I enjoy a good crime comedy and have written a few in the Action Men series. Sometimes, dopey criminals like Harry and Marv from Home Alone can be very entertaining, and sometimes, truth is stranger than fiction. You don’t have to look too far to find real-life inspiration for stupid thieves. Here are some real cases from the U.S., UK and Australia.
Two Thieves Thought an Escape Room was a Real Bank
On November 29, 2018, in Manchester, England, two thieves broke into the Lucardo Escape Rooms. According to the director, Ian Powell, the thieves seemed to think they had broken into a real bank. They used drills to remove panels and look in every drawer for cash. The drawers had only puzzles inside.
Fifty different CCTV cameras caught the two on tape. One of them partially removed his Guy Fawkes mask on camera. They also left behind a half-drunk can of Coke from which police hoped to get DNA evidence.
Thieves Couldn’t Figure Out How to Get a Stolen Ferrari into Drive
Two stupid thieves broke into a home in Streetly, West Midlands, UK, on February 19, 2019. They entered the home by smashing through glass in the front door, then stole luxury watches, designer bags and jewelry. In one of the bags, they found a key to a £200,000 Ferrari 488, a supercar with an automatic gearbox. Security cameras caught that they managed to put the car into reverse and back out of the driveway but then couldn’t figure out how to get the vehicle into drive. They abandoned the Ferrari and left with stolen goods in the stolen Audi that took them there.
Stupid Thieves in Australia Tried to Siphon Gas but Got a Mouth Full of Sewage Instead
This happened in Laverton, West Australia in January of 2016. Thieves had tried to siphon gas from a bus’s gas tank but got the sewage tank by mistake. Police discovered the tank cap on the ground next to the bus, with no stolen gas. According to the Daily Mail, Laverton Police Sen. Sgt. Heath Soutar stated, “We can infer they beat a very hasty retreat, with a somewhat bitter taste in their mouth.”
Gross, right? After scoping out a crime opportunity (unsuccessfully,) I bet these thieves couldn’t get enough Scope mouthwash.
Atlanta Car Thieves Were Caught on Camera, and One Left His Wallet Behind
In December of 2017, security cameras captured five car thieves stealing cars from Atlanta United Motors in Buford, Georgia. The thieves came at 6:00 a.m, during daylight hours, breaking a window to enter. One of the thieves left a wallet behind, containing $30 and several IDs from different people. Hall County Police identified the thief who left his wallet behind, who actually was caught on tape a second time coming back for his license. The dealership owner used information from the wallet to track down some of the stolen cars himself and found the first car.
Car Thieves Thought it Was a Good Idea To Drag Race Stolen Cars at the El Paso Motorplex In Front of a Crowd with Camera Phones
In August of 2017, four thieves stole a total of five cars from two car dealerships in El Paso using fraudulent wire transfer paperwork. The stolen vehicles included a 2017 Acura NSX, 2012 Chevy Camaro, a 2016 Dodge Challenger Hellcat, a 2014 Nissan Armada and a 2015 Ford F-150. Not only did the thieves drag race some of the stolen cars publicly at the El Paso Motorplex, a car dealership caught them by scamming them back. They tried to steal a sixth vehicle, a GMC Acadia. The dealership offered them free detail work on the Acadia, and the thieves brought it back for this job, only to have the stolen vehicle locked up.
Stupid Thieves Paint “You Been Robed” on a Boat They Ransack
Thieves who can’t spell ransacked a yacht, belonging to a Hertfordshire resident, while it was docked at Poole Harbour, in the Wych Channel near Brownsea Island. The thieves stole £2,000 of sailing gear and damaged both the hatch and the yacht’s ceiling where they spray painted the ungrammatical and misspelled graffiti, “You been robed.”
As of the July 2017 report in The Daily Echo, the thieves had not been caught, but let’s hope spelling was not their only dumb mistake.
Stupid Thieves Carjacked a Pizza Delivery Guy and Got Nothing But a Stolen Pizza
Three thieves in St. Louis carjacked a delivery guy from Imo’s Pizza at gunpoint. They came across delivery guy, Jon Miller, on Nebraska Avenue and demanded car keys and the food he was delivering. The thieves didn’t think to demand any money of the driver who had his pockets full of money he’d earned on his deliveries. They also couldn’t drive a stick shift. When asked, Miller told them how to start it and to put it in gear. The trio didn’t get very far. According to Riverfront Times, Miller said, “It ended up six blocks away, all blown up.”
Fiction can get a lot of inspiration from the factual when it comes to these dumb criminals.