Skip to main content

Clueless Criminals

Crime+Investigation brand logo

These clueless crooks flunked criminal college and even other lawbreakers think they’re laughable...

Um...We Can See You

Ridiculous robber Jamie Neil raided a petrol station with an accomplice in June 2013. The slight flaw in Jamie’s disguise was that he didn’t wear a balaclava, or a mask, or even a stocking.... No, he chose to wear a see-through plastic bag. Police easily identified him through CCTV images. Not that his accomplice, Gareth Tilley, helped matters much. Gareth tried to threaten the garage assistant with a ‘gun’. But his gun was actually a mobile phone and it revealed itself as such when the keypad lit up. Each received two years.

Special mention ...

in this section must go to Americans Joey Miller and Matthew McNelly.

In 2009 they ‘disguised’ their faces by drawing on them with permanent marker pens. Obviously, ditching the disguise afterwards wasn’t part of their master plan. Strangely enough, cops were able to easily identify and apprehend the rather suspect looking individuals. But, after their arrest on attempted burglary charges, their cases were dismissed for lack of probable cause. The fact that the pair had become an international laughing stock was probably punishment enough.

Hopeless Homicide

Child prodigy Nathan Leopold and his rich-kid sidekick Richard Loeb decided in 1924 to spice up their homosexual love affair with a spot of homicide. But despite both having the best education money could buy, when it came to executing their ‘perfect crime, these guys were pitiful. Rather than pick a random victim, the teenage boy knew them so there was a connection to them. Then, after crudely killing the teenager, the pair tried, but failed to remove identifying marks from the body. And they also tried, but also failed, to dispose of the body so it wouldn’t be found. And if that weren’t enough, Leopold left his specs at the crime scene. Under interrogation, the pair confessed quickly. The case inspired the Alfred Hitchcock film, ‘Rope’.

Follow the Fool’s Footprints

Ironically, while heavy snow caused problems for many people, it was significant in helping us catch this dangerous individual.

Supt Paul Sanford

In winter 2013, Margiris Jogela attacked and robbed a student in Norwich. Jogela ran off but police were able to follow Mr Jogela’s footprints in the snow. And the snow was deep enough that officers were able to match the tread of the criminal’s boots with the footprints he’d left, “Ironically, while heavy snow caused problems for many people, it was significant in helping us catch this dangerous individual.” said the city’s senior police officer, Supt Paul Sanford. But Mr Jogela isn’t alone in his stupidity. Every year, all over the world, career criminals carry on regardless of seasonal snowfall and are surprised when police follow their footprints back to them.

Signature at Crime Scene!?!...

Really In Cheshire, 2007, Peter Addison vandalised a campsite for underprivileged children. But how could the police be certain it was him? Because Mr Addison wrote his name on the wall saying, ‘Peter Addison was here!’ And when police went to arrest him, Mr Addison helped convince them they had the right man by wearing one of the T-shirts he’d stolen from the campsite. And he’s not the only one. A bank robber in Pittsburgh wrote his robbery demand on the back of his withdrawal book...which had his account number and signature.

Catch me if you Can...

Um...OK This is another kind of dumb altogether. This isn’t flawed planning or poor execution but pointless taunting that caught this criminal out. Fraudster Wanda Podgurski conned nearly $1m and then skipped bail in 2013. And that could have been where the world forgot about Wanda. But then her twitter account started to taunt the authorities with tweets of ‘Catch me if you can’ and ‘On the run possibly in Iran.’ But when the authorities caught up with the 60-yr-old silver surfer, she wasn’t in Iran...she was just across the border from San Diego in Mexico.