Americas Dumbest Criminals | Reader's Digest

America’s Dumbest Criminals

A lineup of bumbling crooks who practically caught themselves.

By William Beaman from Reader's Digest | September 2006

All Tanked Up
Okay, granted, if you’re cruising around town roaring drunk, it can be hard to fake sobriety when the police nab you. But these two guys didn’t even come close.

In Waupaca, Wisconsin, Daniel Nordell was waiting at a traffic light when a cop approached his car. It seems the officer got a pretty good clue that Nordell wasn’t in his right mind after noticing the way he was driving along the city street: backward. The transmission’s shot, Nordell explained, and the car will only go in reverse.

What was harder for Nordell to explain was his obvious intoxication. When the police ran a check, they discovered he’d been arrested 12 times for drunk driving. You’d think with a record like that, a guy would be extra careful not to back himself into more trouble.

Just one month before, a Wisconsin cop stopped another driver who gave a pretty good hint he was soused. When a Thiensville police officer pulled over Christopher Kennedy and walked up to the driver’s window, Kennedy was already fishing in his wallet — and then tried to hand the officer a credit card. “Do you know why I stopped you?” the policeman asked. “Speeding?” Kennedy mumbled almost incoherently.

After failing a sobriety test, he was arrested for driving under the influence. So what had gotten the cop’s attention in the first place? Mainly, it was that odd bit of hose dangling from Kennedy’s gas tank. After fueling up at a Kwik Trip station, he drove off in a haze of oblivion — forgetting the hose was still attached to his car. Oops.