In 2008, Ruben Zarate wanted to rob a muffler shop in Chicago. He was armed with a gun and demanded money. The employees told him the manager was not in yet and they could not open the safe. He left his PHONE NUMBER with them so they could call him when the manager got there.
Then there was the carjacking gone badly when the thief couldn't drive a stick shift!
Recently, we had an encounter with two of the world's dumbest criminals. That's right - two, not one. Are two heads always better than one? Apparently not.
My husband and I own a jewelry store where we not only sell custom made jewelry, but we also buy gold and silver. We are the only act in town so if someone needs to sell their old jewelry for cash, they come in to see us.
When we close the store at night, all the jewelry is placed on trays and put into the safe. In the morning we keep the doors locked until the jewelry is displayed in the showcases. About four years ago our daughter-in-law (I'll call her Sara) who had just started working for us forgot to keep the door locked while she was getting the showcases ready. When two women walked into the store, she greeted them and continued to put the jewelry into their respective cases.
The women began looking at jewelry at two different places in the store. This is a common practice if they are going to rob you. Criminals know that most people are polite; and if they can keep you talking from two sides of the room, at some point, you are going to glance away.
Although he was devastated, he assured her that we all make mistakes. No, she was not going to lose her job even though we quickly assessed the damage was in the tens of thousands of dollars.
Later that day, the same two women came back into the store. Of course Sara recognized them but didn't say anything. She was too curious as to why they were there.
"Recently our grandmother passed away," one began with a somber look on her face, "and we need to sell her jewelry to pay for the funeral expenses."
Still, Sara stayed calm not knowing what to expect.
"Let's see what you have." Sara sat down at the desk as one of them pulled a diamond bracelet out of her purse.
Sara quoted a price that she would pay for the piece and they agreed it was a fair price. She explained to them that in order to pay them for the piece, they would need to fill out a form with their personal information and show a piece of ID. Thinking they got away with it, they were happy to oblige.
Realizing they were on Easy Street, they pulled out six diamond rings (which was about a third of what they had stolen). Now GET THIS -- they still had our store tags on them. At this point, Sara grabbed the rings, told them she was keeping the merchandise and they fled.
We are in a downtown location and there are a lot of 'street people' who appreciate the kindness we extend to them and in return, they look out for us. Three of them came in later that day to inform us that rest of the rings were headed to a pawn shop in the closest big city. We called the shop.
They agreed that our merchandise was there but they could not release it to us. Only the police could do that. We contacted the police and gave them the information. By law, pawn shops must wait 30 days before selling any merchandise they buy - in case it is stolen.
We called the police every few days for an update, but they had not yet had the time to contact the pawn shop. Thirty days came and went - as did the rest of the rings - to the tune of several thousands of dollars.
One of the women served a few months of jail time and that was the end of that. No need for restitution. No apology from the police. No compensation for us. End of story.
Yes, they were dumb criminals but maybe not so dumb. The criminals sold our jewelry. Justice was not served.
Photos courtesty of bighthub.com, goshabout.wordpress