"As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly."Having been convinced that the protagonist knows more than they really do, the perp returns to the scene of the crime to cover his tracks, little suspecting that the protagonist, the bumbling chief of police and the Channel 7 Action News Team are lying in wait... Compare Conscience Makes You Go Back.
— The Bible, Proverbs 26:11
Examples (spoiler alert!):
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Anime and Manga
- Invoked in an early episode of Pokémon.
Films — Animated
Films — Live-Action
- Insomnia: Detective Dormer has specific information leaked to the press about the number of items found in connection to the murder of Kay so that the killer will go back to the cabin where he murdered her to remove more evidence. The cops are waiting for him (having already discovered the cabin through Kay's journals), but they didn't know that there was an underground passageway beneath the cabin which then allows the killer to get away.
- Gothika: Discussed and defied when someone asks one of the killers why he didn't go back to the crime scene to remove evidence once his partner in crime was out of the picture. He responds that this is the fastest way to get caught and it's smarter to "let the dust settle". Of course, as the town's sheriff he should know this.
- In the first Ace Attorney Investigations game, Jacques Portsman returns to the scene of where he killed Buddy Faith, although it's justified, as he does so under the pretext of investigating the crime, trying to frame Gumshoe and then Maggey for the crime.
- In the Talkartoons short "The Herring Murder Case", Bimbo looks in his detective book and reads a passage saying that the killer always returns to the scene of the crime, which gives him the idea to hide in the room and wait for the killer to come in so he can capture him.
- Invoked by a World War 2 German propaganda poster produced for occupied France after a heavy bombing attack on Rouen by the Royal Air Force. It showed Joan of Arc at the stake above the silhouette of the burning city with the legend: Les assassins reviennent toujours ... sur les lieux de leur crime "The murderers always return ... to the scene of their crime".
- Some Real Life serial offenders have returned to the scenes of their crimes, but it's quite often so that they can reminisce about how powerful and/or aroused it made them feel, not out of conscience or to remove evidence.