If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our April author interviews: Perennial author Susan Wittig Albert--4/5, Sasscer Hill, horse racing insider--4/12, English historical, cozy author, TE Kinsey--4/19, Debut author, Susan Bickford--4/26.

Saturday Guest Bloggers in April: Heather Baker Weidner (4/1), Christina Hoag (4/8), Susan Boles (4/29). WWK Saturday bloggers write on 4/15--Margaret S. Hamilton and on 4/22--Kait Carson.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th. In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on June, 13, 2017. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Linda here in June!

Cross Genre Publications anthology, Hidden Youth, will contain Warren Bull's "The Girl, The Devil, and The Coal Mine." The anthology will be released in late November 2016. The We've Been Trumped anthology released by Dark House Press on September 28th contains Warren Bull's "The Wall" short story and KM Rockwood's "A Phone Call to the White House." KM writes under the name Pat Anne Sirs for this volume.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Less-than-Brilliant Lawbreakers

by KM Rockwood

When we write about criminals, often the characters we invent are thoughtful, determined and clever.
We usually don’t consider the very large contingent of criminals who do just plain dumb things.

When I worked in a medium security prison, I met both kinds, but far more of the ones who did dumb things. Like the guy on my work crew who left, only to return in a few weeks on a parole violation. His violation? He’d used his gate money to buy drugs at the bus station. From an undercover cop. He had approximately fifteen minutes of freedom, between when the prison van dropped him off at the bus station until he was swept up in the sting operation.

Or the fellow who robbed someone on the street and jumped into the back seat of a car at a stoplight, holding a gun and intending to force the driver to assist in his escape. He chose poorly. The car was an undercover patrol car on traffic enforcement. The driver was in uniform, but he had placed his distinctive hat on the passenger seat so it wouldn’t give him away. The officer merely reached up, grabbed the gun away from him, locked the doors and called for backup.

We all know stories of people who have done brilliant things like write bank hold-up notes on the back of a notice to report for a parole meeting (who doesn’t use things like that for scrap paper?) which of course includes the name and address of the culprit.

And the potential bank robber who was told by the teller that she needed to see some identification before she could give him any money, so he hauled out his driver’s license.

How about the one who, trying to wait until there were fewer people in the bank lobby, swiped his debit card and got a little cash prior to announcing the hold up?

Then there’s the guy who was stopped on the street by police because he met the description of someone who had just snatched a purse. When he demanded to know why he was being held, he was told they were waiting for the victim to see if there could be a positive identification. When the victim arrived, he blurted out, “Yes, officer. That’s the lady I stole the purse from.”

I wonder if he’s related to another fellow who was accused of stealing a purse. He didn’t have the purse when he was picked up. The victim identified him and lamented her losses, including an expensive cell phone. The arrestee said, “There weren’t no cell phone in that purse.”

The internet is the downfall of more than one criminal, like the guy hiding in a cupboard in his basement while
the police searched his home. He felt compelled to get on Snapchat and not only tell everyone what was going on, but announce his clever hiding place.

Someone used a wanted poster as his picture on Facebook. It wasn’t long before he was tracked down and arrested.

If someone has a warrant out for his arrest for murder, it probably isn’t such a good idea to announce and hold a press conference on his plans to sue the police for using excessive force in a previous incident the way a Chicago man did.

In California, two men robbed a fast food restaurant. They left the get-away car running in the parking lot. An employee of the restaurant, who saw what was happening, got in the car and hid it by driving it around the corner. The robbers tried to flee on foot, but were caught.

More than one criminal has inadvertently butt-dialed 911, giving an emergency dispatch operator an opportunity to hear, and record, the details of heist in progress.

Do you have any “dumb criminal” stories to add?



10 comments:

E. B. Davis said...

About ten years ago, authorities mailed various known criminals who they hadn't succeeded in capturing notices that they had won the lottery. The notices asked the "winners" to appear at a certain time and place. Many did, thinking it was their lucky day, only to arrive and instantly get arrested and taken to jail. Not their most brilliant moment, but the authorities were shining that day!

Jim Jackson said...

EB -- I remember that happened in multiple cities and (this was when newspapers were common and actually had news) it had already been reported to have worked in other cities!

It's fortunate that most criminals are inept so they can be caught. With all the money to be made in electronic crimes, a smarter breed of cat is becoming involved. It will take more effort and brainpower to bring them down, but it can happen as evidenced by the demise of Silk Road.

~ Jim

Warren Bull said...

A woman came into my wife's credit union with her baby. After withdrawing money from her account she sat down for a moment, got back in line and when she reached the teller she said, "This is a holdup. Give me all your money." She had no weapon and apparently no babysitter either.

Shari Randall said...

Hilarious! (As is Warren's take on the robber who needed a babysitter.)

Gloria Alden said...

I love these stories. I know I've read a lot of stories of stupid criminals. One tried to get into a house by going down through the chimney to a fireplace, but got stuck and had to be rescued. Recently, I had someone try to scam me on the phone. He claimed to be with the Warren Township Police Department. I live in the township west of that so before he could launch into his appeal for money for his department,which they're not allowed to do, I know, I said, "No you're not. You're a scammer." He laughed and said, "No, I'm not," and I said he was. Then he said "I'm coming out there then." I said. "Go ahead and come." Of course, he never showed up.

Kait said...

No stories to add, but I love these dumb criminal tales! Thanks for sharing.

Margaret Turkevich said...

Love your stories!

KM Rockwood said...

E.B, I remember some of those stings. Sometimes they've set up fencing operations, too, with the police buying stolen goods. That has the added advantage of returning many of the stolen items to their rightful owners.

Jim, you're right--many of the more intelligent crooks have turned to computer crime.

Warren, that just shows how important good day care can be to parents!

Gloria, I've had a few people try to scam me over the phone. I usually just laugh and hang up. Sounds like you went me one better.

Shari, Kait & Margaret-- glad you enjoyed the stories.

Grace Topping said...

I just received a text saying that I was to receive $765,000. All I needed to do was send them my bank details. Maybe if the amount had been $5000, I might have thought it was more realistic. There is always someone out there hoping to get something for nothing so these offers appeal to them. So it isn't always the criminal who is dumb.

KM Rockwood said...

Grace, so glad you knew enough to disregard that "prize"!

Now, I know this Nigerian prince with some funds he needs to move out of the country...