Nearly everyone has heard the “stupid criminal” anecdote about the bank robber who wrote the stick-up note on one of his checking account deposit slips.
While they may not measure up to the bank robber’s lack of criminal foresight, the following incidents or arrests compiled from local law enforcement activity logs and arrest reports during 2009 are examples of how a little thinking could help one stay out of trouble, obey the law and avoid the slammer.
Begging the question, “Why do people do what they do?” here is the Fayette Hall of Shame Top 10 Stupid Crimes of 2009:
10. A maintenance worker at an apartment complex saw two people climbing out of an apartment window, apparently having burglarized the dwelling. Each was carrying a wine cooler. Police were called and, upon investigation, found that nothing in the apartment was stolen. Officers did find several of the same type wine coolers in the refrigerator.
9. A Covington man who had transported his girlfriend to Piedmont Fayette Hospital was arrested after exhibiting erratic verbal and physical behavior in and around the area of the emergency room.
In a late night incident the man tried to access an emergency room computer containing patient information. After being told by staff to leave the area, the man went from room to room in the treatment area, upsetting patients and staff by his language as he took various medical supplies from the rooms.
The man then left the treatment room area and went to the emergency room waiting area where he began smoking and being loud and boisterous. He then went into the hospital’s lobby area, where he climbed into the fountain’s water basin and began collecting coins.
He subsequently climbed out of the fountain and entered a restroom, where he threw the coins in the trash. The man left the restroom and continued to upset people with his loud behavior until police arrived and placed him under arrest.
8. A man ran a stop sign with an officer behind him in a patrol unit, then threw a beer can out the window. The cop pulled him over, ran his license and found he was wanted in Fulton County. A search of the car revealed a cold beer under an unoccupied child seat. He was arrested on several charges.
7. Walking past the sheriff’s office immediately after being released from jail, a man took a set of windchimes hanging from a tree outside the law enforcement office. A call made to 911 led deputies to his home to ask about the windchimes. The man’s response, “Oh, I’ve got them right here.” The man surrendered the windchimes and was arrested for theft by taking.
6. Two men entering the bowling lanes and smelling like marijuana walked past the off-duty cop working at the front door. The officer went out to the car they arrived in and found one of the windows partly rolled down and the aroma of burned marijuana coming out of the window. The men were subsequently charged.
5. A man stopped for driving with an expired tag was arrested for driving without a valid license. The man requested that his medication bag be brought to jail with him. Officers inventorying the bag discovered a crack pipe and a small amount of crack cocaine inside one of the pill bottles. He was charged with possession.
4. A Fayetteville man talking on his cellphone ran a red light and struck another vehicle. The man failed a field sobriety test and was charged with DUI and a red light violation. The man was also charged with open container and carrying a concealed handgun.
3. A Jonesboro man driving at 3 a.m. with music blaring was stopped by Fayetteville police who, when running his license, found that the man was wanted as a deserter from the U.S. Army.
Also arrested at the scene after blowing positive for alcohol were two under-age males, one of whom told officers he was not sure if he had been drinking.
2. A Fayetteville man was stopped at 1:24 a.m. on Lanier Avenue for failure to maintain lane. The man could not produce his driver’s license, telling officers he thought it was still in possession of Peachtree City police after he had been arrested there for possession of marijuana.
And Number 1 is — A woman involved in a hit and run accident in Fayetteville abandoned her car a short distance away and fled through a wooded area to avoid pursuing officers.
Undeterred by her attempts to flee the scene, multiple officers began surrounding the area. Their pursuit led them to a small lake that the woman had waded into. The woman attempted to swim away from the three officers who entered the water behind her.
The three wet cops corralled her in the lake while she tried to make a cellphone call — a testament that the long arm of the law extends over water.
Perhaps 2010 will be different. But given local miscreants’ track records in 2009, it would be wise not to hold our breath.