ALL WET: Levittown, New York
One business owner thought he was about to be robbed—until the thief’s “gun” started dripping water. He was being robbed with a water pistol! “The owner realized he was in no danger, except of getting wet,” Detective Raymond Cote says. After the businessman refused to hand over any cash, the thief ran away. But police later tracked the guy down. Looks like the thief went from being top gun to little squirt!
LITTER OF THE LAW: Pasadena, Maryland
Littering is bad for the environment—but sometimes it’s good for police. Four thieves who broke into a gas station to steal candy bars and potato chips couldn’t wait to sample the snacks. As they munched and crunched, they tossed aside their empty candy wrappers, leaving a trail of trash. An officer, working with a police dog to track the suspects’ scents, followed the litter straight to the crooks. What a sweet arrest!
VEGGIE VICTIM: Ashburton, New Zealand
One boy will probably never want to eat peas again—he was buried up to his chest in them! When three friends got bored one day, they decided to break into a shipping container. But after they busted it open, an avalanche of dried peas poured out, trapping one boy in the veggies! Rescue workers used a fork- lift to free the boy—and then handed him over to police.
LOST AND FOUND: Euless, Texas
One thief figured he had everything covered after he robbed a store. But he forgot one thing: his wallet! Detective Marco Valladares found the thief’s name and address inside.
Then the detective asked the thief to claim his wallet at the lost and found at police headquarters. Amazingly, the thief showed up! Valladares arrested him, but that wasn’t the funniest part. Says Valladares, “We don’t even have a lost and found.”
COUCH CRIMINAL: Salinas, California
If you were being chased by police, the first thing you’d do is sit down and watch TV, right? That’s exactly what one criminal decided to do! Police were in hot pursuit of a car thief when the bad guy suddenly crashed into a parked car and ran into a nearby house. When police entered the home, they found the thief watching television on the couch, where they arrested him. Must have been a really good show!
Excerpted from Weird but True: Stupid Criminals by National Geographic. Copyright © 2012 by National Geographic. Excerpted by permission of National Geographic Children's Books, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.