Wise guys, these are not.
It turns out 2012 was a bang up year for stupid crime on Long Island as local suspects—some of whom are still fighting their charges—raised the bar for WTF police news moments.
And it wasn’t an easy year to be a stand-out crook. Remember the Sandy crime sprees, gas line assaults and post-superstorm price gougers? Then there’s the alleged public corruption, including the conviction of former Nassau County Legis. Roger Corbin, the arrest of Hempstead Town Clerk Mark Bonilla and a half dozen Nassau County police officers and officials facing various charges over the past 12 months.
While those who made this list didn’t leave anyone dead, some came close or, at the very least, put the suspects and public at risk. Move over Lindsay Lohan, these are our local candidates for TruTV’s World’s Dumbest Criminals.
10. Alleged West Sayville Wedding Gift Thief
Weddings are always nice. Love is in the air. There’s usually an open bar. Families put aside their feuds for a day. But someone always makes an ass of themselves. Or, in Omar Santiago’s case, Suffolk County police said he ruined one couple’s nuptials over Labor Day weekend by trying to steal a box of gift envelopes. The New Jersey teen was quickly apprehended by fellow guests as he ran from the West Sayville Country Club after stuffing a bunch of the envelopes down his pants. Smooth. The gifts were returned and Santiago pleaded not guilty.
9. New Cassel Man Plays Dentist
OK, this one is kind of disturbing. Many people are scared of the dentist, but Nassau County police said more than 100 folks had no problem having an undocumented immigrant with a sixth-grade education use unsanitary second-hand tools to perform dental work on them in his dirty New Cassel home/office. A tipster dropped a dime on the wannabe tooth fairy in April—after he’d been running his cash-only business for at least a year. Manuel Carranza was charged with unauthorized practice of a crime, criminal diversion of a prescription and other counts.
8. Bellport Teen Allegedly Brings Drugs to Court
Ah, to be young again. That feeling of invincibility that gets so many kids in trouble is apparently strong with this one. Authorities said that Keandre Hudson swallowed bags of cocaine and heroin before being arrested for fleeing police in October. He passed the drugs while locked up at Suffolk County jail, where he is being held after not posting bail. The 17-year-old Bellport man then allegedly brought the drugs with him to court while pleading not guilty Nov. 20 to fleeing cops and other charges. That’s when investigators searched him, found the narcotics and added new charges, authorities said. What more convenient place to get arrested than before a judge?
7. Garden City Man Accused of Mailing Poo to Ex-wife
Love stinks, as The J. Geils Band famously sang. But federal authorities alleged that Gerald Desiderio took that song a bit too literally when he reportedly mailed alimony checks smeared with poop to his ex-wife in Arizona. The 51-year-old Garden City man apparently took a cue from the likes of drug dealers who don’t realize they can get busted for dropping narcotics in the mail. The feds said Desiderio also mailed vulgar notes, “tasteless objects” and a photo of a knife with a serrated blade. He will face the charges in Arizona, although if there’s any upside to the charges being on the federal level, he won’t have to deal with “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” Joe Arpaio.
6. Drunk Driver Saved by Cops Before Train Hits Her Car
This one could have ended a lot worse. In a scene torn out of The Fugitive, a drunken driver mistakenly turned onto the Long Island Rail Road tracks in Bay Shore last spring, got stuck and had to be rescued by Suffolk County police officers moments before a train smashed into her car. Police had tried to radio ahead to get the train to stop, but there wasn’t enough time. Neither the officers, the driver nor anyone aboard the train were injured, but the Volkswagon was totaled. Oh yea, and the 43-year-old Islandia woman was arrested for DWI.
5. Nine Alligators Found on Long Island in Six Weeks
Here’s the lone stupid crime on this list that remains unsolved. Were there more alligators dumped across Nassau and Suffolk counties before the temperatures dropped to sub-Everglades levels? Maybe. But now that winter’s in full swing, any baby gators that turn up next will likely be frozen to death. The tiny killing machines started popping up Sept. 28 in Mastic Beach. Others were found in Shirley, Wading River, Lake Ronkonkoma, Yaphank and two turned up in Baldwin in two days. The most recent one was discovered in Southampton on Nov. 11. Who knows how many more would’ve been found had Sandy not struck in the middle of this mysterious gator dumping spree.
4. Jason Kidd Nabbed for Hamptons DWI Crash
What makes the NY Knicks’ point guard arrest stupider than any other drunken driving charge or celebrity brush with law enforcement? The 39-year-old NBA All Star had only signed a $9-million contract with the team 10 days before allegedly wrapping his SUV around a utility pole near his Water Mill home in July. Adding to the stupid timing of the allegations was that they came just as team owner James Dolan decided against matching the Houston Rockets $25-million contract offer for breakout star Jeremy Lin. Kidd’s fighting the charges.
3. Williston Park Man Charged With Shooting Girlfriend Over Zombies
People have strong feelings about the fictional zombie apocalypse. But none more so than The Walking Dead fan Jared Gurman, who Nassau police said was so adamant in his argument that the government can release a zombie virus that he shot his girlfriend of four years in the back outside his Willison Park home Dec. 4—about three weeks before the world didn’t end for the Mayan “apocalypse.” The woman survived and Gurman was charged with second-degree attempted murder. He’s being held on $1 million bail.
2. The Long Island Hot Dog Hooker
This is one for the ages. Longtime stripper, bikini lover and tube-steak slinger Catherine Scalia, 45, propositioned undercover cops at her Baldwin hot dog truck last May. They charged her with prostitution when they showed up at her East Rockaway home. She argued she only was giving lap dances, not selling sex, then pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor prostitution charge and was sentenced to seven days time served. We’re not judging strippers or wiener salespeople here. What’s so stupid about this case—aside from the hilariously incongruous combination of professions—is that she was busted for doing the same thing in the same spot on Sunrise Highway years prior. And vowed to continue.
1. The Jones Beach Faked Death Plot
Sometimes people joke about faking their own death, starting their life over under an alias and living off the life insurance money. Most people have enough sense to know that it’s too ridiculous an idea for it to ever work. Then there’s Raymond Roth of Massapequa, who Nassau authorities said tried to do just that after allegedly cleaning out his wife’s bank account, putting his house up for sale and faking his own drowning at Jones Beach in August. He later turned up in Florida, sped back to LI when the alleged plot unraveled and turned himself in after a stop at the psych ward. He pleaded not guilty, along with his kid who’s accused of helping him. His wife’s filed for divorce.