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Fragrant Criminal Activity

By Mordechai Schmutter

Being a criminal is hard. You think it’s easy, taking what other people worked for, but it’s not. And every time you mess up, it makes the news, and everyone always gets into a whole big snit about it, and no one is willing to help you. It’s almost not worth it.

For example, we may make fun of criminals for stealing things like chocolate spread and bridges and huge trucks of margarine, but thieves have lives, like me and you. They have to eat, they have to sleep, and they have to get across rivers that are exactly a certain size without paying the toll. But that’s why they don’t just steal money. Life isn’t just about money. If they steal money, they have to then take that money and buy what they want. Isn’t it easier to just cut out the middle step and steal the thing that they want in the first place?

You don’t think it’s silly to steal one thing to make it easier to get another? Take the news article titled “Man Uses Bobcat Loader to Break Into Store, Steals Deodorant.”

What do you want? The man needed deodorant. Even criminals need deodorant, and we never think about that. But the article goes on to say that it wasn’t his Bobcat loader either. The man stole the loader, and then used that to smash the front door of a store called “Family Dollar,” and stole two cans of deodorant. He didn’t even take the cash register.

Maybe it’s just me, but I think the loader was worth more than the deodorant.

Oh, wait. It turns out the guy also stole some gift cards. To the dollar store.

You’re there already. They got you on camera. Take what you need.

Yeah, but all I need is deodorant.

Maybe he got the gift cards so he could get more deodorant at a later date. That’s pretty smart, actually. It’s easier than carrying everything out at once, during the robbery.

But anyway, they caught him on camera.

That’s another complication of criminals’ lives: video cameras. Take the case of four burglars in England who robbed some houses, and then brought all the loot home. Unfortunately, they were also caught on video cameras. A whole group of guys working together, and they have to bring the loot to the house of the guy who has video cameras at his front door. The cops came to the house, and they saw footage of the four of them coming in with huge piles of stuff, all wearing gloves and ski masks, in the middle of April.

Robbers also have to constantly keep their heads in the game. Take the case in Madrid of four thieves who robbed a bank. (It’s always four thieves—I guess because that’s how many thieves can fit into a car so that no one has to sit on the hump. They never go to rob banks in a minivan.)

Anyway, they were merging onto the highway, when they crashed into another car. (Ski masks aren’t great for peripheral vision.) So they jumped out of their car, stole another car, and sped away. Leaving all the loot in the first car.

Well, that was worth it.

I wonder how far they got before they noticed.

“Wait. I think we’re forgetting something . . . Did we have a fifth guy?”

Also, the people you’re stealing from always try to fight back. Take the article titled “Restaurant Workers Fight Off Robber with Cleaning Spray.” A man in Utah walked into the kitchen of a Mexican restaurant with a gun and demanded the money.

So first of all, that’s not where restaurants keep the money. They don’t keep it in the kitchen in the “random kitchen tools” drawer. You know what they DO keep in the kitchen? All the weapons. He’s walking into a room with knives, big blunt frying pans, rolling pins, and a ton of jalapeño peppers. He’s lucky all they used was oven cleaner.

So someone grabbed the oven cleaner and sprayed him in the face. I don’t know if you’ve ever used oven cleaner, but it stings. It says in big letters on the can, “DO NOT SPRAY IN FACE.” You know how we always wonder why they put warning labels on things? Like “Do not eat,” or “Do not use while sleeping”? It’s not because they think you’re so dumb that you’ll actually do these things. It’s in case you come face-to-face with a burglar and you have to think fast. “Quick! He’s coming closer! Make him eat the deodorant!”

So it’s hard to steal money. Sometimes it’s easier to just take what you need. Take the case of a man in England who woke up one morning to find that his entire front lawn had been stolen.

How does that work?

“Honey? Why is our house suddenly 50 feet closer to the street?”

So what happened was they just stole his grass. It wasn’t actually real grass, or he probably would have heard them mowing. He had fake grass mats.

So now the guy says he doesn’t want to put in more grass until he puts up a security camera. Like this is definitely going to happen again. To the same person.

Not like security cameras would work. There was another case, in South Yorkshire, England, where a store had put up a six-foot cardboard cutout of a policeman to deter thieves. You know how people sometimes put up fake security cameras? A cardboard policeman shouldn’t be any worse. But apparently, since they did that, Manchester police claimed that crime had gone down by 75%.

Well, until it was stolen.

Yes, somebody stole the cop. And no, I don’t know how you walk out of a store with a six-foot cardboard person under your shirt. But I say that if you have a six-foot policeman, and you don’t want people to steal it, you should nail it to the wall. Or put up a second cardboard cop to watch the first one.

But either way, the idea was good—on paper. Having fake cops is a great way to save the taxpayers’ money. Maybe we should do this for all government workers.

“Hello, 911? Our cardboard fireman’s on fire!”

But criminals have other needs too. I have here an article titled “Five Suspected of Stealing 9½ Tons of Garlic.” Suspected? You don’t even need dogs to find those guys!

So apparently there is a gang of five criminals somewhere. Although with 9½ tons of garlic, they did not do this in a four-door car.

Actually, according to the article, they had three overloaded vans. Where do they even find 9½ tons of garlic to steal?

Police tried questioning the suspects, but every time the suspects opened their mouths to talk, police had to leave the room.

“Let’s send in the cardboard guy!”

But not to worry. Apparently, police in the Midwest have noticed an alarming increase in the theft of tooth-whitening strips.

Tooth-whitening strips are great. Instead of brushing three times a day, every day, spending half your life brushing your teeth just to keep them white, how about every time before a simcha, you just put on a strip, and then remember to take it off before pictures? It’s certainly better than some other ideas, such as drinking bleach. Or touching up your teeth with Wite-Out.

And actually, the police did find one woman stealing some, and they tried asking her if she knew of anyone else doing it. But she kept her mouth shut.

And finally, in Thurmont, Maryland, someone broke into a gas station and stole 300 packs of potpourri.

Okay, about half the people reading this column just turned to the person next to them and asked, “What’s pot-POURy?”

So I’ll explain: Potpourri is something you steal after you steal 9½ tons of garlic. (“Oh wow, this car stinks! What do we do?” “I don’t know! Let’s steal 300 bags of potpourri.”)

Who breaks in somewhere to steal potpourri? It’s much easier to steal flowers and make your own. Or just steal someone’s front lawn. v

Mordechai Schmutter is a weekly humor columnist for Hamodia and is the author of four books, published by Israel Book Shop. He also does freelance writing for hire. You can send any questions, comments, or ideas to

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Posted by on January 10, 2014. Filed under In This Week's Edition. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.