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The Gazette Top 10 list: Dumbest Colorado Springs-area crimes of 2017

By: Chhun Sun
January 3, 2018 Updated: January 4, 2018 at 7:38 am
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Thief uses tractor to ram into Colorado Springs U.S. Bank ATM

Amid all the mayhem, madness and murders this past year, lighter moments brought a would-be thief who smashed an ATM with a tractor but got no cash, the so-called Mad Pooper, a man who tried to trade weed for an SUV being sold by a sheriff, and a gas station clerk who planted a robbery story out of boredom.

In that spirit, The Gazette compiled a list of the 10 dumbest crimes in the Colorado Springs area in 2017.

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April 2: Police: Bandits get away with boots from Colorado Springs clothing store

Most people who commit crimes are motivated by money. But not this group.

Even police were puzzled by four bandits who walked into La Reina Del Sur Western Wear store in Colorado Springs to steal about a half-dozen pairs of boots. "People put value on different things and are willing to take the risks - sometimes it doesn't make sense to us," police Sgt. Jim Jeffcoat said.

Maybe the bandits needed something to wear to the rodeo.

April 13: Teen claims he was shot during drive-by shooting; police say he shot himself

This was quite the cover-up.

A Colorado Springs teenager was playing with a handgun when it accidentally went off, police said. But he told medical staff  he was hit in a drive-by shooting. The staff determined that the trajectory of the bullet through his leg made that "highly unlikely," prompting a call to police.

He eventually admitted that he shot himself.

His injury was non-life-threatening, but his reputation was, well, shot.

Dec. 6: Thief uses tractor to ram into Colorado Springs U.S. Bank ATM

An aspiring thief put on one heck of a production in an effort to land some cash.

Someone stole a tractor from a construction site and drove it to a nearby U.S. Bank ATM in northwest Colorado Springs. The tractor was used to ram the machine, scattering debris all over the place.

Talk about a smashing effort.

But it was a waste of time: The thief didn't leave with any money, police said.

Sept. 16: Colorado Springs police arrest wanted man hiding in car trunk

One man thought a car trunk was a good hiding place from police.

Officers responded to a suspicious vehicle in a neighborhood near Old Colorado City, including one who ultimately realized it was the same vehicle that fled from her during a traffic stop, police said.

The man got out of the trunk only to go back inside when he spotted the police. This quick impromptu game of hide-and-seek ended after he got out of the trunk again, made a run for it and was caught by a police dog.

Next time: Let's not hide where you were last seen.

Through September: Toilet paper giant Charmin offers 'Mad Pooper' reward

You can't make this [expletive] up.

The so-called Mad Pooper - a jogger who allegedly left behind piles of her own feces in a north Colorado Springs neighborhood - was the talk of the town for some time. The Washington Post and websites such as TMZ and Buzzfeed picked up the scoop. Even toilet paper giant Charmin tried to entice the pooper to turn herself in by offering a year's supply of its product.

Since then, no mad pooping has been reported.

June 28: Man tells police he left fake bomb in Colorado Springs apartment complex as a joke

A man wanted to leave a "funny" gift when he moved out with his family from a Colorado Springs apartment.

The only problem: It looked like a bomb.

This prompted a call to the regional bomb squad. Authorities found the device - placed inside a barbecue grill - to be fake. But the gadget, with a couple of 6- to 8-inch pipes with nails jutting out of them wired to a cell phone, alarmed the maintenance crew of Stratus Apartment Homes.

Mykel Crete, the alleged fake bomb planter, claimed it was a prank.

We'd bet he'll think twice about playing that joke again, as he pleaded guilty to the explosive hoax and received a deferred sentence, meaning charges will be dropped after successfully completing court requirements.

Dec. 31, 2016*: Colorado Springs man: I tried to stop the car thief, why am I under arrest?

A man trying to stop a thief from stealing his girlfriend's car might have forgotten that he had a past.

As a felon, Monta Scott wasn't supposed to have a gun, police said. But that didn't stop him from firing several shots at a vehicle as it sped from a Colorado Springs neighborhood. He was arrested on suspicion of possession of a weapon by a previous offender.

He pleaded guilty to illegal discharge of a firearm and was sentenced to three years of probation, court records show.

*Note: This made the list because it was reported after our previous dumbest crimes list was published.

June 26: Alleged burglar found hiding in vent on roof of Colorado Springs store

Much like the man who hid in the car trunk, this man also seemed committed to a game of hide-and-seek with law enforcement. Unfortunately, that attitude cost thousands of dollars in damage.

Kenneth Ballinger broke into a Colorado Springs Chuck E. Cheese's early one morning, police said. He eventually climbed onto the roof, police said, prompting them to surround the building. Then he allegedly tried to break into the adjacent Target store through an air vent.

He got stuck. He was rescued but not before allegedly causing about $80,000 in damage. His case is still open.

Nov. 28: Trade pot for an SUV? Not with the Teller County sheriff, dude

If you're going to sell homegrown black-market weed to someone, make sure that someone is not a top law enforcement officer.

Teller County Sheriff Jason Mikesell was "really surprised" when he received a text from Shawn Langley, who was responding to a Craigslist ad about an SUV Mikesell was trying to sell. Langley proposed a pot-for-SUV trade, even  sending photos of the weed and boasting about its quality, deputies said.

Naturally, Mikesell and his detectives turned this opportunity into a bust, setting up a meeting with Langley. He was arrested with Jane Cravens.

Bummer, dude.

Jan. 14: 'Bored' Colorado Springs gas station clerk's robbery prank fails to leave 'em laughing

We all get bored sometimes.

But this Colorado Springs gas station clerk decided to cry wolf when he couldn't find any other way to entertain himself during a shift.

At a Diamond Shamrock, Samuel Yates handed a customer a note saying a man with a gun was outside the building, police said. He added, "Play it cool, and not react," police said.

The customer called police, and officers swarmed the gas station.

"Upon police arrival," the blotter report said, "the clerk immediately stated that he was bored and passed the note to the customer as a prank."

Police said he was arrested on suspicion of false reporting and later released. Records show the offense never was filed in court.

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