Like every year, 2017 had its share of audacious, daring, and well-thought-out criminal schemes which left our readers shaking their heads.
And then there are these criminals, who left our readers shaking our heads too…just, not for the same reasons.
Whether it was the two men who picked the worst possible bar to rob, the bank robber who gave himself away by doing a TV interview, or the Mississippi inmates who broke back into jail — 2017 saw some befuddling breaches of the law, bafflingly bereft of brilliance or basic brainpower.
These are the Dumbest Criminals of 2017, caught on camera.
To start, we take a look a man whose criminal plan, while lacking somewhat in imagination, certainly wasn’t lacking in determination.
Police in Lakeland, Fla. say a man attempted to shoplift 15 quart-sized bottles of motor oil and 30 DVDs from a 7-Eleven this past June — by stuffing the items down his pants.
Polk County Det. Phil Ryan was parked outside the store, looked through the store window, and saw William Jason Hall, 38, stuff bottles of motor oil down his pants.
“Then he waddles like a duck out of the store,” Sheriff Grady Judd with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office told NBC News 8.
“Our detective who is sitting in the car, watching all of this, says to himself, ‘Self, I think I’ll arrest him.’”
Hall was charged with felony theft.
Talk about the wrong thing at the wrong place at the wrong time.
According to police, Joseph McInnis III and Tyree McCoy attempted to stage an armed robbery at a pub in Woodlawn, Md. this past September.
There was just one problem: the bar was hosting a retirement party for a police officer and so was filled to the brim with off-duty cops.
“I’m sure that they weren’t planning on there being a large room filled with police officers,” Baltimore County police Officer Jennifer Peach told WBAL-TV.
The two men fled the bar on foot, but didn’t make it far before they were apprehended by police. Nobody was injured in the botched robbery — except, perhaps, the pride of whichever of the two decided to rob that particular establishment on that particular night.
Eric Rivers was arrested connection with a spree of bank robberies in Lawrenceville, Ga. this past November after police were able to determine his identity.
That’s because he made the mystifying decision to appear in an on-camera interview with a local news station, for an unrelated story about public transit — right after he robbed a bank.
Lawrenceville police say Rivers was suspected of having just robbed a Chase Bank and was believed to be in the midst of casing several other banks when he agreed to be interviewed.
“You see, when you accept an interview and provide them with your real name it actually makes our job too easy,” a statement from the Lawrenceville Police Department read.
Rivers is accused of robbing a total of five banks in the Lawrenceville area before his crime spree was “halted” thanks to the local news team.
Most of the time, when plotting your escape from a correctional facility the plan doesn’t include breaking back INTO the jail.
But that’s exactly what police in Holmes County, Miss. say occurred this past September.
According to police, four inmates of the Holmes-Humphreys County Correctional Facility succeeded in escaping the jail and robbing a nearby convenience store, before attempting to break back into the prison.
Incredibly, the inmates succeeded in returning to the facility undetected, stolen goods in tow. It wasn’t until police reviewed the surveillance camera footage from the store that they realized what happened.
The four inmates have all been charged with commercial burglary. Meanwhile, the Holmes-Humphreys County Correctional Facility has promised to review their security measures.
A Maryland man was arrested in October after police say he attempted to board a school bus, then clung to the front of the moving vehicle after the driver refused to let him in.
Baltimore County Police said on Saturday, the man tried to stop the bus on Oct. 5 after a bottle was allegedly thrown out of it, striking his vehicle. When the bus driver refused to let him in, police say he jumped on.
“The school bus driver, concerned for his safety and concerned for the safety of the students on board, did not want to open the door, so the man then went around to the front of the bus and stood in front of the bus as it began to move forward,” Sgt. Andrea Bylen of the Baltimore County Police told WBAL.
Video posted to social media shows the man hanging onto the front of the vehicle, yelling at the driver to “open the door,” before slamming his fist on the hood of the moving vehicle.
A police statement says the driver continued to move slowly in the direction of a police precinct for assistance while the man clung to the bus.
A disgruntled Florida senior found a rather forceful – not to mention dangerous – way of expressing his frustration with an AT&T employee’s parking job.
Video captured by an AT&T employee shows a 64-year-old man in Hialeah, Fla., using a pistol to shoot out the tires of a parked truck this past July, while the employees look on incredulously.
Moving slowly and armed with a large revolver, the man shot out each of the tires on one parked truck before reloading, then opening fire on a second parked truck.
“Apparently, the homeowner was upset the trucks were parked in front of his driveway,” Hialeah Police Sgt. Carl Zogby told the Miami Herald.
The senior was charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a firearm, as well as one count of felony vandalism.
In July, police in Polk County, Fla. arrested three suspects in a series of robberies that were as violent as they were unusual.
According to police, the three teens walked into a Home Depot in Winter Haven, Fla. and attempted to steal gift cards via the store’s self-checkout when they were confronted by a clerk.
That they also happened to be dressed in full drag – including wigs, dresses, and open-toed shoes – appears to be incidental to their plan, although there’s no way to be certain.
The men are alleged to be responsible for a series of robberies at other Home Depot locations in Polk County. All three men have since been apprehended by police.
One Baltimore, Md. man let it be known that he’s really NOT into sharing his food.
This past January, police said 55-year-old Daniel Blackwell got into an argument with his wife after she allegedly took a bite out of his grilled cheese sandwich.
The woman fled the house with three teens in tow and called police, prompting a three-hour armed standoff between the sandwich-eating man and police.
Luckily, nobody else was hurt in the argument and ensuing standoff. Blackwell was charged with attempted first- and second-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and various firearms violations.
No word on whether he managed to finish his grilled cheese sandwich.
We know this is supposed to be a roundup of dumb criminals — but the actions of one Indiana police officer surely qualify him for some sort of honourable mention.
This past October, police in Crawfordsville, Ind. responded to a call of a man entering a local bar wearing a ski mask and holding a gun.
Bodycam video released by police shows the officer opening fire on what he quickly learns is an actor holding a prop gun. It turns out a film production was shooting a robbery scene in the area, but hadn’t informed the police.
“Drop the gun,” police officers yell at the actor, Jim Duff, as they point their weapons at him.
As Duff starts to take off his ski mask, police fire a single shot at him.
“We’re doing a movie,” Duff deadpans.
Luckily, nobody was hurt in the misunderstanding.