This article is based on the AskReddit question "Police officers of Reddit, what's the stupidest / unluckiest criminal you've faced?"
[Source can be found at the end of the article]
1. Got called to a shoplifter who had been detained by security.
I go in and talk to the security and they tell me suspect had given his name as 'dave' I walk in and see the suspect, who I recognise as 'Alfie' because I've arrested him numerous times.
I say "hi Alfie," and he replies "I'm Steve!" I pull up his jumper sleeve and ask why he has Alfie tattooed on his arm then..... Oh yeah....alright officer...
I don't actually know why he had his own name tattooed on his arm but it helped me.
2. A 911 call from some little kids playing on the phone. The father was asleep and they kept trying to wake him up when the 911 operator asked to speak to an adult. He kept yelling "No! Leave me alone!" Now we have to send someone since we can't verify there's no emergency.
Upon arrival, officers ask for ID and the mother has a warrant.
3. Kid gets arrested for shoplifting and the first thing he says to the cop is "I didn't steal that car this morning." The cops originally had zero reason to suspect this kid stole and crashed a car, until he said that. Went from misdemeanour to felony in about 2 minutes.
4. My dad was a police officer and one of my favorite stories of his is when he was chasing a guy who ditched his car and took off during a traffic stop. The guy ran about one block, jumped over a concrete barrier and... dropped.
It was a good 20 foot fall down to the freeway and the guy broke his leg. My dad ran over and looked down as the guy crawled to the middle climbed/rolled over between the concrete barriers blocking the two directions. He called down, "That's a good spot, just hang out there!" and then radioed for his partner to bring the car around.
Overall the guy was fine but my dad said he lived in the area and either panicked and forgot where he was or knew he was jumping that far and thought he would make it.
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5. Guy with a Class C Warrant (warrant for unpaid traffic ticket) was scared to go to jail. He told my beat partner he didn't have his license on him, and gave his brother's name, date of birth, and social. He received his citation, and later in the month attempted to pay them. You need ID to pay. Truth came out and now there's a Felony Warrant out for his arrest for Fradulent Use of Identifying Information.
6. We've had several over the years who have broken into a house or car and then left on foot following a snow storm. No need for a K9 to track them down.
Had a guy who had shoplifted and he knew we were looking for him in the mall. We found him hiding in a store and also found the weed he had tried to hide in the pocket of a jacket near where he was hiding. He denied the weed being his until I opened up the paper it was crumpled up in. It was his bond paperwork from the day before where he had been arrested for shoplifting. I took him back in front of the same judge who had released him so he could be arraigned on his new charges. She was not happy with him and revoked his prior bond.
Had a guy dine and dash, but left his wallet with ID on the table.
7. I'm one of 2 civilian employees at a PD. We get our regulars, and this guy is one of them. Recently, he got out of jail and decided he was going to go visit his girlfriend that same day. The only problem is, she had a no-contact order out against him. She calls the police and they come to pick him up. He also had some other illegal things on him, so he got taken straight back to jail. He'd only been out for a few hours.
But wait! There's more! So, his girlfriend has a no-contact order against him, which isn't like a restraining order where you can't go within a certain distace of them. It's literally NO CONTACTING them. Well, this smart guy decides he REALLY wants to talk to his girlfriend, so he called her from jail. 3 times. She called the police again and they went back to the jail and added more charges. Violation of a protective order x4. He was smart enough to violate a protective order while he was in jail.
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8. A friend of mine was telling me about this one weekend where he and a friend of his got pulled over by the cops. His buddy was driving and right after they get pulled over he turns to my friend and says, "Watch this."
He then gets out of the car and starts running down the street. The cops of course start chasing him and then all of sudden, dude stops, turns around and says, "Psych!" The cops of course don't find it as funny as he dies and they tackle him to the ground.
They were only about 17 or 18, so still pretty young at the time, but how stupid can you be that you would think that was a good idea.
9. This happened last week. We get a call to the projects at 0620 hours for a domestic (a known drug apartment). While we are responding, our dispatcher is advising us that the caller (complainant) owns the apartment and that the couple that are staying with her are having the domestic. As we are getting closer, the dispatcher tells us that the couple is breaking everything in the apartment. We get there, everyone is calm, but the apartment has some furniture broken.
We run everyone's licenses. The caller (complainant) has an active warrant; she gets arrested and proceeds to resist (because she is high). The boyfriend has an order of protection against him from his girlfriend who he is standing next to; he gets arrested. The girlfriend admits to breaking the furniture; she gets arrested.
10. Guy goes into a small supermarket and steals a bottle of wine. Because he looked dodgy, their security guard is watching him the whole time on CCTV but his view is blocked at the moment the bottle is concealed so he decides not to risk intervening just in case he is mistaken (shop policy).
30 mins later the same guy comes back to the same shop, visibly drunk. He heads straight back to the wine shelf and takes another bottle, clumsily concealing it in full view of the security guard (who has recognised him and is watching him like a hawk). He then runs out of the shop, pursued by the security guard.
Icing on the cake is that (for completely unrelated reasons) at that time there was a police car and several officers on foot posted 24hrs a day in the road immediately outside the shop. They (we) take a break from being cold and bored to give chase and catch him maybe 15 m up the street. Patnet
Had a stolen car flee from me once and get away. On the way back to the station to do paperwork, I see the same make/model/color car run a stop sign in front of me. I run the tag and it turns out to be a different stolen vehicle as well. Arrest guy, and he asks me how I knew it was stolen, and I told him he had bad luck because a stolen car that was exactly the same had just escaped from me.
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11. Took a vehicle burglary report one afternoon. Suspect left his wallet, including his driver's license, in the front seat if the vehicle he just burglarized.
Not a huge deal - if he thinks ahead he can claim that his wallet was stolen and that suspect must have left it behind in the victim's vehicle.
Fast forward two hours and I get a call at a local business that their video cameras were stolen. So I check the footage (because brainiac doesn't realize that it isn't stored in the camera) and I find the perfect picture of the guy's face taking the camera. It was a perfect match to the drivers license I just recovered from the vehicle burglary
12. We responded to a bank robbery in progress. Caller surprisingly gives us a good description of both the suspect and the vehicle he got in. Luckily I was only a couple blocks away. I pull on scene and wow, matching car is still right out front. I pull in draw down on the suspect, back up gets there and we get him into custody no issues. After speaking with the suspect, he was still sitting there because his car wouldn't start and he was sitting there cranking the key trying to get it to start.
13. Group of girls hands me a set of keys they took from a sloppy drunk kid who'd been unsuccessfully hitting them in a popular college bar and tried to get into his car and drive off. Said one of them flirted with him on the driver's side while her friend snuck in on the passenger's side.
Find the kid passed out behind the wheel of a car parked nearby. Passenger door's wide open but driver's door is closed and locked. Knocked on the window/strobed my flashlight at him for several minutes. Notice he's got half a dollar bill sticking out of the CD player like his final act of consciousness was hoping for a Snickers. Finally he wakes up, looks at me, thinks I'm telling him to move-along, and tries to start the car but fails because there's no keys.
Then he can't figure out how to unlock the car from inside. I figure I'll help him out and use the keys to unlock it - only to find out I'm holding Jeep keys... and he's sitting in a Chrysler... He blames the bar for letting him get so bad. Still had no idea that wasn't his car. Shows me a military (active duty Marine Corps) ID instead of his regular DL in hopes of getting out of trouble... he's 19... has no friends to call and doesn't know where he's staying. spends the rest of the trip to holding begging me not to tell his CO.
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14. Saw a guy pushing his car through an intersection. When my light turned green I naturally went to investigate. Guy had the hood put up and flagged us down and asked for a jump. Ran the plates as a SOP thing and tags are clean.
But they go to blue Toyota and this is a gold Suzuki. Run the VIN on the car and it comes as stolen.
Guy says his sister let him drive her car. We say no problem we'll sort it all out if that's the case. Eventually he asks how he can get his stuff out of the trunk. We say he can get it back after we sort it out since it's his sisters car right? Then he tells us nah the car belonged to some dudes.
15. I responded to a break in at an apartment complex last year. I had been making a list with the victim of everything that was taken when a neighbor approached me and said "I saw the guy walk out of here with a TV and get in a car." She also had written down the license plate as best as she could remember. I continued my investigation inside the apartment and then it dawned on me that something about that license plate seemed familiar. I went straight back to my patrol car and looked at a citation I had written an hour prior to this call. It was the exact match of vehicle description she had given me and she was one digit off on the license plate.
I had the guy's name and address from the ticket so I paid him a visit. When I got to the bad guy's apartment complex I immediately located the vehicle. In plain view was almost all of the items that the victim stated were taken (including a glass coin jar from "Joe's Crab shack").. bad guy was soon arrested and confessed and recently was sentenced to 10 years in prison (repeat offender).
16. Unluckiest right here. One of our warrants deputies knew this guy, let's call him Steve, was at this house. He has a warrant for violation of parole. There's like 3 of us, two blocks down from this house. We walked on foot to catch him off guard, but he's actually in the front yard and sees us. He splits it into the backyard and runs in the woods. We lost him pretty quickly because he spotted us far away. Our chopper just so happen to be in the air so they came to assist us in finding him, and we had a K9 out on patrol as well. Couldn't find him, so we went to his moms house to see if we could find a way to make contact with Steve. One of my partners promises Steve's mom if she can get him to turn himself in, he won't charge him with evading.
An hour later, Steve calls my partner and says he wants to turn himself in. Another deputy picks him up and meets us at Jail. Our SGT calls us and breaks the news that we have charge Steve with evading police. Long story short, when the chopper was up and K9 walking around the neighborhood, someone in the neighborhood knew the Sheriff personally and called to ask what was going on. Shit rolls downhill through chain of command, and now my partner has to break a promise and charge Steve with evading. Now Steve is never going to trust police again because my partner had to break a promise unwillingly.
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17. Military Police here. I was on patrol by myself working a night shift. I get a call on the radio to head to my squadron to pick up a person that would be riding along with me. As I arrive, I noticed that it was the base commander. He wanted to ride along on patrol and get. first hand look at what his enlisted cops had to deal with on a Saturday night in base housing. This sort of thing NEVER happens. You'll have better odds winning the lottery without playing than for the damn base commander to come out and do this sort of thing. So I pulled up to one of the more famous intersections in the housing area for people running the stop sign. We're sitting in the car and making small talk when he spots a car that didn't make a complete stop. He tells me to stop him and find out what their deal is. He approaches the car with me and we begin to talk to the driver.
Instantly, I smell alcohol emitting from his breath. I begin to say to myself that this guy is the unluckiest man in the military right now to get pulled over by the base commander while driving drunk. After conducting the standardized field sobriety tests on him and seeing how bad he did on them, he begins to break down emotionally. The base commander gets on the phone with this guy's squadron commander to include everyone in his chain-of-command and have them meet with him in his office in about 30 minutes. I'm putting the cuffs on this guy with another patrol as my backup when the suspect turns to us and tells us that he was set to retire the following month after 24 years of service. Now I don't know the outcome of this guys situation but I can definitely say it wasn't good.
18. Military police here. Thing about getting into trouble in the service is that for some things (like a DUI) you get into trouble both with us and the local law enforcement.
There was this real junior guy who was driving back to his barracks room drunk. Somehow he went completely off the road and crashed into a fire hydrant. Fucked up his new car and did a pretty considerable amount of property damage too.
Anyways, this guy decides that before we get there, he's going to leave. That's not so dumb. The dumb parts when he walks back to the scene an hour later, claiming he had his car stolen and this was the first he had seen it.
Not only did he still have his keys on him and I guess there was a witness that put him at the scene, but he is also very visibly drunk and injured. He was also underage, which on the civilian side might not count for much but in the military you can get in a lot of trouble just for that.
When we bring him back to the station, he refuses to tell us who gave alcohol to a minor. Which I guess means hes loyal, but when he's in that much trouble already he really should have just told us.
Anyways, so in the end the guy not only has to pay hefty ticket, gets knocked down in rank, has to pay for his car and the property damage, but I'm pretty sure he got a dishonorable discharge as well. Getting that kind of discharge takes away pretty much all your benefits and makes it ridiculously hard to find a job.