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True Crime Lite: Masters of Disguise

You don't have to take a very close look at the world today to spot innovation. New ideas are constantly springing up. Some of them wonderful, and some of them not so much. The dark, grimy underworld of crime is no different. If anything, criminals have to be at least somewhat innovative if they expect to pull off a crime. Just like with anything else, there are good ideas, and there are very, very bad ones. Some of these half-baked plans actually either make it easier to find the culprit, or leave a breadcrumb trail directly to their door. In this case, both were true.

Just before Halloween in 2009, the police in Carroll, Iowa received a strange call even for that time of year. How Stuff Works presented this story with a list of others equally as stupid. CNN reported on the full details of this ridiculous burglary attempt, stating that two men wearing hoodies had tried to break into an apartment. Rather than wearing masks, or even pantyhose, they scribbled over their faces with a permanent marker instead. The man whose apartment they'd tried to break into was able to give a very detailed description of the car the two made off in. Quickly after the crime was reported, Matthew Allen McNelly, 23, and Joey Lee Miller, 20, were arrested. Making it all the easier to identify them was the permanent marker still scrawled across their faces. Carroll Police Chief Cayler told CNN that they had made themselves all the easier to catch due to their chosen disguises.

Cayler said that his department believed the men had broken in because one of them thought the man living there to be involved with his girlfriend. They figured that the motivation had been to scare him. Fueled by alcohol and stupidity, their brains became the very kind of rich and saturated environment perfect for the growth of terrible ideas. Both men were charged with attempted burglary, while McNelly was additionally charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

Once the men were booked and their mug shots were taken, the rest became moronic history. Cayler began fielding calls from media outlets across the country. All of them wanted to get their hands on the hilarious photos taken of them during booking. They stood against a white wall, looking as though a 5-year-old had colored their faces for them. The chief declared that in his 28 and a half years with the department, he had never seen a case both so strange and hysterical all at once. These men clearly didn't take into consideration that permanent markers are so-named for a reason. It takes several washes to completely wash away all traces of it from your skin. They never even got the first chance to wash their faces before they were caught.

Unfortunately, The Gazette reported that charges against both men were dropped due to a lack of evidence. They stated that neither man had a weapon, no evidence had been found to suggest they entered the home, and no one had been injured. They were released, hopefully having learned a lesson about brash decision making while intoxicated. They may have dodged the bullet of justice, but what they didn't dodge was infamy. Those mug shots circulated in the media and on the internet as the country collectively laughed. Though these charges may not appear in their background checks, their mug shots are just a quick Google search away.

Some takeaways from this story: The option of breaking up with the girlfriend was a much better one than breaking into the home of her suspected lover. As cheap and easy as it is to find a mask, or at least a good substitute, they still chose to scribble all over their faces like kindergartners. These men attained infamy in the dumbest way possible. All because one of them had gotten the inclination he was being cheated on.

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