2010 (amusing) crime round-up

By Anna Sandiford 07/01/2011

Although crime is generally a negative experience for all concerned, it has to be accepted that where people (and sometimes animals) are involved, amusing things will occasionally also occur.  Including crime.  Following are some examples of interesting and unusual crime stories from 2010:

Leicester, England: Cold weather was the enemy of crime when two burglars who stole several items from a house were arrested by the police within an hour because the bicycling thieves left tracks in the frost that the police simply followed.

Poland:  Police in Poland stopped a driver and found a goat in the passenger seat. “The driver, who was three times over the drink drive limit, claimed his goat had been ‘lonely’ and he’d been to a friend’s farm to meet a female goat. ‘They had had a few vodkas to break the ice and then some more to celebrate and by the the time he left with his now not so lonely goat he was very drunk,’ said one officer. ‘He was very sorry but he was a danger to other drivers. He’s lost his licence and he may well go to prison for a while,’ he added.”

NZ (via the BBC): A burglar was caught on CCTV trying to break a shop window in Wellington. The burglar threw a rock at the window but it rebounded and hit him on the head. After each of three attempts, the rock rebounded and hit the unsuccessful burlgar yet still the window did not break. Eventually they gave up. Police are understood to have said that they hope the experience knocked some sense into the burglar.

England: A burglar had just pinched a laptop from a house in the West Midlands when the home-owner returned. Unfortunately for the burglar, the home-owner was a 20 stone wrestler who promptly wrestled the burglar to the ground. The home-owner said, ‘He looked at me and said; ‘Oh, s**t!’ and pushed me against the wall so I gave him a kick in the stomach and that slowed him down.’ ‘He was trying to get up, so I had to punch him in the head. My neighbour called the police and I held him until they came. ‘He was crying and saying “Leave me alone” but he was lucky I didn’t kill him because of the way I felt at the time.’  ‘I am not a rich man; we are in bad times, there is a recession. People in this country have to stick to together and look out for each other.’ After the burglar was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment, the home-owner said, ‘ I do not want to say anything bad about him because times are terrible for him too. He said he needed the money to buy narcotics. He must have been desperate.’

Wales: A wanted man who didn’t like the police mug-shot that was printed of him in the local paper sent in one of his own that he liked better. His stunt caught the attention of the national media and he was arrested whilst having a hair cut a week later.

USA: A burglar accidentally took a photo of himself on a mobile phone at a property he was burgling. Police believe the burglar may have been trying to make a phone call but took a photo by mistake. He didn’t manage to steal either the phone or anything else…

And finally, another from England, in all its glory: A hapless, hungry burglar was caught on camera bringing the ceiling down as he tried to escape from a pizza shop, a court heard. Confused Mark Powell, 32, got into the takeaway in Stockton, Teesside, in May, and caused £3,000 damage trying to get out again. His hopeless escapade was caught on CCTV and police swiftly recognised the prolific thief and arrested him soon after, Teesside Crown Court heard. Recorder James Goss declined to watch the CCTV evidence, but appeared to smile as he looked at still photographs of Powell’s intoxicated attempt to climb onto the counter and up through the hole in the ceiling. Stephen Constantine, defending, said: “This is one of those cases where seeing is not necessarily believing the ineptitude of what went on that particular night.” Powell, a father of two children, with two step-children and a baby on the way, broke into Angelo’s Pizza Shop in Norton Road via an upstairs flat. He managed to get in through the ceiling, and stole £50 in coins, though he found nothing to eat. But the blundering burglar could not escape so easily. Sharon Elves, prosecuting, said: “He managed to bring the whole ceiling down on him at one point.” Mr Constantine said: “There was attempt after attempt to get on the counter, stand up on top of a sign and get back through the ceiling. “The sign can be seen crashing down, followed by Mr Powell. “Your Honour can see the state of intoxication that he must have been in. “He climbs over the counter time after time, on each occasion there is a resounding bang as he hits his head on the sign. “Then the whole lot comes crashing down.” At one point Powell, growing frustrated, paced between the shop walls, seemingly hoping they would open up, Mr Constantine said. Powell, of Newton Walk, Stockton, admitted burglary at a previous hearing. The judge gave him a 16-week jail sentence, suspended for a year, and told him prison was inevitable if he reoffended. Powell said: “I’m going to sort myself out.” As he walked out he said: “Have a nice day Your Honour.” Outside court Powell was contrite, saying he could barely remember breaking in to the shop. He said: “I was arguing with my partner and she kicked me out. I took a handful of diazepam, I was out of my bloody head. Trying to get out again hurt and I caused all that damage. It all kept falling in on me. I was hungry and I think that’s what I did with the money after – I went to McDonalds.” The prolific thief, who has been in trouble since he was 15, said: “I’ve been in and out of prison like a yoyo. I want to become a Born Again Christian.”

[adapted from Week on the Web]

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