A repeat offender got a life sentence for a small-time shoplifting caper in Jupiter, Florida. The man stole $49.73 worth of boxer shorts, panties, a sports bra and some cigarette lighters from a Wal-Mart store. His fatal mistake was flashing a knife at a security guard which turned his petty theft into a felony. Since the man had been released from prison less than three years ago, Florida's repeat offender law required the judge to send him away for life without the possibility of parole.
An unemployed sanitation worker in Miami is also facing life in prison for shooting himself in the privates. In a drunken stupor, the man reached for a pistol he had hidden in his pants. The gun went off, and the bullet struck the man in the nuggets. At first, he told officers someone else had shot him, but changed his story after paramedics found the shell casing in his underwear. Cops ruled the shooting accidental, but the man was charged with a concealed weapons violation and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The maximum sentence for those crimes is normally 15 years but, because the man has a record as a violent career criminal, a Miami prosecutor is asking the judge to send him away for life. The man's public defender calls that "ridiculous," and says the man's injury is punishment enough.
A luckless thief pleaded guilty to the attempted robbery of a convenience store in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. The thief told a passerby he was going to rob the store, gave the man a dollar, and asked him to go inside and buy a scarf to hide his identity during the crime. The bystander took the dollar, went inside the store and called the police.
A thief in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina has learned a valuable lesson: if you're going to steal restaurant equipment, be sure to remove pictures of the original owner's grandchildren before setting the stuff up in your own restaurant. John Ubbing, owner of Giovanni's Pizzeria in Calabash, North Carolina, lost an assortment of pizza-making equipment in a March robbery. A refrigerator stolen in the heist later turned up inside a Myrtle Beach restaurant where cops found pictures of Ubbing's grandchildren still stuck to the side of it. The owner of the second restaurant was arrested.
During a high school break-in in Plymouth, North Carolina, two burglars found a camera in one of the classrooms and amused themselves by taking pictures of each other committing the crime. When they couldn't figure out how to get the film out of the camera, they concluded it wasn't loaded and left it behind. The men apparently didn't realize they'd been fooling around with a digital camera. Investigators downloaded the snapshots to a computer and got a complete photographic record of the break-in. The suspects were quickly arrested.
A Nevada fugitive wanted on fraud charges was arrested in Connecticut after he blew his cover by applying for a job as a police officer. The Connecticut cops discovered the man's fugitive status during a standard background check. He had passed both the written and agility tests before being found out. Police called the man in to headquarters under the guise of getting his fingerprints, and served him with an arrest warrant instead.