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You know the saying "There's AlwaysABiggerFish"? Well, it also applies to crime and criminals. When a story opens with a thief, kidnapper, or murderer "getting away with it" or proceeding with stage 3 of their 4 step plan, they may run into Colliding Criminal Conspiracies when they get entangled along with or caught in the traps of another, bigger or more professional criminal... or monster.

If they took some InnocentBystanders for hostages, then both kidnapped and kidnappers are [[EnemyMine going to have to work together]] if they want to get out alive. Usually though, this threat is so grave they fast forward past StockholmSyndrome and/or LimaSyndrome and develop [[FireForgedFriends true loyalty for each other]] that can last a lifetime. If they survive, that is.

This isn't to say all is forgiven and the criminals turn over a new leaf, and make them truly sympathetic by pitting them against a truly worse adversary. Quite the contrary, they might show that they're really rotten by showing that after their need for TeethClenchedTeamwork has passed, they plan to kill their former kidnap victims, and/or by using the hostages as {{Human Shield}}s and dying thanks to their stupidity. Good riddance to that AssholeVictim. Interestingly, both of the above can exist in the same story if one criminal repents and the other doesn't.

Likely candidates for conspiracies to collide into are: Arriving at the home of MadScientist, CannibalTribe, or some sort of monster. One especially deliciously ironic variant is to unwittingly [[MuggingTheMonster kidnap a monster.]] Due to the high stakes, expect the protagonists (both kidnapped and kidnappers) to have to choose between leaving the loot and living, or getting the gold and potentially dying. Compare UnintentionallyNotoriousCrime, which might overlap.

See also: GambitPileup, BigBadEnsemble. Contrast NebulousCriminalConspiracy, where seemingly unrelated crimes are actually all connected.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''LightNovel/{{Baccano}}'' combines this with the odd case of MuggingTheMonster, with everything from [[spoiler: trainfulls of rival mobsters encountering a conductor who's an AxCrazy assassin with a twisted [[KnightTemplar sense of justice]] (and a great deal of respect for the [[ItsPersonal colleague they murdered to infiltrate the train]]) to [[AncientConspiracy immortals]] having their elixir of life stolen by random muggers]].

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* This is the big reveal in ''ComicBook/{{Bookhunter}}''. [[spoiler:Two different thieves, acting completely independently, plot to steal a valuable book. The first thief leaves a replica in the original's place, and the second thief steals the replica. It's only after solving the mystery of the second theft that the police realize that the first theft happened at all.]]
* In the ''ComicBook/TheFlash'' storyline "Crossfire," the Rogues launch their long-planned takeover of Keystone City...only to have the Thinker choose the same time to launch his own attack on Central City and the battle of the two forces allows the Flash to defeat them both.
* When the ComicBook/ThePunisher is held in a small town cell during the ''ComicBook/SuicideRun'' event, several criminal enterprises set out independently to get him, turning the town into a war zone.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/FromDuskTillDawn'': Two gunmen brothers kidnap a preacher and his children, only to take refuge in a brothel/strip joint infested with vampires.
* ''House on Haunted Hill'':
** In ''Film/HouseOnHauntedHill1999'' (the remake), the host and his wife are planning their own roundabout ways to kill each other during the party. Shame it should just happen that the house really is haunted, and filled with exceedingly sadistic and powerful ghosts.
** [[Film/HouseOnHauntedHill1959 The original movie]] also plays with this trope as [[spoiler:the host and his wife in this film are planning to kill each other as well. The host succeeds.]]
* The French movie ''The Nest'' has a great example of this. A big warehouse complex is being used as a hideout by some fairly mundane thieves, but ends up as the site for a huge battle between terrorists and a good-guy military squad.
* ''Film/{{Psycho}}'': A secretary runs off with several thousand dollars and holes up in the Bates Motel. Things end poorly for her.
* ''Film/{{Splinter}}'': A married couple are taken hostage by a couple of criminals. During a pit stop for gas, they're attacked by a horrible monster that takes over people as it devours them.
* In ''Whisper'', a band of kidnapper discover the child they've abducted is very, ''very'' much not a normal little boy.
* In ''Film/TheUsualSuspects'', a bunch of would-be robbers end up stealing from and in the pockets of a much more sinister crime lord. The only reason they were kept alive is because they didn't realize who they were stealing from at the time of robbery and they are forced to repay with another crime.
* The plot of ''Film/{{Snatch}}'' is driven by a variety of criminals vying over a diamond, intersecting with Irish Travelers clashing with an underground boxing promoter.
* ''Film/LockStockAndTwoSmokingBarrels'' is the intersection of four lowlifes trying to pay off a gambling debt, a group of thugs stealing from a black gang's pot growing operation, and a crimelord ordering the theft of some valuable muskets.
* Played with in ''Film/HardRain'' where a fairly simple plotline about a bunch of criminals trying to rob an armoured truck becomes more complicated when [[spoiler: the local law enforcement decide to steal the cash themselves and the van guard and the lead robber end up in an EnemyMine]].
* Worst case yet must be ''Film/DeepRising'', where a GambitPileup has a thief, mercenaries, a captured cruise ship and a pack of sea monsters.
* ''Malevolence'' is about a group of bank robbers who accidentally wind up inside the house of a psychotic murderer.
* ''Film/TheCollector'' has a man who tries to rob a house's safe and encounters a serial killer who broke into the place before he did.
* ''Film/{{Scarecrows}}'' features a robbery of the Camp Pendleton payroll which goes wrong when the robbers have to land in a field filled with evil scarecrows.
* ''Film/FatalInstinct'': Both Ravine's unfaithful wife Lana and released convict Max Shady plot to kill him on the same train ride. Lana ends up shooting Shady by mistake because he also wears Ravine's trademark blue suit.
* ''Film/ManOnFire'' had this as the cause of the main plot. The ransom drop off went [[GoneHorriblyWrong horribly wrong]] because several groups got too greedy. Aside from the Voice and his gang (the actual kidnappers), [[spoiler: a group of [[DirtyCop cops]] tried to steal the ransom money for themselves]], as well as [[spoiler: the victim's family [[AmoralAttorney lawyer]] stealing half the ransom as it was being transported]].
* ''Film/TheyRePlayingWithFire'' starts off as a movie where a married couple plan to drive the husband's mother and grandmother away from their home mansion with a help from a high school student. Then a guy in a ski-mask starts killing people around the place.
* ''Film/TheNeighbor'': A couple of drug runners discover that their neighbor runs a kidnapping-for-ransom operation next door.
* The film ''Film/{{Flypaper}}'' has two robber gangs (a couple of StupidCrooks and somewhat more competent commando-type thieves [[spoiler:and it's eventually revealed that a famous cat burglar had been working on the inside for a while prior as a cashier]]) barging into a bank and taking the people inside hostage while they try to rob different parts of it (after a while of going through a MexicanStandoff and then declaring "ThisIsMySide, this is your side")... and then it turns out that they were both baited into robbing the bank on the same day by a criminal mastermind Chessmaster that wanted to use all of them as chaff for his own heist (and the murder of a DirtyCop accomplice that had outlived his usefulness) and KillEmAll afterwards.
* ''Film/LakeBodom'': Four teenagers decide to go camping near lake Bodom, where [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Bodom_murders murders]] took place in 1960. Two of them [[spoiler:are plotting to kill the other half of the group and make them disappear]] but, unbeknownst to them, they are being stalked by a genuine psycho killer...
* ''Film/{{Frontiers}}'': Bunch of French thieves exploit riots to perform a heist and then hide in a hotel on the French countryside... that is the home of a CannibalClan in the vein of ''Franchise/TheTexasChainsawMassacre''.

* In Creator/KimNewman's ''No Gold in the Grey Mountains'', a band of thieves try to rob a coach of its gold. It doesn't have any (a TitleDrop is deployed), so they opt for a hostage ploy on the little girl who's aboard instead. Back at their hideout, some ancient ''thing'' is stirred up, and begins picking them off one-by-one...
* The first ''Literature/VargVeum'' story has a child abduction mixed with a murder and a plot to illegally sell hazardous chemicals. They all intersect in the worst possible way when it's revealed that the abductor couldn't possibly have known that he had the child.
* Happens at a bank robbery with almost immediate turnaround at the beginning of ''Literature/{{Steelheart}}''.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Happens a couple times with rival spy agencies on ''Series/{{Alias}}''. Most notable in the early seasons with Sark and his "flexible loyalties." Most of his plans started with big successes, only for him to get caught or entwined in another spy's scheme. He'd then [[WildCard switch sides]] or at least pretend to, evoking a very temporary [[EnemyMine truce]]. Even the finale showed that his tendency to let whoever's conspiracy he collided with take precedence allowed him to be the only BigBad to survive.
* ''Series/PersonOfInterest'' features two sets: the various power battles for control of New York's criminal underworld and the conflict over control of The Machine. From time to time, the two sets will intersect for an even bigger collision.
* ''Series/TheLastHeist'' is about a BankRobbery that takes place at the same time that a SerialKiller who likes to [[EyeScream carve out and collect his victims' eyes]] happens to be in the building to retrieve his [[CreepySouvenir 'trophies']] from the vault. It also turns into a HostageSituation when the police catch on to the robbery taking place. And several [[DirtyCop corrupt SWAT team members]] are also after the loot.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''Roleplay/TheGamersAlliance'', the [[GangBangers Nightstalkers]] end up entangled in the complex rival plots of [[SiblingsInCrime Matheson Crime Family]], the [[AncientConspiracy Order of the Black Rose]] and the [[ReligionOfEvil Totenkopf cult]], all of which take place in Maar Sul City. The gang tries to make the most out of it in the dangerous environment but does suffer quite a bit along the way because they simply aren't powerful enough to upstage the other influential factions in their own game.
* ''WebVideo/{{Mega 64}}'' Version 3: [[spoiler:The antagonistic organization Falz is afraid of a group of incredibly dangerous assassins they call The Killers. It shortly turns out that the [=Mega64=] gang has had run-ins with members of The Killers before.]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/EvilConCarne'': This trope was the reason Hector decided to start the League of Destruction.