Fooled by a Thief

You’ve got to love those ‘Dumb Criminal’ stories that pop up in the news from time to time. There’s just something that feels right about watching a bad guy get whacked in the face by his ownThief stupidity. Take, for example, these two brilliant masterminds who disguised themselves with Sharpies before trying to burglarize an apartment.

Call it karma, or justice, but we find them so satisfying, we’ve even featured a few of our favorites in the past.

It can seem almost too easy to stay ahead of the thieves, especially when all of the ones you read about in the news are the dumb ones who got caught!

And as I learned in a recent newsletter from my Rotary Club, some thieves prey on that expectation. The article was so good, I had to share. I know I would have been fooled by at least one scenario – would you fall prey to these clever criminals?

Park and Ride and Steal: When a family left their car in the San Jose Airport Park and Ride lot over their vacation, thieves broke in. Not content simply to take what was in the car, the thieves Thiefpopped open the glovebox and used the address information on the registration to find the vehicle owners’ home address. The family returned from vacation to a missing car and a home robbed of valuables.

Lesson Learned: Take your registration with you when you travel! Additionally – if your GPS lists your home address, reprogram it, or take it with you. Thieves can use that info to find your home while you’re away, too.

Phone Home – Or Don’t!: When a woman’s handbag was stolen, she realized that she’d lost not only her wallet and bank card, but also her cell phone. When she used another phone twenty minutes later to explain the situation to her husband, he informed her that he’d just received a text from her phone, asking to be reminded of their PIN number – he’d unknowingly given it to a thief. Not twenty minutes after her purse going missing, their bank account was completely drained!

Lesson Learned: Save contacts in your phone by their names, not by relationships that might give thieves information they need to prey on you! (Like ‘Mom,’ ‘Dad,’ ‘Hubby,’ ‘Wifey,’ etc!) Additionally, always confirm sensitive information via a phone call – never text.
Invasion of the Purse Snatchers: While shopping at a local mall, a woman reached up to grab an item off of a high shelf. While her back was turned, her purse was snatched, clean out of her cart.


Not making it hard for witnesses to make a positive ID!

She reported the theft to store security and went home, waiting to hear from the security desk. When the call came saying her wallet had been retrieved, she couldn’t have been happier!

However, when she arrived at the mall, they had no report of her wallet being found. The thieves used her personal information to call her house and lure her out by telling her that the wallet was at the mall. They then used the time to burglarize her home. Talk about a bad day!

Lesson Learned: Always call security back to verify that they have your items, or make sure to get the names of security personnel when you report a theft.

That last one especially gives me pause. While I might think about my GPS or car registration, I’d never think twice about going to retrieve my wallet after a call from mall security. Those thieves would have undoubtedly fooled me.

I was certainly glad to learn a fact or two (thanks, Rotary friends!) that might save me the next time I find myself up against a particularly clever thief! I hope these stories help you too.

Think about your security this weekend,