By Jerry Zezima
The Stamford Advocate
Time now for another exciting episode of Stupid Crook Tricks, the hard-hitting series that presents actual cases of bumbling incompetence by some of the most inept criminal masterminds in America.
All of these stories are true. The names have been eliminated to protect the dumb, de-dumb-dumb, dumb, de-dumb-dumb-duuuumb.
I am especially proud of the current crop of crooks because they are essentially hometown boys gone bad.
I realized there might be a local connection when I read a recent story in The Stamford Advocate about a couple of idiots who called a bank in Fairfield to say that they were coming to rob the place.
Noelle Frampton of the Connecticut Post reported that the dimwitted duo asked for a bag containing $100,000 in large bills. Naturally, bank officials alerted the cops, who were waiting for the pathetic pair and arrested them when they showed up to collect the loot.
“I would classify these individuals as not too bright,” said Sgt. James Perez, Fairfield police spokesman. “They should have spent time in school instead of trying to rob a bank.”
This got me wondering whether stupid crooks have ever struck my hometown of Stamford. To find out, I called two sources in the Stamford Police Department whose identities I cannot reveal except to say that they are Assistant Chief Jon Fontneau, a former neighbor of mine, and Capt. Richard Conklin, both of whom have been on the force for nearly 30 years and have pretty much seen it all.
Fontneau, who was commander of the narcotics and organized crime unit before being promoted to assistant chief earlier this year, recalled one young man who not only had a long rap sheet for dealing dope but was, of course, a dope himself.
“We were on Stillwater Avenue looking for guys with warrants,” Fontneau said. “Even though we were in an unmarked car, the vehicle was like a heat-seeking missile because it was well known to just about everybody who’s a bad guy. Not only that, but we were wearing jackets that said ‘POLICE’ in large letters on the sleeves and on the front and back. This kid waved us down, jumped in the backseat and asked if we wanted to buy drugs. Then he said, ‘Hey, you guys look like cops!’ Maybe it was the police raid jackets that tipped him off.”
Then there was the marijuana moron who tried to hide his stash under a rock in front of police headquarters.
“It was on Stamford Historical Society property,” Fontneau remembered. “A couple of society employees saw this guy, who was on his way to the courthouse for a drug case, put something under a rock. They went outside, lifted the rock, found marijuana and called us. The irony is that the narcotics unit overlooks the property. Sgt. Chris Gioielli went out and put a note under the rock saying, ‘You are under arrest. Look up at the police station.’ We watched the kid come back and lift the rock. He looked perplexed. He read the note and looked up at the department. Two officers exited headquarters, walked over and arrested him.
“His father was aghast,” Fontneau continued. “He claimed police planted the drugs. He said, ‘I know my son has done some bad things, but I didn’t raise him to be this dumb.’ You can’t make this stuff up.”
Conklin didn’t make up the story of the bumbling burglar who lost his case because he tried to drink it.
“He broke into a home, looked around and found the liquor cabinet,” Conklin recalled. “So he started to imbibe. Eventually, he passed out. The owners of the house came home, saw the place had been broken into and heard this guy snoring loudly. It was a very easy case to solve.”
Both Conklin and Fontneau had other stories that will have to wait until the next exciting episode of Stupid Crook Tricks.
“We always say thank goodness for stupid crooks,” Conklin said. “They make our jobs a lot easier.”
Copyright 2010 by Jerry Zezima