BACK TO 50 CONVERSATION TOPICS

Stories you can use to add interest to speeches or presentations


Crime

Resources for Speakers - Anecdotes About Crime, Criminals Police and the Law


Need more quotes? click here for Book Extracts on Crime



Distractions

When entrepreneur Michelle Esquenazi was asked by a New York Post reporter in September why her all-female crew of licensed bounty hunters (Empire Bail Bonds of New York) is so successful at tricking bail-jumpers into the open, she offered a vulgar euphemism for a female body part. "It's timeless," she continued. "Of course he's going to open his door for a nice piece of [deleted]." "The thing about defendants is no matter who they are [of whatever color], they're all dumb. Every single last one of them is stupid."

Distractions 2

The owner of a swimming pool obliged when a couple asked to use his pool to cool off on a hot day - especially when the woman asked if she might swim naked. Stephen Amaral, 54, sat in his garden to watch her swimming, while her partner left in search of cigarettes. "I escorted her outside and invited her to church,"said Amaral, of Crossville, Tennessee, "but she said she didn't have time." It was only when she had gone that Amaral realised he'd been burgled by the swimmer's accomplice.

Distractions 3

Anthony Johnson, 49, was convicted in October [2012] in Hartford, Conn., of stealing an improbably large amount of money--as much as $70,000 a weekend, off and on for five years--by crawling on the floor of darkened theaters and lifting credit cards from purses that movie-watching women had set down. The FBI said Johnson was careful to pick films likely to engross female viewers so that he could operate freely, and that he was often able to take the cards, leave the theater, and make cash-advance withdrawals from ATMs before the movie had ended.

Sometimes crime does pay ...

A British woman had her debit card stolen, but when got her bank statement her account had an extra £700 in it - turned out thief had used card to place couple of bets, and when they won, the bookie paid winnings directly back into the account

Sometimes crime does pay ... (Part 2)

An Austrian court has ordered a bank robber be given back £51,000 that he stole 19 years ago. Bank manager Otto Neuman stole £150,000 in cash as well as gold bars and gold coins from his own branch in 1993. After getting into financial difficulties, he recruited two accomplices to stage a fake robbery at the Erste Bank in Vienna's Doebling district. By the time police caught up with them, only £51,000 and the gold could be recovered. The rest of the money had gone. The gold went to the insurance company which had already paid the bank for its loss but the cash has been sitting at the Austrian Justice Ministry ever since. Neuman's lawyer, Herbert Eichenseder, confirmed he been recently been contacted by court officials and asked to help return the stolen money to his client. The bank felt it had no claim on the money because it had been compensated in full by its insurance company. And the insurers said they didn't want it as they had not lost out either. The stolen gold had increased in value so much that it covered all of the money paid to the bank. Mr Eichenseder said: "I really didn't believe what the court were telling me but I checked it and it was correct. "I had to go into the archives in our cellar to find the details of the case as it was already 19 years old - and I managed to track down the man's details and contacted him to tell him the news. "To say that he was surprised was an understatement, but he provided his bank account details and the money has now been transferred."

And sometimes the criminals get a bit of their own back ...

In Sheffield England, a group of prisoners were sentenced to plant bulbs in the gardens alongside motorway - when they came up in spring it became obvious that they had been planted in patterns making interesting 4 letter words

In the USA

Every day in America, 34 innocent people are murdered with a gun; that's like having a Virginia Tech massacre every day, only worse. It adds up to 12,000 people a year. Imagine losing the entire Freshman and Sophomores classes at Virginia Tech.

In the USA

In 1947 a particularly gruesome murder shocked LA (a young woman cut neatly in half and drained of her blood before being dumped, naked, in a field). The Los Angeles Examiner broke the news to girl’s mother. Today their tactic would be shamed, stamped as cruelty masquerading under journalism, not to mention utterly void of ethics; the newspaper called saying that her daughter had won a beauty contest and after collecting personal information from the gushing and proud woman, informed her that the reason for the call was because her daughter was found murdered. They then flew her out to Los Angeles and hid her from their competition to secure their monopoly on the story and cement their lack of morals.

TV

There is 10 times as much crime on TV as in real life.

In China

When a pickpocket shared a taxi ride with him recently in China's Hunan province and somehow managed to lift Zou Bin's iPhone,Zou was frightened that he had lost all of his beverage-industry business contacts and began text-messaging desperate pleas to the thief. Several days later, in the postal mail, Zou received a list of his contacts, apparently carefully copied from the phone, totaling 11 handwritten pages of names and numbers, and as the story broke on Chinese social media, the earnest thief was referred to as "the conscience of the [robbery] industry," and by one member of the People's Liberation Army as the model conscientious citizen that the Chinese should aspire to.

In China

A centuries-old practice of China's upper class continues today, except with a bit more circumspection. Rich or powerful people convicted of crimes can still hire replacements to serve their sentences--but, because of ubiquitous Internet videos, only if the replacements facially resemble them. Since the convict winds up paying something for his crime (though a relatively small price), Slate called the practice (known as "ding zui") sort of a "cap-and-trade" policy for crime.

Criminals and Prison Sentences

A prisoner in Ohio got permission to delay scheduled release on parole by one day so could attend a Promise Keepers meeting. The story made the local papers, alerting the family of his victim, who kicked up such a fuss that the parole board reconsidered and gave him another 2 yrs

Criminals and Prisons

In 1991, Pablo Escobar was incarcerated in his self-designed prison he named 'la catedral.' In the terms of his agreement with the Colombian government, Escobar was allowed to select who was imprisoned with him and who worked in the prison. He could also continue to run his cartel business and receive visitors. La catedral was equipped with a soccer field, barbecue pit and patios and was nearby another compound he built separately for his family.

Also, the Colombian authorities were not allowed within 3 miles of his prison.

Criminals and Prisons

At a ceremony in Kabul in November, prominent Afghan developer Khalilullah Frozi signed a $95 million contract to build an 8,800-unit township and was, according to a New York Times dispatch, toasted for his role in the country's economic rebirth. However, at nightfall, Frozi headed back to prison, to resume his 15-year sentence for defrauding Kabul Bank of nearly $1 billion in depositors' money. Because he remains one of Afghanistan's elite, arrangements were made for him to work days but spend his nights in prison (in comfortable quarters). Said one Western official, laconically, "[I]f you have stolen enough money, you can get away with it."

Young Criminals

Young offenders now are 3½ times more likely to re-offend than in Victorian days, when many were put in the army or sent on work schemes, a study suggests. Pamela Cox, of the University of Essex, told a British Sociological Association conference in Glasgow that 100 years ago 22 per cent of 500 child offenders committed further crime; today it is 73 per cent.

Paying Criminals

On the heels of a similar program in Richmond, Calif., Washington, D.C.'s D.C. Council authorized funding in January to pay stipends to notorious criminals if they stop committing crimes. Police would identify up to 50 residents likely to violently offend again in 2016 and offer them periodic cash payments plus special training and educational benefits--as long as they stay out of trouble. Officials in Richmond (once overwhelmed by gun deaths) say their program, commenced ten years ago, has produced a 76 percent drop in gun-related crime.

Hollywood Crime

Complete with a 'tramp stamp' tattoo on her back, Emma Watson will play a celebrity-obsessed Hollywood burglar in The Bling Ring, a true-crime movie. It's based on a middle-class bunch of wastrels who judged correctly that Paris Hilton would leave her key under the doormat and robbed her five times before she noticed, then moved on to Lindsay Lohan, Megan Fox and Orlando Bloom's Rolex collection. LA police are upset with the film's director, Sofia Coppola, because she hired their investigator as a consultant without telling them, and the trials are not even over yet.

Dealt a Lemon, Make Lemonade:

Puerto Rico's murder/voluntary manslaughter rate is four times higher than that in the 50 states, creating a "pool of [organ] donors in the 18-30 age range unmatched in the mainland," according to an October Reuters report. Government officials hope creating a thriving transplant industry will bring Puerto Rico out of its economic doldrums by drawing economy-conscious patients to spend on hotels, transportation, and food during their stay.

Police Doing AFV routine

I was stuck in A & E once, talking to a cop who was killing time waiting to interview some crime victim. He had the car evidence kit out and was going through the photos on the digital camera. He suddenly burst out laughing and showed me this sequence of pics - started with a back view of a cop running toward a fence; next pic showed him vaulting over it, then all you see is a huge splash, then finally a woe-begone cop, covered in mud, looks back at his mate filming. Something straight out of AFV

Sometimes It's Just Too Much Trouble

Two undercover policewomen running a prostitution sting in Dothan, Ala., in October [1999] declined to arrest a pickup-truck-driving john, around age 70, despite his three attempts to procure their services. He first offered the women the three squirrels he had just shot, but they ignored him (too much trouble to log in and store the evidence). A few minutes later, he sweetened the offer with the used refrigerator in the back of his truck, but the officers again declined (same reason). On the third trip, he finally offered cash: $6 (but no squirrels or refrigerator). The officers again declined. They later said they had resolved to arrest him if he returned, but he did not.

Times when it's the police who are not the brightest

The Nigerian police were embarrassed today after a vigilante group handed over a goat to authorities in Kwara State alleging it was a car thief that used witchcraft to change shape, the BBC reports. The belief in witchcraft and shape shifting is common in Nigeria, but the bizarre arrest highlights what police reformists say is the low education level of many Nigerian police officers and communities' reliance on badly prepared vigilante squads that patrol at night when the police will not. A police spokesman in Kwara said the "armed robbery" suspect would be held until the investigation was over

When you're running the show, it's not hard to stack the odds in your favour

The Supreme Court of Spain tossed out assault charges against Henry Osagiede in August because of unfairness by Madrid police. Osagiede, a black man, was convicted after the victim identified him as her attacker, in a lineup in which he was the only black man.

Personal Fetish

District Judge Joseph Boeckmann (in Arkansas's rural Cross County) resigned in May after the state Judicial Discipline committee found as many as 4,500 nude or semi-nude photos of young men who had been before Boeckmann in court. (Some were naked, being paddled by Boeckmann, who trolled for victims by writing young men notes offering a "community service" option). [ABC News, 7-6-2016] [CNN, 5-10-2016]

Judicial Bias

A recent working paper by two Louisiana State University economists revealed that the state's juvenile court judges dole out harsher sentences on weeks following a loss by the LSU football team (among those judges who matriculated at LSU). The differences in sentences were particularly stark in those seasons that LSU's team was nationally ranked. (All sentences from 1996-2012 were examined, for all first-time juvenile offenders, except for murder and aggravated-rape cases.)

Perspective

Andrew Fisher, Jeremy Corbyn’s policy chief, has come under scrutiny after he described looting in the 2011 Croydon riots as “aggravated shopping” on the website of the Labour Representation Committee, which aims to secure a voice for socialists within the party.

A box was delivered to the Territorial Army in Bristol in 2001. “The TA called the police, who called an army bomb-disposal unit, which blew up the box,” Colgan recalled, “only to discover it was full of leaflets on how to deal with suspicious packages.”

Least successful citizen's arrest

On a sunny October morning in 1995 a young man was lurking suspiciously outside a Dublin branch of the Allied Irish bank when a security guard walked out with a case full of money. Suddenly the young man shouted, pulled a gun, seized the money and leapt onto a getaway motorbike that roared up driven by an accomplice. As they veered off into traffic, only one man acted. A passing van driver saw the whole thing and reversed his Renault into the escaping motorbike. The two villains were thrown onto the bonnet of a nearby car. They stood up and stared at the van driver, aghast and disbelieving. Aghast and disbelieving also were the director, the sound man, the cameraman and everyone connected with Crimeline, the hugely popular Irish TV programme, which was reconstructing an earlier robbery to help police solve it.

Prison puppy raising program

Leader Dog's prison puppy raising program pairs Future Leader Dogs with model prisoners who have demonstrated they can be trusted to provide 24/7 care to a puppy for up to a year. Puppies raised in prison experience a higher success rate of becoming a Leader Dog and being placed with a client who is blind than those raised in a home setting. The program now places about 100 puppies per year with inmates. There is a marked reduction in the rate of recidivism among prison puppy raisers and they express pride and gratitude for the chance to give something back to society.

Criminals are rarely from the highest IQ groups

Two 23-year-old men who had been drinking were acting suspiciously in the parking lot of the Green Bay Police Department. When asked what they were doing, one man said they were taking pictures. A camera contained 25 images, some showing the men walking over the hood and roof of a squad car and urinating on a police truck. Police found dents in a squad car, with footprints matching the shoes of one suspect.

Not So Competent Criminals

Florida couple were arrested in November and charged with shoplifting. Surveillance video revealed that, among the items stuffed in the pair's belly fat and under their armpits and breasts were four pairs of boots, three pairs of jeans, a wallet, and gloves.

Not So Competent Criminals

Gregory Snelling, 41, was indicted in June for the robbery of a bank in Springfield, Ohio, which was notable more for the foot chase with police afterward. They caught him, but Snelling might deserve "style" points for the run, covered as he was in red dye from the money bag and the fact that he was holding a beer in his hand during the entire chase.

Really Incompetent Criminals

Mauricio Fierro gained instant fame in December in Sao Paulo, Brazil, as the reported victim of a car theft (captured on surveillance video) when he dashed into a pharmacy. He went to a police station to file a report but encountered the pharmacy owner making his own report - that Fierro was actually robbing him at the moment the car was taken. More surveillance video revealed that while Fierro was standing outside the pharmacy, wondering where his car was, a man ran by and stole the stolen cash. Fierro then immoderately complained to the police even more about Sao Paulo's crime rate and lack of security. Afterward, Fierro admitted to a local news website that in fact he had stolen the very car that he was reporting stolen.

And once again (in July in Bergen, Norway) the accused was convicted of murder based on a telltale Internet-search history. Police discovered about 250 computer queries such as "How do you poison someone without getting caught?" (Ultimately, the woman confessed that she killed her husband by lighting a charcoal grill in his bedroom while he slept.)

Seeing justice done

Arizona runs a female chain gang (women volunteer to get out of cells). They dig graves, pick up rubbish, all wearing black and white striped outfits and chained together



Sentencing statutes and guidelines generally assign heavier penalties to those more culpable for criminal enterprise - but not always. Houston, Tex., grandmother Elisa Castillo, then 53, was convicted in 2009 of conspiracy to smuggle a ton of cocaine from Mexico and sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole (a penalty authorized by statute), despite substantial evidence that she was a minor figure and despite her previously clean criminal record. According to a May Houston Chronicle investigation, several higher-up drug smugglers, including those on law-enforcement's "most wanted" lists, have received much lighter prison terms than Castillo's, precisely because, being so high up, they have inside information that they can use to bargain with prosecutors. Castillo, relatively insignificant, had nothing to trade.

There is more than one way to get the help you need

Guy calls cops 'There's someone burgling my shed'
Sorry there's no-one available for 2 hrs."
5 minutes later rings back 'Don't worry , I've shot them'
2 minutes later the place is crawling with cops who grab burglars
"Thought you said you shot them?"
'I thought you said no-one available?'

You can take 'trust' too far

The normal way that the U.S. Bureau of Prisons transfers "low-risk" inmates between institutions is to buy them bus tickets and release them unescorted, with an arrival deadline. In the last three years, reported the Las Vegas Sun in May, 90,000 inmates were transferred this way, and only about 180 absconded. Though supposedly carefully pre-screened for risk, one man still on the loose is Dwayne Fitzen, a gang-member/biker who was halfway through a 24-year sentence for cocaine-dealing. (Since the traveling inmates are never identified as prisoners, Greyhound is especially alarmed at the policy.)

You can take 'trust' too far (2)

A sculpture on display at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minn., was stolen in December. The piece, by artist John Ilg, consisted of wire mesh over a frame, with 316 rolled-up dollar bills stuffed in the mesh. The piece was titled, "Honesty." (Attitudes have changed in the two years since the piece was first presented, at the Minnesota State Fair, when visitors liked it so much that they added rolled bills to the display.)

Crime is just another family business

Mykal Carberry, 13, was arrested in Hyannis, Mass., in March and charged with arranging for the murder of his 16-year-old half-brother Jordan, so that, according to police, he could take Jordan's place atop the family's prosperous Cape Cod cocaine distribution ring. (The boss's job was open following the boys' father's recent imprisonment.)

It doesn't always pay to stand out in a crowd

Christopher Lister, 21, pleaded guilty to a home burglary in June in Leeds (England). He and two mates had tried to steal a plasma TV in broad daylight, but witnesses easily identified Lister. He is 7-feet tall and lives only a few doors down from the crime scene.

It doesn't always pay to boast about your crimes

It was a 2004 gang-related murder that had frustrated Los Angeles police for four years until a homicide investigator, paging through gangbangers' photographs for another case, spotted an elaborate tattoo on the chest of Anthony Garcia. Evidently, that 2004 killing was such a milestone in Garcia's life that he had commemorated the liquor store crime scene on his chest. The investigation was reopened, eventually leading to a surreptitious confession by Garcia and, in April 2011, to his conviction for first-degree murder. (Photos from Garcia's several bookings between 2004 and 2008 show his mural actually evolving as he added details - until the crime scene was complete enough that the investigator recognized it.)

"If you're up there, please save me Superman!"

Real live Superheroes, latex suits and masks and all, are fighting crime in a city near you - really!. The World superhero Registry details dozens of active men and women tackling crime and disorder with varying degrees of success and competence. Includes Mr Invisible, Citizen Prime, Mr Xtreme and Angle-Grinder Man (specialising in removing parking clamps)

It started out as a cunning plan

Four apparently quite bored people in their early 20s were arrested in September in Bennington, Vt., after a Chili's restaurant burglar alarm sounded at 4:30 a.m. According to police, the four intended to remove and steal the large chili on the restaurant's sign, using a hacksaw and power drill. However, not possessing a battery-operated drill, they had strung extension cords together running to the nearest outlet they could find, which was 470 feet away, across four lanes of highway and through a Home Depot parking lot.

A criminal to the very end

Jonathan Wild, a notorious British pickpocket hanged in 1725, was a criminal literally to his death - as he stepped up to the gallows he deftly picked the pocket of the priest administering the last rites - he died waving his trophy, a corkscrew, to the crowd below.

"I knew I forgot something ...

Andrew Burwitz, 20, was arrested in Appleton, Wis., in November and charged with drive-by shootings into two residences. No one was hit, and the major damage was done to Burwitz's car, in that Burwitz fired the first shot before he remembered to roll down the window.

We will make those criminals pay

Budget Relief for the California Government: A homeless transient, Steven Butcher, 50, was convicted of starting fires in the Los Padres National Forest near Santa Barbara in 2002 and 2006 (the latter which burned 163,000 acres) and in November sentenced to nearly four years in prison. When Butcher gets out, he can work on the other part of his sentence, as he was also ordered to pay back the state for the fires' costs, in the amount of $101 million

Another "negative cash-flow" robbery

occurred in February, in Kansas City, Mo., as an unidentified man tried to distract the clerk at a gun store by laying $40 on the counter to buy a box of bullets, then pulling a gun and demanding all the store's money. The clerk thwarted the robbery by pulling his own gun (not surprisingly, since it was a gun store) and scaring the robber off - while the $40 remained on the counter.

Criminologist (describing a gunman in Britain who used) "a gun to maintain control over a set of circumstances in which he increasingly had no power and control. This is someone who beat his partner, beat his child, and then of course, like most domestic abusers, apologises for that violence in the belief he should somehow be forgiven."

The Brevard County doctor who was arrested for groping a woman while dressed as Captain America with a burrito in his pants will not go to jail.

A thief in Mumbai who swallowed a stolen gold chain to conceal it from police was force-fed more than 40 bananas until the swag was recovered.

A teenage girl in Canada stole her mum's video camera and sold it, unaware that there was blue movie inside. Mum only realized it was gone when boyfriend complained that there was a movie of them circulating

Guy in Orlando convicted of attempted murder two sheriff's deputies despite claiming that he had only fired at them accidentally (11 times with 2 guns)

Erie County jail officials suspended guards Lawrence Mule, a 26-year veteran, and James Conlin, a 29-year veteran, after they scuffled at the County Correctional Facility, reportedly over a bag of chips. An inmate had to break up the fight.

Police in Richmond, Va., announced in December that high school math teacher Kenneth Johnson III turned himself in for several recent residential shoe thefts. Each time, the shoes taken from homes were returned to their owners but with "bodily fluids" added.

Police forces across Britain have spent more than £20,000 on flat-pack PCs. West Midlands police said it had ordered 80 cardboard constables at a cost of just over £10,000. In Derbyshire, £6,650 was spent over the past two years on a "substantial number" of cut-outs. "The theory is that it creates the impression at first glance of a capable guardian being on site, which hopefully also reduces the perception of fear of crime," said a Derbyshire police spokesman. Several forces conceded that some had been stolen

NZ proposal to run separate jails for Maoris criticized by criminologist Greg Newbold: "There is good reason to be cynical about it. Past experience showed that if it was not run by people with the proper management skills, it could end in disaster. If this facility is run by idealists, rather than by pragmatists, it will be a catastrophe. If they really wanted to do something that was highly likely to be successful, then they would use a religious or faith-based programme. Religion offers a full package, inside and outside of prison." Corrections Association NZ President Bevan Hanlon said all the figures showed that rel-based programmes were most effective in reducing reoffending. This was because most religions were based on a pretty strong moral code which meant inmates had to commit to making major lifestyle changes.

There are various overseas prisons where crime kingpins serve time in relative comfort (through bribery or fear), but according to a June New York Times dispatch,Venezuela's San Antonio prison (which houses the country's drug traffickers) is in a class of its own. San Antonio's four swimming pools frequently host inmates' families and "guests," who lounge with barbecue meals and liquor. Paid "bodyguards" pass the time shucking oysters for alpha-dog-inmate Teofilo Rodriguez. DirecTV dishes serve the cells. Drug-smuggling via guards is so prevalent that Venezuelan locals actually visit the prison to buy the surplus (which they carry out because guards only "search" them upon entering). Rodriguez's enforcement is backed up by an openly-displayed arsenal of guns. Said a Russian drug trafficker-inmate, "This is the strangest place I've ever been."

60 Minutes program interviewing Peter Erhmann and showed him footage of Peter Ellis ('I'm sure he's innocent') Mark Lundy ('not convinced') and David Bain ('very smart not to have testified or given public interview')

Life Imitates the Keystone Kops: In January, inmates Regan Reti, 20, and Tiranara White, 21, who had been booked separately for different crimes and were handcuffed together for security at Hastings District Court, dashed out of the building and ran for their freedom. However, when they encountered a streetlamp in front of the courthouse, one man went to the right of it, and the other to the left, and they slammed into each other, allowing jailers to catch up and re-arrest them. (A courthouse surveillance camera captured the moment, and the video has been a worldwide sensation.)

In Maine Township, Ill., Mr. Janusz Owca was arrested in August for choking his wife and was booked into jail and given his traditional phone call. With police listening, Owca called his wife and threatened to kill her.

Woman in Palmerston North stole a chicken from Mad Butcher; caught on security camera footage. So they put her photo up as This Week's Lucky Shopper, and she came in to claim her prize...

Veteran criminal Nathan Pugh, 49, walked in to a Wells Fargo bank in Dallas, Tex., on July 26 and presented his holdup note to a teller (claiming to have a "bom"). The teller told Pugh that she could not release large amounts of money without proper ID and convinced Pugh to turn over both a Texas state ID card and his Wells Fargo debit card, both in his own name. Police arrived just as Pugh was leaving and after an attempt to grab a hostage, he was arrested.(He even failed with the hostage, who was carrying a child but still managed to take Pugh to the floor.)

One of world's least competent crims - woman climbed into back of a DHL delivery van and rifled through parcels looking for her urine sample which she was sure would test positive for drugs, sending her back to jail. Driver called cops and she was arrested. Urine sample proved negative, but on arrest she tested positive for methamphetamine.

James Milsom, 21, was arrested in Avon and Somerset, England, in June after a hidden camera in a police bait car caught him breaking in and swiping the GPS device. It was his third arrest in four months for breaking into a police bait car to steal a GPS (caught by the hidden camera each time).

In June, Reno, Nev., homicide detective David Jenkins was sitting in his unmarked car (but one with emergency lights on the dash and a police radio blaring away) when Mercedes Green, 19, hopped in and, yelling to be heard over the radio, propositioned him for sex. "You're not the police, are you," she asked. "What do you think," he said. "I didn't think so," the streetwise woman replied. After her arrest, Green explained: "You wear glasses, and I didn't think police could wear them."

Tommy Patterson, 41, vacationing in Ormond Beach, Fla., in July, decided to do some impromptu shoplifting at a Wal-Mart, according to police, but was caught after a chase that was brief because he was still wearing flip-flops from the beach

Daytime burglar John Pearce, 32, was arrested in Dartford, England, in August after getting his foot caught in a window and hanging upside down for over an hour in full view of congregating (and taunting) neighbors before police arrived

Denise and Jeffrey Lagrimas, who were hosting a neighborhood watch meeting in their Oroville, Calif., home to discuss rising concerns about local crime, were arrested during the meeting after a neighbor spotted her recently-stolen TV set in the house and then realized that Denise was wearing her stolen dress. Police officers were already on hand at the meeting to give a presentation and subsequently found $9,000 worth of stolen goods

Sentenced for burglary in Portland, Ore., in November (for a December 2008 incident in which he, nude, was detained by the 88-year-old female homeowner, who had grabbed hold of his scrotum): Mr. Michael G. Dick, 47.

Police in New Britain, Conn., arrested Joel Rubin, 42, in January and charged him with using a stolen credit card, but unanswered was why Rubin also tried to use his own store discount card to get a lower price on the merchandise. It was Rubin's name on the discount card that tipped off police, and it was not immediately clear why Rubin wanted to save a few bucks off a bill that would be sent to someone else

Michael Mahoney, 25, is the most recent rapist (according to police in Somerville, Mass.) to believe he is such hot stuff that he gave his phone number to the victim, certain that he had charmed her into wanting to keep seeing him. Police quickly arrested him in July at home, where he lives with his parents.

In July, convicted sexual molester Donald Fox, 62, of Frederick, Md., became the most recent convict to challenge the unfairness of his sentence (40 years in prison) and then have the appeals court agree it was unfair, except because it was too short (he's now serving 60 years)

A man and woman in Melbourne were sent to jail earlier this year for the attempted robbery of the Cuckoo restaurant at Olinda - appropriately carried out last April Fool's Day. Benjamin Jorgensen, 38, stole a bag he thought contained $30,000, but in fact contained only bread rolls. During the hold-up he shot his accomplice, 36-year-old Donna Hayes, in the buttock. Both pleaded guilty to armed robbery. Victorian County Court Judge Williams told the hearing the robbery was a complete fiasco and the two were a pair of fools

Two men were robbed in a motel room in Bradenton, Fla., in February by Cedrick Mitchell, 39, who pulled a handgun on them but lost it in a struggle when the men started to fight back. One of the men pepper-sprayed Mitchell, sending him fleeing. He returned a few minutes later and begged to buy the gun back for $40, but all he got was another pepper-spraying. Police arrested Mitchell nearby.

A Californian couple rang the police to report that they had been robbed at gunpoint in their own home. When the police asked what was stolen the pair listed 65 marijuana plants, nearly three kilos of the drug itself and a shotgun. Unsurprisingly, the couple, who had three outstanding warrants, were arrested

Latest Negative-Cash-Flow Robbery: The man (dressed as a woman) got away after the attempt at Joe's Cafe, in Metairie, La., in July, but he lost money in the deal. As a ruse to get a clerk to open the cash register, he handed over a $5 bill to pay for two donuts, and, with the register then open for change, pulled a gun and demanded the contents. The clerk immediately became hysterical, screaming, and the robber, frightened, fled the restaurant without his $5 or his donuts.

As Denton, Tex., Pizza Patron employee Stephanie Martinez complied with a disguised robber's demand for money at closing in July, a co-worker jumped the man, knocked him down, and began beating on him. As the robber's sunglasses and wig fell off, Martinez recognized him: "Don't hit him again! That's my dad!" Police later charged Stephanie's father, mother, and husband with the attempted robbery, concluding that Stephanie had been kept completely in the dark about the heist

David Steffen was convicted in Cincinnati in 1983 of murdering a 19-year-old woman and sentenced to death because the jury found that he also raped her, a violation that was an added devastation to her parents. Steffen confessed to the killing but vehemently protested for almost a quarter century that he did not rape her, and, finally, a 2007 DNA test of semen backed him up, disturbing the family even more (and calling Steffen's death sentence into question). In July 2008, the prosecutor learned that the DNA belonged to 55-year-old Kenneth Douglas, who is not a suspect in the murder but who was a morgue assistant in 1982 when the woman's body arrived and, said the prosecutor, had sex with it. Though the statute of limitations likely prevents prosecuting Douglas, the woman's parents seemed somewhat comforted that, after all, their daughter was a virgin.

High cost tractors and attachments are being targeted by sophisticated thieves in Britain. Steal a tractor (they all have same ignition key), then break into dealers and steal black box and papers, so easy to export to Europe or even Australia. More lucrative and less risk than drug smuggling. One expert pointed out how crazy it is that tractor, even though worth 5 times farmer's car has such minimal security.

In Calif you can upgrade your prison cell if you can afford it - for $82 a day you can get a small cell with a door you can lock away from the violent offenders, and often you can get day leave to keep your job - just go back there to sleep

Forget fingerprinting. Companies in Europe have begun to roll out an advanced biometric system from Japan that identifies people from the unique patterns of veins inside their fingers. Finger vein authentication, introduced widely by Japanese banks in the last two years, is claimed to be the fastest and most secure biometric method. Developed by Hitachi, it verifies a person's identity based on the lattice work of minute blood vessels under the skin. In Japan, thousands of cash machines are operated by finger vein technology. The pattern of blood vessels is captured by transmitting near-infrared light at different angles through the finger

In US each year 2000 kids expelled for bringing guns to school. In 2004 1400 kids shot dead or died in shooting accidents NRA claims guns needed to protect families but if a gun in house 3 times more likely that family member will die, and 5 times more likely that a suicide

In London cops warning that inevitable that they will soon shoot an armed 8 yo - gangs using kids to transport guns because immune from prosecution

An underworld gun dealer caught with 11 guns including semi-automatic pistols, 1 of which was a 4 barrel handgun capable of firing 4 bullets at once

2 guys in cowboy costume arrested after offering cops doughnuts. Cops were investigating a doughnut store robbery where the thieves had left cowboy boot footprints

NY crims now steal car doors for resale

In England and Wales, over 100,000 bikes stolen each year - often expensive £3000 models - easy to snap security chain with battery powered bolt cutters

British soldiers in Iraq smuggling stolen handguns back to UK/Germany and selling for £2500 worth cocaine

The initial explanation by Melvin Jackson, 48, upon his arrest in June for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman in Kansas City, Mo., was to deny that he would ever do such a thing. Rather, he said, "I thought the lady was dead."


Frauds and Hoaxes


Insurance Frauds

Last year Britons claimed 140m pounds travel insurance - on basis of their claims, lost more Louis Vitton luggage each year than has ever been sold in Britain

A list of gullible people is useful

Back in the early 2000's, a fraudulent Ponzi scheme web page promised investors returns of 40 to 100% in 10 days. Within weeks people all over world had sent in nearly $50m, until the scheme collapsed when the SEC closed it down. More people complained about the closure than about actually being defrauded. The guy running it himself got suckered - in attempt to generate cash he invested in other scams. Then it got even more weird. A Canadian gave the court a cheque for $9m to clear all the debts and take over the company. But the cheque was from a non-existent bank. It turned out that all he wanted was the database of suckers.

Why are people so gullible?

Richard Dawkins once asked why humans so credulous? Go back to childhood and there's Darwinian survival value in believing what parents tell you bc world is dangerous and takes too long to learn everything you need to know to survive first hand

0900 number frauds

Someone (eg courier pretending to call back to home base) uses your office phone to dial an 0900 number he has set up which automatically pays him $20

Parking fine frauds

Guy produced own parking meter tickets and went round putting them on car windscreens, complete with SAE to send in the fine

Dirty Deeds Done ...(Maybe Not)

HitManForHire.com The hit man site was run by an Egyptian immigrant, who told the Las Vegas Sun in 2008 that he would never contract for murder but sought to make money by double-crossing clients and alerting (for a fee) the intended victims.

Regular mammograms are vital

Spanish guy convinced women that a satellite had been set up to take remote mammograms. All they had to do was stand at the window, pressing their naked breasts against the pane, at certain time of day

Biter bit

Vietnamese guy doctored up a lump of iron and sold it as valuable black bronze statue - unfortunately he got paid in forged currency

Student capping hoaxes

Student hoaxes - accost a guy in the street and ask him to hold the end of a length of rope. Then go round corner and found someone else to hold the other end - then left them to get on with it

More hoaxes

Capping Week stunt - students tipped cops off that a group of students dressed as workmen were digging up the main street. Then went to the workmen and told them that a group of students dressed as cops would come to try to evict them.

April Fools Day Hoaxes

Panorama broadcast in 1950's showing exceptionally heavy spaghetti harvest N Italy showed bunches of stuff hanging (taped on) laurel trees


Crime one-liners


family were in iron and steel - mother ironed and father stole

we find the gorgeous sexy young lady who stole the jewels not guilty

the thief is sorry to be caught, not sorry to be a thief

people are always in favour of law and order as long as they're the ones laying down the laws and giving the orders

went to prison for possession of a rubber band - it was wrapped around 5kg of finest horticultural produce

did you hear the cops found that guy they were after - brown paper hat, brown paper suit, brown paper shoes (what were they chasing him for?)....rustling

takes things easy - mainly other people's things

horizontal divestiture - rich people made to lie down while poor people divest them of their money

went to prison for something he didn't do - didn't wipe his fingerprints off the safe

BACK TO 50 TOPICS