Asmus Koefoed/ShutterstockThere’s something compelling about preserving one of the greatest brains in history, so keeping Albert Einstein’s would be understandable enough—if he’d given permission. Einstein asked to be cremated, with the ashes scattered secretly so no one would consider the site special. But Thomas Harvey, the doctor on call when Einstein died in 1955, removed the brain without the family’s permission so he could do scientific research on the brain of a genius. He kept the jar with the organ in a beer cooler for more than two decades, until a reporter called him out.
alozar/ShutterstockIn spring 2012, Czech police were called to a resort to investigate a ski lift that had gone missing. The thieves had no small task getting the goods—the job involved three steel columns and the structures supporting them, plus more than half a mile of steel cable.
Monika Wisniewska/ShutterstockA Des Moines driver reported that someone had broken into their truck in an apparent attempt to steal the vehicle in 2015. When the hot-wiring proved unsuccessful, the suspect allegedly grabbed a plastic bag of doggie doo-doo instead. Perhaps strangest of all, the missing goods were valued at $1. Don't miss these other 38 dumbest criminals of all time.
PowerUp/ShutterstockStolen sand sounds like the least of any beach’s problems, but things got serious for Jamaica’s Coral Spring resort. Thieves made off with about 500 truckloads worth of sand in 2008, likely to sell to competing hotels.
Gingo Scott/ShutterstockChris Hempel feared a burglary when she saw the gate of her lake property had been cut open in 2015, but she didn’t know how right she was. A crook had nabbed her family's entire 10-by-20-foot prefabricated building from its foundation. Officials later found the missing cabin less than ten miles away. Learn the hiding spots where typical criminals check for valuables.
CKP1001/ShutterstockA Cameron County, Texas, Juvenile Justice Department employee was confused when 800 pounds of fajitas were delivered in 2017 because the kitchen never cooked that dish. Turned out another employee had cooked up a scheme and stolen $2.3 million worth of fajitas over the past nine years. After he was fired, investigators found packets of fajitas in his fridge, though he’d sold most of the goods.
Jan Havlicek/ShutterstockIn 2011, crafty thieves used a torch to tear apart a little-used 50-foot bridge from North Beaver Township, Pennsylvania, removing $100,000 worth of steel. Weirdly, it isn’t the first time a bridge has gone missing. A 36-foot steel bridge in Ukraine was stolen for scrap metal in 2004, leaving several villages without their main route across the river.
Dmytro Surkov/ShutterstockUkrainian metal thieves won’t stop there. Just a week after the bridge was stolen, a historic train went missing from an open-air museum. It later showed up in a scrap metal yard. Investigators guessed the thieves faked documents giving them permission to move the locomotive, then used a train to transport it.
360b/ShutterstockIt was bad enough that thieves took jewelry and an iron during a break-in of Margaret Wells’ home in England in 2011, but one of the biggest shocks was that the life-size statue her daughter had made of E.T., the extraterrestrial, had been taken. Thankfully, E.T. did phone home eventually. Emergency responders were called to rescue a body floating in a river, only to discover it was the missing alien. Learn the best tricks for outsmarting criminals.
Arunee Rodloy/ShutterstockStealing a dog is one thing, but a pet shark is another. In 2008, a British aquatics shop owner noticed the door was open to the converted garage where he kept a pair of rare Australian marbled catsharks and their babies. Peeking inside, he found out someone had managed to catch the live mama shark from the five-foot-tall aquarium and carry her away.