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Category Archives: Shoddy Shysters

No mystery reader is worth their salt if they haven’t read at least two of Donald Westlake’s Dormunder books and two of his Parker books written under the name of Richard Stark. Of course that’s a dirty trick because you won’t be able to read just two.

Donald Westlake (1933 – 2008) was a brilliant author of over one hundred books. Wikipedia says: Donald Westlake was known for the great ingenuity of his plots and the audacity of his gimmicks. His writing and dialogue are lively. His main characters are fully rounded, believable, and clever.”

About Parker:

“Whatever Stark writes, I read. He’s a stylist, a pro, and I thoroughly enjoy his attitude.”—Elmore Leonard

“Richard Stark’s Parker novels … are among the most poised and polished fictions of their time and, in fact, of any time.”—John Banville, Bookforum”—

“Parker is a true treasure. … The master thief is back, along with Richard Stark.”—Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review”—

About the Dortmunder books – This is what Westlake has to say:

“Those 4 guys in the late 60’s who attacked a jewel merchant on New York’s West 46th St. on the sidewalk, so they could steal his jewel-filled station wagon, which they abandoned 2 blocks later because none of them could drive a stick shift. Where would I be without such people?” – Donald E. Westlake

But one of my favorite Westlake books ever is a stand-alone. If you pick it up, plan on uncontrollable laughter and staying up all night reading.


Some headlines really say it all.

Man found with backseat corpse faces 2nd-degree murder charge

this is wrong in so many ways.

This woman got covered in it – metaphorically speaking.

45 year old Amy Brasher was arrested in San Antonio, Texas after a mechanic reported to police that 18 packets of marijuana were packed in the engine compartment of the car which she had brought to the mechanic for an oil change. According to police Brasher later said that she didn’t realize that the mechanic would have to raise the hood to change the oil.

Thanks to the Canadian / Associated Press for continuing to bring us these juicy bits of ineptness from around the world. Who said all news was serious? Unfortunately it is listed under ‘diversions’ most of the time, but media reality is subjective in any case as this quote so wittily states:

“Trying to determine what is going on in the world by reading newspapers is like trying to tell the time by watching the second hand of a clock. ” Ben Hecht

But back to the story …

German robber nabbed after leaving behind telltale DNA on salami chunk

Published: Thursday, January 31, 2008 | 10:26 AM ET


BERLIN – German police have charged a robbery suspect after matching his DNA to that found on a piece of salami spat out at a crime scene.

The bitten-off chunk of the telltale sausage was discovered at a building that had been broken in to in the southern city of Darmstadt in April.

Police say the 37-year-old man was taken into custody in early January after police ran his name through their computers at a highway spot-check and found he was wanted for several other crimes.

Once in custody, he was linked to the Darmstadt break-and-enter through the DNA sample on the salami and charged.

But it seems the rejected meat was not the robber’s only slip up: he has been charged with a total of 19 break-ins after other links were found.

The man, whose name was not released, remains in custody while police investigate.

I don’t know why there are so many bad movies out these days when writers only have to read the headlines for inspiration. Take this dynamic duo for example: what on earth could be the back story to inspire such desperate measures on their part, much less carry a loaded gun. Surely this pair would be better off….well … writing situation comedies.

‘Pair of fools’ jailed in bungled burglary in Australia

Published: Monday, January 21, 2008 | 10:29 PM ET

MELBOURNE, Australia – Two Australian robbers thought they were hauling away a big sack of cash from the Cuckoo Restaurant but it turned out to be bread rolls – and one of them accidentally shot the other in the buttocks during the heist.

Benjamin Jorgensen, 38, and his accomplice Donna Hayes, 36, were sentenced Tuesday after pleading guilty to robbing the restaurant in the southern Australian city Melbourne on April 1 last year.

During the April Fools Day holdup, Jorgensen grabbed what he believed was a bag with the Cuckoo’s daily take of about $27,000 in cash but later found it was full of bread rolls, the Victorian County Court heard.

He also fired his gun accidentally during the heist, shooting Hayes in the buttocks.

Judge Roland Williams told the robbers they were a “pair of fools,” before sentencing Hayes to eight years in prison and Jorgensen to seven.

Earlier this week, defence lawyer Greg Thomas said Jorgensen had been under the influence of drugs at the time, had made a full admission to police and was remorseful, News Ltd. newspapers reported.

© The Canadian Press, 2008

Story ideas. They’re everywhere. And this particular little nugget proves that the ‘Peter Principal’ applies to the criminal as well as the corporate world.

Police: Indiana man accidentally shoots himself during store robbery

Published: Wednesday, January 16, 2008 | 10:07 AM ET


KOKOMO, Ind. – Oh, shoot!

Police say a man accidentally shot himself in the groin as he was robbing a convenience store on Tuesday.

A clerk told police a man carrying a semiautomatic handgun entered the Village Pantry demanding cash and a pack of cigarettes.

The clerk put the cash in a bag and as she turned to get the cigarettes, she heard the gun discharge.

Police say surveillance video shows the man shooting himself as he placed the gun in the waistband of his pants.

A short time later, police found 25-year-old Derrick Kosch at a home with a gunshot wound to his right testicle and lower left leg.

The clerk wasn’t injured.

Kosch was released from the hospital Tuesday and booked into the Howard County jail on a charge of armed robbery, criminal recklessness and battery. He is being held on a $100,000 cash bail. A jail official did not know if he had retained an attorney Wednesday. 

Now here’s a story that sweetly illustrates the concept of the punishment suiting the crime. It was even self-inflicted!

Burglar, not Santa, found stuck up a chimney in Australia

Published: Friday, December 28, 2007 | 1:30 AM ET


SYDNEY, Australia – It wasn’t Santa Claus but a would-be burglar rescue workers found stuck up a chimney in central Australia on Friday.

Staff at the Gapview Hotel in Alice Springs heard a man groaning when they arrived for work in the hotel bar and called the fire department. The man had been stuck inside the chimney for about 10 hours with his knees jammed tightly into his chest, said local fire station officer Mark James.

“He was like a grub in a cocoon when we found him,” James said.

“He was really wedged in there.”

Firefighters and ambulance officers spent 90 minutes trying to free the man before finally removing part of the chimney with jackhammers.

“Imagine being in the tightest ball you can (make) and being in that position for 10 hours,” James said.

“He was pretty embarrassed and ashamed, so he didn’t say much when we got him out. He was obviously feeling sore and sorry for himself.”

The man’s identity was not immediately released and it was not clear if he would be charged with any offence.

Probably. Guess it doesn’t matter if you figure God, Big Brother or all your peers are watching if it prompts one to go in the right direction! We need more heros.

Worried about how he’d look on YouTube, NJ donut shop employee clobbers thief

Published: Wednesday, December 12, 2007 | 8:26 AM ET


ELMWOOD PARK, N.J. – When a thief started taking cash from his register on the weekend, Dunkin’ Donuts employee Dustin Hoffmann fought back by clobbering the man with a ceramic mug.

But Hoffmann admits he was less worried about the stolen cash than how he might look on the video-sharing site YouTube.

“What was going through my mind at that point was that the security tape is either going to show me run away and hide in the office or whack this guy in the head, so I just grabbed the cup and clocked the guy pretty hard,” Hoffmann told The Record of Bergen County.

The man came into the shop and ordered a pastry Sunday night, according to Elmwood Park Police Chief Donald Ingrasselino.

Once Hoffmann opened the register, the man jumped over the counter and started taking cash.

Police said Hoffmann grabbed the man’s wrists while hitting him with the mug, which is used to hold tips. Hoffmann managed to scare away the man, who made out with just $90 and left behind a baseball cap police are holding to test for DNA evidence.

No arrests have been made. Hoffman plans to post the surveillance video when he can.

“There are only a few videos like that on YouTube now, so mine’s going to be the best,” he said. “That’ll teach this guy.”

Burglar in Bosnia arrested after homeowner finds him sleeping on the job.

Published: Thursday, November 22, 2007 | 9:57 AM ET

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina – Perhaps it was a problem with working nights.

But a burglar who broke into a house in Bosnia is now in jail after a homeowner discovered him sleeping on the job. Police in the central Bosnia town of Maglai say the suspect, identified only as 21-year-old Edin M., confessed to snatching two bracelets.

But before leaving, he decided to sit down on a couch to rest and then promptly fell asleep.

For a currently sloppy blogger such as I, cut and pasting these humourous attempts at crime is the easy way out.  This seems to be turning into a shoddy shyster archive …


Bank robber used his own cheque to write note demanding money: FBI

Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2007 | 10:02 PM ET

ENGLEWOOD, Colorado (AP) – Authorities say a man robbing a Colorado bank demanded money by writing a note on one of his own cheques.

Not surprisingly, he was caught soon afterward. Authorities say Forest Kelly Bissonnette, 27, apparently tried to cover his name on the cheque, then handed the note to a teller September 5 at the Bank of the West in Englewood.

Nearly five thousand dollars U-S was taken.

Surveillance video shows a suspect similar to Bissonnette’s description and a tipster says a man named Forest Kelly claimed he got five thousand dollars in a bank robbery.

Bissonnette remained in federal custody Tuesday after turning himself in Friday.

A public defender was to be appointed for Bissonnette, who doesn’t have a listed phone number.

© The Canadian Press, 2007