Yesterday's list of the 10 Most Heinous Crimes of 2011 may have made you want to weep for the evil of humanity. Today we bring you the 10 Stupidest Crimes of 2011 in and around St. Louis (listed in order of dumb to dumber), which may also make you want to weep, but this time for stupidity. Or you may consider it a hopeful sign that, despite everything, humanity somehow survives.
10. Rock, Chalk, Naked as a Jayhawk
It's still unclear why 45-year-old Donald Watson was wandering naked through the backyards of Springfield, Missouri, one evening last April. Nonetheless, Watson did what anybody stuck in such a nightmarish situation would do: He broke into a house and stole some clothes. Unfortunately, the clothes he happened to steal were a pair of shorts and T-shirts emblazoned with the University of Kansas Jayhawk. And this wasn't just any KU memorabilia: This was Jason Chambers' lucky outfit, which he wore during every game of the 2008 basketball season and which sustained the team through its NCAA championship run!
Chambers retired the togs after KU had the championship safely in hand, but nailed them to the wall for safekeeping. Though he'd moved out of the house the week before, he'd planned to return in a few days reclaim them. But Watson spoiled that. The clothes were taken into police custody after Watson was discovered hiding in Chambers' old attic. They are also now covered in blood after Watson's unfortunate run-in with a police dog.
The story has a semi-happy ending. After officials in the KU athletic department heard Chambers' sad story, they were so impressed with his school spirit that they sent him a new set of clothes. Alas, they lack whatever ineffable quality it was that made the old outfit so magical.
9. Mad As Hell and Not Gonna Take it Anymore!
After Roy Conger lost his job, the 42-year-old Collinsville resident petitioned the Madison County courts to reduce his child-support payments to a level he could afford. Last August a judge denied the motion on grounds that Conger had lost the job due to his own actions. Yes, Roy had a bit of a temper. A few months earlier, in April, his ex-wife had filed for an emergency order of protection against him. Among the documents she presented to the court was a letter Conger had written to a state agency after a lien was placed on his bank account. "You will hear about me and read about me. I promise that," it read.
Conger made good on that promise. Early in the morning of August 29, he attempted to back his tractor trailer into the Madison County courthouse in Belleville. That would teach them a lesson!
Sadly, the tractor got stuck on the courthouse steps. Conger panicked and ran, but turned himself in at the county jail a few minutes later.
8. Lessons in Party-Giving
Nobody likes to leave a party before they're ready. It leads to resentment. (Somewhere Miss Manners is nodding her head in sage agreement.) Case in point: Chad R. Johnson, 22, of Springfield, Missouri. At a shindig last June, Johnson was acting "disruptive," according to reports in the Springfield News-Leader. His hosts asked him to leave. Johnson complied...only to return a few minutes later in his car, which he drove onto the lawn. Two partygoers ended up on the hood. When Johnson shifted into reverse, he knocked over a third guest.
Moral of the story: When you kick someone out of a party, be sure to confiscate their keys and arrange for someone to take them home.
7. Funny Money
As long as we're dispensing life lessons, here's another: When you steal a large sum of money, say $1,000 cash, for God's sake, make sure the bills aren't marked!
That's what one sad soul in Dellwood learned this past September, after he went to the trouble of learning that a resident in group home for mentally-disabled adults kept the cash in his room and then dressing up in a hockey mask a la Jason in the Friday the Thirteenth movies and breaking into the house to steal it. Only then did he learn that the rightful owner of the money had taken the precaution of ripping each of the bills in half and writing his name on them. All police had to do to catch the thief was notify local banks. So much for that effort.
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