06 November 2014

What Were They Thinking?

by Eve Fisher

As you all know, I do some volunteer work in the local penitentiary with the Alternatives to Violence Project (I promote that wherever I can!). Anyway, over the course of the last few years, I have learned that there are very few Moriaritys, Zecks, Penguins, or Lex Luthors in the criminal world. (There ARE lots of jokers, just not with a capital "J".) But of course, you will argue, they are the ones that got caught. True. And how did they get caught? So often, sheer stupidity.

The convicted felon on parole who posted a picture of himself on Facebook holding a gun and a beer: apparently it never occurred to him that his parole officer might keep track of social media.

University of Pittsburgh Professor Robert Ferrante is currently under arrest for poisoning his wife by giving her creatine (supposedly in hopes of stimulating egg production) that was either laced with or was really cyanide. Okay, clever, in a creepy sort of way: but he ordered the cyanide on-line, asking for overnight delivery, using his own credit card. I can hardly wait for the first Apple wallet poisoner… Hint to future poisoners - cash only.

Speaking of things you should never do - never try to sell drugs over the phone to total strangers. A Florida teenager tried this in 2007, when he got a wrong number and still offered to sell the person drugs: trouble was, he'd called the home number of a Florida cop. You can guess the rest.

I've always loved the Loomis Fargo Brinks robbers - David Scott Ghantt, Kelly Campbell and Steve Chambers - who from the get-go were out to get each other. Chambers always intended for Ghantt to take the fall, and, using Campbell as the intermediary, Chambers assumed that the FBI would never connect him to Ghantt or to the robbery. Ghantt was, indeed, the obvious suspect from the beginning. But what gave Chambers away was a massive spending spree that began with moving from his mobile home to a luxury house, and went on to include a BMW and a velvet Elvis painting. (As Jeff Foxworthy says, "You can't give red-necks money.") Campbell was also brilliant, going to the local bank and asking, "How much can I deposit before you have to report it to the feds? Don't worry, it isn't drug money." Hint: don't ever ask this at a bank. Look it up on-line. On someone else's computer.

Also, keep track of your stuff. In 2011 a man named Trevor Jones decided to rob a house in Atlanta. Let us make a list of the things he did wrong:
  1. He parked his car in the driveway.
  2. He left the front door wide open.
  3. He left his keys and wallet in his car.
So when the homeowner returned and saw all that, she took the wallet and keys and called the cops. But Trevor Jones continued to do stupid stuff. When he realized that his keys and wallet were gone, he went running into a nearby pond. (No, I have no idea why.) On the other side of the pond, he broke into another house where he used their computer (bad password, I'm assuming) to log into Facebook and post various stuff. He also left behind puddles wherever he went… And, when he left that house, he forgot to log out of Facebook…

And so, full circle, I leave you, pondering on velvet Elvis, credit cards, and Facebook.

File:Velvet Elvis Presley painting.jpg

8 comments:

Leigh Lundin said...

Dumb and Dumber and Dumber Yet and… and some people don't believe in evolution.

Eve, we should give dumb crooks more credit for the entertainment value.

janice law said...

Another unfair advantage non fiction writers have over novelists- the bad guys don't have to be plausible!

David Dean said...

Very entertaining, Eve. Social media, as you point out, is great for catching bad guys. We used it a number of times to blow-up suspects' alibis. Sometimes they even provided FB postings advertising their crimes along with useful photos for those with reading challenges. It seems if you do anything today (and I mean anything) it is essential the entire world share it.

Eve Fisher said...

And for some reason, David, the criminals are incensed when their FB posts are used to nail them! "What about my privacy!" "What privacy, dude? FB isn't in the constitution..."

Anonymous said...

The guy who left puddles everywhere really got me somehow. Man! It just defies ... anything.

Herschel Cozine said...

Leigh, if evolution truly works, why are there so many of these Neanderthals left?

R.T. Lawton said...

Leigh and Herschel, Newton's 3rd law proposed that for every action there is an equal but opposite reaction. Perhaps Darwin should have proposed that for every evolution there is an equal but opposite devolution.

Sowpath das said...

Nice Post