The five dumbest criminals of the year



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Screenwriters all over the world owe a debt to UK police constable Jason Mepham. He recently made a real-life arrest which makes the most far-fetched screenplay believable.


Trying to nab a bad guy, PC Mepham blasted him with pepper spray—but the wind changed direction and blew the stuff into the officer’s own eyes. Owww! As he staggered around blinded, another villain punched him, dislocating his jaw. Double owww! A second police officer fired his Taser to stun the villains. But he accidentally blasted PC Mepham, who collapsed. Triple owww. One of the bad guys stepped forwards and kicked the downed police officer in the head. But the boot miraculously re-located PC Mepham’s jaw. Hooray. The cops ended up arresting the villains. After that, nothing a crime-writer dreams up can be described as far-fetched.


There have been a spate of cases around the world recently in which destiny has been on the side of the good guys, I hear from my network of informants.


1. A toothless robber in Beijing tried to rob a bank to finance a new set of teeth. But Li Han, 43, couldn’t make himself understood. All the teller at the bank heard was: "Umm ung umm ung umm." Li had to repeat his demands five times. By then the cops had arrived.


2. A man tried to rob a bank after paying US$500 to a wizard to make him invisible. Thinking no one could see him, he strolled into a bank in Tehran, Iran, and started snatching money out of people’s hands. He was astonished when angry customers wrestled him to the ground. He told police HE was the victim. "A big trick was played on me," he said.


3. A robber successfully robbed a bank in Germany. But when he noticed mistakes in the newspaper report, he complained via email to reporters and cops. Within hours, police tracked him down and arrested him. "He was completely shocked," an officer said.


4. A US man was given a prison sentence for driving while drunk. He went home, got blind drunk and drove himself to jail. Prison officers released the Massachusetts man, 42, so he could be taken to court and charged with a new crime.


5. A Hong Kong robber waited until he was in a bank before trying to pull a stocking over his head, former top police officer JS Lam recently revealed. But (as all women know) putting on stockings is a difficult job needing two hands and many years of practice. "He failed miserably, dropping his bag and toy pistol in the process," the officer reported. 


But there was one recent "dumb criminal" who gets sympathy from me. Mark Smith, 53, tried to rob a bank in Watsonville, California. The bank manager urged him to take out a loan instead. Mr Smith was filling in a large pile of forms when officers arrived to arrest him.


Hang on. Most people, including me, have been trying to find places to park our meager savings. I went to a bank last week. Have you seen the way bankers give you zero interest on your savings, but charge a fortune for loans? The banks ARE the robbers. California cops: you arrested the wrong person.


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