Ranking today’s Top 5 Police Blunders Of The Week was no easy task. Most Thursdays, we use a scale of perversion and heinousness to rank the unthinkable actions of policemen gone bad. However, today, we are using sheer stupidity as our meter of greatness. Enjoy…
5. Vincent Gaudini
To reiterate a statement we’ve made before: Here at True Crime Report we understand that paying your kids’ college tuition totally sucks.
It sucks so much, in fact, that Vincent Gaudini’s story is becoming rather commonplace here at this website. Why, just last week, we brough you the tale of an Anglican priest who stole from his church to pay his kids’ way through college.
We’re assuming Gaudini didn’t read that cautionary account, otherwise, he may be tried to look for a more kosher means to finance his son’s education at Harcum College. Alas, he didn’t, and so here he finds himself at No. 5.
On February 5, Gaudini wasn’t too pleased when he received a $3,000 bill from Harcum for his son’s unpaid dorm fees. Instead of coughing up the cash, the retired Philadelphia cop fired off a threatening e-mail to the school’s dean of student life. “I am respectfully requesting that you present Michael with a zero balance for his short stay at your facility,” he began his letter.
However, there was nothing respectful about what Gaudini wrote. The 55-year-old basically threatened the school that he would notify authorities about illegal drug and gun activity on campus if they didn’t make his bill disappear. “As I’m sure you are aware, illegal firearms are a major concern for the Philadeplphia District Attorney,” he wrote. “Not to mention rampant drug use on your campus.”
Harcum’s dean must have been shocked. Not only was he being blackmailed by a parent, but an alumni, no less, and a man who had served on the Philadelphia police force from 1978 to 1985, before retiring.
Still, Gaudini’s impressive list of connections did him no favors. The dean immediately contacted police, who charged Gaudini with extortion and attempted theft. He was arraigned last week before being released on bail.
4. Altamonte Springs Police Department
Misplacing stuff is not necessarily a crime or a sign of extreme stupidity. However, that does depend on what you lost. Keys? A pen? Even your wallet is no big deal. But something like, say, a confidential list of drug informants? That’s a whole different bag of absent-mindedness.
Take the Altamonte Springs Police Department in Florida as an example.
Last week, one of its lieutenants (who has not been named) decided to download the department’s list of confidential drug informants onto a flash drive so he could take it home. You’d think he would have guarded such an important file with his life. But, instead, he placed it on the hood of his car like a to-go cup of coffee, forgot about it, and then drove off.
Now the zip drive is missing — which has a lot of Altamonte Springs snitches shaking in their flip-flops.
The department won’t say how many names or cases were on that list — or if anyone picked it up. But residents are sure the snafu won’t bode well for the community. At worst, the list could fall into the wrong hands — and the bodies of informants could start turning up.
Regardless of whether that really happens, just the news of the list’s disappearance has already caused enough problems. Informants, feeling vulnerable, are clamming up left and right. And without their tips, the streets of Altamonte Springs are pretty much a free for all for drug dealers.
3. Clayton County Police Department
This next story doesn’t have so much to do with insane idiocy as it does with, well, just plain old insanity.
While the Altamonte Springs Police Department isn’t really “stupid” as a whole, we were left with no other choice but to name the entire office for one man’s misdeeds, seeing as the department refuses to release the name of the specific man who committed such a great act of retardation (no offense meant to the mentally disabled).
However, when it comes to the Clayton County Police Department in Georgia, well, we’re pretty sure the entire office IS deserving of a spot on this list.
Last Friday, Clayton’s Police Chief Tim Robinson released the details of a three-month internal investigation that ended with the firing of a whopping four police officers.
Let’s start with Detective Jerald Parks. His crime is that he apparently attended “illegal sex parties.” Rather than bring the standard casserole to these big shebangs, Parks opted to supply the drugs. And as if that weren’t bad enough — he also was caught purposefully botching the investigation of a kidnapping because of his personal ties to the suspect.
Moving right along, we bring you to Officer Lonon Norwood. He was caught dealing drugs on the side — a crime he tried to deny, only to miserably fail a polygraph test.
Then, there are sergeants David Robinson and Willie Holiday. Both knew that all this illicit activity was taking place, but failed to report it or take any disciplinary action. Robinson was also caught having sex on the clock, while Holiday refused to punish his officers for using excessive force.
All in all, we’re just glad we don’t live in Clayton County, and feel deeply sorry for those who do. Our most sincere regards.
2. Kyle Zumbrunn
Kyle Zumbrunn is not a very smart man. He’s also a very bad cop.
Zumbrunn was working for the Weston, Missouri police department when he decided to steal 45 Oxycodone pills and 37 Morphine Sulfate pills from its evidence room — not because he had some serious back pain, but because he was hoping to make a bit of extra cash.
In an attempt to use his brain, Zumbrunn figured that he ought not to sell his stash on the same turf from which it came. That’s when he decided to take a trip to Kansas, where he then set up shop.
Unfortunately, the drug business didn’t go so well for Zumbrunn, who, amazingly enough, was caught when he tried to sell drugs to an UNDERCOVER COP.
Zumbrunn was charged with trafficking in September. He quickly pled guilty and is now serving 16 months in the Kansas State Pen.
It also didn’t take long for authorities to figure out where he got the pills. On Tuesday, he was charged stealing the drugs from his former employer. If convicted, he faces up to another 7 years in the slammer.
1. Richard LaBlanca and Brian Checo
The crimes committed by Richard LaBlanca and Brian Checo alone would have made them contenders for the No. 1 spot. But it’s really the finer details of their story that have made them the true champions of our “Stupid Cops Edition.”
Both men, NYPD officers, were jailed without bail last week after they were caught stealing $1 million in perfume from a New Jersey warehouse.
It’s not just the fact that stole perfume that makes their story so absurd. It’s also the trail of evidence they left from the warehouse right to their doorsteps. 25-year-old LaBlanca apparently used his personal credit card to rent the truck they used in the heist. Both he and Checo, 25, also gave the company their actual driver’s licenses. To top it off, Checo used his personal 2003 BMW as a get away car.
The men apparently burst into the warehouse, waving around their guns and badges screaming “NYPD! Hands Up!” because, you know, identifying yourself to the people you are about to rob is such a good idea.
They, then apparently tied up 11 employees, before five more men arrived on the scene to help them load the goods into their very traceable vehicles. Those men were apparently hired by LaBlanca and Checo unaware that they were assisting in a robbery.
With two identifiable cars, sixteen witnesses, and the brazen announcement of their place of employment, LaBlanca and Checo were certainly begging to get caught.
It didn’t take long for authorities to track LaBlanca down at his mother’s apartment on the lower East Side. Checo was shortly snatched thereafter.
Their actions have inspired some truly amazing comments from the offices of the NYPD, as well. “Masterminds is not applicable in this case,” one NYPD official told The New York Daily News