You hear now and again on the media about criminal masterminds. And Hollywood is prone to making movies showing these master criminals pulling off some incredible heist or other, like the Ocean’s movie trilogy starring George Clooney and Brad Pitt.
What that says about the police whose capture rate for small time criminals is depressingly low is itself depressing.
Sometimes though, the criminals are so dumb that they catch themselves.
Such was the case recently in Dublin, Ireland when a blundering bomber attempted to place a bomb underneath a Volvo SUV belonging to a local businessman. I don’t know the reason for the attempted bombing and for the purposes of this post it doesn’t really matter.
What does matter is that the dunce planting the bomb under the vehicle was caught in his own explosion because….
….wait for it….
the bomb went off sooner than he expected since he had forgotten about the Daylight Saving Time change in Ireland last weekend and didn’t put his watch forward.
The injured criminal idiot was apparently seen stumbling from the scene “dripping in blood” and getting into a taxi on the junction of New Street and Clanbrassil Street in Dublin.
You can’t really make things like this up – and actually with morons like this on the lose you don’t have to.
One for the Darwin Awards if he has the decency to expire and remove himself from the gene pool.
The elections are over, much to the relief of many of us, but unfortunately the politicians are still there. I have frequently criticized these idiots for making a monumental mess of things and for squandering billions of dollars on the most insanely stupid debacles and catastrophes. And I will probably do so again.
However, it is always a good idea or policy to be able to back up what you say with some facts, so rather than run to my own defense which is usually what happens, this time I am going to let some of the politicians prove beyond any and all reasonable doubt that my opinion of them is well justified.
So here we have a selection of quotations from some fairly famous politicians in which they condemn themselves to the dustbin of stupidity.
Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States:
“Politics gives guys so much power that they tend to behave badly around women. And I hope I never get into that.”
This from a congressional candidate in Texas:
“That scoundrel deserves to be kicked to death by a jackass, and I’m just the one to do it.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California Governor talking about his views on the economy:
“The public doesn’t care about figures.”
Jacques le Blanc, French ambassador on nuclear weapons:
“I do not like this word ‘bomb.’ It is not a bomb. It is a device that is exploding.”
Aggie Pate, at a non-denominational mayor’s breakfast, Fort Worth, Texas:
“I didn’t know Onward Christian Soldiers was a Christian song.”
California Senator Barbara Boxer:
“Those who survived the San Francisco earthquake said, ‘Thank God, I’m still alive.’ But, of course, those who died, their lives will never be the same again.”
Ex-police chief and mayor of Philadelphia, Frank Rizzo:
“The streets are safe in Philadelphia. It’s only the people who make them unsafe.”
Congressman Everett Dirksen:
“A billion here, a billion there, sooner or later it adds up to real money.”
Former U.S. President, Richard Nixon:
“Solutions are not the answer.”
H. Ross Perot, major Texas businessman and former presidential candidate:
“This planet is our home. If we destroy the planet, we’ve destroyed our home, so it is fundamentally important.”
Arizona Governor Wesley Bolin:
“We’d like to avoid problems, because when we have problems, we can have troubles.”
George Wallace 1968 presidential campaign:
“I’ve read about foreign policy and studied, I now know the number of continents.”
Dwight Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States:
“The world is more like it is now then it ever has before.”
Fred Heineman, former Republican representative from North Carolina:
“When I see someone who is making anywhere from $300,000 to $750,000 a year, that’s middle class.”
Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien:
“A proof is a proof. What kind of proof? It’s a proof. A proof is proof. And when you have a good proof, it’s because it is proven.”
Imelda Marcos, former First Lady and a political figure in the Philippines:
“I get so tired listening to one million dollars here, one million dollars there, it’s so petty.”
Bob Dole, Republican presidential candidate:
“The internet is a great way to get on the net.”
Al Gore, former U.S. vice president:
“We are ready for an unforeseen event that may or may not occur.”
Former California Governor Gray Davis, during the recall campaign:
“My vision is to make the most diverse state on earth, and we have people from every planet on the earth in this state. We have the sons and daughters of every, of people from every planet, of every country on earth.”
Charles De Gaulle, former French President:
“China is a big country, inhabited by many Chinese.”
President Clinton, denying that he had sexually harassed Kathleen Willey:
There has to be a little bit of truth at least in the saying that you get the politicians you deserve. If you vote for morons then I’m afraid the odds are that you’ll get stupid laws, rules and regulations.
It’s a worldwide disease, but here is a continuation from last Wednesday of some of the lesser known laws that govern the good citizens in the United States (listed by state alphabetically, last week we covered A to L, this week it’s the M’s and N’s.).
Enjoy (or cringe, perhaps).
To stroll down the street playing a violin is against the law. (Finally a law that is half sensible.)
Mercury thermometers may not be sold in the city.
It is illegal to park in front of Dunkin Donuts. (Hmmm, so that’s why there’s always a cop car outside it.)
It’s illegal to take a lion to the movies. (So dinner and a what then?)
An establishment using a strobe light must post a warning sign for epileptics. (They might have a fit if you didn’t.)
You may not curse inside the city limits. (WTF!)
It is a park rule violation to be in a public park with a sleeveless shirt. (Mine has sleeves, they’re short, but it has sleeves.)
Any person caught committing adultery is subject to a $10 fine. (Bill Clinton would probably consider that good value for money!)
At a wake, mourners may eat no more than three sandwiches. (That’s dead mean.)
It is a crime to own an explosive golf ball.
Snoring is prohibited unless all bedroom windows are closed and securely locked.
All men must carry a rifle to church on Sunday. (That’s the only day I go to Church.)
It is illegal to go to bed without first having a full bath. (Oh, oh! I usually just take a shower.)
Selling arsenic-laced candy is subject to a $100 fine.
A woman can not be on top in sexual activities. (Yes, men are much better – awe, come on!)
Quakers and witches are banned.
Willfully destroying your old radio is prohibited.
It is illegal for a man to scowl at his wife on Sunday.
Seducing or debauching an unmarried woman can earn five years in jail. (Or a much longer sentence if you have to marry her!)
It is illegal to let your pig run free in Detroit unless it has a ring in its nose. (What swine thought that one up?)
There is a law that makes it legal for a farmer to sleep with his pigs, cows, horses, goats, and chickens.
In Flint one who wears “saggy pants” can be jailed for four months.
A woman isn’t allowed to cut her own hair without her husband’s permission. (So can she get a hairdresser or another woman to do it?)
It is illegal to stand around any building without a good reason to be there. (I thought it was just supposed to be tents? You know loitering within tent?? See what I did there???)
A person may not cross state lines with a duck atop his head. (That one is quackers.)
Citizens may not enter Wisconsin with a chicken on their head. (Are they subject to a paltry fine?)
Red cars may not drive down Lake Street, Minnieapolis.
Hamburgers may not be eaten on Sundays. (Hot dog!)
If one is a parent to two illegitimate children, that person will go to jail for at least one month.
It is illegal to teach others what polygamy is.
A man may not seduce a woman by lying, and claiming he will marry her. (Who would do a thing like that?)
It is illegal for a male to be sexually aroused in public. (Stiff penalties no doubt!)
It is a crime to let an unaltered jackass run at large. (I’ve forgotten, who are Missouri’s Congressional Representatives?)
No person may own a PVC pipe. (No Blue Man Group in Missouri then.)
It’s illegal to sit on the curb of any city street and drink beer from a bucket. (Like I said before, a good night out ruined.)
A milk man may not run while on duty.
It shall be unlawful to provide beer or other intoxicants to elephants. (And, I imagine, quite expensive.)
Minors are not allowed to purchase cap pistols, however they may buy shotguns freely. (Good law, give ‘em something that can kill people instead of just annoy them.)
One may not pretend to abuse an animal in the presence of a minor. (You mean you have to do it for real?)
It is illegal to have a sheep in the cab of your truck without a chaperone. (Baaaaaaad law.)
In Helena it is an offence to let your water sprinkler wet a passer-by. (Well really, the very idea!)
It is a felony for a wife to open her husband’s mail. (Try enforcing that one!)
It is illegal for a man and a woman to have sex in any other position other than missionary style. (Oh boy, knowing it’s illegal makes it even better!)
Seven or more Indians are considered a raiding or war party and it is legal to shoot them. (Without reservations?)
It is illegal to bring a bomb or rocket at city council proceedings.
Worrying squirrels will not be tolerated. (You hear that Frank?)
If a child burps during church, his parent may be arrested.
It is illegal for a mother to give her daughter a perm without a state license. (Straight up?)
Doughnut holes may not be sold.
It is illegal to do a reverse bungee jump. (Surely that’s stretching things a bit?)
It’s still “legal” to hang someone for shooting your dog on your property.
A man is forbidden from buying drinks for more than three people other than himself at any one period during the day. (Do I hear a stampede of cheapskates heading for Nevada?)
It is illegal to lie down on the sidewalk. (That’s okay, I usually just fall down.)
Owning a slave is against the law. (Er… isn’t it everywhere?)
On Sundays citizens may not relieve themselves while looking up. (Remember to keep your eyes shut then.)
It is illegal to pick seaweed up off of the beach.
Spite fences cannot be higher than five feet. (Try looking over that, shorty!)
A law against shooting humans has been repealed. (Hands up sucker!)
It is illegal to wear a bullet-proof vest while committing a murder. (But weapons are okay?)
In Paterson it is illegal for an ice cream vendor to be annoying.
You cannot pump your own gas. (Oh yes I can, just listen.)
It is against the law for a man to knit during the fishing season.
It is against the law to “frown” at a police officer.
You may not slurp your soup. (But it tastes nicer that way.)
Nudity is allowed, provided that male genitals are covered. (Bollocks!)
Women may walk in public topless provided they have their nipples covered. (Where’s the point?)
It’s forbidden for a female to appear unshaven in public. (Even their heads?)
Abusing a computer is a crime.
You may not carry a lunchbox down Main Street in Las Cruces.
Women may go topless in public, providing it is not being used as a business. (Provided what is not being used as a business?)
It is illegal for a woman to be on the street wearing “body hugging clothing”. (That’s the law lycra or not!)
Citizens may not greet each other by “putting one’s thumb to the nose and wiggling the fingers”. (Now that would just be as dumb as this law, wouldn’t it?)
The penalty for jumping off a building is death. (I understand the gravity of this law.)
A person may not walk around on Sundays with an ice cream cone in his/her pocket.
While riding in an elevator, one must talk to no one, and fold his hands while looking toward the door. (Farting is permitted is it?)
Slippers are not to be worn after 10:00 PM (When else would you wear them?)
It’s against the law to sing off key. (Thank goodness Mrs Miller is from Missouri.)
In Transylvania County a Dalmation is deemed to be a “potentially dangerous” breed of dog. (Well spotted!)
Elephants may not be used to plow cotton fields.
While having sex, you must stay in the missionary position and have the shades pulled. (Now that’s a new name for them!)
Women must have their bodies covered by at least 16 yards of cloth at all times.
It is illegal to lie down and fall asleep with your shoes on.
Beer and pretzels can’t be served at the same time in any bar or restaurant.
Only US Citizens can be appointed to the Dry Pea and Lentil Council. (Naturally! What would foreigners know about such things?)
It is legal to shoot an Indian on horseback, provided you are in a covered wagon. (How can you be on horseback and in a covered wagon at the same time?)
One may be jailed for wearing a hat while dancing, or even for wearing a hat to a function where dancing is taking place.
A food seller cannot be held responsible for making someone fat.
Just as a bit of a contrast to yesterday’s post, today I have ten stories, which are either about thieves who were smart enough to get away with it, or police who were too dumb to catch them.
The readers can make up their own minds.
1. Double Trouble
On Feb 25, 2009, three masked robbers boldly busted into Kaufhaus Des Westens, the second largest department store in Europe.
Via a rope ladder, the men were able to enter and ransack the main floor without tripping any sensors or alarms.
But what may have been a fatal error – leaving behind a single glove – ended up creating a bizarre situation.
DNA found on the glove matched TWO people: identical twins identified as Hassan and Abbas O.
German law however requires that each person be individually convicted and because their DNA is so similar, neither can be exclusively pinned to the evidence.
German police were forced to set them both free, and the third man has yet to be found.
. 2. The World’s Most Famous Fugitive
No, it’s not the one about Dr Richard Kimble trying to hunt down the one-armed man, although many readers may well be familiar with this story too which is about probably the world’s most famous fugitive.
On the night before Thanksgiving, November 24, 1971, a passenger by the name of Dan Cooper boarded a plane in Portland, OR bound for Seattle.
Clad in a suit and raincoat, wearing dark glasses and carrying a briefcase, he sat silently in the back of the plane. After calmly lighting a cigarette (yes smoking was permitted in airplanes in those days), he ordered a whiskey from the stewardess and then handed her a note.
It read, ‘I HAVE A BOMB IN MY BRIEFCASE. I WILL USE IT IF NECESSARY. I WANT YOU TO SIT NEXT TO ME. YOU ARE BEING HIJACKED.’
He demanded $200,000 and four parachutes delivered to him in Seattle.
When the plane landed, he released all the passengers, save for the pilot, co-pilot, and stewardess.
Once the money was delivered in the middle of the brightly-lit tarmac, Cooper demanded the pilot take off for Mexico, flying at an altitude of 10,000 feet.
Shortly after takeoff, over the mountains northwest of Portland, the six-foot-tall Cooper strapped on a parachute and jumped.
He was never heard from again.
Did he survive?
In 1980, roughly $6000 was found of the money in bundles on a beach, but no signs of a body.
The case remains open and is the only unsolved crime in US aviation history.
. 3. Cops And Robbers – Boston Style
On March 18, 1990, the day after Saint Patrick’s Day, policemen arrived at the door of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, claiming to have received a call about a disturbance.
Breaking protocol, the security officer let them in.
One of the men said he had a warrant for the guard’s arrest, and they convinced him to step away from his post.
Bad move: the “policemen” were really criminals in disguise, and they quickly handcuffed him and ordered him to call the other guard to the front, who was also subdued.
The thieves absconded with 13 paintings, including masterworks by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Degas, worth a third of a billion dollars.
To this date, no one has been arrested in conjunction with the crime, nor have the paintings ever been recovered.
4. Cops And Robbers – Japanese Style
On December 10, 1968, in Tokyo, Japan, a Nihon Shintaku Ginko Bank car, transporting 300 million Yen ($817,000 US) in its trunk, was pulled over by a policeman on a motorcycle, who warned them of a bomb planted underneath.
Since there had already been bomb threats against the bank, the four passengers exited the vehicle as the uniformed patrolman inspected below the car.
Moments later, smoke and flames could be seen under the vehicle, causing the men to run for cover.
Of course, it turned out the smoke was from a flare and the cop was a phony.
He jumped in the car and sped off with the loot.
Even though there were 120 pieces of evidence, 110,000 suspects and 170,000 police investigators, the man was never caught.
In 1975, the statute of limitations ended, and in 1988 all civil liabilities were voided, but still no one ‘fessed up.
5. Diamonds Are Forever – Unless Someone Steals Them
The largest diamond heist in history was stolen from the world’s most impenetrable vault, located in Antwerp, Belgium.
Two floors below the Diamond Centre, it was protected by a lock with 100 million possible combinations, as well as heat/motion sensors, radar, magnetic fields, and a private security force.
However, on the weekend of Feb 15, using a series of moves that would make Danny Ocean jealous, the thieves were able to silently enter the vault, bust open the safe deposit boxes, and make off with the glittering loot.
And although the purported ring leader Leonardo Notarbartolo was caught and sentenced to 10 years, he has since been released on parole.
Notarbartolo claimed in an interview in Wired Magazine that the true take was only $20 million and was part of a larger conspiracy involving insurance fraud.
Whatever — the loot was never recovered.
6. The Disappearing $million
On Friday October 7, 1977, before Columbus Day Weekend, a bank worker counted $4 million dollars in cash and stored it in a locked money cart within a heavily guarded vault, two floors below the Chicago First National Bank.
Tuesday morning, the money is counted again, and exactly $1 million dollars – in $50 and $100 dominations and weighing over 80 pounds – had vanished into thin air.
In 1981, $2300 of the money showed up in a drug raid, but otherwise both the perpetrators and the cash are still at large.
7. The Pink Panthers
The winner for boldest burglary goes to the perpetrators of the so-called Harry Winston Heist.
On December 4, 2008, four men, three of whom wore long blonde wigs and disguised themselves as women, charmed their way into the famous Harry Winston Paris jewelry store just before closing time.
Once inside, they brandished a .357 revolver and a hand grenade and began their pillaging.
Less than 15 minutes later they escaped with diamonds, rubies, and emeralds worth an estimated $108 million US.
Investigators believe it to be the work of the notorious Serbian criminal gang The Pink Panthers, responsible for $132 million in robberies around the world.
They have never been caught.
Obviously the police needed Inspector Clouseau on the case.
8. Tucker Cross Or Double Cross?
The Tucker Cross, was named after diver Teddy Tucker who, in 1955, recovered it from the 1594 wreck of the San Pedro.
It was a 22-karat gold cross embedded with sparkling green emeralds and considered priceless.
Nonetheless, Tucker sold it to the Government of Bermuda for an undisclosed sum.
In 1975, the Cross was moved to the Bermuda Museum of Art to be displayed for Queen Elizabeth II.
No one knows when or how, but during this transition, a clever thief replaced the original with a cheap plastic replica.
Presumably, this historical artifact was melted down, stripped of its jewels, and funneled into the Black Market.
9. Fancy A Brazilian?
No, nothing to do with Kim Kardashian or the netherlands. This happened in 2005, in Fortaleza, Brazil at the Banco Central, when a gang of enterprising thieves managed to carry off one of the biggest heists of all time.
This heist was the result of painstaking planning by a small gang of burglars who tunneled over 250 feet to the bank’s vault from a nearby property.
The robbers used a landscaping business as a front that allowed them to move massive amounts of dirt and rock without looking suspicious.
The tunnel was expertly constructed and had sophisticated lighting and even an air conditioning system.
After three months of digging, the thieves finally broke into the vault and made off with what was equivalent to $70 million dollars.
Since then, police have made a number of arrests in connection with the burglary and recovered roughly $9 million dollars of the haul, but the majority of the suspects are still at large.
10. The Thieves Of Baghdad
On July 11th, 2007 in Baghdad a private financial institution, Dar Es Salaam, was robbed by two, or possibly three guards.
They got away with a third of a billion in cash, all US bills.
Perhaps the bank itself did not want people to start wondering where, how, and why it had so much cash at hand, so they have kept mum and there has been minimal press.
But somewhere, the successful thieves are laughing all the way from this bank.