The criminals in the movies surprise with stupendous clever coups. Since the victims of these scoops are either nasty, sinister characters or unsympathetic overpowering authorities, the Danny Oceans are have all the sympathies on their side. That’s why popular actors such as Frank Sinatra and George Clooney, Paul Newman or Steve McQueen were scrambling to get to play these congenial crooks.
Reality seems to be quite different. The legend of the smart, stylish, almost noble and genial gentleman gangster finds no counterpart in reality. In everyday life, criminals are often the brutal and unscrupulous; and committing a crime seems to be the last resort for people who are not able to manage their life by legal means.
The dumbest of them are making headlines worldwide. Especially wannabe-gangsters from the United States and Great Britain, where surveillance cameras are particularly prevalent, contribute to the video platforms all over the Internet almost incredible testimonies of their criminal incompetence.
Latest example is Michael C. who made the headlines worldwide in April 2012 when he successfully broke into a house in Joshua Tree, California. After the 25-year-old wrapped up his loot he celebrated his fortune with a bottle of champagne. Since he didn’t want to drink champagne on an empty stomach, he cooked a delicious meal. Afterwards he was overpowered by the wish to shower. The homeowner – coming home – heard the water running and called the police. Michael C. on the other hand didn’t hear anything. The police officers, who had surrounded the shower, caught him literally with his pants down.
Headlines also made the „dancing burglar” in Galveston, Texas: a surveillance camera had been watching him after breaking into a truck at an impromptu dance. He was identified within hours due to his highly individual „dancing moves”. His loot: a fire extinguisher.
Fazit: you don’t need to be stupid to become famous as a criminal, but it sure helps.
by Peter Moser