While the word ‘burglar’ might bring to mind Sean Connery’s art thief or perhaps Tom Cruise’s desperate acrobatics, the reality is that the average burglar is typically a person of exceptionally low intelligence, incapable of understanding what morals are, let alone possessing one.
Far from being highly intelligent cat burglars who spend days planning a foolproof raid that will net them millions in cash, the average burglar appears to have fewer brain cells than a budgie.
It makes you wonder if recruitment specialists in the burglary industry spend their time loitering outside jobcentres, looking for the unemployably dim.
That aside, we are mindful of the fact that in today’s society, where recognition of differently-skilled people seems to be all important, everybody deserves a little merit, no matter how contrived.
So, as everybody loves a competition, we thought we’d introduce one to celebrate the most differently-skilled burglar of the decade.
Here are our first candidates:
Nameless of Handsworth, Birmingham
The West Midlands police were called to the DFC Chicken takeaway in Rookery Road, Birmingham last week, to investigate the case of a suspected burglar. Walking past the shop a little after 8.00am, a passer-by was predictably surprised to see a man’s legs sticking out of an extractor fan in the shop’s wall. When he heard the owner of the legs shouting for help, saying he was stuck, the passer-by obligingly called the Police.
When the Police arrived, along with the manager of the takeaway, they found a burglar stuck inside the extractor unit. They believe the burglar had tried to break into the shop at around 2.00am and had been stuck upside down in the extractor since that time. Once everybody had finished taking photos of the man, they set about removing the halfwit from the extractor. Finally, after being stuck for around 7 hours, firefighters were eventually able to free him. Cold, probably a little disoriented and naked from the waist upwards for no evident reason, the man was arrested by the Police.
A 45-year-old man from Handsworth was taken to hospital for a check-up and was later arrested on suspicion of burglary.
Michael Lebon, of Gloucester
We know that looks arenìt everything, but you’d have to say that this particular burglar’s face more or less says it all. If you needed to take a test to use a toothbrush, he looks as if he’d fail.
Described as one of Britain’s most inept burglars, Michael Lebon was recently jailed for a little over 19 months at Gloucester Crown Court. Michael Lebon was arrested in April, following a failed burglary of the Sports Direct shop in Gloucester. When Police were called to the shop when the alarm sounded, they originally believed that the intruders had escaped. With nothing else to do, police cars left the scene, leaving just one officer at the shop to wait while a shattered window was made secure. A little later, once the window had been fixed, the policeman heard cries for help from within the building.
When he shone his torch into a dark basement courtyard loading area with 20ft high walls, the officer spotted Michael Lebon sprawled across the floor at the bottom of a flight of steps. Having suffered a broken arm and sustained various other minor injuries, Lebon was arrested and then taken straight to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital for treatment.
No sooner had 46-year-old Lebon been released on bail by magistrates who possibly didn’t want to deprive him a promising future, he was at it again, with similar results. In June Lebon broke into the Doctor’s pub in Gloucester, where he was recorded on CCTV removing a giant TV from the wall and then struggling to get it out of the building via a window he had broken. Unable to get the TV through the window, Lebon exited the pub through a door, through which…. never mind. Lebon was caught because he’d cut himself on the window and left his blood and DNA all over the place. Predictably, the Police already had his DNA held on file as Lebon is very well known to them, with 37 convictions for a total of 122 offences.
Lee Powell, of Torquay
Even if our Police forces are apparently too busy to investigate domestic burglaries these days, the average burglar tries not to leave things like fingerprints and DNA behind.
In his desperate attempt to win our treasured worst burglar of the year award, Lee Powell, aged 40, of Torquay in Devon, broke into a family home in Torquay and stole jewellery valued at between £5,000 and £10,000. During the burglary, Powell had a look in the freezer and helped himself to a magnum ice lolly, which he ate whilst going about his work. In line with his ambitions to become a famous jewellery thief, Powell also stole food from the house, including apples, grapes and mangoes and other items from the freezer.
For reasons that defy explanation other than to provide irrefutable identification, Powell put the used ice cream stick which carried his DNA into a bag along with a repeat doctor’s prescription bearing his full name and address. He then left this bag at the scene before heading off home. Just to be sure he was given credit for the raid, he also left fingerprints behind, choosing not to wear the gloves he took with him and subsequently left at the scene. The Police report didn’t say whether the gloves had Powell’s name written inside them, but we think it’s highly likely.
Exeter Crown Court was told that Powell was a drug addict with 14 previous convictions for burglary who had only been out of jail for three weeks when he carried out the break-in. Defending Powell, Miss Anne Bellchambers, searching desperately for something positive to say, told the court that Powell had started studying ‘mindfulness’ and planned to enlist on a ‘thinking skills’ course while in prison. She said “He does not even know what he did with the jewellery he stole. Last time he was caught he was found unconscious in a wardrobe. He is not a burglar who thinks what he is doing.”
Aware that only a longer-term ‘thinking skills’ course would benefit Powell, Judge Graham Cottle sentenced him to five year and seven months imprisonment.
You might think that Mr Powell rates as the most stupid creature ever to call himself a burglar, or that the cretin who spent the night in an extractor fan, or Michael Lebon’s lifelong list of failures deserve the prize, but we have an alternative and indisputable winner. A true amoeba.
Ashley Keast, of Rotherham
In 2013, between bouts of mirror-gazing and admiring his own body, Ashley Keast, 25, of Norfolk Court, Rotherham, broke into a house with sidekick Anthony Hunt, also of Rotherham.
Keast and Hunt burgled the house in Brinsworth, Rotherham, in September 2013 and stole £27,000 worth of goods including a s£4,000 Rolex watch, an Audi A4, electrical items and items of jewellery with sentimental value and a phone SIM card. The court was told that Keast and Hunt had borrowed a friend’s car to go and buy cigarettes, but instead used it for the burglary. The Audi A4, which the two stole, was found crashed in Rotherham town centre a short time after the raid.
After the burglary, Keast took the stolen SIM card and inserted into a different phone. Unable to drag himself away from his love of his body (or brains; we’re not sure which), Keast took a selfie of himself in a white sleeveless vest with the phone. He then posted it on Whatsapp, using the phone, inadvertently sending it to every contact stored on the SIM card, including all the friends and colleagues of owners of the house he had burgled.
An unknown number of these people decided to share the photo with the Police. Officers visited Keast’s home the following day, finding the stolen Rolex watch wrapped in a towel behind a radiator, and arresting him. Hunt was also arrested.
Keast was jailed for two years and eight months at Sheffield Crown Court in March 2014 and also admitted being in breach of an existing suspended sentence, while Hunt was jailed for 18 months.
You’d think that was the end of the story, wouldn’t you? But you’d be wrong. Our runaway favourite for the stupidest burglar of the decade award wasn’t finished….
After being jailed for 32 months in March for the burglary, Keast arranged for a letter to be sent to the victim of the burglary, threatening to kill him. Appearing again in Sheffield Crown Court in December 2014, Keast was sentenced to an additional 4 years imprisonment after being found guilty of making threats to kill, jury intimidation and attempting to pervert the course of justice. You just couldn’t make it up…..
We rest our case
We think these 4 must rate as among the dumbest creatures ever to embark on a career of burglary, but if you have any candidates you think are equally or more deserving of the ultimate recognition, please let us know!