The world has seen a lot of silly criminals, and crime isn’t funny, except when it is. Law enforcement has been known to lament the utter lack of common sense in some of those trying to make a buck or heist. Get ready to face palm as we cover a few True Crime titles that tell the stories of criminals gone wrong.
We’ll start with America’s Dumbest Criminals by Butler, Ray and Gregory. The subtitle of this one is equally telling “victims of their own crimes” and we wish all crime could be so self referential. America’s Dumbest tells some truly entertaining stories like the lady who ruined her $5,000 winning lottery ticket by altering it to match a $20.00 ticket. One convenience store robber made off with one hot dog only to choke on it in the store’s parking lot, proving once again, everything we need to know we learned in kindergarten. He must have flunked sandbox. A check forger mistakenly signed the stolen check with his own signature then proceeded to give the teller his real i.d. complete with his current address.
true crime
Like they say. truth is stranger than fiction. Our next title explains just how strange it can be with The Mammoth Book of More Bizarre Crimes by Robin Odell and Paul Donnelley. Many of these crimes are far more serious than in our first title but no less unbelievable. A few of the cases retold are rather famous. We hear of the murder of Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace, and of US Representative Gary Condit’s intern. Chandra Levy was murdered and Condit was questioned in the event but was later cleared. Some are heart breaking such as the ritualistic killing of fifteen year old Kristy Bamu. Bamu was murdered as her killer was supposedly practicing witchcraft.
Fly, Colton, Fly; The True Story of the Barefoot Bandit by Jackson Holtz recounts the exploits of Colton Harris-Moore. Touted as a ‘twenty-first-century Billy the Kid’, Colton managed to elude authorities while he embarked on a multi-country crime spree. It seems the term ‘infamous’ was coined just for him. He gained fame across the country as his crimes were followed online spurring T-shirts, web sites, and a Facebook Fan Club. The public was astounded as a mere teenager managed to stay ahead of the law for two years.
Art and jewelry are valuable items and are often the focus of those with criminal intent. The Great Pearl Heist by Molly Canlwell Crosby and Provenance by Laney Slaisbury and Aly Sujo cover some attempts to steal just that. Crime lord Joseph Grizzard set out to obtain, by illegal means, the ‘Mona Lisa of Pearls’ leaving the famous Scotland Yard reeling and determined to bring him to justice. Provenance delves into the complicated world of art forgery. This true story covers one of the world’s most accomplished cons.
It’s not just people who misbehave as many will know, dogs can commit crimes too. How to Have an Ill-Behaved Dog by the Self-Hurt Series is a brilliant guide to getting your furry mastermind to curb his anti-social tenancies. If you care to, you and your dog can learn a host of bad dog tricks in the section Learn How To. This chapter explains how you can get your dog to do all kinds of naughty things like eating off the counter, begging for food, jumping on all visitors and destroying all your most cherished possessions.
If you have been the victim of a crime, you might want our next title. Getting Even 2: More Dirty Tricks from the Master of Revenge by George Hayduke is a complete guide to vengeance. We will say that Hayduke does include an amusing disclaimer on the back cover stating “The ‘dirty tricks’ presented in this book were created for entertainment purposes only. It is NOT for children or the mentally unbalanced.” We really aren’t worried. After reading these books one thing became clear: most of these criminals didn’t bother to do their homework. Colton Harris-Moore for example, didn’t bother to even learn how to fly a plane before he took off and we doubt a good number of would be criminals are any more willing to do research prior to setting out. Good thing, because we want to read more of these books. Major criminal fails makes for good reading and luckily for you we have an entire slew of them.
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