store that sells high-end security equipment, and the whole thing was caught on tape by 17 cameras rolling in the store.

"The point is, nobody is safe; there is always a stupid criminal out there," said Kris Webb, owner of Spy Supply.

The thieves broke into Webb's surveillance gear store in North Richland Hills, Texas, last week.

"I've got them on no less than 17 cameras," Webb said. "We are a security business."

And if the name of the business wasn't telling enough, multiple warning signs on the store should have given the burglars a clue that they would be on camera.

"It is absolutely astounding that these people have the audacity to steal from us and not expect to get caught," Webb said.

The surveillance cameras caught several clear images of the two men who broke in through the store's front door with a crowbar early Friday.

Police said the duo filled a trash can with close to $10,000 worth of spy equipment.

Authorities said the video even showed a clear shot of their getaway car.

Webb said he's taking the robbery in stride.

"I'm pretty confident they will get caught," he said. "I'm not confident we'll get our equipment back."

Stupid Case File for December 3, 2007

Ex-con allegedly targets cops for robbery

Courtesy of UPI

NEW YORK, - An ex-con allegedly tried to rob two people in New York, police said, but didn't notice his intended victims were police officers -- in uniform.

Police said 33-year-old Jermaine Washington allegedly was so intent on robbing someone Saturday that he pulled a fake handgun on the two armed police officers as they walked through Riverside Park, The New York Daily News said.

"It was stupid criminal tricks," a police source said. "The guy didn't even look to see who was coming."

After Washington allegedly pulled his fake gun, the two officers drew their real weapons and Washington surrendered after a short but tense standoff.

Stupid Case File for December 2, 2007

Be Care of Who You Flag Down For Assistance ...

Courtesy of Star Tribune

A man driving a stolen car that went into a ditch flagged down the wrong person for help.

Dean Gangl, 40, of Richmond, Minn., unwittingly asked an off-duty sheriff's deputy to help him pull the vehicle out of a ditch along Benton County Road 4 west of Foley, Minn., Sheriff Brad Bennett said.

The deputy, who came upon the stranded motorist at 4:45 a.m. Tuesday while he was on his way home, noticed that the vehicle in the ditch matched the description of one reported stolen hours earlier in St. Cloud. The deputy radioed to dispatchers, who confirmed the man was driving a stolen car, Bennett said.

The deputy arrested Gangl and found that he was in possession of a white crystal substance. Gangl tested positive for methamphetamine, Bennett said.

He was taken to the Benton County Jail and charged with being in possession of controlled substance and possession of a stolen motor vehicle.

Stupid Case File for December 1, 2007

Don't leave clues behind ...

Courtesy of The Northern Echo

A BURGLAR who knocked on his victim's door before he crept in through an open window was caught after he left behind medication with his name on.

Heroin addict John Beckwith provided police with another valuable clue at the scene -an imprint of his training shoe on a window sill.

A court heard yesterday that Beckwith thought he was breaking into an empty house because homeowner Jane Simmonds did not answer his knocks on the door.

But the 28-year-old was left as shocked as Ms Simmonds when he walked into her bedroom and found her sitting on a bed having an afternoon cup of tea.

Drug addict Beckwith fled from the three-bedroomed house in Stockton with handfuls of belongings, but dropped a bottle of methadone on the grass outside.

Teesside Crown Court was told that he stole house and car keys, bottles of alcohol, cigarettes and a handbag containing credit cards and building society books.

Shaun Dodds, prosecuting, said Beckwith was arrested two days later and said police found the shoe that left the print at Ms Simmonds' home in Hunwick Walk.

Peter Wishlade, in mitigation, said Beckwith had been evicted from his home days before the break-in when police closed it down under drugs legislation.

He said: "He found himself living on the street, wandering around with no money and with nowhere to reside because none of his family would accommodate him.

"He checked by knocking on the door if anyone was in, but unfortunately, the lady did not hear that.

"He was as surprised as she was by the confrontation.

"He ran out. He had no wish to disturb anyone. He would like to apologise for the distress he would have caused that lady."

Beckwith, of Buchanan Street, Stockton, who has previous convictions for break-ins and thefts, admitted the July 28 burglary and was jailed for 30 months.

Judge Tony Briggs told him: "Sneak-in burglaries are very distressing because, however they are committed, however careful the owner is, one always runs the risk of confronting the householder."

The court heard that since he was on remand, Beckwith has reduced his methadone intake and is now employed in the prison workshop making tables and chairs for other jails.

6:00am Tuesday 6th November 2007

Stupid Case File for November 30, 2007

Don't Go To Court When Wanted

Courtesy of

SYOSSET, N.Y. — A house burglar was arrested at a court on Wednesday when he showed up for another case, police said. The man kicked in the back door of a home on Aug. 8 and entered but ran off when a teenage girl who was lying on a couch saw him and started screaming, Nassau County police said.

The girl identified the 49-year-old man, who had multiple prior arrests for burglary, in a photo lineup, they said.

The man, from Bayville, was arrested by an officer when he went to First District Court for an unrelated issue, police said. He was charged with second-degree burglary.

Stupid Case File for November 29, 2007

Cash Register or Adding Machine?

Courtesy of NewsTimes

FAIRFIELD - It's a theft that just doesn't add up.

A man who tried to steal cash from the Dunkin' Donuts outlet on the Post Road on Monday night fled with an adding machine that he apparently mistook for a cash register.

Police said the unidentified man walked into the doughnut shop about 10:28 p.m. and handed a clerk a note stating that he had a gun and a bomb. The man's note said he would use both if he didn't get cash, police said.

The man then grabbed an adding machine, which had no cash drawers, from the counter and ran from the shop.

The thief fled in a black car, possibly a Pontiac, police said.

Stupid Case File for November 28, 2007

Robber’s getaway falls short

Courtesy of Kansas City Star

A man who robbed the Family Dollar at 39th Street and Indiana Avenue tonight made his — short-lived — getaway on a city bus.

After hitting the store shortly after 7 p.m., the robber headed across the street and boarded the bus, a dispatcher said. The suspect made it about five blocks before Kansas City police stopped the bus and took the suspect into custody near 40th Street and Cleveland Avenue.

The man was reportedly armed, but no one was hurt in the incident.

Stupid Case File for November 27, 2007

Burglar fell asleep on victim's sofa

Courtesy of This is Lancashire

A BURGLAR who broke into a neighbour's home was found fast asleep on her settee, Burnley magistrates were told.

Michael Arthur Bolton, 35, had taken a tranquilliser before raiding the home of Michelle Robinson, in Griffin Close, Burnley, which had made him sleepy, the court heard.

And at the time Bolton was on licence after being released early from a two prison sentence for burglary.

Prosecutor Silvia Dacre said Miss Robinson, her child, and a friend and her child, had gone to bed on the night on November 11, locking all doors and windows as usual.

But when she awoke the next morning, just before 6am, she heard a series of noises coming from her front room.

Mrs Dacre said that rather than confronting any potential intruder, she went into the kitchen and rang for the police.

Meanwhile one of Miss Robinson's neighbours, after looking through a nearby window, walked into the living room and found Bolton asleep on the couch.

Bolton was wearing a jacket belonging to Miss Robinson and in his tracksuit bottoms there was jewellery and sweets he had taken from the property.

Outside the house a bag was also found containing other items stolen from the house.

Mrs Dacre said it appeared he had broken into the property by forcing a kitchen window and had simply fell asleep before he could walk off with the stolen items.

It appeared he had taken some form of tranquilliser and could recall little of what had happened in the short time leading up to his arrest, the court heard.

When he was interviewed by police, he initially claimed he had bought the sweets found in his pocket but then accepted, as he had been found in Miss Robinson's home, there was little he could say about the burglary charge.

Magistrates heard that Bolton had been sentenced to two years imprisonment for burglary in October 2006 and was still on licence for that offence.

Bolton, also of Griffin Close, Burnley, who pleaded guilty to stealing goods worth around £150, was committed in custody by the court to await sentencing on December 14 at Burnley Crown Court.

Stupid Case File for November 26, 2007

Man Steals Printer, Calls Tech Support, Lands in Jail

Courtesy of PC World

Here's a tip: if you steal a printer used to print driver's licenses, don't call the manufacturer asking for driver software.

It's a lesson that Timothy Scott Short learned all too well this month, when he got arrested after placing a couple of calls to Digimarc Corp.'s tech support line.

Short, 33, is facing felony charges for possession of "document-making implements," in connection with the theft of a Digimarc printer used by the state of Missouri to manufacture driver's licenses.

The printer, along with a PC, were stolen on the evening of Oct. 5 from the St. Charles contract office of the Missouri Department of Revenue, said Trish Vincent, director of the department. These offices are run by individuals who are subcontracted by the department to issue driver's licenses, Vincent said. The pilfered printer could be used to produce a license, Vincent said.

The PC, however, was locked with a key and because the key was stored in a secure location, the PC was unusable to the thief, said Vincent.

So what do you do when you have a stolen driver's license printer, but can't use the PC that goes with it? Enter Digimarc's tech support line.

According to a sworn statement by Secret Service Special Agent John Bush, someone who identified himself as "Scott" called Digimarc two days later and asked if he could buy printer drivers for the model of printer that had been swiped from the St. Charles office.

The Secret Service agent later listened to a recording of this call and recognized Short's voice from a prior investigation, Bush said. The caller also gave Digimarc the same phone number Short had used in an unrelated identity theft case, Bush said.

Short was charged on Oct. 11, and is facing 10 years in prison and a US$250,000 fine, according to court filings.

"The stolen equipment contains the identifying information and photographs of between 200 to 500 Missouri residents," Bush said in the statement. "The only use of the equipment is the manufacture of state identification documents."

The state has sent notification letters to those affected by the theft, Vincent said. The computer contained name, address and date of birth data, but not Social Security numbers, she added.

Digimarc declined to explain how the Secret Service ended up listening to its customer support calls. "Because of a confidentiality agreement with our customer and because this is a criminal matter, we are not able to comment on the incident," wroteDigimarc spokeswoman Leslie Constans via e-mail.

Stupid Case File for November 25, 2007

Man charged with DUI three times in 24 hours

Courtesy of PerthNow

A PERTH man has been charged with drink driving three times in 24 hours, his menacing spree ending with a bizarre incident at a police station.

The 46-year-old was first stopped by Boddington police, in the Perth hills on Saturday night, and charged with driving under the influence and driving with a suspended licence.

He was spotted driving his car again a short time later and arrested for drink-driving, police said.

The man's car was impounded in the Boddington police station but early on Sunday morning, the man allegedly jumped over the fence of the police station, broke open a padlock on a back gate and drove away in his car.

He was caught and arrested again three hours later and charged with three counts of driving under the influence; three counts of driving while under suspension and one charge of trespass.

He's been refused bail and will appear in the Perth Magistrates Court today.

Stupid Case File for November 24, 2007

Police station no place to smoke weed

Courtesy of

A man is facing drug charges after he allegedly walked into the Danbury police station puffing on a marijuana-filled cigar.

Capt. Robert Myles says Scott Snow walked into the station early Saturday and blew smoke from his cigar into a small opening in the bullet-resistant glass separating desk officers from the public.

Myles says the 24-year-old man was told there's no smoking inside the building and he allegedly stubbed out the cigar on the counter.

Officers came out and smelled the distinctive odor of marijuana and arrested Snow.

Police say they found more alleged marijuana in Snow's pants. He has been released after posting bond.

Stupid Case File for November 23, 2007

Visitor to lawmen: I just smoked crack

Courtesy of Northwest Florida Daily News

SHALIMAR — A woman who came to the Sheriff’s Office offering special information about drugs in the county was booked and jailed after she told investigators she smoked crack right before she came in the building.

Investigators say 30-year-old Kristen Paige Lowery “appeared to be under the influence of narcotics” when she came inside the Okaloosa County Multi-Agency Drug Task Force Office on Thursday.

When they asked her what type of drug she was using, she replied, “Crack,” according to the Sheriff’s Office.

When they asked her when she last used it, she said she’d smoked some just before she arrived.

Lowery was arrested on an active warrant for writing worthless checks. When deputies searched her car, they found crack and paraphernalia, including scales covered with cocaine residue.

She was charged with possession of cocaine and possession of paraphernalia and taken to the Okaloosa County Jail.

Stupid Case File for November 22, 2007

Man Arrested After Reporting Pot Theft

Courtesy of

McALLEN, Texas - A man was arrested for drug possession after telling authorities that two masked gunmen had stolen 150 pounds of marijuana from his home.

Hidalgo County sheriff's deputies arrived at the home near Penitas in South Texas to find the door kicked in and nearly 15 pounds of pot lying on the floor, Sheriff Lupe Trevino said.

Jose Guadalupe Flores, 35, escaped while the men ransacked the house but returned later and told the deputies he had been wrapping the drugs for shipment when the intruders arrived.

"The guy walked right up and said the drugs were his," Trevino said. "That's not the smartest move."

Flores, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, was charged with felony possession of marijuana at an arraignment hearing Monday. Because of his immigration status, Flores will be jailed until his case is heard.

Authorities were still searching for the gunmen.

Stupid Case File for November 21, 2007

Drunken priest punches cop

Special thanks to Leslie for the story !!
Courtesy of Stuff

A Mexican priest briefly ended up behind bars after punching a policemen who caught him driving drunkenly through the streets of the northern city of Monterrey.

Priest Manuel Raul Ortega, who was not wearing clerical dress but was clutching a prayer book when captured, launched himself at the traffic cop who pulled him over earlier this week.

"The individual became very violent because they were going to tow away his car.

He attacked a policeman and was taken away," said transit department spokesman Hector Lozano.

Ortega's papers identified him as a priest. He was released a few hours after his arrest after paying the fines for his offenses.

Monterrey and Mexico City are in the midst of a tough new drive to clamp down on widespread drunken driving after tequila and beer-fueled lunches and parties

Stupid Case File for November 20, 2007

Child Charged for DUI w/ Dad in Passenger Seat

Courtesy of

A police officer checking on a truck that got stuck in the mud at a city park was startled to find a 13-year-old boy behind the wheel. The boy's father, who was sitting in the passenger seat, told police he had had too much to drink and let his son drive. The boy had been drinking, too, police said.

"(The boy) even said he didn't want to drive because he was too drunk," McLellan told The Flint Journal for a story published Thursday.

Open containers of beer and liquor were found in the vehicle, said Clio Police Chief James McLellan.

The father, a 41-year-old Flint-area man, is facing several misdemeanor counts, including child endangerment, allowing an intoxicated person to drive his vehicle and allowing an unlicensed minor to drive, police said.

The boy has been petitioned into juvenile court on charges that include driving while intoxicated, police said.

The two were arrested Nov. 8. They apparently were trying to get home when they turned into the park to turn around. The truck rolled off the pavement and became stuck in the muddy soil.

Stupid Case File for November 19, 2007

Police Use Oil To Free Suspect

Courtesy of

Authorities used vegetable oil to free a man who said he became trapped in the vent shaft of a grocery store when he tried to rob it.

Adam F. Cooper, 19, was being held on $10,000 bail Friday on charges including burglary and criminal mischief.

Authorities said Cooper was found Tuesday night in the shaft between the ceiling and the roof of the store after someone heard him screaming for help.

Emergency workers cut Cooper's sweatshirt away, poured vegetable oil taken from a store shelf down the shaft and handed him a rope. Four men on the roof then pulled him out, said Thorntown Deputy Marshal Chad Clendening. He was trapped for at least an hour.

"He's really lucky someone heard him yelling," Clendening said. "Otherwise, we probably would have been removing a corpse the next morning."

Earlier that day, Cooper had been on a team that cleaned the store's vent, authorities said. He reportedly told police he was able to move through the vent while he was working, so he figured he could use it to rob the store.

The Associated Press left a message Friday seeking comment from Cooper's attorney, Michael Gross.

Stupid Case File for November 18, 2007

What?! A Politician Is A Crook?

Courtesy of

A southern Georgia sheriff faces federal charges accusing him of billing inmates for room and board and interfering with an FBI investigation of local judges.

An indictment unsealed Thursday in U.S. District Court accuses Clinch County Sheriff Winston Peterson of perjury, obstruction of justice, using forced labor and extorting former jail inmates.

Peterson, 62, pleaded not guilty to the charges Thursday and was released on $10,000 bond.

Investigators say the sheriff charged jail inmates $18 per day for room and board. County officials agreed in April 2006 to return $27,000 to hundreds of inmates who paid the fees between 2000 and 2004. Peterson also used an inmate to do work at a business run by his wife, investigators say.

The sheriff is charged with obstructing justice by alerting an unindicted co-conspirator about the identity of an FBI informant he believed was part of a criminal investigation into courthouse activities. He is also accused of lying during a grand jury investigation of a Superior Court judge.

Neither Peterson nor his attorney could be reached for comment Thursday night. An after-hours call to his attorney's home went unanswered, and the sheriff could not be reached through the dispatcher.

Peterson is the latest Clinch County official to be caught up in investigations into the rural county's practices.

Superior Court Judge Brooks E. Blitch III and Chief State Court Judge Berrien Sutton face allegations by the Judicial Qualifications Commission, a state agency that investigates Georgia judges and has power to recommend removing them from office. They have not been charged with any crimes.

Blitch, 72, is accused of ordering illegal payments to county employees, ordering the early release of imprisoned felons and presiding over a case involving his son.

Blitch's attorneys have said an investigation will prove he is innocent.

Sutton is accused of appointing non-lawyers to hear criminal cases, pressing a magistrate judge to help one of his business associates and signing an illegal order to collect court fees that were later distributed to county officials.

Thomas Whithers, an attorney for Sutton, said Wednesday the judge looks forward to his day in court. "Judge Sutton has done nothing wrong and will vigorously defend these allegations," he said.

Stupid Case File for November 17, 2007

Excessive greed drives 'determined' fraudster

Special thanks goes out to Leslie for the story!
Courtesy of Stuff

Wayne Patterson had more than 100 identities, and the proceeds of his crimes were secreted around his rented home.

His crimes span 30 years and while he was talented at ripping off benefits systems, he was far from perfect, having previously served time in New Zealand, Australian and United States prisons for fraud.

When police came to his Auckland home in October last year they stumbled upon his lifestyle, including $750,000 in cash buried in the garden, $200,000 and 18 gold bars hidden in his shower.

His bedroom boasted a marble master suite and tropical fish and the lavish garden featured $50,000 worth of rare plants.

The rented flat also had a personal gym with a widescreen television.

Police also found the tools of Patterson's trade, including 137 cash machine cards, 102 forged birth certificates, 56 community service cards, 79 superannuation cards and 125 Inland Revenue cards.

Patterson, 47, was jailed for eight years and must serve at least five after his sentencing in the High Court at Auckland yesterday.

He had earlier admitted 10 false identity and fraud charges.

His sentence comes with a five-year non-parole period.

Justice Peter Woodhouse said Patterson was a "determined, recidivist fraudster" who was motivated by excessive greed, having talked of wanting to be a millionaire since childhood.

First convicted of fraud in 1976, Patterson went on to rack up fraud convictions in Australia and the US, for which he served prison terms.

He was extradited to New Zealand in 2002, prosecuted for offences he had committed in 1998 and sentenced to home detention.

Within a month of ending his sentence in June 2003, he was at it again.

His latest spree, between 2003 and 2006, made him New Zealand's worst benefit fraudster and eroded public confidence in the Social Development Ministry which administers benefits.

A crown application for forfeiture of assets under the Proceeds of Crimes Act was adjourned to a future date

Stupid Case File for October 20, 2007

U.S. Border Agent Car Not a Good Getaway Car

Courtesy of

MONTERREY, Mexico - Three Mexican minors detained in California on suspicion of smuggling drugs stole a U.S. Border Patrol car while still wearing handcuffs and drove it back across the border to Mexico.

Police in the Mexican border city of Mexicali said on Tuesday the three boys had been driving a pick-up truck on a remote Californian highway when a Border Patrol agent stopped them.

Suspicious they were carrying marijuana, he handcuffed them and put them in his patrol car while he searched their truck.

"As the agent was doing his search, he left the vehicle running and the keys in the ignition, so one of the lads, still wearing handcuffs, grabbed the steering wheel and they headed back to Mexico," a police spokesman said.

The Border Patrol, which plays cat and mouse around the clock with illegal Mexican migrants and drug traffickers, confirmed the vehicle was stolen in southern California on Sunday and driven over the border near Mexicali.

Mexican police used a helicopter to locate the patrol vehicle in a remote agricultural area near the border

Stupid Case File for October 19, 2007

What Will a Million Screws Get You? Find Out ...

Courtesy of

BERLIN - A German factory worker stole over a million screws from his employer and skewed the market with his cheap stolen goods, police said Friday.

"In the end, it became obvious that screws were being sold for much less than they usually cost," said a spokesman for police in the southern city of Wuerzburg.

Over two years, the 33-year-old assembly plant worker smuggled between 2,000 and 7,000 screws out of work each night, and auctioned them on an Internet site, police said. The scheme cost his firm around 110,000 euros ($156,000).

The man confessed after officers raided his home.