Criminal Stupidity and the Internet

image courtesy of  http://www.jardmail.co.uk/attachments/homerxray.shtml
image courtesy of http://www.jardmail.co.uk/attachments/homerxray.shtml

“Stupid is as stupid does.” – Forest Gump

A couple of days ago, CNN ran a story about a man and woman who posted pictures on Facebook of their two very young children (24 months and 10 months) gagged and bound with duct tape, which resulted in a flurry of reports to the police, the parents’ arrest and the removal of their children from their custody. “It was just a joke,” the parents cried. “The children were not hurt.”

I’m not going to discuss these parents’ ludicrous idea of humor, or whether or not this constitutes child abuse, or parent’s rights versus child protection. I’m not even going to speculate which was more traumatic for the children: being photographed bound and gagged by the people who are supposed to protect and nurture them, or being apprehended by the police and placed into the hands of the child welfare authorities – though the question certainly begs to be asked.

No, surprisingly -- even to myself (all things considered) -- my first thought on reading this story was: how could they be so blindingly stupid as to post such photographs on Facebook?

Even if you rate so low on the IQ scale as to think playing bondage games with your own babies is perfectly okay, why would you photograph such events? And then, having taken the photographs, creating hard evidence of your idiocy and lack of normal parental instincts, why, oh why post them up for the world to see?

Talk about stupid… Clearly it’s too late to protect the human gene pool with such remedial actions as forced sterilization, but all the same, I can’t help but wonder at such lack of judgment.

Surely they are an isolated example of such extreme stupidity, I thought, trying to comfort myself and dispel the vision of future doom and intellectual deterioration for the human race such senselessness brought to mind.

But, as research was to prove, they were not.

Maxi Sopo's Facebook page, displayed by Michael Scoville, helped investigators track him down in Mexico. Photograph: Elaine Thompson/AP
Maxi Sopo's Facebook page, displayed by Michael Scoville, helped investigators track him down in Mexico. Photograph: Elaine Thompson/AP

“Like” these amazingly stupid people on Facebook

Maxi Sopo

(2009 – U.S.) Fleeing the United States and an arrest warrant for bank fraud, Maxi Sopo made it across the border to Mexico and set up a comfortable life there. You’d think he’d have it made – Mexico, land of sunshine, tequila and pot, enough money for everything he needed, a chance to disappear – and apparently, so did he.

There are some who take to life on the lam, keep a low profile, change their names and appearance, wear disguises when they go out, move regularly, keep their mouths carefully under control. But not Maxi Sopo.

No, this gregarious social butterfly began updating his Facebook page with reports of his “paaarty!” life and his enjoyment of “living in paradise.” He even “friended” a U.S. Justice Department official – who helped the authorities locate and arrest Sopo, now facing up to 30 years behind bars.

Don’t bother “poking” Sopo. He’s in the pokey.

L'arresto di Pasquale Manfredi – Italian press, no attribution given
L'arresto di Pasquale Manfredi – Italian press, no attribution given

Pasquale Manfredi

(2010 -- Italy) Pasquale Manfredi had been on Italy’s most-wanted list for years in connection with several killings, including the assassination of a rival Mafia clan’s leader. Nicknamed Scarface and known as a “cold and cruel” assassin, apparently this hitman had a soft spot for Facebook.

So often did Manfredi update his status and interact on the site, police were able to track him down through an Internet key.

He was chatting on Facebook when the Italian police broke down the door to his Calabria hide-out and arrested him.

And in case you “friended” Manfredi, the police intend to scour his connections to look for other crime figures. I doubt if too many of those friends are “liking” him now.

Idiozia, cretino, imbecille, stupidaggines, stupido !!!!!

Craig Lynch

(2009 – UK) Craig Lynch escaped from a minimum security prison where he was serving time for theft. Another whose intelligence must be too low to score, instead of lying low, he continually updated his site posting photos of himself making rude gestures and mocking the police.

The police contacted Facebook looking for the IP address from where he might be updating the site. You guessed it; too idiotic to move around, the updates showed one constant ip address.

D’oh!

And yes, the rest of the story follows pretty much as you are expecting.

He was arrested and returned to prison.

He has yet to update his status showing pictures of himself sitting in his cell.

3 youthful offenders with no brains, one adult with even less and a Facebook update

(2011 – US) Two fourteen-year-olds, one seventeen-year-old and Isaiah Cutler (18) robbed a Pittsburgh market of more than $9,000. Oh, and they also stole candy.

What did they do next?

They took pictures of themselves holding the loot and, you guessed it, posted those photos on Cutler’s Facebook page.

One of the teenagers’ Grandma saw the photos, knew of the crime and called the police.

I can’t help wondering which embarrassed her more: that her grandchild was a thief or that he was an imbecile.

And now, on to my favorite stupid criminals on Facebook story: Jon Parker

(2009 – US) Jon Parker decided to rob his neighbor’s house. He formulated his plan: wait till no one was home, break in, grab everything of value and slip out again, unseen and untrackable.

He made quite a haul: two diamond rings, other jewelry, cash, some artwork… Oh, it was a truly successful burglary, no doubt.

Except for one thing:

He left himself logged in on Facebook on his victim’s computer.

Now, you’d think checking your Facebook page would be that last thing on your mind while you’re committing a burglary – wouldn’t you? But Parker’s priorities were different. He just couldn’t wait to check on his friend requests and their wall postings, or maybe he was in the middle of collecting all he needed on Farmsville. Who knows?

Needless to say, he was picked up by the police in record time and charged with breaking, entering and theft. He pleaded not guilty, but was convicted all the same.

I would have added a charge of criminal stupidity, if such was allowed under the law.

It should be.

Myspace (between my ears)

Facebook doesn’t have a monopoly on stupid people, just in case you were wondering. Myspace has its share. Here’s two such cases of what should be terminal stupidity.

Heather Ann Tucci

(2009 – US) You’d think if you were on trial for driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter, you’d let your lawyer do your talking for you. Certainly, you’d be smart enough not to admit your guilt on Myspace – wouldn’t you?

In an act of unprecedented stupidity, Heather Ann Tucci did just that.

On August 19, 2006 Tucci was drunk, very drunk, but still she not only decided she could drive, but offered a lift to three friends. She crashed her car. Heather Ann was unharmed, the female passenger in the front suffered minor injuries but the two men-friends in the back were killed.

Facing both a civil lawsuit and criminal charges (not to mention a potential jail sentence,) against all the dictates of common sense, and in a truly idiotic “so what?” attitude, Heather Ann posted the following rant on her Myspace page:

“I just want to let everyone know August 19 2006 Joe Renner and Joe Shafer died and me and Samatha were hurt. I’m sure a lot of you really don’t give a **** about me. Fine whatever you have your reasons I don’t blame you but really think about it. Both of them knew what they were getting in to. Yes it’s my fault because I was the driver but think about how many of you did what I did. … Now don’t get me wrong I take full responsibility for everything that happened, but when you sit and say everything your saying think about what you probley did the day before that or maybe that night. You all take that risk. I never though it was gonna happen to me and it did.”

Unbelievably, the judges (both civil and criminal) were not won-over to her cause by these words.

I wonder why.

I also wonder what choice words her lawyer had for her: Idiot? Cretin? Fool? He only heard about the on-line confession when the local paper called him and asked for a comment.

Stock photo -- not the actual posting. Myspace page for Pilkerton has been taken down.
Stock photo -- not the actual posting. Myspace page for Pilkerton has been taken down.

Michael Wayne Pilkerton

(2008 – US) If you’re into pot and growing your own, it’s not smart to boast about it on Myspace. Posting photographs of your green, leafy plants on your page is so beyond-not-smart, it possibly strikes a new low on the Darwin scale.

But that’s what Michael Way Pilkerton of Suffolk county, Virginia did. Perhaps he’d smoked too much of his own produce to think clearly.

Of course the police homed in on the post, set up a series of undercover buys from Pilkerton and then, arrested him.

I needed help to describe such a void of native intelligence, I looked for words more eloquent than mine. So here, dedicated to Michael Wayne Pilkerton of Virginia is a quote:

“Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped.” -- Elbert Hubbard

Thank you, Mr. Hubbard.

Craigslist (a place to find everything, including stupid people)

Anne Marie Linscott

(2010 – US) Anne Marie Linscott from Michigan had a boyfriend. Her boyfriend had a wife. Anne Marie saw this as a problem. Perhaps she did sit down and weigh her options, I don’t know. Certainly, there are more than few. Here’s what springs to my mind:

  • Leave the cheating SOB and find a new love. (ranked highest)
  • Ask him to divorce his wife and marry you.
  • Confront the wife, tell all and let the resulting debris fall where it may. (not recommended.)

Or, there’s the option Anne Marie chose: get rid of the wife. Now, again there are a couple of ways to go here.

  • Kill her yourself. (strongly not recommended)
  • Hire someone to kill her for you. (very strongly not recommended.)

Ms. Linscott chose the second. Even here, there’s more than one way to skin the proverbial cat, but the way she went about it had to be the stupidest way possible.

She advertised for a hitman in the “Freelance” job section on Craigslist.

In this day and age of high unemployment, three people responded to the vaguely worded ad. Anne Marie explained that what she wanted was an assassin, offering the somewhat paltry amount of $5,000 for the job, and supplying all the pertinent details of her potential victim, requesting her competition in amour be eradicated.

Two of the three applicants reported their conversation to the police.

Anne Marie was convicted of a plethora of crimes and was sentenced to plenty of time to contemplate her own stupidity – if stupid people contemplate at all.

I’m at a loss for words and my Thesaurus is clean out of synonyms for stupid. I need to ask someone who is definitely not stupid for help.

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."--Albert Einstein

Click on this photo for a link to the original story from the NY Times
Click on this photo for a link to the original story from the NY Times | Source

EBay – (a word to the stupid: EBay is not the black market.)

Daniel D. Lorello

(2008 – US) Meet Daniel, a man dissatisfied with his style of life, a clerk who worked at the New York State Archives in Albany for 29 years. Completely understandably, his self-perceived meager wages just weren’t doing it for him. He pondered on a solution to his conundrum. He came up a plan. A stupid plan.

He stole some historic documents, a four page letter written by vice-president John C. Calhoun to one Charles Haines, a personal secretary to DeWitt Clinton, a two-term governor of New York, dated 1823; autographs from the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the first draft of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

Then he sat down and put the second part of his stupid plan into the works: turn the stolen documents into cash.

He logged into EBay, posted pictures of the goods and started auctioning them off.

By the time the police arrested him, the Calhoun letter was up to almost $2,000.

Um – Mr. Lorello? EBay is not the black market – just so you know.

“The only way to comprehend what mathematicians mean by Infinity is to contemplate the extent of human stupidity." – Voltaire

Now that the Internet as a display case for our species’ stupidity is world-wide, you’d think these criminally stupid people would appreciate we live in an electronic goldfish bowl, that posting on-line is tantamount to walking into the nearest police station and saying, “Here’s what I did. Arrest me.”

Apparently, they don’t.

It seems I have constantly, continually and futilely continued to overestimate human intelligence. The research I did to write this article has educated me and disabused me of any such misconceptions. These are only a few of the thousands of examples, including some real doozies:

  • like the juror who “friended” the defendant;
  • like the car thief who posted a photo of himself on his victim’s page – from her stolen phone;
  • like the burglar who took a photo of himself with a stolen Nokia, uploaded it to his Facebook page and then dropped the phone outside of the house he had burgled;
  • like the drug dealer who Twittered what drugs he had available;
  • like the new-comer to town who posted an ad on Craigslist looking for marijuana –
  • Oh dear Lord, save us; the list goes on and on.

Reading this leaves me astounded we’ve survived as a species, let alone reproduced until we number 7 billion (which alone is evidence of our innate stupidity.)

But, from the viewpoint of law enforcement, perhaps this criminal stupidity is a good thing.

Though finding and arresting these criminally stupid people must be like shooting fish in a barrel.

Maybe we should all “like” that.

Lynda M Martin

January 2, 2012

Just for fun

Which of these stories scores highest on the stupidity scale?

  • The parents who posted photos of their gagged and bound babies?
  • Maxi Sopo -- the fugitive who
  • Pasquale Manfredi -- The Facebook loving hitman?
  • Craig Lynch -- the prison escapee who taunted the police with photos?
  • 3 youths and one brain-dead adult who posted their stolen loot on Facebook?
  • Jon Parker who left a burgled house still logged into Facebook?
  • Heather Ann Tucci -- who confessed her guilt to MySpace while on trial?
  • Michael Wayne Pilkerton who posted pictures of his cannabis plants online?
  • Anne Marie Lipscott who advertised for a hitman on Craigslist?
  • Daniel Lorello who tried to action off stolen documents on Ebay?
  • They are all too stupid to be worthy of a vote.
  • I am afraid for the future of my species.
See results without voting

More by this Author


Comments 30 comments

ahostagesituation profile image

ahostagesituation 4 years ago

Love it, and I'm bookmarking. My only critique is the insult these idiots are to the real criminals of the world. True criminals are masterminds, and for all their crimes, their intelligence usually far surpasses average. That kind of intelligence directed in the right way?? Modern day miracles. But according to all the comics, most masterminds prefer to use what they have for evil. Well maybe not all the comics, but "Marvel" I know can totally back me up on this.

I'm on a FB sabbatical from my personal account and couldn't be happier about it. It was cranking up my ADD to the highly dysfunctional range. Maybe more people need a break. :-)


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 4 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi ahostagesituation. Let's be clear. This article is about the criminally stupid, not criminals. I think there's a difference. I really do think we should be able to charge people with criminal stupidity, but on the other hand, the jails would be too full. Oh -- that's right, they are already -- with stupid people. I rest my case. Thanks for commenting. Lynda


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 4 years ago

There are plenty of people who give interviews to the press as well while they are under investigation like that coach from Penn State who talked to Bob Costas on TV - on the advice of his lawyer who was sitting next to Costas.

But yes there is a belief among many people that there are intelligent criminals that will never be caught and that never even get to court. And then there are these other people.


resspenser profile image

resspenser 4 years ago from South Carolina

Totally enjoyed the hub. People are so dumb, present company excepted!


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

Hilarious -- who knew that FB could be such a useful crime-fighting tool, due to the stupidity of criminals. Voting this Up and Funny.


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 4 years ago from USA

I laugh at those that have been caught in a lie due to their facebook status, because they think I will be gulible enough to believe them. My mother was so outraged over the ducktape incident that she too wrote about it. What were those people thinking? Fun or not, why post it? Great hub!


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 4 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi Flora, True the myth of the criminal mastermind continues -- we vote for many of them -- but luckily most crooks are stupid. About Bob Costa, it's one thing to give an interview with your lawyer sitting beside you, quite another to blab your guilt all over the internet leaving your lawyer in blissful ignorance. The second is really stupid! Thanks for dropping by.

Hi Ronnie. I'm sure you have lots of firsthand stupid criminal stories. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Hi alocsin -- Thanks.

Hi tipoague -- The trouble with telling lies is you need a good memory -- which I no longer possess. And thanks for the kind words.

Thanks all. Lynda


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 4 years ago from Isle of Man

I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of stories and could see you making a lot of money if you turned these stories into a TV series.

My own personal opinion is that we identify with our bodies and ultimately the ego. Problem is the ego does not love us and that is why we end up sabotage ourselves. These peoples' exploits are extreme but we all sabotage ourselves but never question why!

Thank you.


mljdgulley354 profile image

mljdgulley354 4 years ago

Glad to know I am not the only one that thinks our society is going on the blitz with stupidity.Great hub voted up


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 4 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi Spirit Whisperer and thanks for the insight. Yes, I imagine it is ego that drives us to publicize our every minor action, no matter how ill-advised. Everyone must be interested in me! As to the self-sabotage, do you have a reason for that? Lynda

Hi mljdgulley. No, you're not the only one, though the extent of that stupidity is mind-boggling to me. Thanks for the "up." Lynda


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 4 years ago from USA

Hi Lynda - Funny stuff, that one was. You write so well that I come away from your articles with buckets full of envy.

Gus :-)))


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 4 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi Gus. How's my favorite redneck? Oh, don't be envious. I love reading your stuff and we all have a unique voice. Glad you were amused. Lynda


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

Congratulations, Lynda. You have made stupidity hilarious. What fools these characters be. They must have been taking 'stupid' pills. No one could be that foolish without assistance. Thanks for introducing us to these crazy cretins.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 4 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

I hate to inform you, drbj, but my research suggests these fools are far from scarce. If you look for such tales, believe me they abound. Scary thought. Thanks for commenting here. Lynda


capricornrising profile image

capricornrising 4 years ago from Wilmington, NC

Idiozia, cretino, imbecille, stupidaggines, stupido !!!!!

Thanks for the chuckle (and the constant incredulous shaking of my head, which cleared some cobwebs).


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 4 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Thanks capricorn, and glad to help you clean house in your head. Lynda


alekhouse profile image

alekhouse 4 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

What is wrong with people? I find it hard to believe that these "stupid" people are considered sane or even normal.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 4 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi alekhouse -- the only thing wrong with them is they are extremely stupid. Stupidity is not the same as insane. And I'm coming to believe that stupid is the new normal for the human race. Thanks for commenting. Lynda


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

“The only way to comprehend what mathematicians mean by Infinity is to contemplate the extent of human stupidity." – Voltaire - Haha!! This made me choke on my coffee ... so true. I do love Voltaire!

You got quite the list of geniuses here Mrs. Lynda. Mr. Wesman (http://wesmantoddshaw.hubpages.com/) linked a news story last night on Facebook about a man who got caught for a second time having sex with a horse (the same horse) ... a repeat offender ... and got caught both times ... all I could think was: "Poor horse."

Building a tree house in the middle of a forest is looking better by the day lol ...

Great list of numb-nuts ... 'twas a fun read. Cheers!


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 4 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi Mr. Happy, First, what do you mean, poor horse. Men love to flatter themselves. The (mare) horse probably didn't feel a thing -- I mean, have you seen a stallion's equipment? Kind of like the ant who raped the elephant saying, "Suffer baby, suffer." Thanks for the comment. Lynda


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 4 years ago from Virginia

What a great collection of funny yet sad stories. I liked that you can not poke Maxi Sopo anymore. Thank goodness I did accept Pasquale Manfredi's friend request. No comment on Mr. Lynch other than I might vote for him at the end of the hub. I think John Parker would agree Facebook can become addictive....you sometimes just have to check in even if you are in the middle of a crime.

Believe it or not but Michael Way Pilkerton actually lived pretty close to my mom's house. So since he is a local celebrity for all the wrong reasons I am voting for him.....he can join the list of other famous people from our area that have done incredibly stupid things...people like Michael Vick-dog fighting and Plaxico Burress-shooting himself.....thanks for putting together all of these interesting stupid people. Voted up and funny and interesting.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 4 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi Cogerson, So glad you came by. Any neighbor of Pilerton's is a "friend" of mine -- well not actually. It's bad enough that people do such stupid things, but to post them for the world to see is so beyond stupid, so far beyond that my otherwise powerful vocabulary is devoid of words (And I do know a lot of words!) That's why the title is criminal stupidity. There come a point where your very act of stupidity should be a crime. Thanks so much for dropping by. Lynda


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 4 years ago from London, UK

Oh, Lynda you made me laugh. I grew up in a small town and the things you hear is amazing. There were criminals too and it still amazes me the things they done.

Lynda, I most properly have to say goodbye to you because every one of my hubs are marked 'substandard'. I feel really sorry because I made so many good friends here but I can't get a hub up anymore.


ThoughtSandwiches profile image

ThoughtSandwiches 4 years ago from Reno, Nevada

Lynda...

This is a delightful list and the scary part may be that there are a lot more out there that you were unable to fit in?

IN terms of the dumbest (personal thoughts)

1) Michael Wayne Pilkerton gives potheads a bad name. They do not need that type of help.

2) Jon Parker? I could see if he was logged into a Huppages account...those are the updates that matter...

3) Daniel Lorello is a case I recall (being a history nerd) so he rates but he is tied with the freaky bondage parents.

As for fearing for the future...I have some MAJOR concerns for the present...

Thanks!

Thomas


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 4 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hello, hello -- I am shocked! Have you been in contact with the hub team? Perhaps it's a program error. After all, you have hundreds of hubs that have been there for years... I don't understand. I'll contact you elsewhere for more info. Lynda

Hi thoughtsandwiches Always glad to hear from you. I hope you voted. If we have such MAJOR concerns for the present, imaging the future! THanks for the comment. Lynda


Casey Strouse profile image

Casey Strouse 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

This is way better than watching "World's Dummest Criminals" on TV.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 4 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Glad you enjoyed. Amazing the extent of human stupidity, isn't it?


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

This is just too amazing to be true, Lynda. You have to be joking about this, but evidently not. The world is a strange place and with Facebook and Twitter now the whole world can know immediately just how strange people can be. Astounding and bizarre article written in your usual entertaining style.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 4 years ago from The English Midlands

I think that, perhaps, for some reason, they must actually want to be caught.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 4 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Maybe so. It's hard to believe people could be that stupid.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working