Criminal minds: some are dumb AND desperate


Not to make light out of a serious crime, but it's always fun to read about bank robbers who turn out to be morons -- you know, they give the teller their name and address before making off with the money. As you likely know, books have been written about this sort of thing -- like The World's Dumbest Criminals by Daniel Butler and Alan Ray.

But the flagging economy is adding poignancy to the "dumb crook" phenomenon. It's impossible to laugh at some of the stories out there. To see what I mean, consider the tale of Donteh L. Smith, who the Minneapolis Star-Tribune wrote about over the weekend.

The 26-year-old is apparently a father of three and was a college student at Century College in White Bear Lake from January to May.

Earlier this month, he showed up at TCF Bank with a note rolled up around his college student identification card. (Whatever he was studying, he didn't major or minor in bank theft.) His note read: "I'm sorry for doing this. Give me all the money in your drawer. My kids need the food, I have no money."

Smith was given the money, which he stuffed in his pockets, along with an unnoticed dye pack. He apologized again for the robbery and fled the bank on foot, and soon after, the dye pack exploded. He looked down, saw his ink-stained pants and now hands, and soon after, waved down a police car and turned himself in.

He could be looking at 20 years in prison. One can only hope he'll learn a few money management lessons while in the can.