Let’s face it, dumb criminals abound. They always have and they probably always will. Fortunately, DIY home security users are able to avoid run-ins with these losers pretty easily. This is good news since, even though they usually don’t make off with much, an encounter with a dumb criminal can be costly in terms of causing damage to your property, as well as costing you time and aggravation.
The following are real-life tales involving a few of the dumbest criminals to make recent headlines, as well as our suggestions for avoiding similar criminals in the future:
A Pizza Craving For the Record Books
A thief was recently captured in Washington State while trying to buy pizza with the rare coins he stole from an employer’s garage. Dakoda Gerren and his girlfriend were hired to work around a woman’s house before finding her rare coin collection in the garage and making off with a little spare, and very valuable, change. Authorities also discovered that the pair had used the coins to pay for a movie at a local theater, as well.
As dumb as this guy was, the entire theft could have been avoided. First, the homeowner should never have stored something so valuable in a garage where others could easily find it. Items like this should be stored in a safe or at a secure off-site location. Further, she should not have allowed workers to wander around her home unsupervised.
A Litigious Lowdown Loser
In Alabama a man walked into a police department to report damage to his vehicle. Not an unusual thing to do, right? Well, the problem is that his car was damaged as he’d used it in a burglary gone wrong.
Jerry Washington tried to rob the home of Joey Buchanan, but his plan went terribly awry when Mr. Buchanan’s dad noticed Washington’s car parked outside. Instructing his son to note the vehicle’s identification number, the older man found Washington hiding in the bushes. Realizing he was busted, Washington made a run for his car, threw it in reverse and pinned the younger Mr. Buchanan between his car and another.
Later, when trying to file a report about the damage that his car sustained, he was arrested on the spot. Now, instead of facing mere robbery charges, he is also facing an attempted murder charge. Genius, right?
Luckily, Mr. Buchanan only suffered a few fractures and will be okay, but this situation could have been avoided altogether. Mind you, we’re not blaming the victim here. Rather we are suggesting a few precautions that can be taken to make sure that no one else is victimized by a dumb criminal.
For starters, never search for or go after a thief yourself. In this case, Mr. Buchanan was struck by a car, but he could have just as easily been struck by a bullet, a knife or a blunt object to the skull. Whether dealing with a dumb criminal or a genius mastermind, it is best to let police locate a thief. We advocate do-it-yourself security, not do-it-yourself pursuits.
Also, yard signs, window decals and video surveillance cameras may have served good purpose here. Washington may have bypassed Buchanan’s home had he felt it was too secure for him to enter. Clearly, he’s a bit dim-witted and probably wouldn’t have wanted to spend time trying to disable an alarm system. Even fake yard signs may have helped to deter him. Video surveillance cameras would have sent a strong signal to this would-be thief, too. Even if he had been bold enough to attempt a burglary in the sight of a camera, surveillance video would have helped identify where he was hiding, and may have captured a description of him and the make and model of his vehicle. Certainly the latter would have been better than trying to get a close up view of this info, which led to Mr. Buchanan being in a position where Washington could run him over.
The Sleepy Slimeball
In Oregon, a burglar fell asleep on the job. Literally. After entering a home via an unlocked door, rumbling through the house while searching for items to steal (and leaving a mess for the homeowner to clean up), Cristian Villarreal-Castillo decided he’d worked hard enough and that it was time for a nap. After being discovered by the home’s owner, the police politely nudged him awake and now he’ll get all of the rest he needs on the state-sponsored vacation he just earned.
This could have been avoided, of course, if Villarreal-Castillo had learned the importance of a good night’s sleep or if the homeowner had simply locked all of the doors and windows. Police also discovered items that they believe Villarreal-Castillo had stolen elsewhere, which also could have been avoided by homeowners installing an alarm system, as well as surveillance cameras.
The best way to beat a dumb criminal is by endeavoring to become a smart homeowner. We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on our homes and all of the things that we fill them with, so why don’t we spend a few hundred dollars protecting our homes and the people who live in them?
Have any dumb criminal stories to share? We love a good laugh as much as we look forward to learn a thing or two about how to avoid these guys. Please do us all a favor and leave your best dumb criminal stories in the comments section below.