Dumb crooks and a thieving cross-dresser

By , CardRatings contributor
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Before I share the latest, I have to confess that sometimes I worry about flagging a criminal as a "dumb crook." I picture them in the pen, reading one of my articles, getting their feelings hurt and then spending the next several months or years, weight-lifting to a Rocky montage, and then tracking me down, all so they can give me what they see as a well-deserved knuckle sandwich.

But I have to think that even the two crooks in our first story who were recently caught in Somerset, Pennsylvania, for robbery, would agree with me on this. As crimes go, they really botched this one up.

Time for confession

Ian Koval and Woodrow Engle, both 27, allegedly burglarized a church and were caught by police.

Their heist didn't go too well, though. They used a pry bar to get into the church, and then they broke into a safe and stole a credit card. But then they somehow accidentally locked themselves inside the church's office.

Fortunately, one of them was able to pick the lock. Then, according to The Tribune-Democrat, the paper for Somerset, one of the men used their credit card to jimmy the door open, and then they escaped.

That might have been that, but the man who used his credit card to pick the lock left it in the office.

Police, once they arrived on the scene, found it and obviously then instantly knew the man's name and were able to find the burglars fairly swiftly. They had used the stolen credit card to get $900 in cash, and then they bought some drugs, and I'm not talking cough syrup.

As of the time of this writing, they are in jail. Hopefully not reading this.

If I had a dollar for every time this has happened…

Authorities were looking for a woman in a surveillance video who recently stole an elderly woman's credit cards and ID and went shopping at Target. They weren't having much luck until they realized they weren't looking for a woman at all. They were actually looking at a 29-year-old Florida man, Meko Hartfield, who apparently is no stranger to dressing as a woman. Authorities believe that Hartfield has previously dressed as a nurse in order to steal from elderly residents of assisted-living communities.

Now, of course, maybe Hartfield enjoys dressing up as a woman, but assuming that isn't the case, then clearly this is a guy committed to his work, which might be something to be admired, although I have a feeling the judge won't see it that way.

Too good to be true

In Strongsville, Ohio, the Patch.com website reports that a man called police October 12 about a phone solicitor. He said that a credit card company has called him five times, trying to reduce his interest rate, and according to Patch.com, police basically gave him the brush-off because, well, telemarketing isn't a crime.

I think the police were a little short-sighted because the man probably was talking to a scammer and not an actual credit card company. Credit card issuers, if they want to lower a cardholder's interest rate, will do that on their own then notify you by mail. Anyone calling to gain access to your credit card accounts is more than likely up to no good.

In a situation where you suspect a phone scam, ask for a phone number with which you can call them back. Then call the company back using the toll-free number provided on the back of your card or from their website. You'll be able to quickly verify with a representative if the call was legitimate.

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