May 23, 2024
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May 23, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

About once a year, I write a “dumb criminals” article, because there are a lot of criminals out there who do stupid things and get caught, probably because if you want to be a police officer, there are intelligence tests you have to take, but if you want to be a criminal, there are not. Also, many cops have been doing this for years, but for the criminals, it’s often their first foray.

But what if they evened the playing field? What if criminals came up with crimes that hadn’t been heard of before? People keep getting arrested for all the regular crimes; Why not invent new ones?

Our first story comes from the home of Dave and Sylvia Dungan of California, who had just installed a security camera on their front porch, when, one morning in January, Sylvia decided to review the footage. What she found was a man spending about three hours in the middle of the night, on and off, licking their doorbell.

See, this is why you get a security camera.

In the video, the man spends quite a few minutes licking the bell from different angles, then walks away to lurk suspiciously in the yard. Then he comes back and repeats the process again. And then again.

How did he even pick that house? Was he just watching this doorbell for a long time?

This is why I always knock. But see, in the old days, before everyone had security cameras, you could lick whoever’s doorbells you wanted and no one had any idea.

It’s a good thing they had video evidence, or the police would not have believed them at all.

The couple showed their video to the police, who said that they weren’t sure who he was, but his face definitely rang a bell.

And speaking of people with boundary issues, in December, a 52-year-old high school science teacher in California was arrested for cutting a student’s hair against his will while singing the National Anthem at the top of her lungs.


I don’t know that we want to live in a world where things like that are illegal. I’m a high school teacher, and every teacher I know is about one bad day away from doing something like that.

Well, not exactly like that. I’ve been tempted to do a lot of things, but none involved giving out free haircuts. In our circles, teachers don’t really do this so much, unless the child is turning 3.

Not that people need weapons to commit crime. In August, a visitor at a zoo in Los Angeles got in trouble with the police for spanking a hippo. According to the zoo’s security camera footage, the man hopped over the fence, reached down a cliff, and slapped the hippo loudly before bolting back over the fence and celebrating.

The man also appears to be alone, so he’s either some weirdo who goes to the zoo by himself, or he went to the zoo specifically for this purpose.

This kind of crime isn’t really new, though. It reminds me of a case several years ago where a man slapped a police horse across the face. Well, not across the face. Horses have long faces. I’m not sure how that would work. (“Are you done yet?” “I’m almost there. This is not at all how I pictured this going.”) He slapped it on the face. I’m not sure what the horse said to deserve this, though; the article was very one-sided.

And new, innovative crimes aren’t limited to the States. In November, a group of pedestrians in Vladivostok, Russia, was stopped by police while attempting to cross a vehicles-only bridge in a bus costume. Making it the world’s only bus to be powered entirely by vodka.

The bridge’s walkways had been closed since 2015, when inspectors determined that they were too narrow to meet regulations, and pedestrians had to run the entire length of the bridge as fast as they could before they met someone coming the other way.

But a group of pedestrians wanted to cross this bridge, so they made a bus costume that looked exactly like a real bus, except that it was made of cardboard and had four pairs of legs sticking out the bottom.

“Um… Carpool!”

I don’t know how they planned on maintaining the speed they needed to keep up this ruse.

What followed was a low-speed chase until a police officer caught up to them on foot. “Floor it!” they yelled at each other. But it wasn’t easy, because they kept stepping on the back of each other’s shoes.

Finally, in January, police in Australia, responding to reports of a man yelling, “Why won’t you die?” over and over again, over sounds of scuffling and a child screaming, broke down the door of an apartment only to find a man trying to kill a spider. And failing.

His wife was in the shower, or she would have taken care of it.

This is not a joke. The man actually has a fear of spiders, so usually his wife kills them. But this time, he had to just “woman up” and do it. It was either that or wait until she got out and then tell her, “There’s a spider… Somewhere.”

So the man grabbed a diaper belonging to his toddler, and he smushed the spider with it. But as is often the case when you try to smush a spider with something that is specifically designed with layers of softness, the spider wasn’t dying. You push it down as hard as you can, you put all your weight into it, and then you pick it up, and the spider says, “OK,” and starts running away. So he did it again. And he’s yelling, “Why won’t you die?! Why won’t you die?!” and his daughter is shrieking, and then the police burst in, and the spider’s like, “Finally!”

So in this case, it wasn’t actually killing the spider that was illegal, and the man wasn’t in any kind of trouble in the end, except that he’s going to have to pay for years of therapy bills for his daughter. He also needs a new door. There are creeps out there.

Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia and other magazines. He has also published seven books and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected].

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