Criminals are dumb. It’s a fact of reality, and runs totally contrary to what popular fiction would have you believe. There are no evil geniuses out there coming up with needlessly complex schemes to say… force people to do their bidding using a magical beard tonic.
Point is, that with very rare exceptions, criminals are not incredibly bright bulbs. This is why most of them get caught. The stubbornness of criminals in breaking the law leads to some rather amusing antics. Think about it, most crimes are essentially this: dumb people trying to do something that smart people don’t want them to and then trying to prevent the smart people from finding out about it. That’s basically the premise to every successful comic strip or Looney Tunes short in history! It only makes sense that when this formula plays out in real life, it often ends up just making us want to laugh. Such is the case with the story you’re about to read, which in true crime story fashion I like to call “The Assault on The Wawa Bandits.” (As relayed to me by a member of law enforcement involved in the proceedings.) Note: this story is best read in Jason Statham’s voice.
Late in the afternoon the Anne Arundel County SWAT team receives a call that SWAT action is needed to resolve a hostage crisis. They suit up in full response gear (which includes tactical vests and machine guns) and loads up into the SWAT van. This is actually more of a tank, since it looks like what would happen if you crossed an armored van with a Transformer. About halfway to their destination, a call comes in that the previous situation has been resolved, but that they are preparing for SWAT arrival at a second site and the team is put on standby. While waiting for instructions, the team decides to get some coffee at a local gas station chain called Wawa.
The team wisely decides that entering the Wawa in full gear carrying guns is likely to alarm people, so one member of the team bravely volunteers to take off his gear and go in in just his uniform t-shirt and pants to retrieve the coffee. About this point the SWAT officer located by the van’s only real window looks to his left and notices a peculiar sight. A man has just pulled up in the parking space next to them and proceeds to start rolling up small paper sheets full of a controlled substance. One of his arms is in a sling, in order to facilitate his illegal behavior, he has propped his arm up on the steering wheel, and is doing his work six inches in the air above the steering wheel in full view of any passers-by. The officer alerts his comrades to the malfeasance taking place to their left, who respond:
“Sure, Terry. Pull the other one.”
The officer reiterates his concern with added emphasis on the malfeasance.
“Fine, we’ll bite. We’ll come look out the window.”
The first officer to arrive at the window confirms the malfeasance to the alarm of the other officers of the peace, who immediately spring into action. 11 fully equipped SWAT officers, their firearms, and one man in a t-shirt that says “SWAT” on it storm from the bus and surround the offending Ford Taurus. The man rolling contraband immediately attempts to hid what he is doing, but fails, due to his broken arm, in doing anything other than looking like a bad “numa numa” dancer.
At this point in the story, the officers realize that Slingboy the Dopey Criminal has an accomplice. They ascertain this information by peering into the window of the nearby Wawa and discovering that one man in the line to pay for coffee has suddenly done a very good imitation of Jerry the cat.
The officers motioned for him to come outside with the intent of questioning him to establish a possible link between him and the criminal already in custody. This intention was rendered unnecessary as Bonkers the Wawa Customer exited the coffee establishment yelling “You parked next to a SWAT van?? Why would you park the car next to a SWAT van you absolute git!?”
“I didn’t know it was a SWAT van!” replied Slingboy in a rather whimpering tone.
“It has SWAT written in block print down the side of it!” Bonkers shot back.
As the officers endeavored to arrest the two criminals, it quickly became apparent that Slingboy was also of an altered state of mind, when his eyes suddenly widened in fear and he asked:
“Did you guys come all the way back over from Afghanistan just to arrest us?”
It would prove to be the start of a long day.
Later that afternoon the SWAT officers learned a bonus lesson about the dangers of shoddy carpentry. A man clearly at the end of his wits was threatening to cause injury to what would later be discovered to be a mannequin, but which everyone thought was a woman at the time. In order to affect entry into the house, the SWAT team rolled their tank up to the front lawn and used an extending boom attached to the top of it to place a hydraulic battering ram against the door. This ram was then activated, in order to knock the door down and allow the SWAT officers to arrest the suspect. However, due to poor construction value, the door’s destruction caused a chain reaction which led to the entire front wall of the house falling away into the front yard. The suspect, suddenly realizing that his ruse was revealed and that he would never be able to explain to a home insurance company what had just happened, threw down his gun and surrendered. If they’re willing to knock your house down to get at you, its time to pack it in and give up.