When you commit a crime, you don’t want to be recognized. So many criminals don disguises to get away with their dirty deeds. Unfortunately, sometimes those clever outfits get in the way. In this feature, we’ll spotlight ten idiotic costumed criminals who got busted.
Groping is almost entirely a male crime, but every so often a lady gets in on the act. New Yorker Dorothy MacSwoon was busted by the cops for groping, fondling and harassing 27 New York University students in 2010. That’s unusual enough, but when you throw in the fact that she was dressed as an Imperial Stormtrooper from "Star Wars" things get really weird. MacSwoon – who was also allegedly homeless – maintained a role-playing blog all about her sexual adventures, which made it easy for police to charge her.
The thing about committing a crime in costume is that you need to take the costume off right afterwards. University of Pittsburgh student Jonathan Hewson didn’t pick up on that with his failed convenience store robbery. Wearing a full Spider-Man outfit, Hewson stormed into a Pittsburgh Atwood Express store and demanded money from the clerk. In response, the man pulled out a stun gun and threatened to make Hewson’s spider sense tingle for real. The wannabe robber fled the scene, only to be picked up by cops minutes later because he was still wearing the Spidey suit.
No, not that Adam Sandler. Unless that Adam Sandler got extensive plastic surgery and started hanging out in New York tourist areas ranting about the Jews. From the outside, Sandler looked like one of the many costumed characters who made cash posing for pictures with gullible tourists, but his foul-smelling Elmo suit hid the black heart of an old-school racist. He was arrested both in Central Park and Times Square for anti-Semitic hate speech. Amazingly enough, he dropped the costume and got busted for an even bigger crime – trying to extort $2 million from a pair of Girl Scout leaders.
One actual criminal use for a costume is identity theft. If you can use the magic of makeup to imitate someone else’s appearance well enough, you can get away with all kinds of shenanigans. Washington crook Joshua Pinney, however, isn’t quite at that level. When Pinney walked into a Bank of America in Des Moines wearing absurdly fake bandages and facial hair, tellers were already on high alert. When he pulled out an ID of a totally different person and asked for a new debit card to be issued, they called the cops. The scheme was allegedly his girlfriend’s idea.
The vast majority of bank robbers are male, so Pittsburgh crook Dennis Hawkins didn’t have too bad of an idea in trying to dress up like a lady before knocking over a Swissvale bank. Unfortunately, his disguise (a long blonde wig, fake breasts under a shirt and clown pants for some reason) was ruined by one simple mistake: he forgot (or didn’t want to) shave his mustache. Even though he got away with some money, the dye packet exploded on him in his getaway car and he just surrendered in shame to police.
When you’re about to make the jump to the big leagues, the last thing you want to do is dress up like Tinky Winky from "Teletubbies" and go on a drunken rampage. Unfortunately, nobody told hockey player Riley Sheahan that. Sheahan, who was on the cusp of being signed by the Detroit Red Wings, was pulled over in Grand Rapids in 2012 driving the wrong way down a one-way street. His blood alcohol content was a staggering .30 and he was clad in a purple Teletubbies costume. To make things worse, when the police asked him for his ID he gave them the driver’s license of a fellow teammate that he had in his wallet for some reason. Needless to say, he didn’t make the Wings and is still playing in the minors.
Sometimes when you wear a costume you get a little personality change to go along with it. When 54-year-old Florida doctor Raymond Adamcik squeezed himself into an ill-fitting Captain America costume for a fancy dress pub crawl, he didn’t start fighting for truth, justice and the American way. Instead, he got insanely drunk and stuffed a burrito down the front of his pants. He then went around the bar asking women to fondle his new bulge. Cops brought him into the station and then caught him trying to flush a marijuana cigarette down the toilet.
Police in Middletown, Ohio were perplexed when they got numerous phone calls about a cow running through a busy intersection. When they arrived at the scene, they discovered that it wasn’t a real cow but a woman named Michelle Allen clad in a full-body cow costume. A familiar face to Middletown cops, the bovine serial offender was chasing terrified children, blocking traffic and even urinated on the porch of a home. When she was subdued and taken to the station, she demanded police officers “suck her udders.” Allen was given a 30-day sentence in the Middletown jail but refused to remove her cow costume for the duration of her stay.
Matthew McNelly and Joey Miller
This one goes in the really dumb file. When Iowa scumbags Matthew McNelly and Joey Miller got the bright idea to break into a neighbor’s apartment in the town of Carroll, they realized they needed to hide their identities. So the idiotic duo grabbed a pair of Sharpie markers and drew “masks” on their faces with permanent ink. After their attempt to break in was rebuffed, the police tracked them down driving drunk in their 1994 Buick Roadmaster, still with their worthless disguises on their faces.
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We’re trying to keep away from Halloween busts on this list – it’s just too easy – but in the case of James Miller we’re going to make an exception. In 2009, Miller was picked up by Oxford, Ohio cops driving the wrong way down a one-way street. When police pulled him over and got him out of his vehicle to administer a field sobriety test, they discovered that he was ironically dressed as a Breathalyzer. When they hooked him up to the real deal, he blew a .158, almost twice the legal limit. He was also 18 and had multiple fake IDs in his wallet, so it wasn’t a great night for young Miller.