Such stories, getting told and re-told numerous times, accumulate a wealth of fine details and eventually turn into party anecdotes that policemen share not only with colleagues but their family members and casual acquaintances too.
I'm a thief. Here's my passport
Residents of Elektrėnai district can still remember a criminal who roamed their countryside in 2010. At first he would desolate any property that he'd came across. Then, having released some steam, he would look for something to take. He mostly took housewares – clothes, candles, fishing rods, magazines, foodstuffs, or even chainsaws.
Elektėnai Criminal Police Department soon caught the absent-minded suspect. And all because the 1965-born guy did not settle just for robbing a house once. He decided to spruce himself up a little and changed into the house master's clothes. As for his old attire, the thief simply left it there. “And not just his clothes, he also left his ID in the pocket,” Erika Čaikovskaja, senior specialist with Elektrėnai Police, relates.
Officers could not believe their eyes when a suspect in a car theft was summoned for questioning and came to the police driving the stolen car.
Another fellow, a “numismatist” who cleaned out a country house in Ukmergė, did not have good luck either. After the robbery, house owners missed some old coins. Police officers, who came to the scene, found many traces left by the criminal. It turned out at that he had squatted in the house for some time, but hadn't dared to sleep in master's sheets – he'd brought his own sleeping bag. Inside the bag, police officers found a doctor's prescription, complete with the criminal's name and date of birth.
“A similar situation occurred in one more case. We found a suspect's jacket under a table, containing a sheet of paper with details of his release from detention and even a photo,” Asta Krogertienė of Ukmergė District Police smiles.
Thieves of Panevėžys, often dubbed Chicago-on-Nevėžis, have been losing their grip lately. How else would you call a case when a guy, while robbing someone else's apartment, loses keys to his own!
“Life's irony,” Regina Bučinskienė, spokeswoman of Panevėžys Region Police, summarizes.
A few years ago, someone robbed a flat in Tulpės street of Panevėžys. The police came and did everything the protocol called for. One of investigators found a key on the floor. Owners of the robbed flat assured that the key wasn't theirs. So the police took it.
Several days later, the police arrested a group of people suspected in a robbery of another flat. The officer who had found the key thought that someone from the group might have also robbed the flat in Tulpės street. But how could one prove it? “And then he remembered the lost key. Police officers, who knew that one of the detainees rented an apartment, decided to do an experiment. Their intuition proved right – they tried the key into the suspect's door – and opened it. Moreover, they found some of the stolen things inside,” Ms Bučinskienė recalls.
Another thief, from Utena, also tripped over his own absent-mindedness. “He picked a lock of a car, opened it and took a head unit. The robber was soon identified, because he had dropped his mobile phone while detaching the unit. The latter was of much smaller value than the phone,” Laura Palevičienė of Utena Region Police recounts.
Too kind for their own good
A criminal is not necessarily a bad person. They sometimes turn warm-hearted – and thick-headed. This is what happened to two young men who wanted to be of service to violent crime investigators.
One year ago, a man got mugged in Respublika street in Panevėžys. The police arrested one suspect. The victim, however, claimed that he was mugged by three men. As is usual in such cases, the police had to do a lineup. That requires “mannequins” – people who fit the description but are not suspects to be lined up along those who are. So police officers went to town to look for guys of similar age as the suspect, who would agree to stand in as “mannequins.”. They found three willing helpers, eager to serve justice. The youngsters came to the police and took their place in the lineup, next to the suspect. “The victim identified the detainee as one of the muggers, and noted that two of the “mannequins” also took part in the crime. So we had two more suspects in the police station, who had agreed to stand in as “mannequins” but hadn't thought it might be the same mugging case,” Ms Bučinskienė still marvels at their short-sightedness.
Visit with evidence
However, it must be Utena criminals who deserve the title of negligence virtuosos. Criminal police officers could not believe their eyes when a suspect in a car theft was summoned for questioning and came to the police driving the stolen car that he parked right under the police windows, in a spot for disabled people.
“There has been one similar curiosity in the history of Utena police. Officers were investigating a mugging where criminals had taken victim's jacket and shoes. A suspect came for questioning wearing a jacket that looked just like the stolen one. The guy soon confessed that it was indeed the same jacket and same shoes. During the questioning, another investigator came in and it turned out that the suspect had more stolen objects. When the investigator demanded where he had gotten his mobile phone (as the gadget fitted description from another case), the youth did not deny that he brought a stolen device,” Ms Palevičienė says.
Filling up a stolen car
Last December, police exposed and arrested a man from Šiauliai who had stolen a Mazda 323 the previous summer.
It was publicity that assisted Šiauliai Region Police officers in catching the criminal. On 26 November, one TV show aired footage from a Šiauliai gas station security cameras and asked viewers to come forward if they knew anything about a man in it. Criminalists received much useful information that helped identify the suspect. It was R.A., 25, who was taken to the police and was signing a confession as soon as 3 December.
However, details of the case got even experienced policemen confused.
“Owner of the stolen Mazda 323 left his clothes and keys to a car – that he parked near his workplace – in an unlocked locker at work. That evening, the man's car was missing, even though the keys were lying on the same spot in the locker where he'd left them,” Šiauliai Region Police spokeswoman Gaila Smagriūnienė begins the story.
The car was discovered the following morning. The victim's co-workers spotted it not far from the place it had been stolen from. Mazda 323 was parked, properly locked, only a radio was missing inside. “Police officers in charge of the case checked many possible scenarios. They even came to suspect that the victim might have simply forgotten where he'd parked the car. However, the version was refuted by footage of a nearby gas station security cameras. The officers saw a man pushing the car into the gas station and filling it up,” Ms Smagriūnienė continues.
The man was certainly not the owner of the car. Who was he then? “It turns out, that R.A. was a colleague of the owner. He'd noted that his co-worker kept leaving his car keys in an unlocked locker and couldn't resist the temptation to borrow them during a lunch break. Unfortunately, he didn't go far, as the car ran out of gas. He was forced to stop at a gas station and fill it up. After that, however, the car started breaking down, so R.A. decided to get rid of it. He took out a radio, locked the door and, upon returning to work, left the keys where he'd found them,” she concludes the story.
In the end, the rightful owner got his car and his radio back. The police found it in one of town's pawnshops.
Once, a man and his lady friend decided to take a sheep from a field belonging to an Utena farmer.
Both rustlers where drunk and the whole process made the woman sleepy. She dozed off and the man, gentlemanly enough not to leave his accomplice in the fields, nor willing to give up the steal, found himself a barrow, put the sheep inside and boosted his lady friend up on top. And so he strolled along country roads until local inhabitants took pity in the toiling man and called the police.