Police Officers Impressed By Clever Criminals

List Rules
Vote up the criminals whose misdeeds were just clever enough to work.

Have you ever dreamed of pulling off an Ocean’s Eleven style crime? Maybe you thought about how you could rob a bank or a business without getting caught. The criminals described by Reddit users planned their crimes so carefully and with such detail, they impressed even the police and others who were tasked with investigating their crimes.

The law is no stranger to creepy police stories, but it's way less common to hear about times when the police actually aplauded their societal adversaries. From never-do-wells creating their own ATM machine to bootleggers pretending to hire extras for a movie set to smuggle cigarettes onto shore to an arsonist setting up the perfect fire via balloon and candle, true stories of smart criminals will have you shaking your head. The world will never know how they came up with these somewhat ingenious ideas, but we can only be impressed with the results.

  • 1
    324 VOTES

    A Hungry Scammer Had Companies Send Him Food In Prison

    From Redditor /u/Officer_2893:

    One less nefarious example I can share is this alcoholic and chronic gambler inmate who is homeless on the streets, has no family to put money into his canteen jail account, but always seems to have various food items like chocolate bars (which are as good as money in jail) for trading and gambling.

    I searched his property one day to discover little coupon clippings, chocolate bar wrappers and fruit cup lids. This guy was using his two letters a week to send out complaints, reviews and coupons to food companies, and having them ship replacement/winnings/samples to the jail. They would be factory sealed and pass security screenings. All for free. I'm talking boxes of KitKat bars and whatnot. A true scammer.

    324 votes
  • 2
    556 VOTES

    Jim Found A Way To Get His Superbike

    From Redditor /u/sh*tstorm_delux:

    I knew this guy back in the early '80s, let's call him Jim. Well, he really wanted this high-powered superbike, but he knew he couldn't ever afford it. So what he did was take a drive to London and scout about for a few days until he found that particular model parked outside a house.

    He goes back that night with a slidehammer, pulls the lock, and steals the bike. He gets it home, puts it in his garage and completely strips it so that the only thing left is the frame and the bottom half of the engine - which he drags into the weeds at the bottom of his garden. Then he pours fuel over it and burns it a bit. A few weeks pass and weeds have started growing over it. It's at that point he calls the cops and reports that someone had dumped a bike frame in his garden. The cops show up and he explains that he just got back from being away and found it.

    The cops take the frame and note down his name and address. A few days later, the cops call him and say that the bike had been stolen from London a month or so ago (from the serial number on the bottom half of the engine and frame) and that the insurance company had classed the bike as a write off, and told the cops to dispose of it.

    NOW... Because the frame was found in his garden and the insurance company didn't want it, the cops were duty bound to ask him if he wanted to keep it, or if they should throw it. So he tells them that he'd always wanted to build a bike.

    He gets the frame back from them, repaints it, then puts it all back together and re-registers it as a 'q' reg (stolen and recovered).

    556 votes
  • 3
    424 VOTES

    A Crook Made A Mailbox Into A Deposit Box

    From Redditor /u/pinewind108:

    My favorite was the guy who stole a post office mailbox off the street, repainted it, and then put it next to the night deposit box at a bank and hung an out-of-order sign on the deposit box. All the businesses came along and dropped off their deposits in the mailbox.

    424 votes
  • 4
    411 VOTES

    This Cigarette Smuggler Posed As A Director

    From Redditor /u/Blisterrednano:

    In the '70s, there was a notorious gangster in Copenhagen who ruled the roost. It was harmless stuff, really. Cigarettes from the Eastern block. Booze. That kinda thing. He would mostly have it brought into the country via small boats.

    On one occasion he had a big load of cigarettes set to arrive in the morning on a beach. Beaches are generally empty as we have incredibly crappy weather. But lo and behold, on the morning of the arrival the skies were blue and everyone and their mother was on that beach.

    So, [the criminal] went to a production company and rented equipment for a small film shoot. Cameras, director's chair, megaphone, etc. He then went around the beach and cast good looking young males to be extras in a movie about a cigarette smuggler. When the boat came in, he lined them up in a long line from the truck to the boat, called "ACTION" and had them unload the cigarettes into the truck. "CUT," thank you very much, and drove away.

    411 votes
  • 5
    300 VOTES

    A Big-Time Shoplifter Stole Thousands Of Dollars Of Merchandise By Dressing Well

    From Redditor /u/TheMotorcycleBoy:

    Once had a guy who shoplifted on an industrial scale. He stole hundreds and sometimes thousands of pounds-worth of merchandise from a particular well-known high-street clothing store. Every day.

    He'd go to different branches all over the country (UK obviously) - he spoke nicely and was smartly dressed. He just used to fill up bags with high value products and walk out.

    He had a warehouse-type unit somewhere (police never found it) with his own till - because he would generate till receipts for these items and go back to return them (at a different branch) and get cash refunds. He was at it for years - made enough to put his kids through private school. When he got caught he was jailed for about a year (our shoplifting sentencing guidelines are absurdly low).

    When he came out he got back on it. Police still couldn't find his base. He was being investigated and was on bail. One occasion when he answered his bail at the police station, the police had a 6-man surveillance team ready to tail him and track down the warehouse he was using. He lost them within 2 minutes of leaving the station.

    When he came for trial based on the CCTV evidence we had from the various shops the case got thrown out. (The footage wasn't good enough to make out his features exactly and the officer who purported to identify him hadn't followed procedures.) After he was thus acquitted he was due to be investigated for some other matters - but he gave the police and security the slip from the Court before he could be arrested. Even I was impressed - and I was prosecuting him!

    300 votes
  • 6
    233 VOTES

    A Thief Drilled Tiny Holes To Get Into Houses

    From Redditor /u/thepennydrops:

    I'm not a police officer... But know some guys who are. Best one I heard was a guy who would drill a tiny hole beside a window to open the latch. He would then enter at night, and go straight to the front door and open it, so he could make a quick exit if needed. If he couldn't open a door, he would leave again immediately. He stole stuff, then closed the window and locked the door behind him. Most people had no idea they had been robbed. He took wallets off bedside desks while people slept beside them. Or sometimes just took some cash and cards but left the wallet. When he got caught, he was making a plea deal, so it was in his interest to admit all crimes so he couldn't later be prosecuted again for them. He took police round dozens of houses, and each had a tiny drill hole... And every house owner thought they had lost wallets and credit cards never knowing they had been burgled.

    233 votes