ALL WRAPPED UP AND NO PLACE TO GO
As the manager of Shamrock Liquors in Ashland, Ky., Bill Steele has seen his share of eccentric characters. Still, he was startled by the sight of a man who showed up one day last August with his head wrapped in duct tape, leaving openings only for his eyes, nose and mouth. Right away, Steele recalls, "I knew something was getting ready to go down." After saying he had a weapon and demanding money, the taped man bolted when Steele brandished a billy club. Another employee quickly nabbed the guy—not hard to spot since he was the only person in the vicinity with his head swaddled in duct tape—in a parking lot, where police arrested Kasey Kazee, 25.
When summoned to the scene, EMTs had to cut the tape from the suspect's head. Kazee only added to the bizarre saga by insisting that he was not the robber, despite photographs of the EMTs removing the tape. But some good has come of the incident: After Kazee granted a rambling interview to a television station—"Do I look like a Duct Tape Bandit?" he exclaimed—fans took snippets of the interview and fashioned a rap song that has become a cult hit on the Internet (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkYtaDAMMxM).
Etni Ortiz, 30
AFTER MAKING A WITHDRAWAL, HE DEPOSITS HIS OWN RESUME
The handwritten note a robber passed to a terrified bank teller read, in part, "Do not do anything stupid." The bandit, though, neglected to heed his own advice. As the teller at the Bank of America branch in Tampa handed Etni Ortiz a folder of money, she slipped in a dye packet that exploded as he fled the bank, spraying him with red paint. But that proved the least of Ortiz's complications. In his haste he left behind a few items that proved useful to police—notably a résumé with his name on it and a photograph of himself. Both were smeared with the red paint, just in case anyone missed the connection.
With police combing the area for him, Ortiz decided to try the same stunt at a bank in Sarasota, Fla., nine days later. But by then his luck was running out. The day after the January 2007 robbery, he was stopped by a state trooper, who discovered more red-stained papers and a handwritten stickup note. Pleading guilty in May, Ortiz was sentenced to 8 1/2 years. "When a robber leaves his résumé and photo at the crime scene," says a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney, "it makes the case a real slam dunk."
Ann Marie Linscott, 48
DESPERATELY SEEKING ASSASSIN
The ad on Craigslist looked innocuous enough. It simply solicited applicants willing to take on "freelance" work. Three people answered the item placed by Ann Marie Linscott. But instead of talking about telemarketing or other jobs that could be done for contract work, Linscott, 48, explained with startling directness that she would pay $5,000 for "silent assassins" to "eradicate" a woman living in Oroville, Calif. Linscott even emphasized to one applicant that "this is a serious proposition."
Authorities later learned that Linscott had fallen for a married California man she'd connected with online a few years before. The couple met up a few times, and Linscott allegedly decided she had to do something to eliminate her rival. When an FBI agent arrested Linscott in January and asked her what she meant by "eradicate," the suspect replied, "Duh. Well, to have her killed."
David Fletcher, 42
HE DISPLAYS HIS HANDIWORK—TO THE ARRESTING STATE TROOPER!
It was a routine stop for speeding. Only on this occasion, Missouri state trooper John Mason got more than he bargained for when he asked driver David Fletcher for his license in April 2007. Evidently on the grounds that you can't be too rich or too credentialed, Fletcher handed over not one, but five IDs. That was suspicious enough. But to top it off, two of the licenses sported his picture with different birth dates.
"Sheer stupidity," says Mason, 31, who found nine more licenses in Fletcher's back pocket—each with his photo but different names. Fletcher claimed that they were for comedy purposes. That gag went sour, however, when Mason also found more than $3,900 in the car, along with fake checks, printers and dozens more IDs. Charged with trafficking stolen identities but released on bail, Fletcher has disappeared without a trace.
Roger Dillon, 23
Nicole Boyd, 25
A MODERN-DAY BONNIE AND CLYDE LEAD THE FBI RIGHT TO THEIR BACKWOODS HIDEOUT
For nine months Roger Dillon planned what he thought would be a flawless heist. A courier for Armored Transportation Systems in Liberty Township, Ohio, Dillon figured out the codes for the company's safes. Then on Nov. 26, Dillon, 23, and girlfriend Nicole Boyd, 25, went into action. In 24 minutes they shut off security cameras, scooped up $8.4 million and hightailed it for West Virginia.
Initially hailed as a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde, Dillon and Boyd now look more like Abbott and Costello. For starters, Dillon failed to disable all of the security equipment, meaning a camera captured his image. He also left behind receipts, one listing their hideout address. On Dec. 1 the FBI captured the bandits, whose keystone caper has spawned a song titled "Dumb as Dillon." Says police chief Tony Slifka: "If we hadn't had idiots like them, we wouldn't catch them and look good."