The Eight Dumbest Car Thieves
If you think it takes smarts to steal a car, you're dead wrong. Getting away with it — that's another story.
Despite what Hollywood blockbusters such as "Gone in Sixty Seconds," "Heat" and "Catch Me If You Can" would have us believe, most criminals are not masterminds playing a well-orchestrated cat-and-mouse game with members of law enforcement, while working toward the heist of a lifetime. If movies were made about real criminals, the majority would be far more slapstick, like an episode of "America's Funniest Home Videos," but with guns.
Here are eight real car thieves who prove that those too lazy to get what they want through hard work and determination are prone to costly shortcuts and mental lapses when it comes to committing crimes.
8. Determined? Yes. Smart? No
Carjacking is the felonious taking of a motor vehicle in the possession of another, from his or her person or immediate presence. According to Federal statute, carjackers can go to jail for up to 15 years, if convicted.**
It's safe to say that Tyrone Davis' problem was not one of grit but of focus. After all, he had a very long two weeks in December 2006, what with robbing two convenience stores, breaking and entering into a private residence, assaulting the 41-year-old woman who lived there and then stealing her car. And we haven't even mentioned the part that lands him on this list.
After crashing the stolen 1992 Dodge Shadow into a curb while fleeing from police in Titusville, Fla., Davis, brandishing a knife, attempted to carjack a Saab stopped at an intersection. He got as far as gripping the door handle before the driver sped away. The driver, however, took off with Davis still hanging on to the door. And with the type of dedication that would almost be commendable if it weren't so dumb, Davis held on for several blocks and at speeds of up to 45 mph. In fact, Davis was separated from the vehicle only when a police officer tackled him.
7. Too Smart to Be Caught
The last time we checked, one important aspect of successfully committing a crime is evading law enforcement. Either things work differently in Duluth, Minn., or someone forgot to clue in an unidentified 23-year-old who took off with a boosted car, stole gas from a filling station and narrowly avoided being nabbed by police officers after crashing into a guardrail during a chase. Apparently he was so impressed with himself after his close call with the law that, after abandoning the vehicle, he repeatedly dialed 911 from his cell phone to brag about how he was too smart to be caught.
And he was right — at least for a couple of hours until the cops used such high-tech search tactics as tracking footprints in the snow to nab the thief in the shed where he was hiding.
6. Attempting Fraud . . . Using Real Identification Information
Brian Kauffield and his buddy had a plan: While Kauffield distracted the salesman at Riverchase Auto in Siloam Springs, Ark., by filling out a bogus loan application, his accomplice (an unnamed minor) would cop the keys to a 2007 Ford Mustang on the sly. Then it was just a matter of playing the waiting game until the dealership's co-owner, Brian Hutto, took his dinner break, at which point the two took off with the hot rod.
It was a solid plan that showed foresight, patience and execution, with only one minor problem: The loan application Kauffield filled out wasn't bogus. The genius had used his actual name and Social Security number, along with other real-life information that allowed the authorities to track the two down shortly after the incident.
In terms of criminal finesse, it's pretty much akin to writing a ransom note on your personal stationery. You can't make up this stuff.
**Images do not depict the actual persons nor events discussed in this article.