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The 10 Weirdest Crime Waves Of All Time

By its very nature, crime is an irrational act. For someone to dare breaking the law means they’re different from the rest of the pack. But sometimes, normal crimes get extremely weird. In this feature, we’re going to comb through police blotters to reveal ten crime sprees that investigators had a devil of a time figuring out.

The Great Detergent Ripoff

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In 2012, Walmarts across America found themselves the target of a bizarre robbery scheme in which only one product was taken: bottles of Tide detergent. Stores in New York, Kentucky, Minnesota and more all reported massive thefts of the laundry detergent. What was the big draw? Well, Tide is easy to steal, doesn’t spoil, has a high price for its weight, and is used by pretty much everybody. That makes it a great black market investment. Police reported huge increases in Tide-targeted thefts, with some even saying that people were exchanging bottles of detergent directly for drugs on the streets.

The Serial Crapper Of Akron

 

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Some people commit crimes for financial gain. Others just do it for the hell of it. Police in Akron, Ohio have been frantically searching for an unidentified man who has made a name for himself by venturing out in the dead of night to take craps on parked cars. He dumps on hoods, he dumps on door handles, and if you’re dumb enough to leave your car unlocked in Akron he’ll drop a deuce right on your passenger seat. The dude kept up his mayhem from 2012 until 2015, when a photo of him was snapped. Police were unable to match a name to his straining face, but the publicity apparently scared him straight.

The Mailbox Underwear Stuffer

 

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Meeting women can be a difficult thing, especially if you’re out of your prime. But when 57-year-old John Taylor came up with a scheme to rebound from a breakup in 2016, he should probably have just installed Tinder instead. For three months, Taylor secretly stuffed pairs of underwear through the mail slots of several women he was interested in meeting. How exactly this was supposed to lead to a first date is anybody’s guess, but police were baffled by the phenomenon until they caught him on video. Taylor’s lawyer told the court that his client was “thoroughly ashamed and a very lonely man.”

The Hasselhoff Heists

 

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It’s hard to remember that back in the 1990s David Hasselhoff was a huge star on “Baywatch.” When convenience store chain Cumberland Farms partnered with the actor in 2012 for an iced coffee advertising campaign, they produced several hundred life-sized cardboard duplicates of him to stand outside their stores. Those duplicates quickly became the target of one of the most demented crime waves in history, as a staggering 550 of them were swiped within a period of weeks at stores from Florida to New England. Only 20 of the cardboard Hoffs remained at the end of the campaign. Where did they all go? Nobody knows for sure, but it was pretty ridiculous.

The Los Angeles Tuba Thefts

 

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The interesting thing about criminals is that they mostly don’t keep their secrets to themselves. If bad guys can come up with a hustle, they’ll share it. How else to explain the bizarre spate of tuba thefts across Los Angeles public schools in 2011? While a tuba doesn’t strike us as the most convenient thing to walk off with, the brass instruments do retail for a sizable chunk of money. Three schools were hit, with both tubas and sousaphones stolen, and police had no leads. Interestingly, all of the crimes took place in heavily Mexican-American neighborhoods, where the tuba is the key bass part for banda dance music.

The Vauxhall Strippers

 

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Stealing car parts isn’t unusual on its own – America’s inner cities used to be a no-go zone if you wanted to keep your hubcaps. But a recent plague of thefts in Bedfordshire, England has left owners of Vauxhall Corsas and Astras scratching their heads. Since 2013, thieves in that area have been targeting only those two models of car, swiping bumpers, license plates and other body parts. They started slow, but by 2015 police were getting reports of five to ten Vauxhalls being stripped every single week. Investigators still have no idea why those cars are so disproportionately targeted in Bedfordshire, but residents are getting pretty pissed off.

The 18 Month Egging Spree

 

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When the papers coined the term “one-man crime wave,” they probably didn’t have Philip Fleck in mind. But along with his girlfriend, Fleck was involved in a series of egg attacks on homes and cars that lasted a staggering year and a half and ranged all over Montgomery County. The Landsdale man wanted to egg some friends to get revenge on them for an unknown financial argument, but he didn’t want them to suspect it. So he decided to simply wage war on any and every car in town to cover his tracks. In total, the duo did about $7,000 in damages with their eggy attacks and were forced to pay damages and given probation.

The Belleville Mannequin Robberies

 

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If there’s one thing we know about people, it’s that they’re weird as hell. Ordinary Joes can hide bizarre obsessions and dark secrets. How else to explain a mysterious wave of breaking and entering that struck businesses in Belleville, Ontario in 2015 where the culprits only made off with female mannequins? Three different stores were hit a total of six times, but nothing was taken but clothing dummies. In one case, a $130 prom dress was ripped off of a mannequin and left behind. A total of 11 artificial women were swiped in total over the spring and early summer. What the perpetrator’s motives were are still unknown, as they were never caught.

The Frisco Car Flippers

 

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In a city like San Francisco with tons of hills and not enough parking, driving a Smart Car is a pretty good choice. The lightweight, high-mileage vehicles are tiny and environmentally conscious. But they were also a very tempting target for a wave of vandalism in 2014, in which drivers would regularly wake up to find their Smart Cars flipped over on the street. One of these whips only weighs around 1,800 pounds, meaning that a few burly dudes can easily upend it. Throughout the summer, multiple reports of Smart Cars being flipped were made to police, with no perpetrators ever caught. Witnesses reported a group of six to eight people roving the roads looking for cars to turn over.

The New Zealand Avocado Heists

 

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One of the best ways to spur illegal activity is a shortage. The basic economic law of supply and demand tells us that the harder it is to get something, the more people will pay for it. 2015’s record poor avocado crop in New Zealand set up a situation where crooks were swiping the creamy produce in massive numbers and selling them for inflated prices on the black market. The thefts took place at night, with groups of pickers breaking into avocado orchards on the North Island and stripping as much of the fruit from trees as they could. With an individual avocado selling for $7 at the market’s peak, that meant a tremendous profit for a night of illegal harvesting. Thankfully, the crop rebounded, prices dropped and the avocado crime wave came to an end.

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