Bad advice: Rob a bank, then make a video

Take a look at the calendar and you’ll see it’s just 24 days until we turn the page to a new year. Just over three weeks until 2012 is behind us. I know, I’m skipping right over the more traditional “how many days until Christmas” ritual. But I figure if you’re not ready for Christmas yet, it just might be too late. Hopefully not, though, since I’m nowhere near ready.

But it’s the new year that has my attention today. Or, more accurately, the end of the current year. With the end approaching, we’re about to enter “list” season. The news cycle slows a little this time of the year (although this year we have all the newly created panic over something we’d never even heard of a month or two ago — the fiscal cliff).

For the most part, with regular news slowing down for the holiday, everyone will seem to have their list to talk about. You name it — best of, worst of, top news story, top sports story, TV show, movie, book — if a list can be created looking back at the year, it will be done.

People who do these lists are both much more organized than I, or go back and do a lot of research of the past 12 months. Organization and research — two things regular readers of this column have learned to not expect from me. But, if a list of the dumbest criminals is what you are compiling, you need not go back far to find the top of the list. I think we have a winner.

It’s not the guy who was stopped on the Interstate for having his two children under the age of 5 — and their mother — riding in the back of their rental truck as they were moving out west. Oh, and did I mention the mom was smoking pot? Nope, not him. (And, as an aside, I’m glad I didn’t know a few decades ago that riding in the back of a rental truck was illegal or about 20 of my friends from college and I might have been in a little trouble for our trek from Omaha to the mountains and back. But that’s a story for another day.)

What we’re talking about is dumb criminals, and by now I’m betting most of you have figured out my unofficial award winner for the dumbest of the dumb. I nominate the young lady from Stromsburg who last week stole a car and robbed a bank. What’s that you say? Lots of people steal cars and rob banks? Well, how many of them then proceed to tape themselves bragging about the crime spree and — wait for it — post the video on YouTube? Well, that’s what happened here.

I’ll spare the details, like her name, but it only took about five seconds on the Internet to pull up the video. That’s because, well, the Internet is public. YouTube is easy to find and watch.

Do you suppose anyone told her this?

From the first day we allowed our son to have a Facebook page many years ago, we’ve pounded home the same theme to him: It’s a public forum. Don’t put anything — pictures, videos, written words — on there you wouldn’t want anyone and everyone to see. And that’s Facebook, where you have to sign up to take part. YouTube is there for everyone, and that’s where this modern-day Bonnie decided to detail her car stealing and bank robbing.

She must not have been real good at the crimes anyway. Authorities were arresting her before they even saw the video. But I’m guessing maybe their case may be strengthened a bit in court with the video evidence they will be showing. Gosh, do you think we might consider a plea on this one? Although, if it went to trial it might be fun to see the defense attorney’s head explode as he tries to figure out a way to get her out of this one.

So there you have it. Granted, some will contend that the phrase “dumb criminal” is redundant, but ladies and gentlemen, your winner for 2012’s dumbest criminal of the year.

Russ Batenhorst

Don't expect to detect a common topic or theme in Russ Batenhorst's weekly column in the Hastings Tribune. Usually it's whatever slice-of-life observation pops into his head just in time to make the deadline for it to appear each Friday.

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