Police work is full of stories worth remembering, and attention to detail is important to would-be criminals if they want to avoid sleeping in the cells. Here we take a look back at the most noteworthy slip-ups and ridiculous cases from police files – cases that saw criminals doing the work for the police themselves involving some of Spain’s dumbest criminals. With the utmost respect to those involved, here is a round-up of 2014’s crime dummies.
Faux-pas at the wheel:
Patrolling the Costa del Sol this year National Police noticed a van repeatedly swerving across the road. The van nearly hit a number of vehicles and police intervened when the driver parked at a Fuengirola shopping centre. Upon searching the vehicle they found 174 kilos of marihuana.
Few places are harder to fool security forces than at airports. Yet this didn’t stop a Senegalese man who was arrested at Malaga airport for buying a ticket using somebody else’s passport. In January, a Chinese person also ended up in handcuffs after trying to board a place with false identity documents.
In January the manager of a private health clinic in Malaga city centre reported the theft of the clinic’s cash-box to police. About €38,000 disappeared although the establishment had security cameras and an alarm system. Investigators discovered that the crime reportedly happened on the day an internal audit was due at the clinic. The manager had reported a similar situation previously in Zaragoza.
Fleeced Don Juan:
Although we’re concentrating on silly criminals, we also have to mention one of the silliest victims of the year. A 51-year-old Frenchman in Marbella thought he was all set for a naughty threesome with two ladies, when he found himself in a strange flat where the women demanded his credit card. He paid happily for the ‘service’, but had not consented to another seven transactions carried out by two other people – one of whom was in their 80s – totalling €3,100. He had allegedly passed out from the drugs he was forced to consume.
Sex and marihuana:
One of the top cases happened in February. Local policemen surprised a man on the Azucarera-Intelhorce road near Malaga City trying to obtain the services of a prostitute. While asking the man to move on the officers spotted a badly hidden bag of marihuana, a further search revealed almost three more kilos of the drug inside the car.
Hot and flustered:
Marihuana production also saw two flat-mates sharing a cell. Faulty electrical heaters used to dry the drugs caused a fire in the flat and when police arrived they discovered 18 kilos of marijuana and more than €2,400 in cash.
Two youths caught trying to steal 150 kilos of avocados could be accused of being inept at stealing, but not of bad manners. The youths were spotted pulling the fruit from trees by the owner of the land. They left, but not without stopping to wish the man a good evening. They were arrested soon after for attempted theft.
National anti-theft police in Antequera couldn’t believe their eyes back in April when they found a man wearing a face mask and waving a wooden stick behind a petrol station. They determined he was probably waiting for someone to come out and attack. Once disarmed and arrested, the policemen discovered that the man was an ex-employee of the station and was waiting for the security man to come out with the day’s takings.
Also in April, a man reported having been the victim of a robbery at Malaga airport. He said a tablet and his identity documents were grabbed, and described the robber as a man in his early 20s wearing a red-hooded sweater and riding a motorbike. During the investigation, the victim avoided going to the police station, telling police he was on holiday in America. Then one day he claimed that somebody had left the tablet outside his front door. Police investigators proved that the theft never happened and the report was false.
In October, a couple thought up a way to avoid paying their collection of traffic fines, totalling almost €900. When the fines on both their vehicles arrived in the post, they blamed someone else whose documents they had – they had been given copies to help their acquaintance find work.
Last October a 53-year-old man arrived at the traffic authority headquarters in Malaga to take a driving test with somebody else’s ID. The man was arrested for faking his identity after his information was checked on police databases.
In May, policemen arrested a man for holding illegal weapons. He was hiding two guns, ammunition and a bow and arrow at work in Malaga City. Although he held no licences for the weapons, the man declared that he kept them at work because he had no space at home. The man had previously been arrested in 2011 in Alhaurin de la Torre for carrying weapons in his car.