Faces of Evil: 40 Infamous Criminals and Their Shocking Crimes

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1John Leonard Orr

John Leonard Orr

A serial arsonist named John Leonard Orr worked as an arson investigator and fire captain in California. He would sometimes commit arson on his way to and from arson investigator conferences. Before his arrest, he even wrote a novel about a firefighter who was a serial arsonist.

2. In the town of F*cking in Austria, the most reported crime always was theft of the ‘F*cking’ road signs. In 2005 they were replaced with antitheft ones and CCTV cameras to deter tourists from filming sex there. The Police chief once even said, “We won't stand for F*cking signs being removed. It may be amusing…but F*cking is simply F*cking to us.”

3. The kidnapping of 4-year-old American named Charley Ross in 1874 for ransom (first in US history) became a nationwide sensation. Charley, who was never found, was lured by two men offering candy and fireworks. This incident gave rise to the warning “never take candy from strangers.”

4. In 2002, a 7-year-old Philadelphia girl named Erica Pratt was abducted and locked in a basement. She managed to escape from her kidnappers in less than 24 hours by gnawing through the duct tape binding her hands and feet, kicking out a panel on the basement door, punching out a window, and then screaming for help.

5. In 1931, a man named William McBoyle stole an airplane but was acquitted on all charges because airplanes were not considered "vehicles" and there was no law against aircraft theft at that time.

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6Kim Jong Il

Kim Jong Il

Kim Jong Il once kidnapped the biggest South Korean director and movie star (who were also ex-husband and wife) and brought them to North Korea to make movies for him. They escaped by convincing him to let them go abroad to promote the North Korean film industry.

7. In 1998, a burglar stole a priceless diamond ornament (Sisi Sterne) originally belonging to empress Elisabeth of Austria, replacing it with a gift shop replica. Newspapers covered up the theft by claiming it had been speedily recovered and the fake remained on display for 10 years.

8. In 2002, three geriatric Catholic nuns broke into a US nuclear missile launch facility, vandalized the facility with hammers, and drew crosses on the silo with their own blood.

9. In 2007, Serbian vandals drove a stake into former president Slobodan Milosevic's grave to prevent him from coming back as a vampire.

10. In 2018, a major UK supermarket chain fond that shoplifters were using self-service checkouts to scan expensive fruit and vegetables as carrots. They were only discovered when the supermarket noticed they had sold more carrots than they’d ever had in stock.

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11Temple of Artemis

Temple of Artemis

One of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Temple of Artemis, was burned down by an arsonist who wished to be famous for his crime. Following his execution, the Ancient Greeks made it an offense subject to the death penalty to even mention his name.

12. A popular Japanese cat burglar was unmasked to be a 74-year-old pensioner named Mitsuaki Tanigawa, after 9 years’ worth of heists. He stole more than 29 million yen (£194,000) during his spree. When captured, he said: “I am defeated.”

13. The Stopwatch Gang were three Canadian bank robbers who were known for their brilliant planning of heists, politeness to victims, and non-violent methods all while robbing banks within 90 seconds.

14. Someone in Voronezh, Russia vandalized a Soviet-era monument not by destroying it, but by painting it to look like Patrick Star from Spongebob Squarepants.

15. The then-fugitive millionaire Robert Durst was arrested in 2001 for shoplifting a $5 sandwich, even though he had $500 of cash in his pockets.

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16Black Bart

Black Bart

Black Bart was an outlaw who successfully robbed 28 stagecoaches and left this poem in one of them: “I've labored long and hard for bread / For honor, and for riches / But on my corns too long you've tread / You fine-haired sons of b*tches.”

17. Peter Scott who was nicknamed “master idiot” was a burglar whose victims include Sophia Loren and the Shah of Iran. Once when he was disturbed during a heist by a woman, he shouted “Everything’s all right, madam” and she went off to bed thinking he was the butler. On other occasions, he would reassuringly shout “It’s only me!”

18. In 1927, there was a bank robber dressed as Santa Claus who was responsible for the death of 6 people during his robbery and getaway. When he was caught and thrown in jail, nearly 2,000 people showed up, pushed past the guards, dragged him out of the jail and hanged him.

19. There is a Guinness world record for "greatest robbery of a government", currently held by the dictator of the Philippines F.Marcos and his wife Imelda. It is estimated that they have embezzled up to $10 billion of which only $860 million have been recovered.

20. In 1950, four students from Glasgow stole the Stone of Scone from Westminster Abbey and smuggled it back to Scotland in a Ford Anglia. The stone, also called the Coronation Stone, is the stone upon which British royalty is crowned, and was taken by the English from Scotland in 1296.

21Ren Xiaofeng

Ren Xiaofeng

Ren Xiaofeng, a manager of ‘The Agricultural Bank of China,’ stole $26,000 from the bank with the intention of buying lottery tickets, winning, and repaying the initial theft. Against the odds, it worked so he tried again with $6.7 million. He lost all but $95,000 and was sentenced to death.

22. In 1936, a rare million-dollar Stradivarius violin got stolen from virtuoso Hall Huberman. The thief, a café musician named Julian Altman, became famous and performed for presidents. 49 years after the theft, he confessed to the theft on his deathbed and his wife received $263,000 finder’s fee.

23. Most "locksmiths" advertising through google are scams operated by organized crime. They have effectively dominated the market through this strategy and run the legitimate guys out of business.

24. André Stander was a South African police officer who robbed almost 30 banks. Sometimes he’d carry out a crime during his lunch break and then return to the scene as an investigating officer. He was caught but escaped, formed a gang and robbed more banks. He was eventually killed in Florida.

25. In 1960, a terrorist named Alex Hildebrant armed with a bomb tried to hijack Trans Australia flight 408. Tom Bennett, the co-pilot punched him in the face and ripped the wires off the bomb saving 49 lives was awarded the George Medal.

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