The world’s dumbest criminals: ten criminals who truly put the mind in “mastermind”


Pooja Singamsetty

What is a perfect crime? The criminals on this list definitely wouldn’t know, as simple slip ups, mistaken logic, and downright stupidity landed these amateur outlaws behind bars. These are the top ten dumbest criminals and what they did.

When hearing about some of humanity’s greatest criminal masterminds, the question must be begged: what would be the complete opposite of that? 

Here is a list of the top 10 dumbest criminals:

1. Cucumber Gun

Gary Rough attempted to rob a Glasgow bookmakers in Shettleston, Scotland with nothing but a cucumber in a black sock. He wielded his “weapon” in hopes of intimidating the cashier who refused to turn over the money in the register to him.  

He was quickly apprehended by an off duty cop who he tried pleading with, stating that it was a “joke.” 

Rough was incarcerated in High Court in Glasgow in 2014 for assault with the intent to rob. 

2. Blow Torch Madness 

Two robbers were attempting to crack open an ATM using a blowtorch. After successfully melting down the frame, the criminals were only inches away from the payout of a lifetime. 

However, these sloppy robbers accidentally lit the money on fire. With no water or fire extinguishers nearby, the thieves decided to PEE on the money in a last ditch attempt to put out the fire. When that failed, they fled the scene leaving behind $35,000 worth of pee soaked ash.

3. Anger Management 

Justin John Boudin was engaging in an argument with a woman whom he punched in the face at a bus station in St. Paul, Minnesota.  

He then redirected his anger towards a bystander who he also attacked. In the altercation Boudin dropped a folder that he left behind before fleeing the scene. 

When authorities arrived at the scene it was not hard to identify the perpetrator as the contents of this folder was, ironically, his anger management homework. 

4. The dog did it 

While many people blame their dog for their missing homework, criminal Reliford Cooper III blamed his high speed pursuit on his dog, stating that his dog was the one driving. 

Not only was Cooper’s story hard to believe, there was also no dog to be found in his car. Why he thought that was going to work is largely a mystery. 

5. Cold Hard Evidence 

At the scene of many crimes, it is common for the criminal to accidentally leave behind evidence that provides clues as to who they may be. These items are usually fingerprints, hair, gloves, or something otherwise insignificant. 

However, this was not the case for Zachary Tentoni who was stealing $40 from a woman in Boston. As he was making his escape he left behind bags containing a letter from his mother AND his birth certificate.  

No piece of evidence could be as convicting as that. 

6. Invisibility Spell

McArthur Wheeler robbed two Pittsburgh banks in 1995 in the strangest way possible. He committed his crimes in broad daylight, without a mask, and even smiled at the surveillance cameras before fleeing the scene. 

Naturally, it took less than a day for Wheeler to be apprehended; however, it was much to his surprise that he got caught because he had rubbed lemon juice on his skin prior to committing his crimes. He somehow believed that this remedy would turn him invisible to video cameras. Clearly he learned his lesson the hard way. 

7. Paint Trail 

Albert Jackson Dowdy broke into a home by attempting to use a paint can to shatter a glass door. The can bounced off the door and fell open on the floor. Dowdy eventually found an alternative entrance, which he used to get inside and steal nothing but some canned tuna and a box of oatmeal. 

On his way out, he had unknowingly stepped in the paint puddle, leaving a trail of paint from the crime scene all the way back to a nearby motel where authorities found him enjoying his lunch: tuna and oatmeal. 

8. Carrying the Evidence 

Shoplifter Jacob Wise from Tulsa, Oklahoma thought he was bright by removing the ink security tags off the clothing items he was stealing.  

When he went to exit the store the alarms rang anyway because Wise had ironically put the tags into his pocket, not knowing that the signal would still relay. 

9. Student Driver 

One of the most important things to remember when stealing a car is definitely how to drive it. Unfortunately for Mganga Mganga, a teenager who tried stealing a car from a woman in Omaha, Nebraska, he didn’t know how to drive a manual. 

He had spent a good seven minutes desperately trying to start the car. When the police caught up with him, he was still sitting in a stationary vehicle. 

10. Wheelchair Race

Escaping a crime scene is a task that requires speed and agility, so naturally many criminals gravitate towards fast cars or bikes to get away. This was not the case for Texan partners in crime Noemi Duchene and Luis Del Castillo who were attempting to rob a jewelry store at knife-point with a wheelchair as their getaway vehicle. What’s even better was Duchene’s supposed “disguise”, a black trash bag pulled over her head and torso. 

Duchene was tackled by a customer before she and her accomplice departed the scene, inching at an infuriating speed in a measly wheelchair.