Ireland’s dumbest criminals?

Three stories that illustrate a basic principle – criminals are dumb.

It was reported recently that a man – David Downey, 27 – stopped in at the Four Seasons Hotel in Dublin, on Christmas Day 2005, using a credit card not belonging to himself. Indeed, it was even a woman’s name on the card! Basically, he worked the “scam” (for it barely deserves being given such a subtle title) by ringing up beforehand, using the number on the card, and then dropping in to use the room for the five nights. All went well. For five nights and 1,500 euros, he laughed it up. They even asked him for the card upon arrival, but he made up some limp excuse as to why he could not produce the card then and there. They let him stay! Astonishing lapse really. (I am tempted to say that the hotel staff were dumber than the fraudster, but that’s another story…). The scam was only revealed because the woman who’s card was being used discovered the bill in her January statement. It turns out that Downey had used his real name (doh!) and parked in the garage with his own car which was caught on CCTV images (doh! doh!) and, generally, behaved as an incredibly dumb criminal.

But this is even dumber. John Dowling (with his partner Rita Proudfoot – what a great name!) of Finglas were giving evidence about a house purchase. This was a civil case, about who correctly owned a house. Anyway, when asked by the judge to explain how Dowling, a truck driver, could afford to pay off a mortgage on a house so quickly, he without hesitation said that aside from merely driving a truck, he also was receiving social welfare payments, so of course he was able to afford it! QED. Except, he was admitting right in front of a judge that he was cheating the state and committing fraud. Doh!

Finally, I cannot resist the dumbest excuse ever given for drink driving. A Meath man, Brendan Dineen, claimed he was “just finding a safe place to park the car” when arrested for driving under the influence. All the way around town. Maybe that safe place happened to be home? Genius. What genius!



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