“Stupid is as stupid does” – The criminal classes

Smuggler Morteza Farakesh was convicted of possessing $2m worth of morphine during a layover at Kennedy Airport. According to the prosecutor Farakesh was on his way to California and could have picked a less Customs-intense airport but chose to make his connection there in order to take advantage of an Alitalia super-saver fare. [New York Daily News, 26-5-95]

At a September hearing for Charles Hocq, accused of battery in Springfield, Illinois, Judge Roger Holmes asked Hocq the standard questions to determine how much his bail should be (e.g., do you have any family in the community?). Hocq said he didn’t understand the question. Holmes then asked the direct question: “If I made the bail amount lower, would you flee the area and not come back for trial?“ According to the Springfield Journal, Hocq replied, “I would.” Holmes then doubled the proposed bail, to $250,000. [Springfield Journal, 22-9-95]

Johnny Lee Nichols, 25, was arrested in Rogers, Arkansas, and accused of knocking on doors of several homes around 3 a.m. and asking if anyone was interested in exchanging drugs or sex for some dynamite he had in his car. [Northwest Arkansas Times-AP, 10-8-95]

Police in Ft. Worth, Texas arrested a man just after he robbed a Nations Bank branch. Cops were waiting because a bank customer had walked next door to police headquarters to summon them after becoming suspicious that a man was waiting in a bank line wearing a ski mask. [St. Petersburg Times, 14-12-95]

Juan Morales, 18, and Juan Mendoza, 18, were arrested as they robbed a Coastal Mart convenience store in Weslaco, Texas. Police had been tipped off to the crime because the cashier on duty the day before reported that the two men had threatened to “come back and rob you” the next day. [Valley Morning Star, 30-11-95]

Pittsburgh – MacArthur Wheeler, 46, received 24 years in prison, a conviction made possible by clear photography from the bank’s surveillance video. Wheeler and his partner did not wear masks, and in fact were not concerned about the camera at all, because they had rubbed lemon juice over their faces beforehand believing this would blur their images. [USA Today, 8-1-96]

Dallas, Texas – an 18-year-old dockworker at Roadway Express was arrested at a local Western Union and charged with forgery after improperly trying to cash a check made out to his employer. The man produced a photo ID that gave his name as Mr. “Roadway V. Express.”  After questioning him, the Western Union manager said, “Okay, Mr. Express, I’ll be right back [with the money],” but went into another room and called police. [Houston Chronicle, 31-3-96]

Little Rock, Arkansas – Donterio Beasley, 19, called a police station to say that he was stranded and needed a ride downtown, but the dispatcher told him that was against policy. A few minutes later, Beasley called back to report a suspicious person loitering around a phone booth and gave a description of himself, believing that police would come, give him a ride downtown for questioning, then release him. He was charged with making a false alarm. [Dallas Morning News-AP, 7-8-95]