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A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

12 Hilarious Crimes That You Didn’t Know Were Committed by Animals

"You're under arrest—put your paws up!"

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12 Hilarious Crimes That You Didn't Know Were Committed by AnimalsKachalkina Veronika/Shutterstock

The carjacking bear

In August 2011, Durango, Colorado resident Ron Cornelius awoke to the sound of a car smashing into his mailbox. His neighbor’s SUV had been broken into and had traveled down the street into his yard. To Cornelius’s surprise, the getaway driver turned out to be a black bear. While poking around searching for food, the bear had broken into the vehicle. The hungry bear had accidentally shifted the car into gear, sending it rolling down the driveway, before clambering its way out of the car and leaving the scene. Luckily, neither the bear nor any of the Durango residents was hurt, but the car was pretty banged up! Between the shattered rear window, the nearly-ripped-out steering wheel, and the bear poo in the front seat, needless to say the SUV had seen its last day on the road. Learn about some innocent-looking animals that are way more dangerous than you thought.

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An emu crosses the road in outback AustraliaAndrew Bertuleit/Shutterstock

The breaking-and-entering emu

Emus are not native to southwestern England, so Sergeant Zoe Parnell of Devon was perplexed when she got the call that one was running wild in the next town over. “I thought we’d arrive and it would be a turkey or something like that,” Parnell admitted. But a four-foot-tall Australian bird was, in fact, roaming through the small town of Barnstaple, going from house to house trying to get in. Even more troubling, it was heading in the direction of a main road. Police managed to apprehend it before it wandered into traffic. They handed the rogue bird over to a local animal hospital. We bet you never knew that these animals were actually illegal to own as pets.

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Two-Toed Sloth eating at the Omaha ZooDane Jorgensen/Shutterstock

The stealthy sloth

This past December, a café in Costa Rica got an unexpected visitor when a hungry sloth snuck past its gates in the middle of the night. Security cameras caught the creature’s comically slow exploration of the counter area. It lumbered up onto a chair and even casually twirled a spinning display rack. Eventually, the would-be burglar took a noisy tumble off of the chair, alerting security to its presence. The café’s owners, who released the sloth back into the wild, got plenty of laughs from the incident—and some recognition as well, since everyone from The Daily Mail to National Geographic reported on the story.

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cat and moneyTelekhovskyi/Shutterstock

The Robin Hood cat

Coming into work one day, Stuart McDaniel, owner of the Tulsa marketing firm GuRuStu, was surprised to see a small pile of cash by a glass door in the office. The resident of the adjoining room was a cat named Sir Whines-A-Lot, the office’s live-in mascot. McDaniel quickly discovered that clients had been playing with the kitty by sticking bills through the crack in the door and that the wily feline was snatching them. He saw the opportunity to turn Sir Whines-A-Lot’s thievery into a fun, philanthropic endeavor. McDaniel started collecting the cat’s stolen cash and donating it to a local homeless shelter. He even started an online campaign, nicknaming Sir Whines-A-Lot “The Cash-nip Kitty” and urging locals with a few dollars to spare to pay him a visit. Check out these funny stories of animals who ran for political office.

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Crow eating a biscuit Elise G

The evidence-tampering crow

This gives “fowl play” a whole new meaning! In 2016, after a man with a knife confronted Vancouver police officers, law enforcement was surprised to see a feathered witness poking around the crime scene. A crow named Canuck, a pet bird belonging to a local, pecked at the caution tape, perched atop a police cruiser, and eventually snatched up a knife and flew off with it. Canuck actually had already developed a reputation for snatching shiny things, but he had never absconded with a weapon before. Fortunately, a cop chased off after Canuck, who dropped the knife after flying several feet with it grasped in his beak. “The crow was persistent, but the knife was eventually gathered as evidence,” a police constable reported.

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The Ginger Cat Sits in the Linen which was Thrown Off from the Clothes Dryere-leet/Shutterstock

The underwear-snatching cat burglars

The cat thievery continues! Peter and Birgitt Weismantel of Portswood, England, were surprised when Oscar, the ginger tomcat they’d been fostering, began bringing home stolen artifacts from neighboring homes and clotheslines. His favorite objects to steal? Socks, garden gloves, and women’s underwear. Peter and Birgitt made sure to alert their neighbors of their cat’s kleptomaniac tendencies, which they claimed to actually find endearing. “It was just so touching to see him come home every day with something for us,” Birgitt told the Daily Echo. And we at RD think we may have actually found Oscar’s soul mate. Across the world in New Zealand, a female cat named Brigit gained notoriety for stealing things too, including—you guessed it—men’s underwear. Read these freaky facts about cute animals that have surprising dark sides.

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OctopusRena Schild/Shutterstock

The prankster octopus

Otto, a two-foot-seven-inch octopus living in a Germany aquarium, caused many a headache for aquarium employees back in 2008. Otto seemed to enjoy causing all manner of mayhem, be it rearranging the objects in his enclosure, banging rocks against the glass, or even playing catch with hapless hermit crabs. But Otto’s pièce de résistance came when he intentionally caused a blackout in the aquarium—three nights in a row. The reason for the power outages stumped aquarium employees until they decided to stake out one night, which was when they identified Otto as the culprit. The cephalopod was swinging onto the edge of his tank and shooting a jet of water directly at the spotlight above his tank, causing it to short-circuit. Hank from Finding Dory has nothing on this guy!

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Seagull on the beach seaside dragged a piece of bread rolls from the bag of food with holidaymakersMadhourse/Shutterstock

The hungry seagull

It’s no surprise to anyone who’s ever tried to enjoy a snack on the beach that seagulls can be quite the unabashed food thieves. But one sneaky seagull took it to the next level when he began regularly strolling into a bakery in Scotland and making off with bags of chips. The store, Greggs, has experienced so many burglaries from the same bird that employees have begun calling him “Steven Seagull.” He also became an Internet sensation after one Greggs customer filmed, and then shared, a video of Steven snagging some salt and vinegar goodness. Learn about some of the weirdest things criminals have ever tried to steal.

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crocodile open mouth in water with reflection Maurizio Biso/Shutterstock

The home-invading crocodile

You’ve heard of having a monster under your bed, but what 40-year-old Guy Whittall experienced might be even more terrifying. Whittall, a cricket player for Zimbabwe, was in for a shock when he woke up one morning in Zimbabwe’s Humani Lodge. A 330-pound crocodile had snuck into his room the night before and spent the entire night underneath his bed. Crazily enough, though, Whittall wasn’t even the one who noticed his scaly visitor—he got up in the morning and went to grab breakfast none the wiser. It wasn’t until he heard his house cleaner scream that he realized he’d spent the night inches away from the massive croc. He and a few colleagues managed to “wrangle” the croc and transport it back to a nearby dam unharmed. “The really disconcerting thing about the whole episode is the fact that I was sitting on the edge of the bed that morning [without realizing],” Whittall told HuffPost. Disconcerting is right!

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Vintage mounted (taxidermy) beaver.S and S Imaging/Shutterstock

The store-trashing beaver

Yes, holiday shopping definitely has a way of making humans act like animals. But in one case, a real animal was apprehended by police after going on a rampage through some holiday merchandise. In December 2016, a beaver wandered into a Maryland dollar store and started knocking over Christmas decorations. The store employees, worried that the beaver would drive customers away, called the local police. The police captain facetiously “charged” the buck-toothed bandit with destruction of property. But in the end, all was forgiven; they handed the beaver over to Animal Control so that it could be safely released into a wildlife rehabilitation center. Check out these hilarious stories of dumb human criminals whose luck ran out.

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Portrait of a rhesus monkey with tongue sticking outJan Schneckenhaus/Shutterstock

The jailbird monkeys

In recent years, the state of Punjab in India has been experiencing some serious monkey business. Many of the tens of thousands of wild Rhesus monkeys living in Punjab were displaying hostile behavior, posing a threat to humans. One monkey, in particular, was notorious for harassing residents in 2004—it would snatch food, throw stones, and continue to pester people until they fed him. So the monkey was sent to Punjab’s “monkey jail,” a prison for primates that was built sometime in the 1990s. Since harming or killing monkeys is considered sacrilegious in India, officials decided that this “jail,” which was actually just a massive cage within an existing zoo, was the best solution for keeping the population under control. The monkey jail is no more, however; in 2009, the city of Patiala replaced it with a more humane rescue and rehabilitation center.

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Front view of the face of Rock Pigeon face to face.Rock Pigeons crowd streets and public squares, living on discarded food and offerings of birdseed.hkhtt hj/Shutterstock

The spy pigeon

In 2015, a young boy in the village of Manwal, India, noticed a pigeon with some strange, man-made markings on its body. He brought it to the police station, where veterinarians decoded the stamped message. It was a brief message in Urdu, the official language of Pakistan, as well as a Pakistani phone number. As the bird had been found near the region of Jammu, a heavily disputed area that both India and the bordering Pakistan had laid claims to, law enforcement worried that the bird might have been an instrument of espionage. After X-rays on the bird revealed nothing unusual, however, they dropped the investigation, but police reports continued to list the pigeon as a “suspected spy.” Next, learn about some amazing animals that actually helped change history.

Meghan Jones
Meghan Jones is a word nerd who has been writing for since 2017. You can find her byline on pieces about grammar, fun facts, the meanings of various head-scratching words and phrases, and more. Meghan graduated from Marist College with a Bachelor of Arts in English in 2017; her creative nonfiction piece “Anticipation” was published in the Spring 2017 issue of Angles literary magazine.