Think of today’s column as a tribute to foolishness. Tales of criminals who forgot to engage the brain before executing their brilliant plans.

Tale #1:

Several years ago, this writer was on a Federal Jury. It was worth losing a week of vacation time for the pure entertainment value of the case.

The defendant traveled the path of drugs and alcohol. In fact, his life was a cycle of getting in trouble with the law; time spent in prison with a dab of rehab; release, followed by relapse. During one such cycle, his run-in with a judge enraged him to the point of extra cloudy thinking and getting drunk. Nothing out of character so far, right?

His revenge took the form of burning down the county courthouse. He poured gasoline in a just-emptied adult beverage bottle. Then he walked to the courthouse in the rain, carrying his unregistered Molotov cocktail in a paper bag. The paper bag was too wet to burn, so he rolled up his checkbook and used it as a wick for his handy dandy explosive.

The genius threw the lighted bottle at the courthouse.  Someone witnessed the event, extinguished the fire and salvaged the arsonist’s calling card.

Tale #2:

Another genius walked into a local bank and handed the teller a zippered deposit bag with a note: I have a gun. Empty all the money in your cash drawer into the bag.

The teller managed to remain calm and followed the man’s instructions. After the bank robber had strolled out the door, the bank called the police. Since the robber wore a cap, sunglasses, and gloves, the case appeared to be a dead end, that is until the police examined the robber’s note. He wrote the note on the back of his bank deposit slip.

Tale #3:

A robber discovered the hazards of poor planning when he attempted to rob a store. The first part did not work out, so he escaped over a fence. The fenced area happened to be a nudist colony. Since he was the only one with clothes on, the police made an easy collar. Do you wonder if the police gave the colonists a once over or perhaps several as they marched the robber to the squad car?

Tale #4:

An irate female called the police to report her drug dealer for selling her sugar instead of crack cocaine. She wanted her dealer arrested and forced to give her a refund. When they saw her crack pipe, the police arrested her for possession of drug paraphernalia. Was she still on something when she called or did she forget to engage the brain?

Tale #5:

In Florida, robbers broke into a house and found three jars of cocaine. Thrilled with their find, they took the jars home and snorted the contents. Later, they discovered the jars were urns filled with the ashes of a husband and two dogs. Wonder if the snorters had the urge to bark?

Tale #6:

Sometimes Facebook is not your friend and neither are you. This bank robber preceded his misdeed by getting tattoos on his neck and face. After a successful getaway, he posted selfies with stolen cash in hand on Facebook. At least he had his 15 minutes of fame.

Tale #7:

This particular burglar was re-enacting the story of The Three Bears. What other explanation can we offer? He broke into a home and during his search he raided the refrigerator and fell asleep in the guest bedroom. That is where Baby Bear, I mean the owner found him. Moral of the story: never execute a robbery on an empty stomach.

Tale #8:

Back before flat-screen televisions existed, they were heavy and bulky because of the protrusion on the back. An ambitious female tried to steal one of those televisions. Unfortunately for her, the assistant manager noticed her unusual gait and stopped her. She had a portable television under her skirt between her legs.

In each of these cases, the crooks learned that crime does not pay, especially if you are stupid.