Follow TV Tropes


Website / Not Always Legal

Go To

Not Always Legal is a sister sitenote  to Not Always Right, added to the site's rotation in 2018. This site contains anecdotes from the legal world, involving everything from dumb criminals, disorder in the courtroom, and very strange crimes. (As usual, remember to be careful sifting through these, as there's no way of knowing which stories are legit or not.)


Not Always Legal contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: No collection of legal stories would be complete without its share of criminally neglectful parents.
    • This story features a toddler calling 112 (the number for emergency services in the Netherlands) because she can't find her parents. As it turns out, they went to the movies and left her and her infant brother home alone because they weren't able to book a babysitter. This led to the parents getting a stern talking to and Child Protection Services being notified. For bonus points, there's no crying "fake" on this one; it made it to the news.
    • This couple and the husband's brother get their young children involved in their insurance scam, when their plan involves having a huge truck rear end them, for no other reason than to use them to gain extra collateral from the potential payout.
    • This father, on his first unsupervised visit with his son after being released from prison, decides to try stealing a chick from a petting zoo. While an employee manages to retrieve the chicken, the man speeds away immediately, sans both chicken and child. Thankfully, the little boy knows his mother’s number, who quickly arrives, and the police reassure her and the employees that the day’s outing would be the last time the man sees his son alone, if at all.
    • Advertisement:
    • A neighborhood bully is found by police to be stealing and extorting whatever he can at his mother's demand, so she can sell it for her drug habit. He gets rehomed with an aunt, whom OP sincerely hopes helped him recover as well as reform.
    • In this story, the submitter and a customer (a police officer) at a store see a small girl wearing only a sundress and tights in the middle of a frigid winter night outside with her mother. When the cop tells the girl's mother that the girl is clearly very cold, the mother makes up the excuse that "kids don't feel temperatures the same way normal people do", plays the "she's faking it for attention" card when that doesn't work, and then freely admits that she is ignoring the poor kid's (completely valid) complaints about being too cold. The neglectful mom gets arrested shortly afterward.
  • Advertisement:
  • Alcohol-Induced Stupidity: Livid that a convenience store won't sell him beer after 2am, a drunk man retaliates by taking a camp hatchet to the store's electrical box to shut their power off. A camping hatchet that was non-insulated and entirely metal. Miraculously, the worst injuries the man ended up with after the ensuing light show were only a few burns (and ruined shoes sent flying several feet away).
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: The woman in this story wants to sue her ex-husband's mistress for "alienation of affection", which the OP has never heard of. As the comments section points out, it is an actual legal term which is still recognized in some jurisdictions, including six US states... however, none of those are Louisiana, where the story takes place.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Two girls ditch school to visit their out-of-town boyfriends and miss their ride home. One police search later, their families tear them new ones for their idiocy.
  • Bad Boss: The Boss at a shady motel yells at his teenage employee for giving out all the money in the safe after being robbed at gunpoint, claiming he had to be bluffing (said robber had actually killed someone else for not giving in), and decided to take the money out of the boy's pay, and refused to let him leave early due to emotional distress. The boy's mother was not happy, and managed to persuade the boss to change his mind once she found out.
  • Bad People Abuse Animals:
  • Badass Bystander: When she realizes the coffee shop is being robbed by a man with a knife, this regular customer throws her chair at him, and her boyfriend pins him down until the police arrive.
  • Ballistic Discount: This dingus tries to pull a classic variation of the trope with a hunting knife. Unfortunately, the clerk is packing a loaded gun.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: The customer in this story winds up on the wrong end of one; he gave his keys to what he took to be a department store's valet. It's unclear whether the thief was intentionally trying to pass off as a valet or just capitalized on an opportunity (i.e., had the submitter of this story actually taken the car instead of trying to convince the guy he wasn't a valet), but the latter would be one heck of a Contrived Coincidence.
  • Begging the Question: "I'm pulling you over because of how you pulled over."
  • Belief Makes You Stupid:
    • This old busybody comes to the conclusion that her neighbor must be dealing drugs because he works at night and is never seen in her church. When the police officer points out the stupidity of her reasoning, she starts screaming that he's breaking the law by not going to church, which is kind of the opposite of the First Amendment's purpose.
    • This Sunday school refuses to pay an artist for a commission, citing they'll instead pay in "prayers and blessings." The unamused artist immediately sues them for breach of contract.
      1 Timothy 5:18 (New Living Translation): For the Scripture says, "You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain." And in another place, "Those who work deserve their pay!"
    • This atheist lawyer thinks a religious lawyer is this trope without realizing that he is this trope. When the religious lawyer is unable to meet the atheist lawyer for a possible partnership at a restaurant due to his religious dietary restrictions, the latter sends a long ranting text message about how the former is irrational for holding such beliefs and it will affect their work as lawyers as he wants someone who doesn't do non-rational practices or celebrate non-rational holidays. What makes it stupid is that this took place in Ontario, Canada, and the atheist lawyer's discriminating message can be considered a criminal act and blatant Human Rights violation.
  • Berserk Button: Don't shout when talking to this unhinged moron, even if it's the only way anyone - said unhinged moron included - will be able to hear you. He will try to assault you and anyone who tries to protect you.
  • Blatant Lies: This person gets rid of a "computer support" scammer by claiming to have eaten their computer for breakfast, and their laptop for dinner. The scammer just accepts this.
  • Bluff the Impostor: This Spanish learner, not convinced that a man claiming to be the head of a major United Arab Emirates bank is who he says he is, prepares several paragraphs of Spanish word salad as a reply to a "business proposal", knowing that any legitimate Spanish learner would recognize it as being incoherent. Sure enough, the guy doesn't recognize the nonsense reply for what it is and turns out to be a scam artist.
  • Chairman of the Brawl: This story has a robbery at knifepoint end in an unexpected way when a regular throws her chair at the robber, allowing her boyfriend to subdue him.
  • Contrived Coincidence:
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Literally! A couple of thieves raiding a trucking company get locked in a refrigerated truck until the police arrive.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot:
    • This airhead is so desperate to claim the last footlocker in a store that she comes in and padlocks it to the shelf just so no one else can claim it. Pretty much everyone she speaks to afterward points out to her that had she simply put it in her cart if she wanted it (or just carried it with her since she claims that her cart was full), then she would not have gotten in a fight with the submitter over it, gotten security involved, and then been arrested for causing a public disturbance.
    • Stiffing one accountant on overtime pay gets a business investigated and charged for stiffing several other employees on overtime pay, then for tax fraud, leading an executive's wife to file for divorce, driving the entire company into bankruptcy.
    • A visitor's car gets flattened by ice falling off the roof of a tall apartment building. The apartment owners refuse to pay for the old, run-down car to be replaced, and are taken to court... where it's revealed that they had fraudulently claimed the building was smaller (and exempt from ice safety regulations), getting them into major hot water with city planning and the tax office, because they'd claimed fewer tenants and less income than they actually had.
    • This story concerns a health insurance fraud scheme: the doctor bills the insurance company for fake visits and prescriptions using their patient information, the pharmacist bills the insurance company for filling the fake prescriptions, the insurance agent manages the claims. One patient gets a copay bill from their second line of health insurance for one of the fake visits and calls the fraudster agent about it. The comments immediately point out that the agent could have explained the charge as an error, reversed or comped it using the fraud money, satisfied the patient that way, and then warned their accomplices not to use patients with outside insurance. Instead, they loudly abuse the patient and accuse them of lying about the charge, prompting the patient to call a manager and demand an investigation under patient privacy laws, which exposes the fraud.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Desperate to get a refund on a phone that he inadvertently ran over, this genius tries to win sympathy points by claiming that he is a war veteran with PTSD... and makes the ill-advised embellishment that he may come back into the cell phone store armed because of it. The employee immediately calls the police and the customer is thrown into the slammer for breach of peace. Turns out the customer had a history of threatening people in the past and this was the first time that it actually backfired on him. As a bonus, he is banned from entering the cell phone store (and the submitter makes a point of mentioning that there's not another one of their stores for 200 miles).
  • The Dog Bites Back: Frequently. A tip about legal services: they're not obligated to still help you if you do something terrible to their employees or someone else like a lot of customers in Not Always Right. A lot of stories in law offices in particular have to do with someone in desperate need of a lawyer for their upcoming case mistreating either a lawyer or a secretary and suddenly finding themselves treading legal water without a lawyer for their abusive behavior.
  • Drives Like Crazy:
    • "Crazy" is an understatement for a driver who continues to drive the wrong way down a drive-thru after it becomes obvious he can't make it without hitting anything, scraping several cars in the process. The worst part is that he seems somewhat aware of it; before doing this, he repeatedly apologizes to the driver telling him he'll have to reverse, and the submitter says he did so in perfect monotone.
    • And then there's the girl who had a laundry list of moving violations and had just barely avoided jail time from the exasperated judge by promising to mend her ways... and on the way home tried to race a train. She didn't survive.
    • "Mate, you've left most of your car across two lanes..."
    • This woman reads and writes in a magazine while driving down a freeway and nearly causes multiple accidents until a police car finally pulls her over.
    • Similarly, this idiot is reading a paperback book while driving at night in fog, going ludicrously slow as if that'll help him maintain control of his car, which is veering around the road in a fashion that initially misleads the submitter into thinking he's drunk. The only reason the submitter doesn't report him is because cell phones don't exist yet.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: This lady asked a dog groomer for a special coat treatment on one part of her dog, ignorant of the fact that this would still incur an extra charge of $3 regardless of how much would be used. When the submitter explains this, the customer freaks out, threatens to kill her dog, attempts to run the submitter over in the parking lot two weeks later, and when the police went to her home, it was discovered that not only had she carried out the threat and killed her dog, but had also gutted and booby-trapped her house so that 'they' couldn't get her and had binoculars pointed out of every single window.
  • The Ending Changes Everything: This story starts off with a neighborhood bully who steals and breaks the toys of other kids with his bad behavior being encouraged by his mother. By the end it turns out that the mother is a drug addict who had been making the kid steal the more expensive toys so she could sell them to support her habit.
  • Failed a Spot Check: "Ma'am, I've patrolled this street hundreds of times before, and I've never seen a single deer."
  • False Rape Accusation: The teen drug dealer in this story was going to try this to avoid punishment for his criminal activities, until the officers pointed out the numerous cameras around the area showing what happened.
  • Frame-Up: Mentioned as a common tactic by one lawyer who specializes in family law.
    If your client isn’t planting the drugs in their ex’s shed, it’s their ex planting drugs in your client’s shed.
  • Frivolous Lawsuit:
    • Attempted by this woman, who suffered a minor cut from the slide of a rented firearm. The fact that she'd admitted to lying on the range's waiver form (by claiming she had extensive firearms experience when she had none) was apparently irrelevant... though not to her lawyer, who takes one look at the waiver and quits the case.
    • This woman uses the fact that the store is not selling candy (which is fake and used only for display) as grounds to sue the jewelry store where the submitter works. A customer who is being helped comes out and reveals to the woman that he is a judge, and that he would laugh her out of court if the case came to him.
  • Good Is Not Soft: The victim of a hit-and-run offers to forgive the incident completely if the offending driver pays to have her bicycle, which was severely damaged, repaired. The driver refuses... until the victim declares she will press charges (costing them legal fees for defense and a hefty fine, as well as a criminal record) and claim on their liability insurance (which will affect their rates long-term).
  • Graceful Loser: This telephone con artist praised the OP for recognizing their scam call as such.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: This man, who flies into an Unstoppable Rage and attempts to beat up the submitter, an employee at a car wash, just because the submitter had to yell at him over the car wash's extremely loud blow dryers to get back in his car and move it out of the car wash. (Fortunately, another employee manages to stop the man and kicks him out before the man can follow through with doing so.)
  • Hiding Behind the Language Barrier: This group of robbers decided it was safe to plan their robbery of the bus driver on the bus, since they weren't using the local language to do so. Too bad one of the other passengers knew exactly what they were saying.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Any time someone calls the police over someone else's business, only to be arrested for their own violations.
    • After the narrator's father dug a pond that attracted noisy frogs, an annoying neighbor began making false pollution complaints, hoping that the environmental safety inspectors would either annoy the owners into filling in the pond, or find something that would force them to fill in the pond. The inspectors found something, all right... they found that the neighbor was washing their car and improperly dumping the wash water (with chemicals), and fined them instead.
    • These people demand the police do something about their car being blocked, and a tow truck called, by the owner of the property where they're illegally parked. Police who were called after they tried to start a fight with the property owner, which was recorded by the neighbors. "Something" turns out to be arresting them all as accessory to trespassing (the illegally parked car) and assault (the attempted fight), and the tow is redirected to an impound lot.
    • A man whose property is adjacent to a national forest harasses the submitter for hunting there, only for the submitter to explain that the area they're in is part of the forest, not the man's property. The man calls in a ranger and shows him the "No Trespassing" signs, only for the ranger to check his GPS and... issue a citation for having "No Trespassing" signs in the national forest.
  • Humiliation Conga: In this story, the poster's brother is called in on his day off to deal with a task not in his job description. He asks for $10,000 in overtime, but the company refuses, so he takes it to the labor board. The ensuing investigation reveals the company had been stiffing all of its employees on overtime, costing them $100,000 in fines. This leads to them finding out they've been committing tax fraud, costing the company $500,000 in back taxes and fines. THIS leads to one of the partners' wives filing for divorce and taking a quarter of the business in cash. Finally, the company goes bankrupt.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Several Too Dumb to Live people end up doing this.
    • In this story a thief is protesting his innocence in court. When his victim mentions that he stole an expensive chocolate cake from his fridge, the thief protests that it was a strawberry one instead.
    • This pool cleaner was accused of stealing from lockers by two patrons. When called by management, he thinks two other patrons accused him, and yells at them that he didn't steal from their lockers, because they changed the code when they saw him spying on them!
  • Insane Troll Logic:
  • It's All About Me: This man tries to cut off a bus and causes an enormous traffic pile-up as he tries to force the bus to move out of his way. He refuses to move and tries to attack everyone who comes to tell him to move, including the police, all because he thought he was above the law and that the world had to move for him. His egomaniac behavior gets his driver's license revoked and lands him in jail and with several fines, including an assault charge made by a truck driver he hit.
  • Jerkass: A man who very loudly works on his truck the middle of the night and keeps his neighbors up blows off anyone who asks him to stop and continues to work on his truck at unreasonable times, resulting in the people of the neighborhood filing noise complaints to the city about him. Incensed, the man retaliates by barraging the noise complaint website with bogus noise complaints about them (including easily disproven ones such as complaints about noisy dogs which implicated people who didn't have any), and arguing with the police officers who come out to investigate. Ultimately, all this does is get the man arrested for the fraudulent noise complaints and fighting with the officers.
  • Joke and Receive: A cashier gets a customer buying a balaclava (i.e. a stocking cap covering all of the wearer's head but their eyes and mouth) and jokes about the customer robbing a bank afterwards. The customer's reaction to this joke is to suddenly give the cashier a strange look and make a mad dash out of the store, tossing the balaclava into a trash can as he does so.
  • Karma Houdini: A reckless driver gets off scot-free when the police behind them decide to instead pull over the submitter, whom they thought was using their phone while driving, and waste time trying to prove that the submitter was in fact doing so (which they weren't).
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: A standard reaction from lawyers who discover that their clients' cases are fraudulent or completely idiotic.
    • This woman's lawyer drops her case when he discovers she lied about her experience with guns on a liability waiver at a firing range, promptly injured herself, and tried to sue.
    • This woman's lawyer drops her case when they were sent security camera footage and a witness statement showing that the client was trying to defraud the target with a false injury report.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • This driver decided to start tailgating another car for no apparent reason (there was almost no traffic on the road, so he could have simply passed the car at any time). Turns out the car being tailgated was an undercover cop car.
    • While two teenage shoplifters are being detained, two other teenagers steal their bicycles.
    • This woman's attempt to fake an injury not only ends up with her being legitimately hurt, but her lawyer drops the case after being handed evidence showing that the woman was completely at fault because she had been trying to scam the store.
    • Some kids throwing lit firecrackers into a crowded street hit a police car with one.
    • This customer threatens to shoot a pizza place and harm the submitter's girlfriend if the pizza place doesn't honor a (non-existent) 30 Minutes, or It's Free! policy for his large orders of pizza. He instead got arrested for his threat.
  • Lawful Stupid:
    • This meter maid continually gives tickets to drivers who have not paid for their parking. The fact that the people in question have clearly just parked and are in the process of using the kiosk to pay is irrelevant.
    • In this story, a British police officer guarding a nuclear site held his fire on a suspicious individual, and it was soon determined that the individual was an employee for the security company they had hired who had decided to conduct a security test without informing the heavily-armed police with shoot-to-kill orders. The officer was reprimanded and fired. The comments argue whether this trope was actually in play (the suspect wasn't a threat, and Stanislav Petrov is brought up when discussing human judgement in situations like these) or not (a second's hesitation in a possible terrorism situation could cause the loss of hundreds of lives).
  • Lethally Stupid: The worst we hear this man do is speed, which is bad but common enough to not default to Drives Like Crazy. However, it's noted that the man is legally blind, limited to a small field of peripheral vision with most of his field of view being completely black. Naturally, he doesn't have a license, and usually rides a bike, but decides it's a great idea to buy and drive a motorcycle after moving. Several comments point out that there are too many ways that this could go wrong, and that it's lucky that he was pulled over before he actually hurt anyone. Even the editors seemed to agree with this; the punchline of the story is that, when asked for his license, the man replied, “The good state of California didn’t see fit to give a blind man a license, officer,” and the story is titled "The State Of California Maybe Has A Point".
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • This story mentions a Canadian law that unpaid phone/TV/internet accounts, after six years, can no longer be collected from or the holders be refused service. Some customers are aware of the law and as such cycle through providers so that they rarely have to pay for the service. Of course, it's been done so often that companies have become Genre Savvy; the submitter's company has averted the trope by changing their policy so that anyone who took advantage of the loophole would be recorded as a high risk for non-payment and have to pay a hefty up-front deposit before getting anything more than basic service.
    • The prostitute in this story has figured out that as long as she hasn't serviced them by the time the police arrive, the clients can't prove she was doing anything illegal... and can't force her to give the money back.
  • Love Makes You Stupid: The girls in this story are 15, cut school to visit their out-of-town (college-age) boyfriends, miss their ride home, and soon have the police looking for them.
  • Mama Bear: When a group of cops mistakenly thinks a sandwich shop is open later than it actually is, resulting in the underage clerk having to wait well after closing while they chat, her mother ends up delivering an epic rant to the cops in question.
    “Do you know what time it is? My daughter has school in the morning; she was supposed to be home half an hour ago! And then I come up here thinking something horrible must have happened and see nothing but cop cars in front of the building. I almost had a heart attack! You should all be ashamed of yourselves!” (And that's just the opening salvo, the full rant went several minutes.)
  • Mistaken Identity: Some police mistake the submitter's husband for a criminal they're looking for as he's out playing Pokémon GO late in the evening. Fortunately, the husband's ability to easily remember numbers gets him out of hot water when the police ask him to confirm his identity.
  • Morton's Fork: A nuclear site is guarded by security personnel from two sources: military police and a private security firm. The latter decides to have a surprise drill, with an actor dressed as a suicide bomber, and neglects to inform the former, leading to a confrontation. If the policeman had used lethal force per his requirements, he would have mistakenly killed a civilian. However, since there was no warning that an actor would be on-site and no reason to believe he WASN'T a real bomber, the policeman was dismissed as a security risk for holding his fire.
  • Must Have Caffeine: This person calls 911 four times in 10 minutes to demand that the police stop blocking access to the gas station where she gets her coffee. Who cares that the station is closed because someone murdered the clerk and the homicide squad is still investigating — and she insists that if they're not going to let her in, they should at least brew a pot of coffee for her and deliver it. The only reason she quit calling after the fourth time is one of the officers heard her screaming and came over to see what was wrong and promptly arrested her for disorderly conduct, assault on a police officer, disturbing the peace, and abuse of the 911 system, as two real emergency calls had to be rerouted to another dispatch center because she was tying up the line.
  • Multiple Identity IDs: Trips up the scammer in this story — she couldn't remember which birthdate went with which stolen identity.
  • Mundane Utility: This police officer was using his car's flashing lights to scare elk off the road so much that he forgot about its intended use and was puzzled when a driver assumed they were being pulled over.
  • My Greatest Failure: This story describes a conversation the poster has with a judge, which eventually leads to the poster asking if there is anything the judge regrets. The judge describes a 16-year-old girl who kept getting into trouble for driving violations. The judge eventually threatened to put her in jail, but buckled when she begged him for clemency since nobody had gotten hurt. She promptly decided to race a train to the crossing and was killed.
  • Never Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight: This crook's attempt to pull a Ballistic Discount on a hunting knife fails when the clerk draws a pistol on him.
  • Never My Fault: This woman goes to ridiculous lengths to try and make it seem like it isn't her fault that her dog ran from her yard to terrorize the submitter and their pit bull (who doesn't get along with other dogs due to being being in a dog-fighting ring in the past) while she was watching and tries to paint herself as a good dog owner and her dog as a friendly well-behaved pooch when both clearly aren't (the dog, in particular, gives the submitter a nasty dog bite on their ankle when the submitter tries to block him from their pit bull). Ultimately, the woman is charged with illegally letting her dog run off-leash in an open yard in the neighborhood (among other misdemeanors) and is forced to give up her dog. Despite this, even in the court hearing the woman still adamantly refuses to believe that she was at fault for the incident despite telling the story exactly how it happened.
  • No Honor Among Thieves: In this story, one member of a group of shoplifters gets searched, and is caught with a wallet belonging to one of his partners in crime. A brawl ensues.
  • Oh, Crap!: In this story, a group of teenagers try to sneak aboard a train, bum a free ride, and drink underage, and then try to threaten the conductor into letting them stay with the possibility that they could be held legally accountable if they come to any harm. The conductor complies and drops them off at the next train station, where a bunch of police are waiting for them.
    "I've never seen anyone get as pure of an 'Oh, s***!' impression as those kids right then."
  • Omniglot: Downplayed example here, the submitter speaks six languages to varying degrees, and ends up trolling the scammer in four.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: This dude tries to escape being arrested after attempting to rob a betting shop by leaving, coming back in oversized pajamas, and pretending to be a normal customer. Nobody is fooled and he's still arrested when the police arrive.
  • Politeness Judo: Asking for directions gets this grandmother out of a speeding ticket.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The obnoxious client's daughter in this story gets what she wants because the law firm decides a disruption to their work period is better than her sick mother, disabled husband, and child being left in a sizzling car any longer than necessary, but the firm bans her for effectively using her family as hostages.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • As the comments point out, the seemingly harsh judge in this story is following the rules of jury selection. Schedule conflicts (lack of transportation, disability, lack of childcare, etc.) need to be documented and resolved before the selection; otherwise, the only valid excuse is a genuine conflict of interests with the case (as the submitter had).
    • This judge seems to be a jackass, yelling at a young man in traffic court for several minutes for his poor driving record, with this being the latest in a long string of offenses. When the submitter is called, the judge finds out that the charge is minor and the submitter has had no other tickets in eight years, and immediately dismisses the ticket.
    • A teenager caught selling drugs insists that his lawyer father will get him out of trouble, even after his False Rape Accusation fails. In the last paragraph, the father makes a guilty plea for a reduced sentence, and promises to cut him out of the will entirely if it happens again.
  • Revealing Cover Up:
    • The coworker loudly accusing a reformed thief of stealing electronics, surprise surprise, turns out to be the one stealing electronics.
    • This cashier was selling items to customers, registering the transaction as a $2 sale (and an item hold so the missing product wouldn't be noticed in inventory), and pocketing the rest. She's found out when a customer needs to make a return, and the manager questions why the receipt doesn't match the item.
  • Revenge Myopia: This one's a doozy. OP starts the story stating that his neighborhood is suffering a crime wave of packages being stolen from the door-step. OP installs a security camera and catches a thief in the act. He manages to get a clear facial view with the thief shoving his package in her backpack. As is his right, he places posters showcasing this at fence posts around his property, asking for information, or hopefully, getting the stealing to stop. In response, the thief's mother calls him up, and demands the posters be taken down because her daughter is not a thief. Not expecting it to work, OP asks the woman for her name and address so he can send an apology letter. The woman happily gives it to him. OP doesn't send any letters, he instead calls the police with the information he now has. When the police go to the given address to investigate, the woman spits on the police officers, and soon after, OP comes home to find his front door vandalized with graffiti. Shortly after re-painting the door, OP gets a call from the woman again, promising to make his life hell because OP "ruined her daughter's life by snitching." Then said daughter is caught, red-handed, attempting to vandalize the door again. There's no word what happened after that, but nobody's heard from Mom or Teen Thief again, and the porch-piracy in the area dropped to zero...
  • Sarcastic Confession: When asked if she's smuggling food during wartime rationing, a large woman retorts that she's sitting on "my two hams". The police assume she's referring to her buttocks. She's not.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: This father attempts to bribe the police out of arresting his son. It doesn't work.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: This teenage drug dealer thought that because his dad was a lawyer, he could not only get away with his dealings, but slap the two officers who arrested him with molestation charges as well. His dad, however, wasn't willing to go easy on him.
  • Shout-Out: The title of this story is a reference to the lighthouse joke.
  • Skewed Priorities: The lady mentioned in Must Have Caffeine is fine with disrupting a homicide investigation and placing unnecessary 911 calls (offenses that could and did get her prison time) to get her coffee... but not with driving 5 minutes and paying a few more dollars to get coffee ("that isn't contaminated with blood", to quote the police officer who dealt with her) from another place.
  • Spanner in the Works:
    • A sysadmin who'd embezzled millions of dollars from his employer and retired early is caught when his successor fails to receive the fake inventory he'd been using to justify his budget requests, does his own, and comes up with a much lower number, leading management to investigate.
    • This company refuses to pay a manager $10,000 in overtime. He takes them to court and, while he ultimately loses, the investigation uncovers the massive fraud the company had been committing, which results in their going bankrupt. And all because they didn't want to pay $10,000 that they may or may not have owed to one frazzled manager who was on-call even on his day off but wasn't receiving overtime.
    • This landlord is caught in violation of building and tax codes because a visitor's car got crushed by falling ice.
    • The submitter in this story ends up helping to uncover a small insurance fraud ring run by a doctor, pharmacist, and insurance agent who were all related.
  • Spiteful Spit: This jerkass tries to spit on the poster after he gets her boyfriend arrested for blocking his driveway, but all she accomplishes is getting it all over her chin and shirt.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: This idiot doesn't understand why the female police officer was mad when he told her she should be at home doing "women things."
  • Stupid Crooks: A theme with this site.
    • A major example would probably be this thief, who leaves his resume with all his contact information at the scene of the crime. For bonus points, it's the thief's mother who submitted the story, because even she can't believe he's that stupid. The comments on this post are filled with additional stories of stupid crooks.
    • Gee, my trial won't start for a few minutes, what can I do to pass the time... I know! I'll threaten a prosecution witness while everyone in the courtroom, including the cops, are watching!
    • Thanks to stupidity that doesn't fit under this trope, a couple scammers get their hands on "convenience checks" note  linked to an elderly couple's credit card. They promptly write two large checks... and deposit them straight into their bank account. The fraud investigator called this "the easiest case I've ever handled".
    • These two knuckleheads steal a pizza delivery car from a chain and decide there's nothing wrong with mentioning to the submitter (to whom they're trying to sell said stolen car) that they stole it from a pizza delivery shop in the first place. Needless to say, the buyer takes the car for a "test drive", tracks down the person to whom the stolen car belongs, and ultimately gets the car back to its rightful owner.
    • This murderer stole a motorcycle from his victim and takes it to a locksmith to have a key made for it. Too bad for him, the locksmith in question sees a news report on the murder the next day, and calls the cops, providing them with the name and address the guy left with the locksmith.
    • A man is on trial for several burglary charges. After the initial trial and presentation of evidence, the judge asks if anyone has any questions before the jury goes into deliberation. Up goes the accused man's hand, and he asks: "So, if I’m found innocent, does that mean I get to keep the stuff I took?". Cue Face Palm from his lawyer, stifled laughter from the judge and jury, and a conviction issued within less than five minutes.
    • A shoplifter who fled a store with a bunch of purses and clothes is caught in record time because he stopped about five stores down to sort through the stolen items.
    • Another shoplifter parked her car right in front of the store she was stealing from, and even asked an employee ahead of time if she could. Security footage got very clear shots of her and her children loading the stolen items into her car (whose license plate is also on prominent display).
    • This guy walks off without paying for his purchases at a supermarket before the employees can stop him. When he shows up at the store to shop again (after making a brief appearance there while bombed out of his mind), the employees call the police. The cops talk to the man and they follow him to the register. Against all logic, the guy tries to walk off without paying for his items again right in front of the police officers. He doesn't even make it out the door before the police officers arrest him.
    • This woman is stated to absolutely suck at trying to con her way into getting returns on items she didn't buy from stores due to giving overly-convoluted and highly-improbable reasons for why she wants to return said items that always gives her away, demonstrated in the story by her trying to weasel her way into getting a return on a hair-dryer by telling the submitter an absurd sob-story about the hair dryer being a gift to her jobless and ill son and one of the few things that made him happy. Unsurprisingly, the submitter is immediately suspicious and the scam fails.
    • A woman sentenced to court-ordered community service at a thrift store skips two days and refuses to work the third, then tries to bully the staff into sending the court records that she completed her service. Instead, they just send the court records of the truancy, non-compliance, and bullying. "We never saw her again, but I don't think the judge was happy."
    • In this story, the owner of a regulations and tax-evading apartment building apparently has never heard about the concept of hush money. When his negligence results in an ice block totaling someone's car (which was The Alleged Car beforehand), he refuses to pay for a replacement and the case goes to court... at which point, in the course of the investigation, the shady practices come to light, and he gets in hot water over way more than just an accident. In the words of the poster's attorney:
      "Seriously, if I pulled that stunt, I'd hand you ten grand for your 20-year-old wreck of a car and tell you to shut the eff up about it."
    • In this example, a woman in a department store steals another customer's phone while clearly in sight of the security cameras. And then pays for her own shopping with a credit card, so the store has her details. And then tries to shift the blame onto her autistic daughter, despite aforesaid cameras clearly showing it was her who took it. And used the owner's Netflix app, and took photos and audio recordings of herself. Unsurprisingly, she is tracked down easily, and the recordings turn out to be of interest to the police in connection to another case concerning her.
    • This scammer can't even keep his story straight; he enters a store claiming that he got the (stolen) vacuum cleaner he is trying to return as a housewarming gift, only to forget he said this mere seconds later and say that "[he] paid cash" for it and repeatedly demand to be paid back in cash. He just keeps digging himself deeper from there and it indirectly leads to his arrest later.
    • A person tries to rob a pharmacy that sits right across the street from a police station. All the witness to the crime (the submitter) has to do is tap the window of the station to get the attention of the officers inside and gesture toward the robbery, and it is stopped (and the would-be-robber is apprehended and arrested) in less than a minute.
    • A robber flees the betting parlor he is trying to rob when the owners hit the panic button, then comes back after changing clothes and tries to pose as a normal customer. The betting parlor owners are not fooled one bit and keep the robber distracted until the police arrive.
    • A mother-daughter pair here. The teen steals a package right in front of a security camera, and gets a nice color poster of her in the act. Mom then calls up the victim, not with an apology, but with a demand to take the poster down, and then happily gives him her name and address, then spits on the investigating police officers. Not having learned her lesson, Ms. Teen-thief goes back to the house she stole from, the one with the security camera, and vandalizes the front door with spray-paint. THEN Mom gives OP reason to suspect them by calling him up and all but admitting it by stating 1.) He "deserved it" for getting the police involved and "ruining her daughter's life" and 2.) Promising to give him hell. Then Ms. Teen-thief gets caught in the act by the police coming over to OP's house in response to his call. We're not shown what happened to Mom and Ms. Teen-thief after that, but given that the porch-piracy (and the mom's harassment of the OP) is stated to have quickly stopped afterward, one can easily assume that they both got in very big trouble if they weren't outright arrested.
    • These two have robbed an automated car wash full of quarters. The next day, one of them attempts to exchange them for cash at the store directly across the street from said car wash. The staff at the store have already been warned, and stall him while they call the police (who are also located just across the street), explaining that for an exchange of this size they need his name, address and telephone number, as well as an ID — all of which he provides without question, before paging his friend and accomplice, who arrives just as the police do. The police question the two, who respond with belligerence before trying to make a break for it, which gets them both arrested.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: Do NOT threaten ambulance drivers with a knife. "We get almost the entire police precinct within five or six minutes."
  • They Just Dont Get It:
    • The 911 operator in this story fails to understand that the submitter is asking for animal control to deal with a bear in the basement because she's blindly following the wrong emergency response card without actually listening to the submitter, leaving the responding officer shocked when the bear turns out to be an actual bear and not, as they apparently believed, "a big, hairy, gay guy".
    • A text-based emergency service for deaf people refuses to help a deaf person because they didn't call the police... because, you know, deaf.
  • 30 Minutes, or It's Free!: This customer demands a pizza place to deliver his order of fifteen mix topping pizzas and wants it for free if it doesn't arrive in thirty minutes, despite the fact the submitter explaining to the customer the Pizza place has never used this trope as its policy and his order would take an hour to make due to the story taking place on Superbowl Sunday, meaning he's not the only customer ordering big orders as well. When the customer angrily threatens to shoot the pizza place and harm the submitter's girlfriend if he doesn't get his order fast, the submitter instead reports him to the police where the customer is arrested and humiliated in front of his friends.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • This pedestrian thinks the best way to commit insurance fraud is to deliberately try and get hit by a car. And when the driver manages to avoid him, he runs right into their hood three times and then bashes their head against it, all within view of both the driver and the witness. He then more or less accuses the driver of hitting him on purpose when he obviously did nothing of the sort, and then tries to sue the driver for over $1 million. Needless to say, all this got him was some broken ribs, a split head, and a large medical bill.
    • The plaintiff in a lawsuit against a lawyer's client is so desperate to win her suit that she attempts to steal evidence that she defamed the client from the lawyer's office... which is full of security cameras that record audio, doors that lock from inside, and does so directly in front of the lawyer who stopped in to pick the evidence up before the court hearing. Naturally, she gets arrested for trespassing on the lawyer's property and attempting to steal evidence, and it's heavily implied she lost the lawsuit.
    • An unfortunately literal case here, when a judge relays the story of having a 16-year-old repeat offender for vehicular issues. He chose to be lenient and gave her community service, not jail time. The girl in question chose to continue her risky driving and tried to race a train at a crossing. The train won.
    • This lady had a bag of suspicious white powder confiscated from her by a nightclub doorman... and promptly called the police to get it back. Needless to say, the powder was confirmed to be drugs, and the woman was promptly in much more trouble that just having the baggie confiscated. The submitter thinks alcohol was involved.
    • This Klingon cosplayer, after being confronted by the police on suspicions of being a gang member, rather than break character and explain he's just a Star Trek cosplayer, he still remained in-character as a human hating Klingon who wanted to kill all humans which got him arrested. The ironic part of this story was that his character, Chancellor Gorkon, actually wanted to make peace with humans!
  • Tranquil Fury: The manager in this story, upon discovering evidence that one of his agents is an accessory to insurance fraud, is described as "eerily calm," as he speaks to the submitter.
  • Violation of Common Sense: The couple in this story claim to be walking to a safe area to await pickup from the girl's father, only to be called out by the submitter's supervisor that they aren't heading towards any well-lit, open spots. The girl is quickly outed as a thief when the police catch up.
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: Simulate a credible suicide bombing threat without telling our police force colleagues? Sure, let's do that. There's no way we could get a police officer sacked by creating a horrible Morton's Fork where said officer either kills an innocent person or fails to respond to an apparent terrorist threat, right?


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: