IT DOESN’T ALWAYS PAY TO ADVERTISE
An inmate at the San Mateo County, California, minimum-security jail decided he’d had enough of prison life and simply strolled away during work release. He got a little tired of walking after a while and stopped at a pay phone to call a friend to come pick him up. But try as he might, the convict couldn’t remember his friend’s phone number, so he called directory assistance to get it. Unfortunately, he accidentally dialed 911 instead of 411, then quickly hung up the phone when a dispatcher answered. The police sent out a cruiser to check on the 911 hang-up anyway and found the man still in the phone booth and still wearing his prison shirt, with the words PROPERTY OF SAN MATEO COUNTY HONOR CAMP written on it. “They could see it though the top of his jacket,” Sheriff’s lieutenant Larry Boss said. At least when they took the inmate back to celebrate his reunion with his prisoners, he was already dressed for the occasion.
Before the cashier knew what was happening, a man with a shotgun appeared at the counter and demanded all the cash in the register. The cashier quickly filled a paper bag with the register’s contents and handed it over to the shotgun-wielding robber. Before he made his escape, the robber saw a bottle of Scotch on the shelf behind the counter - and it looked pretty good to him. He stuck the barrel of the gun in the clerk’s face and told him to put the Scotch in the bag with the cash. The cashier said he wouldn’t do it. It wasn’t that it was a particularly aged or valuable bottle of Scotch, he told the robber; he simply didn’t think the man was old enough to drink.
The robber claimed he was, but the cashier still refused to give him the liquor. To prove he was over twenty-one, the robber produced a valid driver’s license and showed it to the conscientious clerk. The clerk looked it over, realized that the man was over twenty-one, and gave him the bottle of Scotch. The robber then dashed out of the store, ready to celebrate his newly acquired cash with a shot or two of fine single-malt Scotch. The cashier celebrated the man’s stupidity by calling the police and giving them the robber’s name and address, which he had memorized from the driver’s license. The door to the thief’s prison cell closed before he could even open his bottle of Scotch.
TOO MUCH TIME ON THEIR HANDS: ZANY, WACKY PRISONER LAWSUITS
Shortly after being made a jail trusty, inmate Ross Chadwell tried to escape the Benton County, Arkansas, Prison. He was soon captured and punished for his actions. He then filed a lawsuit against both the county and Sheriff Andy Lee, claiming civil rights violations. Chadwell accused Sheriff Lee of acting “recklessly” by making him a trusty and therefore putting him in a position that made it possible for him to attempt escape.
Randy Kraft, a convicted serial killer, filed a $60 million defamation lawsuit against Warner Books and the author of the book Angel of Darkness. Kraft, a death-row inmate convicted of the sexual torture and murder of sixteen men, claimed the book cast him in an unfair light by portraying him as a “sick, twisted” man.
ON THE CUTTING EDGE
A convicted criminal being escorted to jail in St. Petersburg, Florida, somehow managed to escape and go on the lam. During his escape, however, he suffered several deep cuts to his feet, but even with the loss of blood the criminal was able to vanish into thin air, and the authorities didn’t have a clue as to his whereabouts. They got their break from the most unexpected of places - the local hospital. The authorities at the hospital got suspicious of their most recent patient - not because of his wounds but because of his words. When asked to fill out the standard hospital forms, on the line about the cause of the injury our escapee wrote, “Escape from jail.”
PUSH ME, PULL YOU
A number of bank robberies are hampered because of holdup notes that include the robber’s name and phone number, the lack of a weapon, an ineffective disguise, and the like, and usually these robbers don’t make it out the door. But in the case of one aspiring bank robber, he didn’t even make it in the door. Employees of the Durham, North Carolina, Federal Savings Bank became frightened when they saw a man in a sweatshirt with the hood pulled tightly over his face pounding loudly on the front door. Why couldn’t he get in - was the door locked? Nope. The man was trying to push the door open, not having noticed the PULL sign above the handle.
The unidentified man was linked to another attempted robbery in Durham. Yep, you guessed it - same MO. The crook failed at that robbery attempt, too, when he again attempted to push open a pull door. The push robber probably attributed his failure to a loose hinge on the door. (Insert your own loose-hinge joke here.)
THE FIRST SIGN OF STUPIDITY
A young entrepreneur in Baltimore, Maryland, looking to generate more sales, put up a sign announcing his wares on the side of a newspaper box. Two plainclothes police officers saw the unlawful advertisement and approached the man, asking if he had posted the sign. “Sure,” he said. “It’s the only way I can get people to stop.” The sign in question offered the sale of ten-dollar bags of marijuana.