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Cops have to put up with a lot of difficult situations and more often than not, the criminals aren’t too bright. Tales of dim-witted criminals are commonplace, since in most instances, crime does not attract MENSA-level talent. However, there are a few criminals who can claim to be the pride of their trade — ingenious crooks who dare the stumbling and bumbling constables to try and catch them and seem to always get away. Reddit asked a few of the police officers on the forum about “criminals who impressed you.”

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One officer in the UK wrote:

Once had a guy who shoplifted on an industrial scale. He stole hundreds and sometimes thousands of pounds-worth of merchandise from a particular well-known high-street clothing store. Every day. He’d go to different branches all over the country–he spoke nicely and was smartly dressed. He just used to fill up bags with high value products and walk out. He had a warehouse-type unit somewhere (police never found it) with his own register–because he would print receipts for these items and go back to return them (at a different branch) and get cash refunds.

He was at it for years – made enough to put his kids through private school. When he got caught he was jailed for about a year (our shoplifting sentencing guidelines are absurdly low).
When he came out he got back on it. Police still couldn’t find his base. He was being investigated and was on bail. One occasion when he answered his bail at the police station, the police had a 6-man surveillance team ready to tail him and track down the warehouse he was using. He lost them within 2 minutes of leaving the station.

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A fire marshal described his pyromaniac nemesis:

He had a thing for burning old barns. Never a building that was in use, always an old abandoned one. Anyway, his modus operandi was to take a balloon filled with accelerant like gasoline or kerosene and suspend it by a string it 20ft+ off the ground. Under the balloon he’d light a candle and start the balloon swinging on a long arc. He’d have a good 20+ minutes before the arc of the swing slowed enough that the candle would ignite the balloon. The balloon ignites, the accelerant is spread evenly across all surfaces and the balloon, string and candle disappear in the fire. It was like the entire interior of the structure caught fire at the same time, with no trace as to how.

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We’re not sure if this story is a crime or just a hilarious prank that would make any high-schooler jealous:

I stole a soda can vending machine from a girls high school. Took a white coat from wood shop, a clip board I found, and borrowed a trolley cart thing. Wandered around pretending to read serial numbers and comparing them to my clipboard until I just unplugged one, and walked it out the gate. Drilled the lock and loaded it with beer. Disabled the coin mechanism so it just dropped beer when you pushed a button.

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