Guest Expressed: “5 Stupid Criminals (glad I don’t have to defend these guys)”

I know, I know – yet another post about dumb criminals. But hey, whose fault is it that there are so many?

So here’s today’s guest, Jon Reiter, with more of them.

Enter Jon:

Considering the popularity of television shows like truTV’s World’s Dumbest Criminals, plenty of Americans have a secret obsession with learning more about idiots with criminal intentions who botch the case, leave major evidence behind, or incriminate themselves in a variety of ridiculous ways.

Here are five stupid criminals that any attorney would be embarrassed to defend in court:

1. Note to self: Sharpies do not make good disguises.

License: Creative Commons (Image Source)

Masks and bandanas seem to be the face-hiders of choice among most “successful” criminals, but the media is still laughing over two wannabe robbers from Tennessee who attempted to disguise themselves by drawing on their own faces with a black marker. Yeah, like that makes sense…

2. But it rang up $2!

License: Creative Commons (Image Source)

William Keltner from Texas created headlines as well as uncontrollable laughter when he intended to get a bargain on a television set at Wal-Mart. The retail giant’s loss-prevention team noticed that the savvy shopper removed the barcode from a $228 TV and replaced it with a barcode from a product costing just $1.17 before heading to a self-checkout lane. No wonder the register started flashing and warned him that associate assistance was necessary before the sale could be completed.

3. Hey, he’s gotta learn how to drive anyway!

When 43-year-old Tennessean Randy Lewis got so drunk and high that he decided not to drive—perhaps his only wise decision of the day—he handed the keys of his 1995 Ford Windstar van to his elementary-school-aged son. The van flipped onto its roof after the 10-year-old hit speeds of over 90 mph. Three other children were in the vehicle along with the driver and his “responsible” father. The entire crew was treated for injuries at a local hospital, but the best part of this incident would have to be the attire that Lewis was wearing in his mug shot—a wrinkled T-shirt suggesting that one should ‘Buy This Dad a Beer.’

4. Sorry, wrong number … wanna buy some drugs?

A 14-year-old Florida teen accidentally dialed a wrong number while making a call, something we’re all guilty of from time to time. Rather than apologize and hang up like any sane person would do, he asked the person who answered if he’d like to buy some drugs. Bad idea … turns out the call’s recipient was none other than a Gulfport Police detective, who was more than happy to make a purchase. When the duo arranged a time and place to meet, the teen and a companion who drove him to the site were both arrested.

5. Here’s one status update you probably shouldn’t make on Facebook.

When 26-year-old Cameroon-born Maxi Sopo falsely obtained over $200,000 in credit from banks, he maxed out the lines and headed down to Cancun. After committing bank fraud and escaping to paradise, he had the nerve to update his Facebook account with details of his new fun and frivolous life in paradise. The problem? One of his new Facebook friends was a former justice department official who quickly put two and two together and turned in the wannabe playboy.

There you have it—five of the dumbest criminals in recent history. While dirty deeds shouldn’t be laughing matters, it’s tough to keep a straight face when reading about folks like those mentioned above.

Jon Reiter is a marketing agent for, an expert Denver bankruptcy lawyer.

Guest Expressed: “3 of the Dumbest Criminals”

Making fun of dumb people is easy. That’s why today’s guest, Damien S. Wilhelmi, will do just that! Dumb criminals are his target. Enter Damien:

Crime shouldn’t be a funny subject, and rather than laugh, we should pity those unfortunate souls who have chosen to go down such paths. But there are certain cases where you can’t help but chuckle at the stupidity of some individuals.

It’s uncertain what can cause a person to do something stupid, alcohol is usually a culprit, but as the saying goes… stupid is as stupid does. So without further ado, here are a few of the more recent stupid criminals.

3. Donald Gartner, Florida

Mr. Gartner was a man, a manly man. And as most manly men do on a Sunday evening, he drank himself into a stupor and began to run amuck in his neighborhood. Banging on his neighbors door till the windowpanes broke, which caused them to of course call the police. As they arrived, Mr. Gartner was exiting a bush with his shorts on backwards and barely up around his waist. Witnesses claimed he was relieving himself in the bush. He was arrested, but kindly allowed to leave a few hours later.

But Mr. Gartner, not wanting his quell the rage storm inside of him and becoming impatient that his ride had yet to arrive to pick him up, decides to enter the first vehicle that pulls up. As a woman exited a vehicle and ran inside the jail for a moment, Gartner tried to hop in. But she soon returned, and screamed as she noticed him trying to enter the car. He immediately stopped and apologized saying he thought it was his car. Soon after, he attempted to break into another car in the parking lot, mind you this was still outside the jail. A police officer was watching him this time and arrested him for a second time that night, for two counts of attempted auto burglary. Perhaps he thought he could get away with it… as it was right under their noses. But he thought wrong, or maybe he didn’t think at all.

2. Estellamarie Ruiz, Illinois

Estella knows that opportunity doesn’t knock very often, and when that rare mistress presents herself, you need to take hold of her fast. But Estella apparently doesn’t think things through very well. Opportunity for her took form in the shape of a wallet left on the seat of a woman’s car at a gas station. As the woman entered the gas station, Estella entered her car, grabbed the wallet and made a quick get away….across the street.

The woman, upon seeing that her wallet was missing called the police. She reported to them that there was a green van next to her car that wasn’t there when she got back. As they called the card in as stolen, the credit card company notified her that transactions were taking place. One purchase was for gas, while the other was at a McDonald’s. The police officer hearing this looked up and across the street sat both a gas station, a McDonald’s, as well as a green van.

The police officer approached Estella and looked at her receipts, which she would obviously kept for good reason, and saw that she had in fact used the woman’s stolen credit cards. She then admitted to throwing the wallet into a trashcan, which was retrieved, and she was subsequently arrested and charged with felony identity theft, misuse of a credit card, and illegally conducting criminal activity. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that if you steal something, you should probably make like a banana and split…. Perhaps a little further than across the street. Also… all that for a tank of a gas and a greasy burger, she could have at least gone to get food. But fools are fools.

1. Keenan Pleasant, Pennsylvania

Mr. Pleasant, which oddly sounds like some sort of villain or henchman, is forgetful to say the least. He is even forgetful when full attention to detail should be given, like when you’re breaking into a home. Pleasant wanted some new electronics, so he decided to break into a home, and do a little five finger shopping: a TV here, radio there, essentially electronics everywhere.

After he had his fill, he left and went home to revel in the spoils of his escapade. Sadly, however, he left one critical electronic device behind… his cell phone. When the family whose house was broken into called the cops, and were giving a detailed account of what was missing, they had one item that was given rather than stolen. The police tracked the owner of the phone, and found him the next day asleep in his basement. When asked where his phone was he replied he didn’t know, the cops told them it was at the station, where he was going to be taken.

The author of this article was Damien S. Wilhelmi. If you enjoyed this piece you can follow me on twitter @FacePalmLaw. If you or a loved one has been involved in nursing home malpractice, you should contact a Denver Nursing Home Abuse Attorney immediately.