Donald is about to go on a date with Daisy when he realizes that he's strapped for cash, so when his nephews go to bed, he breaks open their piggy bank to steal their hard-earned dollars and spends it at a night club. Despite having enjoyed the night, after walking Daisy home, Donald soon starts to contemplate his "crime" and worries about being treated like the crook he really is. This starts a somewhat trippy series of events as Donald imagines himself trying to run from the law.
Donald's Crime contains examples of:
- An Aesop: Crime doesn't pay!
- Bait-and-Switch:Nephews: Uncle Donald!
[Donald quickly picks up the coins and runs to his nephews' bedroom.]
Donald: (nervous and sweating) Uh... yes, boys?
Nephews: Shame on you! (Donald's sweat is now frozen) You forgot to kiss us good night.
[Donald sighs in relief and kisses their foreheads.]
- Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: Donald thinks he's being fired at, but it's actually some lightbulbs dropped by a cat rummaging through a garbage can.
- Bank Robbery: In Donald's mind, taking money from his nephews by breaking open their Piggy Bank makes him a bank robber, and he worries about becoming a social outcast who has to hide out in the dark corners of the underworld.
- Deranged Animation: Downplayed, but the backgrounds become increasingly surreal the further Donald gets into his guilt-driven fantasy.
- Evil Costume Switch: Donald adopts a black coat and hat when he starts imagining himself as a criminal.
- Financial Abuse: Donald stealing money from his nephews is portrayed as this, and he beats himself up over being a bad parent before he decides to pay it back. The obvious Fridge Logic is how Donald can even afford food, mortgage payments, and other base necessities if he's so flat-out broke that he has to stoop to stealing a few bucks from his nephews.
- Good Angel, Bad Angel: The narrator plays both parts, first goading Donald into stealing from his nephews, then accusing him of being a criminal.
- If I Were a Rich Man: Donald briefly imagines himself as a millionaire after Daisy calls him a "big shot", complete with top hat, monocle, and posh outfit, before the narrator points out what stealing from his nephews really makes him: a gangster!
- Interactive Narrator: The narrator takes a really active role in Donald's nightmare, instructing him about his new life as a criminal and how to run from the long arm of the law.
- Institutional Apparel: Donald acquires a striped black and white prisoner's uniform when he worries that the jig is up and he's about to go to jail.
- Metaphoric Metamorphosis: Donald briefly becomes a skunk after kissing his nephews good night after having stolen from their piggy bank. Later, he becomes a rich playboy after Daisy calls him a "big shot", then a gangster and an escaped convict when the narrator starts guilting him.
- Piggy Bank: Donald steals money from his own nephews' piggy bank for a date with Daisy.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "Get! To! Bed!"
- No Escape but Down: Donald climbs the stairs of a skyscraper to escape the law, and with no way out, jumps off the roof onto another building. Just barely—the bricks he tries to grasp give way one after another until he can climb back up.
- "Wanted!" Poster: Donald sees a wanted poster of himself and tries to tear it away, but it only reveals another poster underneath with a higher price on his head. Donald keeps tearing off until the zeros go past the poster and into infinity even after he stopped ripping.
- Work Off the Debt: A variation. Donald decides to pay back his nephews by working as a dishwasher at a local restaurant for the night.