Sometimes we read the police reports and think that some of these crimes are too bizarre to be true. And sometimes we’re right! People, for all manner of reasons, commit crimes against themselves and try to pin the rap on someone else. Obviously, these self-inflicted crimes get found out eventually, but they certainly give us something to talk about. Here are 10 of the most bizarre self-inflicted crimes in history.
Ashley Todd Attack - 2008
One of the most craven self-inflicted crimes of all time happened in 2008, when a young woman named Ashley Todd walked into a police station in Pittsburgh with the letter “B” carved into her cheek. She claimed that a gigantic black man had spotted the John McCain sticker on her car and it drove him into such a rage that he attacked her, cut her face and told her, “You’re going to be a Barack supporter.” Right-wing blogs were all over the story, but the cops quickly debunked it after reviewing surveillance tapes and Todd subsequently admitted that she’d done it herself – and she was actually working for the College Republican National Committee.
Charlie Rogers Attack - 2012
It’s hard to imagine what would motivate someone to mutilate their own body and blame it on another person. Let’s look at the case of Charlie Rogers, a former University of Nebraska women’s basketball player and openly gay woman, who claimed that three men broke into her Lincoln house, tied her up with zip ties and used a box cutter to carve anti-gay epithets into her arms and stomach before spray-painting graffiti in her basement and setting her house on fire. Police were suspicious right away because her wounds were pretty superficial, but a receipt from a local hardware store showing Rogers had bought gloves, zip ties and a box cutter just a few days before the attack did her in. She’d also posted a Facebook message saying that she was going to “make things better for everyone.” Rogers’ plan to become a martyr for gay rights didn’t work out as planned.
Bethany Storro Attack - 2010
It’s interesting that a good number of these self-inflicted crimes are perpetrated by women, especially ones that involve hurting their own bodies. One of the most gruesome is the tale of Bethany Storro, who claimed that in August of 2010, an unknown woman ran up to her outside a coffee shop in Vancouver, Washington and threw acid in her face, permanently disfiguring her. The shocking tale got Storro national media attention, including an appearance on "Good Morning America." Police started to get suspicious, however, when witnesses at the scene reported Storro being alone in a park when the attack happened. She confessed under questioning to doing it herself.
Chris Cotter Attack - 2000
As mentioned, people have many motives for self-inflicted crimes, but love is an unlikely one. It does happen, though. Back in 2000, Chris Cotter had just ended a relationship with Ashia Hansen, a British triple jumper of Ghanian descent. Then some scary stuff started happening to Hansen. Threatening letters from a mysterious racist group were found in her mailbox and sent to other prominent black athletes. One night in March, Cotter was supposed to have dinner with Hansen to discuss their relationship. He showed up late to her house, bleeding from stab wounds to his back and forehead, and claimed he was attacked by a group of people shouting racial taunts. He lost four pints of blood and was hospitalized as the police tried to hunt down the evil forces behind the attack. They didn’t have to look far – Cotter had conspired with two co-workers to stage it all, hoping to use it to win back Hansen’s heart. Needless to say, once the truth came out, she dumped him for good.
Azalea Cooney Vandalism - 1992
A shocking racial attack in Portland, Oregon, galvanized the traditionally liberal community to action. Azalea Cooney, a 40-year-old lesbian and former corrections worker confined to a wheelchair and suffering from brain cancer, woke up in shock to find a swastika and “Burn, N*gger, Burn” spray-painted on her garage. The attacks escalated, with burning crosses parked on her lawn, threatening letters in her mailbox and a black baby doll with a bullet in its head left on her porch. Police were baffled, so they set up surveillance cameras at a neighbor’s house to catch the culprits. What they found was staggering – Cooney was filmed getting out of her wheelchair and creating the vandalism herself. She had faked everything, including the cancer!
Pizza Robber - 2003
Here’s a bizarre self-inflicted crime that actually left the perpetrator dead. Brian Douglas Wells was a podunk pizza delivery guy who walked into a bank in Erie, Pennsylvania, with a bomb around his neck. He claimed that three black men had abducted him, fitted him with the bomb and told him they’d detonate it if he didn’t rob the bank and perform several other tasks. The bomb squad was called, but the device exploded before they got there, killing Wells. So, what about the three black men? They never existed. They were part of a plan by Wells and some cohorts to serve as a cover story for the robberies, which were to make money to pay for a mob hit that never materialized.
Samuel White Arson - 2005
There are often financial motivations for self-inflicted crimes. Insurance doesn’t pay out for suicide, as they say, so pinning property damage on someone else can get you a sizable payout. Case in point: the racially motivated burning of Samuel White’s house in Houston, Texas. After firefighters extinguished the blaze, they discovered racial slurs and swastikas drawn on the inside walls, leading them to believe it was a hate crime. Oddly, though, the slurs were spelled wrong and the swastikas were drawn backwards. Then neighbors started to step forth to testify that they’d seen White removing appliances from the house the day before the fire, and all the pieces fell into place. He was charged with arson and insurance fraud soon afterwards.
Laurie Ann Martinez Rape, 2011
Here’s one that’s deeply disturbing in several ways. In 2011, prison psychologist Laurie Ann Martinez called 911 in shock, sobbing that she had just come home to discover a strange man in her kitchen. He’d punched her in the face, knocked her unconscious and raped her before escaping the house with some electronics. However, once the cops started looking into the case, they discovered that Martinez had worked with a friend to fake the whole thing as part of a plot to convince her husband to move to a more expensive neighborhood! Martinez split her lip with a safety pin, ripped her blouse, scraped her knuckles with sandpaper and had the friend punch her in the face, and then topped it off by purposefully peeing in her underwear. Even worse for Martinez, her husband filed for divorce six weeks after the incident.
Sharmeka Moffitt Attack - 2012
One of the most recent events on this list happened in Winnsboro, Louisiana, in mid-October. A frantic 911 call led police to Sharmeka Moffitt, an African-American woman who had just suffered third-degree burns to her arms, legs and torso. Moffitt claimed that three men wearing white hoods had jumped her, doused her in gasoline and set her on fire before writing “KKK” and “N*gger” on her car’s hood. This horrible racial crime shocked the area, until investigators found the lighter used in the attack – which had Moffitt’s fingerprints on it. Her motives for the hoax remain unknown.