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- January 21, 2013
- Vol. 79
- No. 2
Dumb Criminals: Caught in the Act
Victims of Their Own Disguises, Facebook Postings and Vanity, They Turned Criminal Derring-Do into Mastermindless Derring-Duh
JUAN RAMIREZ TIJERINA
CHARGE: Attempted prison break
Four years into a 20-year sentence for illegal weapons possession, Ramirez had had enough of life in the pokey. After a conjugal visit in July 2011 with his partner, Maria del Carmen Arjona Rivero, he was packed and ready to go-literally. Ramirez was apprehended after officers, noticing that Arjona seemed nervous as she headed for the prison exit with a bulging suitcase, unzipped the bag and found the convict inside. He's back behind bars, and Arjona was detained.
Not a Potted Plant
GREGORY LIASCOS, 38
SENTENCED: 16 months for first-and second-degree burglary
Many successful heists involve elaborate schemes, and Liascos had mapped out a doozy. To break into the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks & Minerals, home of valuable stones and gold nuggets, he chose to burrow through an exterior bathroom wall ... dressed as a shrub to blend in with the surrounding foliage. But the jig was up when a dog deployed by police responding to a break-in alert nipped at a suspicious green mound-and the moss yelped! That wasn't Liascos's only mistake. Turns out the bathroom did not give him easy access to the museum. But the biggest gaffe? Liascos's moss draping, says former museum director Linda Kepford, "is the wrong type to blend in."
MARIA CHRYSSON, 32
PLEADED NO CONTEST:
Grand theft and criminal use of personal identification
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the vainest of them all? After enjoying $5,000 worth of Botox and cosmetic treatments at local beauty clinics, Chrysson bounced checks and told one clinic she was headed to an ATM machine, then never returned. When police arrested her, the Botox Bandit had an urgent request: Could she check her Facebook page to see if her arrest had stirred any buzz?
RODNEY KNIGHT, 20
PLEADED TO: Burglary
After Knight broke into the home of Washington Post editor Marc Fisher, he nabbed $400, a winter coat and a laptop. Then Knight, who later pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary, made the boldest and, says Fisher, the dumbest move ever: He used the stolen laptop to photograph himself wearing the coat and flashing the cash before posting the defiant image to Fisher's son's Facebook profile wall. "To compound his stupidity," says Fisher, "he signed off and immediately signed on to his own account," so that the stolen laptop now had a record of Knight's theft. Police could only laugh-and go get the culprit.
JACOB KISS, 20
Rancho Penasquitos, Calif.
SENTENCED: Three years' probation for misdemeanor burglary
Who knew that Gumby, the famously sweet-hearted clay animation character, had a dark side. When a man wearing a full Gumby costume tried to rob a San Diego-area 7-Eleven, the clerk laughed him off and continued cleaning. The green bandit and his accomplice fled the scene empty-handed, but after surveillance videos of the robbery attempt went viral, Jacob Kiss 'fessed up, telling authorities he was the thwarted Gumby bandit. Kiss pleaded guilty to misdemeanor burglary charges and was placed on three years' probation; police seized the Gumby suit.
RYAN HOMSLEY, 31
SENTENCED: 40 months
Like Waldo of kids' book fame, Homsley donned a striped shirt and owlish glasses to get lost in the crowd. But after he made a bomb threat and demanded $2,000 from a bank teller, Homsley, the so-called Where's Waldo Bandit, stood out. After fleeing he left a parting gift for the police outside the bank: a book inscribed, "In case of loss, please return to: Ryan M. Homsley." In July a federal judge sentenced him to more than three years in a medical facility.
- With Steve Helling,
- Daniel S. Levy,
- Karen Sevilla.
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