Dumb Criminals Who Were Caught in the Act

You can't make these three crimes up

In the dictionary under the phrase “You Can’t Make This Up,” all three of these dumb crimes should be highlighted, set off by asterisks, illustrated with red flashing lights — something.

While the criminal acts were foolish and wrong to begin with, the perpetrators compounded their errors by the ill-advised and thoughtless actions that followed. All of which makes us wonder: Are we really reading these stories correctly?

Alas, we are.

Check out these head scratchers below — then send us your own recommendations for dumb crime stories, using the email at bottom of this story. Your best tips may be featured in a future story.

Dumb Crime Case No. 1: Drunk Driver Takes Cover … Where He Never Should
A car slammed into a fence in a neighborhood in Tadcaster, England, last week. When the police showed up to investigate, they searched high and low for the suspect.

Eventually they found the driver, but not where anyone would expect. The unholy offender had taken cover in a nearby Nativity scene.

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“It’s not clear which of the figures in the Nativity the driver tried to use as an alter-ego for his escape, but we’re assuming it wasn’t one of the Three Wise Men,” said CrimeFeed about the incident.

The police arrested the cowering man and tweeted out their collar. Then “the wit and humor of punsters across the Twitterverse took to the story”:

  • “God arrest ye merry gentlemen,” said one tweet.
  • “Not even the baby Jesus could save him,” said another.
  • “Looks like that driver had a creche course in drunk-driving penalties,” said still another.

Dumb Crime Case No. 2: Man Arrested After He Posts a Video of Himself … Drinking and Driving
A man in his 20s was arrested in Jackson Township, Ohio, last week after he recorded himself drinking and driving — then posted the offending video of himself (whiskey bottle and all) on his Facebook page for all to see.

After pulling the suspect over for erratic driving, police charged Dustin L. Rittgers, 28, with operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. He was also charged with having an open container in a motor vehicle, for following too closely, and for a marked lane violation.

The man had two prior charges for driving under the influence, in 2007 and 2011.

After the man posted the video of himself, a Facebook friend of his wrote, “Dude, Really!!!!!” Rittgers then responded on his page: “I am a good driver, don’t worry. I’ve got one finger on the steering wheel Facebooking while it’s raining… i am good. I am a pro.”

“This situation shows the power of social media. Social media led us straight to this suspect to stop him before he was able to hurt himself or others,” said Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott. “Social media is another crime-fighting tool we use to keep Franklin County residents safe.”

Word to the wise: Understand what “social media” actually means. Word to the even wiser: Never drink and drive.

Dumb Crime Case No. 3: Sexual Predator Tells Victim to Make a Phone Call. Guess Who She Calls?  
A Georgia woman who was being attacked by a sexual predator last week was told by the criminal to call her boyfriend during the assault.

Thinking quickly in the midst of trauma, she picked up the phone and dialed 911. Her smart move helped authorities track down the attacker and make an arrest.

Robert Giles, 27, was charged in connection with the sexual assault, the police in Clayton County, Georgia, said in a news release. They said Giles apparently “wanted his victim’s boyfriend to listen as he attacked her.”

When the woman called 911, an emergency dispatcher — a male — pretended to play the role of the boyfriend. The dispatcher pretended “the woman had done as she was told, and sent police to the scene,” local news outlets reported.

“(It was) the most extreme call of my career,” Deonte Smith, the 911 operator, told WSB-TV.

Officers who responded to the call were able to “quickly place Giles under arrest,” according to the release.

Giles was caught and stopped “mid-act,” Sgt. Ashanti Marbury wrote to the Washington Post in an email.

So much for the great phone call advice from someone in the midst of committing a heinous crime.

Do you have a ‘dumb crime’ story to share? Tell us about it at [email protected] 

meet the author

Maureen Mackey served as editor-in-chief and managing editor of LifeZette for nearly five years. Before that, she held senior editorial positions at major publications, helping The Fiscal Times win a MIN Award for Best New Site as managing editor and Reader's Digest win an American Society of Magazine Editors Award for General Excellence as book editor. Her work has appeared in Real Clear Politics, CNBC, A Fine Line, AARP Magazine, Yahoo Finance, MSN, Business Insider, and The Week, among other outlets. She is a member of the Newswomen's Club of New York and the American Legion Auxiliary.

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