Friday, June 03, 2005

Stupid Criminal du Jour

I wish I had been writing them down all along, especially in the '80s when I was a cop reporter.

Some are unforgettable, like the guy who held up a convenience store (with a fork) while wearing his summer rec league basketball jersey -- with his name and team number plainly visible on the back. Or the guy who was holding up a jewelry store when the UPS truck arrived. He signed for the delivery -- using his real name.

My current favorite stupid criminal is on trial right now in the local courthouse. He was in court Thursday trying to suppress his confession, fire his lawyer, and get the charges thrown out. Denied, denied, and denied. Then he was called on to testify and said, "I ain't going up there." It didn't matter; the cops read his confession, and it was a doozie.

The bank sits right in the center of town. Stupid Criminal walked in, plunked down a package in front of a teller, showed her what's inside, and said it's a bomb. He demanded money. She shoveled some bills into the sneaker store bag he gave her, and he took off with it, leaving the bomb on the counter.

Police shut down the entire center of town. But the local bomb squad wasn't available, so they had to call in help -- from New Jersey. For the four hours it took for the Geran shepherd to arrive from Trenton, the entire downtown was shut down.

Here's the origin of the crime, as outlined in Stupid Criminal's confession:

Stupid Criminal and his buddy, George, had talked about robbing a bank for a long time. They seem like the types who do a lot of dreaming. But finally George decides it's time to bite the bullet.

“I told him I wasn’t going in no bank with no gun,” Stupid Criminal says. “He was like, ‘I got something else.’ ”

"Something else" turned out to be a bomb. Or, a "bomb." In fact, it's a showerhead wrapped to a couple of batteries with a cell phone cord.

Leaving a "bomb" behind after the robbery might have been a clever way to delay pursuit. Our man wasn't clever.

“The bomb was the last thing on my mind when I saw the money,” he told police. “I don’t think (George) wanted it back anyway.”

Probably not, because it was Stupid Criminal's showerhead in the first place.

Stupid Criminal and George fled to Philadelphia, and shacked up with Stupid Criminal's ex-girlfriend. But when Stupid Criminal and his ex went out on a date a day or two later, George vamoosed with the money.

With nowhere else to go, Stupid Criminal drove back to the scene of the crime, to pick up a paycheck from his job. Police found him sleeping in his car, waiting for his workplace to open.

His roommate had already named him as the criminal; and identified the missing showerhead.

Stupid criminal now is standing trial on charges of robbery, conspiracy and "having facsimile weapons of mass destruction."