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10 Criminals Who Didn’t Think Things Through

by Adrian Sharp
fact checked by Rachel Jones

People say that life is hard, but it’s harder if you’re stupid. Here’re ten cases where people didn’t quite think things through all the way, and it made a mess for them. Well, for most of them. The others were already in a mess, but their lack of thought made the mess worse.

Related: 10 Criminals Emergency Services Had To Rescue

10 Lukasz Chojnowski

Known as the “Goldilocks Burglar,” Lukasz Chojnowski broke into a home while the owners were away on vacation. Unlike most burglars, Chojnowski didn’t take all of their valuables. Instead, he cleaned up their house. While it would be wonderful to go away for a trip and come home to a clean house, the fact that Chojnowski was an uninvited guest made this an unnerving discovery upon their return.

Where Chojnowski made his biggest blunder was staying too long. He apparently made himself very comfortable—or wore himself out cleaning—because the homeowners found him asleep in their bed when they returned from their trip. Criminal Tip #1: If you break into someone’s house, make sure you’re gone before they return.

9 Jasper Staringa

Sometimes, getting caught for your misdeeds is inevitable, but some people make sure it’ll happen with the choices they make. When police found the body of a young girl and began an investigation, there wasn’t much to go on.

However, there was a lighter with (what the police suspected was) the murder’s DNA on it. After some time with no further leads, police decided to ask everyone in the local area of the murder for a DNA sample. They told everyone they were conducting an investigation and even what investigation it was.

The hope was that from the 6,600 samples they collected, one would have a similar DNA match, leading them to a relative who might help police solve the case. Imagine the surprise when one of the samples came back as an exact match. Jasper Staringa voluntarily gave a DNA sample that matched the DNA on the lighter.

8 Donald “Chip” Pugh

Some people love having their picture taken, and other people hate it. Regardless of preference, most people have seen photos of themselves they don’t care for. Most people also know there is a time to speak up and a time to keep quiet about photos they don’t like. Donald “Chip” Pugh apparently missed that memo.

When police included a photo of Pugh with his arrest warrant, he texted them what he believed to be a more flattering photo of himself. Most people would say if you have a warrant out for your arrest, it’s a good time to lie low. Pugh was apparently so unhappy with his photo that he forgot reaching out to law enforcement wasn’t in his best self-interest.

7 Ciriaco Balmaceda

There’re some important documents that you should carry with you, and there’re some that you should leave at home. While there’re some constants, where you live and what you’re doing have a lot of influence on what documents you should or shouldn’t keep with you. Ciriaco Balmaceda learned the hard way that sometimes it’s better not to have your ID on you.

Balmaceda and some friends attempted to rob a house and quickly realized they had picked the wrong target. Once the homeowner confronted them with a gun in hand, they quickly escaped, and everything should have been good after that. Unfortunately, Balmaceda had taken with him a bag that contained a bunch of information about himself. In his haste to leave the failed burglary, he left his bag at the place he was trying to rob. The homeowner gave everything to the police—including Balmaceda’s school ID that he had left in the bag.

6 Ricardo Cardona

Tired people don’t make the best criminals. Learn from the tired people on this list and don’t commit any crimes while sleepy. Or better yet, just don’t commit any crimes. Ricardo Cardona missed this life lesson and forgot to do some critical thinking.

Police arrested Cardona after he broke into a store while drunk and stole some sausages. He then left the building and might have gotten away with the sausages, except that in his tired and drunken state, Cardona decided going back into the store to take a nap was a good idea. He didn’t wake up in time to leave and instead was caught while still sleeping. Learn from Cardona’s mistake: if you make it out of your crime scene, don’t return.

5 Trevor Jones

Everyone likes a little downtime, especially when stressed or things don’t seem to be going well. Social media is an awesome way to relax without putting forth much thought or effort, but it might be wise to consider what information we give the world when we use it.

Trevor Jones was in the process of robbing a house when the owner came home and took Jones’ wallet and keys out of his car before calling the police. After getting away and finding a new home to rob, Jones took time for a breather.

Unfortunately for him, he chose to do this by logging into his Facebook account on the homeowner’s computer. And he didn’t log out before leaving—nor did he take the computer with him. If you insist on entering a stranger’s house while they’re gone, it would be best not to leave behind a record of who you are when you leave.

4 Paul Benson

Groceries seem to consume a large part of an average budget, so it’s no wonder people look for ways to cut down on those costs, though stealing isn’t the preferred method. Paul Benson pled guilty to stealing from a supermarket. After selecting the items he wanted to take (without paying for), Benson was seen by the supermarket employees and decided to make a run for it.

Paul made many poor choices during this adventure, such as being caught on camera. The biggest mistake (other than committing robbery in the first place) is one Benson could have easily avoided if he had taken time to think for just a moment. His last name was printed across the back of his Manchester United sports shirt. If you want to get away with a crime, it’s best not to wear a giant nametag identifying yourself.

3 Michael Baker

Idiot Gets Arrested After Posting Photos Of Himself On Facebook Stealing Gas from a police car.

Here is another instance of oversharing on social media. While we all love celebrating our accomplishments and posting online for our friends and family to see, we should think about what we’re sharing with the world. And the fact that more of the world than we might know could see what we post.

Michael Baker decided that siphoning gas from a police car wasn’t only a good idea but one he wanted to share with the world. While siphoning the gas, his girlfriend took a picture of him posing by the car. Bragging rights are cool, but he took it one step too far when he posted the picture on Facebook. Now his friends, family, and local law enforcement could all see what type of fun he had been up to. If you’re going to do something dumb, think about who you share it with, or the whole world might know.

2 Craig Garnett

We’re all learning new life lessons regularly. Some of us have to learn things the hard way, and some are blessed to learn things a little bit easier. A few people just don’t seem to learn, though, even the hard way.

Craig Garnett served ten years in prison for multiple bank and store robberies. That doesn’t seem too out of place; robbery isn’t unheard of. Garnett’s story is more interesting because he robbed a few more banks and was arrested again while on parole.

While serving ten years in prison for his actions, he neither gave up bank robbery nor figured out how to do it better. Instead, Garnett quickly landed himself back in prison when he wrote a sloppy note that caused an attempted bank robbery to fail.

1 Christopher Gifford

Owner of escaped Raleigh zebra cobra must turn over 75 snakes, pay $13K in restitution

Sometimes, we’re in the wrong for the things we don’t do just as much as for the things we do. For example, not appearing for jury duty is punishable by law. Sure, if you don’t show up, you didn’t do anything, but that is the problem—you didn’t DO anything. Christopher Gifford falls into this category of criminal; he wouldn’t have had any problems if he had just thought about what he needed to do.

Reports of a zebra cobra spotted near Gifford’s house eventually led police to investigate Gifford. They found dozens of snakes, including quite a few that were venomous. Owning these pets wasn’t what caused issues for Gifford. Instead, it was the fact that he wasn’t following the rules that applied to owning them.

Some of these rules included having proper enclosures and reporting escaped animals. Having weird hobbies is okay, but make sure you stay on the right side of the law by thinking about all aspects of the laws that apply—not just one little section.

fact checked by Rachel Jones