6 of the Very Worst Excuses For Crimes Ever Given

Pull the other one.

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Everybody breaks the rules sometimes, and if caught, all there is left to do is put our hands up and say “fair cop.” But for some entrepreneurial folk, a bit of quick thinking and straight-faced reasoning is all it takes to squeeze out of trouble. Of course, when it goes badly…


A carjacking went horribly wrong for Pittsburgh man Micah Calamosca in 2011, when he tried to take a man’s Chevrolet Impala only to realise the car owner was a police detective, who quickly pulled his gun and arrested Calamosca.

The quick-thinking carjacker wasn’t done though, he had the perfect excuse: he was an actor involved in the filming of The Dark Knight Rises and taking the car was just a neat bit of improvisation acting, integral to the plot.

The film was actually shooting in the area at the time, so his excuse wasn’t the very worst – but in this scenario, he is definitely The Joker, and not the cool Heath Ledger version, either.


When Winona Ryder was arrested in 2001 for stealing $5500 worth of goods from a Beverly Hills Saks store, we all assumed it was something pathological, or at the very least, the result of some serious personal stress.

Not so, says security guard Kenneth Evans, who claims Winona put in an Oscar-winning performance when apprehended.

“She said, ‘I’m sorry for what I did. My director directed me to shoplift for a role I was preparing,'” Evans testified.

Ryder has since admitted the fabrication, telling Porter magazine late last year: “Psychologically, I must have been at a place where I just wanted to stop. I won’t get into what happened, but it wasn’t what people think.”

She still seems a little less than apologetic, though. “And it wasn’t like the crime of the century!” she added


There’s a MADTV sketch where a woman uses lycanthropy (werewolfism) as an excuse for missing an exam, and we can only assume 20-year-old Ohio man Thomas Stroup saw that very same episode and decided to try the excuse on for size.

The cops were called after Stroup drank “copious amounts of vodka” and started fighting people, at one point violently kicking a dog cage. He told the police he was scratched by a wolf in Germany, and since then “goes on the attack when the moon’s out.”

When the cops arrived, he was passed out in a trailer filled with weapons, knifes and swords, and repeatedly growled at the police upon being woken. They arrested him, and it was in the back of the van that he told them his harrowing tale.

The odd thing is, police found his passport in his pocket, which confirmed he had recently been in Germany…


If, as Shakespeare once wrote, “all the world’s a stage,” that’s only because he hadn’t yet dipped into the addictive world of role-playing games and realised that the entire earth’s terrain is actually more like a video game level, for us to bounce around in. And if your character in this game happens to be a magical elf who holds store staff at knifepoint and demands free underwear, then… that’s okay too.

Only, of course it isn’t. In 2007, Belfast man Robert Boyd robbed a lingerie store dressed in a wig and glasses, brandishing a small sharp sword. He later told the court he was actually playing a game named Shadowrun which was set in the future, and he was a shaman character who carried a small Japanese sword as a weapon.

Boyd claimed he “seemed to have blurred that line between reality and fantasy,” and we tend to agree.

“I can’t believe that I personally did that… and I deeply regret that,” he told the court. “If I had sought some help I would’ve avoided that in its entirety.”


48-year-old Florida man Keith Griffin was the target of an online investigation that revealed he had downloaded over a thousand illegal images containing child pornography, with victims as young as eight.

When questioned by police, Griffin claimed he often downloaded large swatches of music from file-sharing sites, and left the room. Once, upon returning, he “discovered” his cat had jumped onto the keyboard and downloaded the porn.

Cats are clever, but negotiating various torrent sites is tricky business even for those with opposable thumbs.

Assistant State Attorney Nita Denton was obviously having none of it, dismissing the previous claims as “bizarre” before sagely noting: “As a cat owner, my cats don’t jump on the computer and download porn.”

Griffin copped 12-and-a-half years in jail.


Birmingham police came across a known sex worker, waiting in the passenger seat of a car. They also waited, and soon pounced upon the car’s owner Muhammad Ikhlaq, who had been withdrawing funds from an ATM. Case closed. Except Ikhlaq had a very reasonable excuse: he was in search of some juicy tomatoes (not a euphemism) and the sex worker was simply directing him to where the best produce could be procured.

“I’ve heard some excuses before, but in the 10 years that I have been a police officer I have never heard a of a kerb crawler covering up his crimes by claiming to be buying tomatoes,” PC Stacey Paterson told the BBC.