|As heard on the John Boy & Billy Big Show: real, true stories of real dumb crooks, gleaned from newspapers, wire services, and web pages around the world.
This edition first broadcast March 5, 2001
GUTEN TAG, FRAU SCHIFFER -- WANNA RING MY BELL?
Sexy supermodel Claudia Schiffer broke up with magician David Copperfield a while back. Now, she apparently has a new admirer -- a naked midget. The 4-foot-tall Romeo showed up at the Schiffer family home in Germany on a bicycle -- naked -- and rang the bell. The Schiffers called for help, but when police arrived, they found they couldn't arrest Loverboy because of a bizarre technicality of German law. The man told police he was selling homemade postcards, which qualifies him as a performing artist who was going about his normal business, and thus not a criminal.
SORRY -- WRONG NUMBER
Authorities say a man set fire to a doughnut shop in Hamburg, New York recently, then telephoned an accomplice to give him a progress report on the crime. But the firebug misdialed the number and accidentally called the home of...Hamburg's fire chief. in the chief's words: "I said 'hello,' and he said 'Dude -- it's lit. the whole corner's going'. I couldn't believe it. It was a one-in-a-million screwup." The arsonist, who admitted his involvement in the blaze, was arrested a short time later.
TAKE YOUR BEST SHOT
A 20-year-old Manitoba, Canada man returned from a shopping spree with a brand new bulletproof vest, which he proudly showed off to his roommate. Of course, when you buy a new gizmo, you naturally want to try it out, so the man put on the vest and asked his buddy to shoot him in the chest with a 22-caliber rifle. He was uninjured. Pleased with the results, the pair decided to repeat the experiment with a 12-gauge shotgun. Even though the men carefully padded the vest with a thick telephone book, the second blast gave the thrill-seeker severe bruises and several cracked ribs. Manitoba police say no criminal charges will be filed, though they've prohibited both men from owning firearms for the next five years.
HEADLINE OF THE MONTH
The headline in the Mobile, Alabama Register newspaper says it all: "Cousins in ax fight over cornbread." Investigators say details still aren't clear, but apparently the victim and his cousin got into an argument involving cornbread, jelly, and "chittlins." (Alcohol is believed to have been a factor.) As the debate grew heated, one man went outside and returned with a bush ax from a nearby woodpile, which he used to whack his cousin in the head. He then fled, taking the bloody ax with him. The fugitive crashed his car a short distance from a local hospital, and ran to the emergency room. While he was being treated, local police found the wrecked vehicle, and when they noticed the bloody ax inside, tracked the injured man to the hospital emergency room. Doctors say both cousins will recover. The case was closed when the two men refused to press charges against each other. Said one investigator, "They'll probably be laughing about it next week."
TIRE STORE HEIST HAS A BLOWOUT
Three men in Davenport, Washington hatched a plan to rob a local tire store. The men drove their car to the store and while one of them pulled in and asked to buy a set of tires, the other two went into the lobby. While the second thief distracted the clerk, the third man pilfered the money from the store's cash register. It was only then that the trio realized the fatal flaw in their plan: by the time they'd grabbed the loot, their getaway car was on the rack in the service bay, six feet in the air, with all four tires removed. The men fled on foot, but were later arrested.
CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR...
Assemblywoman Nancy Kaufmann co-sponsored a bill that led to a tough anti-stalking law in New York State. Last month, Kaufmann's ex-boyfriend had her arrrested for making dozens of harassing phone calls to his house and for posing as a salesperson in order to get the boyfriend's new phone number. Kaufmann was prosecuted under the same anti-stalking legislation she herself helped draw up.
NICE GOIN, "SARGE"
A group of scam artists in Pasadena, california hatched a plan to cheat a government contractor out of big bucks by posing as representatives of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The men set up a fake office, where they met with the contractor and arranged to buy a large quantitiy of gold forwhat they said were several projects involving the US Space Shuttle program. The men planned take delivery of the gold and send the bill to the government. But these guys were definitely not rocket scientists -- their deception was discovered when the target company noticed that when "Sergeant Michael Jeffries" filled out the requisition form for the gold, he had misspelled the word "sergeant."
NOT EXACTLY "THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR"
A man walked into an art gallery in New Bedford, Massachusetts where several struggling artists had their work on display. After making some small talk with a bystander, the man grabbed a large plastic jug that contained about $100 in donations and fled. Unfortunately for the thief, the person he had chatted with was one of the people whose work was on display. The victim, being an artist, had no trouble making an extremely accurate sketch of the suspect for police, who made an arrest a short time later.
EXCUSE OF THE MONTH
A highway patrolman in Germantown, Wisconsin pulled a man over for doing 85 in a 65 miles-per-hour zone. Like many people in this situation, the motorist tried to offer an explanation for his haste. His excuse? He was in a hurry to get to Milwaukee to pay a traffic ticket. Now he has two.
A San Antonio, Texas man convicted of robbery became upset after being sentenced to seven years in prison. The man begged the judge to reconsider, explaining that seven was an unluckly number for him. The sympathetic judge took pity on the superstitious defendant and changed his sentence -- to eight years.