Hollywood often portrays bad guys as masterminds. The daring escapes and fancy contraptions keeps the viewer’s attention, but those things only happen in movies. In real-life however, most thieves are just people who are looking for an easy score. While their plans sound sane in their minds, in reality, it might be totally ridiculous or impractical; eventually leading to their arrests. Here, we have collected stories of 10 such people, who not only managed to get themselves stuck in embarrassing situations, but some even had to call emergency services in order to be rescued.
1. On November 30, 2018, Suphachai Panthong, 27, tried to steal a gold chain from a jewelry store. After pretending to try on the chain, he made a run for it, but did not realize that the employee was capable of remotely locking the doors. He was trapped inside until authorities came and apprehended him.
Suphachai Panthong, 27, from Choburi, Thailand, had recently lost his job. Instead of trying to find a new job, he thought that becoming a thief would get him some easy money. So, on November 30, 2018, Panthong walked into a gold chain store, pretending to be a customer. Once he tried on a chain that was worth $500, Panthong made a run for it. Sadly for him, the store owner is too used to the technique and had locked the main doors; trapping him inside. Panthong was forced to return the chain and authorities were informed, who quickly arrived at the scene to apprehend him.
When the CCTV footage was played, Panthong confessed to his intentions and gave details of his master plan. According to Panthong, he arrived in a motorcycle, walked into the store, and had planned to make a run for it with the necklace. However, the store owner and employees foiled his plan. (source)
2. In 2017, John Bell tried to rob a cellular store when the employee locked the door and ran outside. Bell went on to take several cellphones before realizing that he was trapped inside. He then tried to force his way out, tried pleading with the employee, as well as prayed to miraculously make an escape. The steel bars however, remained intact, trapping him inside until authorities arrived.
In 2017, John Bell walked into a cellular store and demanded an employee to open the register. The employee however, refused to cooperate and walked out of the store along with another customer. On her way out, the employee locked the door, but Bell was too busy snatching some expensive phones to notice. When he was satisfied with the loot, he tried to flee, only to discover that the door was locked. Bell then tried extreme force to break the lock. When he realized that his plan had backfired, Bell started pleading to the employee who was on the phone with 911.
Houston police quickly arrived at the scene and arrested him without incident. Bell was already on deferred adjudication for 12 years from a 2015 aggravated robbery charge. Since he was a repeat offender, court records show that the judge sentenced him to five years in prison. (source)
3. An Australian man tried to break into a pharmacy through the chimney, when he became trapped. The dangling burglar tried to free himself for more than an hour before realizing that he was stuck. Fearing for his life, he called emergency services who had to rescue the burglar.
On December 12, 2018, a man from Melbourne decided to make some extra money for Christmas by breaking into a pharmacy. His plan was easy; wait until the pharmacy closes and simply climb down the chimney. Sadly for him, the chimney was small, as well as equipped with motion detectors. After climbing halfway down, the unidentified man became trapped and also set off the alarm. Authorities quickly arrived at the scene but did not see any signs of a break in, so they left.
Approximately two hours after becoming trapped, the thief realized that his chances of escaping were slim to none. So, he did what anyone else would do – dialed emergency services. Rescue operations quickly arrived and assisted the helpless thief. After being treated for some minor injuries, he was apprehended for his failed attempt and charged with burglary. (source)
4. A bungling car thief in Norway managed to get himself locked inside a car and was forced to call police in order to be rescued.
Nationwide in the United States, an estimated 721,053 motor vehicle thefts occur each year or approximately 229.7 motor vehicles stolen for every 100,000 inhabitants. This also hurts the economy since more than $4.3 billion is lost annually due to petty crimes like car theft. In order to tackle this, today, most car manufacturers include anti-theft technology. Expensive cars like the Lamborghini, Ferrari and other sports cars have such technology, which locks its doors automatically if intrusion is detected.
In 2018, a 17-year-old would-be thief from Norway tried to steal a car that was parked outside a dealership. The unidentified burglar managed to pry open the doors without damaging the exterior panels. Once inside however, the car’s security system locked all doors; trapping him inside. The bungling thief tried to kick the doors open and even tried to break the windows, but to no avail. Finally, he decided to call the police for help since the dealership was closed for the weekend and he would have been trapped for two long days. “He sounded quite stressed and desperate when he called us, and I think he was relieved when we arrived,” an officer told TV2. He was apprehended and authorities have not released any info about the charges, due to his age. (source)
5. In 2017, a Florida woman tried to pull a $7 million heist at a jewelry store. The store owner however, was aware of her intentions and locked her inside the store’s safe until authorities arrived.
46-year-old Fatima Milanovic had only one goal in her mind; walk away a millionaire using the bait and switch method. The Florida native’s plan was to walk into a jewelry store pretending to be an exclusive buyer and switch diamonds without anyone noticing. After walking into ECJ Luxe Collection in Boca Raton, she was greeted by the store owner Bobby Yampolsky. Milanovic told Bobby that she was representing a buyer but did not bring any tools to examine the jewels. “She came here to inspect stones without bringing any tools; no magnifying glass, no diamond dealers loop, nothing, so it was obvious she was about to pull something.” Bobby said.
Once inside the safe, Milanovic made several attempts to distract Bobby, who immediately understood her intentions. At the same time, Milanovic wrapped the jewels worth approximately $7 million with tape and tried to switch it with a pack of fake ones inside her bag. “That’s how she tried to scam us,” Yampolsky said. “She brought her own materials, wrapped it herself with her own tape and tried to pull the switch because she had the identical package in her bag, pre-made”. Bobby realized her intentions and walked straight towards the door, locking her inside. He then called the police, who apprehended the culprit and charged her with grand theft and organized fraud. (source)
6. Two Canadian would-be thieves rob a convenience store but become trapped inside the store when the employee locks the main doors. When police arrive, the female robber tries to flee by walking through the ceiling; which fails and sends her almost 20 feet down to the concrete floors. Thankfully for us, the entire ordeal was captured on the store security cameras.
Since convenience stores are operational 24/7 and since they mostly deal with cash, they are convenient for thieves for a quick loot. Sadly for two Canadian thieves, their plan didn’t go so well. After trying to use a stolen credit card to buy items, the employee alerted authorities and locked the door. When police arrived, the duo tried to flee but were stopped by an officer. As the first responding officer was trying to handcuff the man, the woman tried to flee by pulling a Tom Cruise stunt by climbing through the ceiling to make a daring escape.
Sadly for her, the ceiling couldn’t hold her weight and gave away; sending her almost 20 feet down onto the concrete floor. Backup officers arrived on the scene and apprehended the woman before she was able to pull another stunt. Thankfully for us, the entire ordeal was recorded on camera. (source)
7. A New York burglar tried to rob offices in a New York complex by trying to gain access through the air vent. When the ventilation pipe fell apart, so did his plan. Instead of hightailing out of the office, he proceeded to carry on with his masterplan before being apprehended.
Earlier this year, Sean Maranzino, 32, hatched a plan to rob multiple offices in a New York complex. On March 21st, he went through the air vent and made his way into the building. Maranzino was trying to find an opening, when a loose bolt caused the entire vent system to give way, causing him to land inside a tax accountant’s office. Amir Hassan was working late that night, when Maranzino fell through the ceiling. Maranzino informed Hassan that he had been working on the air conditioning unit but it wasn’t able to hold his weight. As Hassan proceeded to call 911, Maranzino left the office by foot and should have been hightailing out of there.
Instead, he went on to rob a few offices before becoming trapped in the vent of a dental office. The emergency crew had to be called to remove a stuck Maranzino, who was then arrested and charged for the crimes. According to police records, Maranzino was a former vent and air conditioning worker who had recently lost his job. (source)
8. A Belgian burglar tried to scale a supermarket fence, when his pants became lodged in the spikes. A passerby stopped and freed him but he returned a few hours later to help himself to some beverages. Once again, his pants became lodged in the spikes, causing him to dangle upside down for several hours and be apprehended.
Thieves believe that if their plan initially worked, then it will work a second, third or even fourth time. A Belgian thief broke into a supermarket and helped himself to some energy drinks. As he was leaving the premises, he had to scale a gate that was filled with spikes. CCTV video shows the burglar becoming trapped after his pants were caught on the spikes. A passerby spotted the man desperately calling for help and decided to lend him a hand. Once free, he made an escape with the stolen energy drinks. Many thieves would consider themselves lucky and be done with it but not our Belgian thief.
A few hours later, he returned to help himself to more beverages and was trapped the same way while making an escape. This time however, no one helped him and a passerby who spotted the dangling thief, called police. When police arrived, they apprehended the 30-year-old who was familiar to local authorities for petty crimes. (source)
9. On September 26, 2018, an aspiring burglar tried to break into a store through the roof before becoming trapped. The humid and hot weather caused him to become dehydrated and finally plead for help. He was rescued by firefighters and later arrested.
Interesting things always happen in Florida. In 2018, a man gained access to the roof of a store with the help of a tree, but soon realized that there was no entrance to the store from the rooftop. Unwittingly, he tried to make an escape but realized that the branches were too far for him to reach. The clumsy thief waited for hours before becoming extremely dehydrated and pleading for help. According to the store owner, he started hearing someone yelling “help”. When the owner ran outside, he discovered a head poking out of the roof, crying, “Help me, I’m trapped”.
The owner called authorities, who immediately arrived and rescued the man. Although his name was not released to the public, authorities said that the first thing he asked for was a bottle of water. Although he denied any intentions of wrongdoing, authorities are sure that it was a failed robbery attempt. (source)
10. On December 12, 2018, a would-be burglar used greased vents to gain access to a Chinese food restaurant in San Lorenzo before becoming trapped in there for two long days.
A would-be burglar tried to gain access to a Chinese restaurant through the vents when he became trapped in them. The greased vents were smaller than he was but that did not stop him from trying to move forward with his plan. The unidentified man tried to help himself out for two long days before giving up and calling for help. A neighboring business owner heard the cries and went to investigate, where he discovered the trapped man. “I keep hearing this ah, ah and I’m like, who can it be?” said Igor Campos, who owns Campos Tax Services on Bockman Road in San Lorenzo.
Campos called 911 and when first responders arrived, they discovered an exhausted man who was desperate to get out. Alameda County firefighters had to dismantle the vent in order to free him. He was then taken to a nearby hospital to be treated and then taken into custody. Thankfully, he survived the ordeal so that he can face the consequences of his actions. (source)