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Weird But True: Stupid Criminals

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Did you hear the one about the crook who broke into a vending machine and then left a trail of cheese curls all the way to his hideout? Or the burglar who left his wallet in an apartment he robbed, and actually went back to get it? Or how about the runaway criminal who got stuck in a drainpipe? Based on the successful "Stupid Criminals Busted!" column in National Geographic Kids magazine, this book is the newest extension of the blockbuster National Geographic Kids Weird But True franchise. This collection of chuckle-worthy stories about stupid criminals and the ridiculous ways they gave themselves away is illustrated with wacky collage art, and sprinkled with more than 150 weird-but-true facts about crime, including: funny laws; hilarious costumes criminals have worn while robbing banks; animal crimes and midemeanors; strange food crimes; great escapes; and more...


  • Ages 8-12
  • Softcover
  • 176 pages; 85 illustrations
  • 6 1/2" x 6 1/2"
  • © 2012

Tom Nick Cocotos has illustrated the Stupid Criminals feature in National Geographic Kids magazine for six years. His illustrations have also appeared in numerous publications such as Disney, Sports Illustrated, Mad Magazine, The New York Times, Newsweek, and many more. Cocotos, who is an adjunct professor at F.I.T. in New York, has won numerous awards for his illustrations, including the Gold Addy Award, Folio Magazine's Ozzy Awards (silver and bronze), and The Simon Rockower/Noah Bee Award, and from organizations such as American Illustration, the Society of Illustrators of New York, the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles, and 3 Dimensional + Digital Illustrators.


BRAINLESS BADDIES:


ALL WET: Levittown, New York
One business owner thought he was about to be robbed—until the thief’s "gun" started dripping water. He was being robbed with a water pistol! "The owner realized he was in no danger, except of getting wet,” Detective Raymond Cote says. After the businessman refused to hand over any cash, the thief ran away. But police later tracked the guy down. Looks like the thief went from being top gun to little squirt!


LITTER OF THE LAW: Pasadena, Maryland
Littering is bad for the environment—but sometimes it’s good for police. Four thieves who broke into a gas station to steal candy bars and potato chips couldn’t wait to sample the snacks. As they munched and crunched, they tossed aside their empty candy wrappers, leaving a trail of trash. An officer, working with a police dog to track the suspects’ scents, followed the litter straight to the crooks. What a sweet arrest!


VEGGIE VICTIM: Ashburton, New Zealand
One boy will probably never want to eat peas again—he was buried up to his chest in them! When three friends got bored one day, they decided to break into a shipping container. But after they busted it open, an avalanche of dried peas poured out, trapping one boy in the veggies! Rescue workers used a fork- lift to free the boy—and then handed him over to police.


LOST AND FOUND: Euless, Texas
One thief figured he had everything covered after he robbed a store. But he forgot one thing: his wallet! Detective Marco Valladares found the thief’s name and address inside.


Then the detective asked the thief to claim his wallet at the lost and found at police headquarters. Amazingly, the thief showed up! Valladares arrested him, but that wasn’t the funniest part. Says Valladares, “We don’t even have a lost and found.”


COUCH CRIMINAL: Salinas, California
If you were being chased by police, the first thing you’d do is sit down and watch TV, right? That’s exactly what one criminal decided to do! Police were in hot pursuit of a car thief when the bad guy suddenly crashed into a parked car and ran into a nearby house. When police entered the home, they found the thief watching television on the couch, where they arrested him. Must have been a really good show!


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