You know, it’s not that the crooks are always dumb crooks. Sometimes it just turns out that their victims are smarter or tougher than they are. Regardless, I didn’t realize that I was a collector of “crook failures” until our editor encouraged me to drag some stories up from the past. Here are three more tales that I got a kick out of—I hope that you enjoy them, too.
The Bear Clerk
The night clerk at this particular convenience store was a woman. Now, I’m not trying to body-shame her, so let’s just say that she was a rather robust individual. She was also lacking a shy and receding personality. In more ways than one, she covered the ground that she stood on. And she did not take kindly to a holdup attempt.
The particular armed robber in question had considered all of this and was convinced that he could prevail. His plan was working pretty well…right up until the time that his pistol failed to fire. The clerk had reached across the counter and grabbed him by his shirt front and the head of his hair, jerking him across to her side of the counter. That was the point when his gun went “SNAP” instead of “BANG” and his plan sort of collapsed.
Throwing him to the floor, our clerk/hero then produced a child’s aluminum baseball bat and proceeded to thump him soundly. He turned this way and that, even curled up into a fetal position. And all the time that bat was thumping away like the bass drum in a high school marching band. It is indeed rare to find a crook so happy to see the police arrive.
Messin’ With Texas
Thinking about this lady clerk reminded me of the West Texas ranch woman who was getting breakfast ready about 4 o’clock in the morning. Her husband was way down at the barn, feeding the horses. All was going well until a prowler came in through the screened-in back porch and tried to force the kitchen door open.
As the home invader forced his way into the kitchen, our ranch woman took the basket of coffee grounds out of her old stove-top percolator and threw the pot of hot coffee in his face. For some reason, this concerned the crook enough that he decided to get down on the floor and roll around, emitting some pretty impressive screams.
Not to be deterred, our ranch woman stepped across the crook and reached out on the back porch to get her husband’s electric cattle prod. Now a cattle prod is a device that has a rather large battery on one end, with a long rod that ends in two metal points. It provides an electric shock that will encourage large bovine to do what they’re supposed to. You might say that it’s a taser on steroids.
Every time the crook tried to get up, the woman would stick him with the cattle prod and apply the electricity. The impressive screams intensified to the point that her husband heard them, way down in the barn, and came running to the house. He later told me that the whole affair was so entertaining that he regretted running to the house and wished that he had strolled instead. (I might add that the crook later said that there was nothing entertaining about any of these events.)
The final tale was shared with me by some officers on the West Coast. It seems that this particular crook had decided that carjacking would be his professional calling. Spotting a likely vehicle slowing down at a city intersection, our crook ran out and jumped into the passenger seat of the car and announced his intentions. Whereupon, the driver promptly shot him.
Now the crook was admittedly new to carjacking, but it seemed to him that this was not what was supposed to happen. Thinking that he’d maybe just picked the wrong car, he decided to get out. Jumping out, he was quickly hit by a car in the adjacent lane and knocked flying. I am told that he was not difficult to apprehend.