Beck: Big Dent Christmas Bandit
Beck: Big Dent Christmas Bandit

Stupid Criminal of the Day! Congratulations Shawn Richard Beck

Shawn Richard Beck--who we'll call the "Big Dent Christmas Bandit"--can only blame himself that home is now the California Institution for Men in Chino.

Beck, 28, foolishly decided that Christmas 2008 was an excellent time to burglarize vehicles and homes in the dumbest crime spot in Orange County.

The private, gated community of Dove Canyon at Rancho Santa Margarita is probably home to more retired and current police officers and sheriff's deputies than any other section of OC.

Nevertheless, Beck searched for and found unlocked vehicles and homes, entered and stole presents and other items like a power saw.

So far, so good. But the stupid gene was about to activate for the second time.

While one of the victims was giving an interview to a sheriff's investigator Beck drove by the scene of the crime in a vehicle with a huge dent.

"That's definitely the car [used by the burglar]," the victim said. "I remember the big dent."

The deputy stopped Beck, who still had the loot in the vehicle.

Sealing the case, he ignored his right to remain silent and confessed, a decision he sought to reverse at his 2010 trial.

But Superior Court Judge Francisco P. Briseno, the county's senior member of the judiciary, told Beck his confession would not be erased. A jury convicted him and Briseno, a former prosecutor, sentenced him to prison.

Beck, who went through four defense lawyers during the case, appealed by claiming he had crappy lawyers who rendered ineffective legal counsel and that Briseno shouldn't have let the jury hear his confession.

This month, a California Court of Appeal based in Santa Ana decided that none of Beck's constitutional rights had been violated in the case.

Upshot: He'll continue to serve his prison sentence of seven years and four months.

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