The Herald Bulletin

May 14, 2014

Jim Bailey: A lot of dumb crooks out there these days

The Herald Bulletin

---- — Almost every day some dumb bunny validates my belief that crooks are the stupidest people on Earth.

In one case, a murderer was nabbed after he stayed on the scene long enough to relieve himself after killing a retired nun in Schenectady, N.Y. What did him in was the fact he left the toilet seat up at the crime scene. The lady lived alone, for crying out loud.

Accordingly, police checked the commode handle for fingerprints and DNA and matched them to prints found elsewhere in the apartment. The perp, a parole defector who the nun had also hired to shovel snow off her car, was detected on surveillance video as well.

Confronted with the evidence, he pleaded guilty.

Then there was the guy in Ireland who was injured when his own car bomb blew up in his face. The bomb destroyed an SUV and blew the doors off a nearby home, but only the alleged bomber, who fled in a taxi, was injured.

Sources said the debacle was brought about by the perpetrator apparently forgetting to switch to daylight saving time, which went into effect in the United Kingdom that day. “It would appear that the bomber got his timings wrong,” said one source. “It could be a case where he didn’t put his watch forward on Sunday and the timer went off too soon.” Or it could have been more likely he didn’t realize just how powerful the explosives were.

It’s one thing to steal a laptop computer. It’s quite another to get it serviced. So when the original owner got a thank-you email from Apple over a call to customer service a year after the laptop had been taken, police tracked down the alleged thief in Portsmouth, N.H.

No suspects had been identified in the original break-in. But detectives contacted Apple with the laptop’s serial number, which was flagged.

When the owner contacted police, he learned the person who called customer service had used the serial number of the stolen computer.

The final instance takes the cake: Two Minnesota burglary suspects inadvertently notified police of their nefarious plans. Technology was the big winner here.

One of the suspects accidentally called 911 on his cell phone, which happens once in a while with some smart phones’ emergency call feature. The dispatcher got a call and hang-up, then another call in which the line stayed open.

According to a newspaper report, the dispatcher overheard a conversation about where police were. The dispatcher saw the location was a car-repair shop in Maplewood, Minn. Police were alerted, arriving in time to see two thirtysomethings wearing dark clothing leaving the building with a television and a large box.

They dropped the objects and ran, but police dogs subdued them. They face charges of third-degree burglary.

You have to wonder how stupid some people can be to jeopardize their futures in such a bungling fashion.

Jim Bailey’s column appears on Thursday. He can be reached by email at