10 Of The Stupidest Criminals Of All Time

By: Kale Havervold
Handcuffed hands
Criminals come from all works of life, but some are better suited than others. Bill Oxford / Getty Images

Being a criminal is certainly not an easy life, and, as a result, some people aren’t suited for a career of misdeeds. Most people avoid it because they have a strong moral compass, while others are drawn to or forced into this lifestyle, but are simply too stupid to pull off illegal acts successfully.

The latter group are the people that this article will focus on. These individuals attempted a life of crime, but their failed attempts taught them very quickly that it was’t their calling in life. Read ahead and amuse yourselves with the stories of 10 of the stupidest criminals of all time.


10. Mganga Mganga

On a sunny day in March, Mganga, a 17-year-old boy in Omaha, Nebraska, decided to stick a gun in the face of a woman who was taking her son to school, demanding that she give him her car. She, of course, obliged and the boy was about to take off when he realized the car had a manual transmission, which he was unable to drive. He tried to fumble around with the controls, but after moving the car only a matter of yards in a few minutes, he decided to bolt on foot, but was eventually caught by authorities.


9. Derrick Mosley

Planning is hugely important when trying to pull off a crime, and it essential to the success of the act that every detail be well thought through in advance. But Derrick Mosley didn’t place very high importance on these things before he decided to rob a gun store, armed with only a baseball bat. Seeing as it was a gun shop, the manager pulled a gun on the would-be robber and kept him in the crosshairs until authorities arrived.


8. Joey Miller and Matthew McNelly

These men were behind likely the worst and least thought out disguises in the history of crime. When committing their misdeed, they didn’t use the masks, hoods or balaclavas typical of most criminals, but instead chose to draw on their faces with permanent marker. While it may have made them hard to recognize during the crime, permanent marker is, as the name suggests, notoriously hard to remove, which left the men extremely easy to identify when the police were looking for the culprits. The dumb stunt earned the duo the nickname “dumb and dumber.”


7. Mark Smith

Breaking into homes can be tiring work, but most criminals are smart enough to wait until they get home before taking a nap. Not Mark Smith, though. In 2007, Smith (who was high on Valium and drunk on vodka) decided to break into a home and, since he was likely feeling the effects of the drugs and alcohol he had consumed, curl up for a nap in the homeowner’s bed. He was woken up by the local police and sentenced to 18 months.


6. Klaus Schmidt

In August of 1995, a man in Berlin decided to rob a bank with a handgun. Now, this acted out like a pretty standard bank robbery until the tellers asked him “Do you need a bag?,” to which Schmidt responded “You’re damn right it’s a real gun!” This made it obvious to the tellers that the robber was deaf. With this new realization, they sounded the alarm which notified the police, while Schmidt was none the wiser. In a funny twist, Schmidt later sued the bank for apparently abusing his disability.


5. James Blankenship

While attempting to break into and rob his own mother’s home during broad daylight, James Blankenship got spooked and went to hide in the crawl space. When apprehended by police, Blankenship was extremely stunned because he didn’t think it was possible to be arrested for burglary during the day. That’s right; this guy thought he couldn’t be arrested for burglary because it wasn’t nighttime.


4. Darren Kimpton

One of the keys to success when completing a burglary is to pick the right target. The best target is likely an empty house, while pretty much the worst possible target would be a house full of police officers. Well, the latter is exactly what Darren Kimpton decided to choose. The house he has selected as his target was already burgled earlier in the evening, and thus police officers were already on the scene when Kimpton tried to break in. Also, Kimpton tried to rob a separate house earlier in the day, but cut himself and fled. However, he left a trail of blood at the scene and could therefore be identified in that crime too.


3. Ruben Zarate

In 2008, an 18-year-old man named Ruben Zarate attempted to rob a muffler shop in Chicago. After demanding money, he was told that most of the cash was stored in a safe that could only be opened by the manager, who wasn’t scheduled to come in until a few hours later. To have himself some trouble, Zarate left his cell phone number for the store to call him back once the manager arrived. Of course, the store first called the police and then called Zarate back. When he came back and noticed the police were waiting for him, he engaged in a brief shootout with the cops before eventually being arrested.


2. Albert Bailey

In 2010, Bailey and an unnamed juvenile accomplice decided to rob a bank in Fairfield, Connecticut. But in an attempt to speed up the process of the crime, Bailey called the bank in advance to let them know that they were coming to rob it. His obvious intent was to give the bank plenty of time to get the money ready so he could just pick it up and leave quickly. Of course, the bank decided to call the authorities and notify them of the robbers’ arrival and the two men were arrested by police without incident.


1. Dennis Hawkins

The stupidest criminal out has got to be Dennis Hawkins, a 48-year-old man who tried to rob a bank in Pittsburgh. Hawkins clearly didn’t get the memo about needing a good disguise that can quickly blend into the crowd after the crime, as he chose a woman’s blonde wig, fake breasts and bright clown pants. Even worse still, in his failed attempt to pretend to be a woman, he didn’t even take the time to shave his facial hair. As if the man wasn’t noticeable enough, he drew even more attention to himself when he tried to steal a car from a nearby gas station, where the attendant called then called the police, who apprehended Hawkins soon after.