Dumb bunny thieves soon to be caged
'Leave the gun, take the cannoli." It's a famous line from the movie "The Godfather" that sums up a basic problem with most criminals -- they're too stupid to know what to take and what to leave behind when they pull a job.
If Sonny Corleone had been in on the recent burglary of Pet's Discount Warehouse, he might have told his not-so-bright accomplices, "Leave the flop-eared bunnies, take the money." And, he might have added, "Don't step on the guinea pig."
The Pet's Discount Warehouse heist last week wasn't exactly the Brink's Robbery, but it was pretty brazen and quasi-professional. By quasi-professional, I mean the thieves were smart enough to cut the phone lines, disable the security alarms and break into a concrete-and-steel safe. But they were stupid enough to steal 14 lop-eared rabbits, including a rather rare "Tiger Lop" bunny that retails for over $50, that will be immediately recognized when the thieves try to sell them. And let's not forget the guinea pig. One of the genius criminals apparently stepped on the poor rodent while ransacking the pet store, breaking his back and killing him. That's not going to sit well with the jury when these dummies are caught.
And they will be. Because, like most criminals, they weren't as smart as they thought they were.
I covered crime for many years, and it always amazed me that idiots who were too stupid to succeed in the straight world somehow thought they could hack it in the crime world. Why did they think that being a criminal was any easier than holding a regular job?
To be successful, both efforts require dedication, attention to detail and a certain amount of smarts. The difference is that if you fail in a straight job, you get fired; when you fail in a criminal enterprise, you go to jail. To all those dreamers out there considering a career in crime, trust me, if you screw up your day job, you'll screw up being a criminal.
Which brings up back to the bunny-nappers. If they had just stuck with taking the money (they got about $10,000) and not killing guinea pigs (as well as an unfortunate finch), wrecking computers and stealing frozen fish food, it might have been the perfect crime. But their D-plus intellectual level got the better of them.
Ricky Baker, chief operations officer for the Pet's Discount chain of pet stores, told me he thinks other pet store owners and other animal enthusiasts will be on the lookout for anyone trying to unload lop-eared rabbits at a good price. Or even housing them in their back yards.
"If anyone takes notice of someone suddenly having 14 rabbits, I hope they'll call the police," he said.
He said the burglary appeared to be an inside job. The thieves knew how to disable the security system and the location of the safes. But they overreached their abilities when they tried to steal computer files and capture flying birds, which they managed to let loose (ergo the deceased finch).
The thieves might have been thinking about opening their own pet store and likely had worked in one before.
It's just a matter of time before police go through employment files and find a recently released or disgruntled employee or nab one of the brainiacs trying to pawn off the frozen fish food or stolen bunnies.
To those who now worry that the thieves will see this column and kill the bunnies to cover their tracks, trust me, it won't happen. If they were that bright, they wouldn't have taken the bunnies in the first place. And they'd have to be able to read.
Charles Memminger, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists' 2004 First Place Award winner for humor writing, appears Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org