Steve Eighinger

Common sense and criminals not necessarily compatible

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Sep. 10, 2020 4:20 pm Updated: Sep. 10, 2020 11:26 pm

Common sense can be a big help for a would-be criminal.

Of course, if you're considering a life of crime that common-sense thing is obviously a problem already. But that's another story for a another day.

This edition of "Morons of the Month" highlights the gullibility — a.k.a the lack of common sense — among lawbreakers. We've gone back into our "crimes does not pay" files to provide this month's medal winners.

Before examining this month's cast of "winners," here's some additional background information supplied by the FBI on what may — or may not — go through the average criminal's mind:

76% of would-be robbers use no disguise.

86% never study the site of a potential robbery.

Think about those percentages as you peruse the following award winners:

Bronze medal

A gang of absolute clueless robbers were arrested a couple of years ago after being duped into returning twice to an e-cigarette shop in Belgium.

Six men wandered into the shop in question in broad daylight on a Saturday afternoon. They demanded cash from the store owner, identified only as "Didier," who talked with them for almost 15 minutes before convincing the would-be thieves to return later in the day when he had more cash.

Didier then called the police, who didn't believe the robbers would be so stupid as to return.

But they did. In fact, they returned twice.

The group came back to the shop at 5.30 p.m., an hour before the shop's closing time. Since the police were not around, Didier convinced the men to return an hour later after the close of business.

On their third arrival, the police promptly arrested the rather gullible gang.

Silver medal

This is a classic case that actually unfolded a few years ago. Ruben Zarate decided he wanted to rob a muffler shop in Chicago. He entered the store armed with a gun and demanded money. But there was a problem -- most of the money was in the safe, only the manager could open it and the manager wasn't there.

Zarate decided that he would try again later. To save himself some time, he left his cell phone number with mechanic Jose Sida. That way, Sida call him when the manager returned.

Seriously, he left his name and cell number.

After Zarate left, Sida called the Chicago police, who after arriving instructed Sida to call the robber. Incredibly, Zarate returned, only to find officers waiting for him.

The police and Zarate engaged in a brief shootout, and in the end, Zarate was arrested.

Gold medal

This is another memorable instance of a dumb criminal, also from a few years ago. Police in Connecticut said they had ample warning of a bank robbery because the two suspects called the bank ahead of time and told an employee to get a bag of money ready.

Police wound up arresting Albert Bailey, who was 27 at the time, and an unidentified teenage boy on robbery and threatening charges.

Police officers said Bailey and the teens showed up about 10 minutes after making the call and were met by police in the bank's parking lot. One of the police officers involved with the arrest told the Connecticut Post the suspects were "not too bright."