How dumb can a “dumb criminal” actually be? Read the headline again. That dumb!

Last November, a 16-year-old girl was walking through Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY when she suddenly became a victim of “Apple picking” — a phrase coined by New Yorkers that basically means getting your iPhone stolen.

For the uninitiated (i.e. iPhone users in smaller cities and towns), Apples can be picked just about anywhere: subways, quiet parks, busy street corners, loud bars/clubs, while you’re talking on your phone, etc.

But what makes this particular instance of apple picking interesting, is that an iPhone was picked not just once … but TWICE in the same time period.

The New York Times reported:

It was Nov. 23, a little before 4 p.m., and a 16-year-old girl was walking through Prospect Park near her home, holding her iPhone. It was an iPhone 4S — not even one of the newest ones. Her parents had warned her about the phone’s distracting her in public. The ears through which those words had traveled, in one and out the other, were stuffed with white ear buds blasting the hip-hop song “Definition.”

As she neared a pond, three boys about her age approached. One wore pink sneakers. A boy grabbed the iPhone, and the girl pulled it back, and the boy pulled harder. The brief tug of war ended with the boy winning. “I just kind of gave them a dirty look and they left,” the girl said this week, asking that her name be withheld from this article.

After getting her Apple picked, the girl flagged down two police officers who took her back through the park to find the group of boys, looking down paths and roads, but there was no sign of them. Apparently, they had split up, and the “pink sneakers” boy — the thief — had taken the phone to nearby Flatbush, where he intended to sell it to someone else.

He showed it to a man on Bedford Avenue who seemed interested in buying it. But instead, the man simply snatched the phone from the boy and ran away.

Now, you would think the story would end here, with the original Apple picker taking this as a loss and moving on. But nope. This is where the “dumb criminal” part comes in.

Instead of simply leaving well enough alone, pink sneakers boy flagged down a police car and told them that his iPhone had been stolen, portraying himself “as being a complainant … a victim,” Sgt. Arnoldo Martinez told the NY Times.

The man who had snatched the iPhone from the boy hadn’t gotten far, and was promptly arrested, and taken to a nearby precinct.

The girl was still riding in the car with officers from a neighboring precinct several blocks away looking for the boys, and after about an hour, one of the officers, Denise Pacheco thought about doing what they should have done from the beginning: calling the girl’s stolen phone.

This is where the story gets not only interesting, but freakin’ HILARIOUS:

In the 70th Precinct station house, the phone rang. One officer who had arrested the man in Flatbush answered and said, “Hello?”

Officer Pacheco assumed she was speaking to the thief, and she pretended to be the victim, looking to make a deal. “I was like: ‘Hey, you have my phone. Can I have it?’ ” she recalled this week. “ ‘Can we meet up?’ ”

Confused, the other officer identified himself.

“You’re a cop?” Officer Pacheco asked, suspicious. “From where?”

“The seven-oh,” the officer replied, reciting each digit of his precinct in the manner in which officers are trained.

“Oh,” Officer Pacheco said, satisfied. “I’m from the seven-eight.”

The officer from the 70th Precinct said, “I have a complainant.”

So do I, Officer Pacheco said.

At this point, both of the officers from the neighboring precincts devised a clever plan.

The officers with the boy, who was still under the impression that he was being treated as a “victim” (HA!), asked him to step outside. As the cops talked to him to keep him preoccupied, Officer Pacheco parked across the street, and asked the girl if she could identify her Apple picker.

The girl took one look at the boy’s pink sneakers and said he was one of the boys who stole her phone. Her claims were further bolstered when she was able to unlock the phone with her PIN. The boy, asked to do the same, failed, and a second set of handcuffs was called into service that afternoon.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you successfully complete the requirements of being a dumbass!


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