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People Top 5
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- December 08, 2008
- Vol. 70
- No. 23
In Trying to Outwit the Law, Some Felonious Fools Discover to Their Regret That the Joke Is On Them
JOHN PEARCE, 32
A CROOK UPSIDE DOWN AND HUNG OUT TO DRY
As he arrived home on Aug. 14, Paul Ives encountered a gleeful crowd outside his home in Dartford, England. Looking over, he saw the source of their merriment—a man dangling upside down from the front window of Ives's house. The man cried out that he'd tried to foil a burglary. In truth, John Pearce had been climbing in a narrow ventilation window to rob Ives's place when his foot got caught and became wedged, leaving him hanging inside. "The more he struggled, the more he became jammed," says Ives, 44, an air-conditioning engineer. Police seemed in no hurry to get Pearce off the hook. "I think you can hang about a bit longer," one cop called up, according to Ives. After an hour a rescue team freed the shaken Pearce. Says Ives's longtime girlfriend Angela Gloyn: "Afterwards we had a right giggle about it."
FRANK SINGLETON, 21
REFUSING TO WALK, HE WAS BACK IN CUFFS IN RECORD TIME
Frank Singleton had just been released from the Palm Beach County Detention Center on a minor trespassing charge in March, and he had to figure out a way to get home. He probably should have given it a little more thought. According to the Sheriff's Department, he walked out of the facility, approached a woman in the jail parking lot and yanked her out of her car. Then he got two bad breaks. The first was that jail chaplain Leo Krug witnessed the incident. The second was that the chaplain was packing a handgun—surprise! The suspect was marched back into the jail and rearrested, this time on a more serious carjacking charge. According to the arrest report, when asked by deputies why he'd done something so boneheaded, Singleton (whose lawyer didn't return calls) replied, "I didn't feel like walking."
YAAKOV KANELSKY, 50
THE ALLEGED THIEF LEFT HIS WALLET BEHIND
The man knocking on the kitchen window of Yaakov Kanelsky's Brooklyn apartment one afternoon in July had a strange request: He wanted his wallet back. Kanelsky, who had just returned home, was bewildered. "I told him, 'Which wallet?'" he says. "'I don't know what you want.'" The man then offered a trade: the wallet he had left behind for the money he had taken. That's when Kanelsky, a rabbi, realized his visitor wasn't strictly kosher. In his bedroom he discovered that more than $200 had been stolen—and there on the bed was the intruder's wallet. Next thing Kanelsky knew, the guy was outside his front door, begging for the wallet and stuffing the stolen money under the door. Kanelsky called police, who nabbed Victor Marin, 21 (who has pleaded not guilty and whose lawyer declined comment). Says Kanelsky: "This was not smart."
CHRISTOPHER KOCH, 29
FIRST HE WAS LOCKED OUT, THEN HE WAS LOCKED UP
Christopher Koch evidently wanted to be extra careful. State police say he showed up at the Citizens & Northern Bank in the small town of Liberty, Pa., and sat in his car for about 20 minutes, allegedly casing the place in preparation for a robbery. Finally, at 12:01 p.m. the suspect, toting a shotgun and wearing an orange ski mask, jumped out and approached the door. But things didn't go as planned. On Thursdays the bank closes promptly at noon, and employees watched in astonishment as the masked man yanked futilely at the handle. "He was a minute late," says State Trooper Scott Henry, "and the door was locked." When the tardy bandit finally drove away, employees got his license number, which led officers to Koch, whose lawyer didn't return calls. Ultimately his problems with time may result in him doing some.
STEPHON BUSBEE, 18
A PORTRAIT OF A PICTURE-PERFECT CRIME GONE SUDDENLY WRONG
As the two men told police, they were leaving a sports bar in Jacksonville, Fla., late one night in April when they were confronted by a young man with a gun. The robber took a cell phone and an expensive necklace and fled. Just another street crime that would likely be tough to solve. Except that a few days later one of the victims got a replacement phone that held a key to the crime. The victim used a service in which photos taken on the phone are automatically uploaded on the company's server—so that no photos are ever lost. When the victim downloaded copies of the photos he had taken with the stolen phone he was surprised to see there were some extras. And even more surprised at the face staring back at him. "It was the same person who took his phone," says Assistant State Attorney Janeen Mira. Just so there was no confusion, the guy in the photo was even wearing the stolen necklace. Authorities easily matched the image with an old booking picture of Stephon Busbee, providing a photo finish to the case.
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