The Stupidity of Criminals… Part 2!

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Earlier this year I wrote about the stupidity of criminals. With all the true crime I watch, read and listen to, I had to speak up… criminals (99.9% of the time) are stupid! In the blog post I wrote back in March, What Not To Do When Committing A Crime… The Stupidity of Criminals, I had an influx of things I missed told to me from other true crime fanatics. I was shocked. How could I not have picked up on a few of these?! Because of this I feel a second edition (and possibly a third) is needed. And so, the saga continues:

Don’t Like Your Own ‘Wanted’ Post on Facebook

I can’t believe I just typed that. With the rise of social media, local and federal authorities have started to post ‘Wanted’ posts on Facebook and Twitter. The more people that see it and share it, the better.

Meet Levi Charles Reardon from Cascade County, MT who back in 2015 liked his ‘Wanted’ post on Facebook. He was tagged on the post on the Crime Stopper page and made himself known. Stupid, you just gave away your IP address… the cops came and apprehended him.

Meet Anthony Aker from Richland, WA: He liked his own ‘Wanted’ Facebook post from the local police department and even told them he would be turning himself in. Then when he didn’t show a whole chat ensued online between him and the local PD. This honestly began to make the police department look stupid until, low & behold, he actually turned himself in about two weeks later! He just needed to get his affairs in order (so he said).

And of course, there was a Florida man (isn’t there always one?!).  Mack Yearwood was apprehended back in 2016 after the Stuart Police Department did a simple search for him on Facebook. They not only found him, but dude used his ‘Wanted’ poster as his profile pic.

If  you are looking to NOT get caught, stay off of social media.

Do Not Research ‘How to Get Away With Murder’

Yes, I know, How to Get Away With Murder is a popular TV show but researching this is not only going to bring you websites of the show, it will show you a lot more. Just like my previous post on this topic with cell phone & credit card use, whatever you search for online is hidden on your computer even if you delete your search history. It amazes me how many criminals search for poisonous plants, which weapon kills quicker, and my fave, how to dispose of a body and not be caught.

Clue #1, if your are searching online, the cops will know you are guilty.

Going On Vacation With Your Significant Other…

…and only buying 1 round trip ticket.

I really do not think this needs an explanation. But, if you are going to be taking that special someone on a romantic getaway and that person turns up missing and they find out you only purchased 1 round trip ticket… looks kind of suspicious. Don’t you think?!

In relation, do not attempt to ask for a refund if you do purchase a round trip ticket when your significant other is missing. Again… suspicious.

Don’t Give Away A Person’s Belongings…

Especially if they haven’t been missing a long time.

Most notable on this topic is Josh Powell, now deceased, whose wife, Susan Cox Powell turned up “missing” December 6, 2009. Within a month he had sold their house, moved, and gave away most of her belongings. Um, dude, do you know something about her disappearance because it sure looks like you do!

Sadly, Susan’s body has never been found. She is presumed dead. In a tragic twist, Josh Powell beat their two sons and then lit the house on fire with all three of them in it.

Taking Out Life Insurance Right Before A Death

Because money is the #1 cause for murder, this is a no brainer. So many episodes of Snapped, Dateline, etc. where someone loves money more than their significant other. They are worth more dead than alive. Life will be easy. Kill them, collect their insurance money, say $500,000 and live happily ever after…

… except, when you get caught. FYI, insurance companies will not pay out if you are a suspect in a murder or convicted of said crime.

Some examples:

A typical husband and wife scenario: In July of 1997, Nuzzio Begaren, of Anaheim, married his wife Elizabeth Wheat. Three days later, he took out a $1,000,000 life insurance policy on is wife. Nuzzio then contacted some gang members to kill his wife. Elizabeth, who worked as corrections officer, noticed a car following her one day. Her smart thinking eventually led to the arrests of Nuzzio & 2 of the 3 gang members as she jotted down the license plate number of the car. The 3rd is still at large.

A father, Karl Karlsen, of Waterloo, NY took out a life insurance policy on his own son just 17 days prior to his son’s death. Because of the nature of his death, it was initially ruled as an accident and Karl received $707,000. Well, because he got away with it, he took out a policy on his second wife. Turns out Karl is known for this. He received $80,000 for the deaths of his horses and wait, you guessed it, $200,000 on his first wife. It is really sad when a parent kills their own child for money.

Seen recently while binge-watching Forensic Files (Season 11, Episode 13 “Undertaken”:  Frankie Pullian was an errand runner for a funeral home in Paterson, NJ where E. Lee White was the director. Frankie had some neurological impairment. He was making no more than $10,000/year back in 1980 before his death. The police who arrived at the scene noticed a few inconsistencies at the site of where Frankie’s body was found and began to research his employer. Turns out the funeral director, his wife, and two other men began taking out policies on Frankie 8 months prior to his death having someone pose as Frankie and forging his signature. They stood to gain $980,000 with a bonus of $350,000 if Frankie died in an accident. Needless to say, they never saw any payment as all 4 were found guilty.

Pastor hires hit man to collect life insurance. This is a sad story. A pastor of all people, Kevin Jerome Pushia of Baltimore, MD, would trick mentally challenged individuals into applying for life insurance and naming him as the beneficiary. He took out a $200,000 life insurance policy on Lemuel Wallace, a man who was both blind and disabled. In addition to himself, he listed the victim’s brother as a beneficiary. Eventually he admitted his guilt and is serving a life sentence.

If you can’t trust a pastor, who can you trust, right?!


*Because this addition is already so long, a 3rd one will be required. Stay tuned for The Stupidity of Criminals Part 3 where I will discuss arson and more!*

*Disclaimer: I am in no way encouraging any of my readers on what to do to commit the perfect crime. This is an article about how stupid 99.9% of criminals are. I am formally saying, do not commit a crime. Just don’t.*

What Not To Do When Committing A Crime… The Stupidity of Criminals

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There is no denying the fact that I am a true crime fanatic. I live, breathe and sleep true crime. I watch true crime shows and documentaries. I listen to true crime podcasts. And, I read books devoted to true crime. With all this, I have deemed myself an expert… an expert on what not to do if you want to pull of the perfect crime.

My husband, who occasionally joins me for my Friday night “Wine & Dateline”, has stated many times about the stupidity of these criminals. I am not going to lie, these crimes are mostly murders. Please note, I do not condone any criminal act. My heart breaks for the victim and their family.

But, the criminal, the murderer, I have found myself laughing at many of them. I never in my wildest dreams thought this topic would be humorous, but it has become so.

Below is a list of what you shouldn’t do when trying to pull off the perfect crime. I honestly can’t believe how many stupid people believe they will never be caught that have done the following:

Using Your Cellphone

In this day and age, most of us are attached to our cellphones. We check our emails. We peruse social media. We text. And in rare occurrences, we actually make a phone call. The last two are a criminal’s downfall. Somewhere in between informing their ‘boss’, significant other, or anyone else, they forget that their cellphone will ping off of towers within their vicinity. So many Snapped episodes I have seen where the woman (because it is always a woman on Snapped) will constantly deny that they were anywhere near their now dead spouse, parents, or child. Then the cops show her her phone records. Really?! Are you that stupid to believe the cops would not look into your cellphone records?!

Using Your Credit Card

Similar to using your cellphone, do not use a credit card. So many episodes of Dateline and Snapped where the criminal goes to buy supplies and low and behold, pays with a credit card. Their own credit card. Really?! It is not only the credit card use that has solidified it was in fact you, but you are also caught on camera at the store. No need for receipts, law enforcement has already looked into your credit card purchases.

Keeping The Receipt

I just recently watched a Dateline episode, “Finding Venus”, where an ex-husband killed his ex-wife. He lived in Virginia, she in Michigan. He used a gaming buddy as his alibi. He even had this buddy pretend to be him delivering a check to his divorce lawyer. And, he would have gotten away with it if, a big if, he had thrown out a Walmart receipt. The receipt was found in his car from a location in Ohio along the drive from Virginia to Michigan. It gets better though. What was he buying on this receipt you ask? Gloves, a shovel and a tarp. The tarp wrapper was found at the scene of the crime. Yeah, not looking good buddy! If only you had thrown out that receipt…

Also, a big note to Doug Stewart, the ex-husband… it is bad enough you kept the receipt, but also, your outfit of choice when purchasing said items made you stand out even more. A striped shirt and surf shorts are not the way to go in the month of October in Ohio when you are buying murder supplies.

Using Your Real Name

Let’s go back in time. A time before social media. A time before cellphones. The year was 1986 and this crime happened one town over from where I live now. This is the sad murder of Helle Crafts, a Danish flight attendant. Her husband, Richard Crafts, a pilot, is now more famously known as the man who committed the Woodchipper Murder. Another criminal who thought he would get away with murder especially since they could not find a body. They had suspicions that Helle did not disappear but was in fact murdered with her husband as suspect #1. Problem was a snowplow had seen Richard on the side of the road with a woodchipper late the night Helle was last seen. This led the police to looking into rentals as the Crafts’ did not own one. Low and behold, on the rental agreement, although he paid in cash, Richard signed his own name. Doh!

Writing Out Your Murder Plan

When I first saw this on an episode of Snapped I was extremely amazed at the stupidity of this woman. Meet Maryann Castorena. She hired someone to kill her ex-boyfriend for his insurance as she was still declared the beneficiary. Not uncommon. Most murders are done for the insurance money. What makes her so ‘unique’ or just plain stupid, is she wrote the whole murder plan out for her hired help. When the cops asked her about the letter which highlighted every step of the murder, she claimed it was for a book or screenplay she was writing. She pleads with law enforcement that she overheard 2 women at a restaurant talking about this and thought, “Hey, what a great book/movie idea!”

Ms. Castorena… if you didn’t want to get caught, you shouldn’t have laid out the whole plot on paper.

Your Last Name Should Not Be Peterson, Period

If your last name is Peterson, just change it. Between Drew, Scott & Michael, you’re screwed.

It doesn’t matter if you are found innocent, you will still be guilty. Then again, you could just blame it on an owl!

And if you are a female with the last name Peterson, you will wind up being killed.

Not Paying Your Hired Help

I have seen many a Snapped episode where the instigator of the murder plot ‘forgets’ to pay their hired killer. As much as this killer does not want to get caught, you can bet if he or she does, your ass is going down with them… especially if you didn’t pay them. They will quickly tell the cops who hired them.

Paying Your Hired Help $100

Offering your hired help a mere pittance to murder your significant other will not work out well either. I am still perplexed at the people who agree to kill someone for $100. Really?! Let’s weigh the pros and cons: Pro, $100; Con (and most likely outcome) life in prison with or without parole. Does that $100 seem desirable now?!

(Insert head smack)

Please let me know if I left any off the list. Honestly, this list will constantly grow with all the advances in technology. I may have to write a follow-up to this in a year or two.

*Disclaimer: I am in no way encouraging any of my readers on what to do to commit the perfect crime. This is an article about how stupid 99.9% of criminals are. I am formally saying, do not commit a crime. Just don’t.*