Hey, no one said there would be an intelligence test for would-be burglars. Which may explain why so-so-so many are so-so-so dumb. After the jump, we present a collection of Orange County's Real Burglars of Genius.
1) Daniel Lee Warn
Someone broke into the El Pollo Loco restaurant in the 1900 block of Harbor Boulevard in Costa Mesa in the overnight hours of July 16 and did not take anything but did leave something behind: a very good image on surveillance video that included scenes of him opening cash registers and finding nothing. The man in the video wore a distinctive hat and t-shirt–so distinctive that it made the fellow easy to spot when he showed up in the same get-up in line at the same El Pollo Loco just before noon the same day to order food. The cops were called and Daniel Lee Warn, 28, of Bloomington, was arrested on suspicion of commercial burglary. Warn, who before his arrest had recently been released early to community supervision due to prison overcrowding, was also linked to several burglaries in the same area of Costa Mesa on July 15, when losses ranged from $100 to $1,000. And police say he makes a starring role in surveillance video from a liquor store that was broken into the same night as the El Pollo Loco, just mere steps away. Of course, he's innocent until proven guilty. Again.
2) Cartier Quemoyreelus Anderson, Deepre Lamar Williams
and Patreall Daijon Williams
Police received a call around 8:30 p.m. July 14 of a suspicious vehicle in the area of Diamond and Santa Catalina streets in Garden Grove. Officers arrived to find an unoccupied Dodge Durango that had been reported stolen during a Long Beach home burglary on June 6. Then a resident reported three strangers in a backyard on Diamond. As officers closed in on the ground, the Orange County Sheriff's helicopter "Duke" arrived overhead–and captured the video above of a burglary in progress. When they realized they were surrounded, the three scattered in different directions but they were eventually captured and arrested. Court dates loom for …
3) Daniel Ruben Cortes
Three burglars broke into Forty Martyrs Armenian Church, 5315 W. McFadden Ave., Santa Ana, around 4 a.m. on May 1, 2013, when a safe was stolen containing about $13,000 in proceeds from a bingo game held hours earlier. One burglar, wearing a Chicago White Sox cap, tried to break a surveillance camera with a screwdriver, but he instead provided police with a clear, close-up image of himself. Daniel Ruben Cortes, 30, of Santa Ana, became the first in the crew to be arrested in the Forty Martyrs burglary and a string of others at Orange County churches, temples and religious facilities. He pleaded guilty and got a year in jail.
4) Charles Edward Blackmon Jr.
Around 2:15 a.m. on Nov. 22, 2011, two burglars entered the Wienerschnitzel in the 2800 block of West La Palma Avenue in Anaheim through the drive-thru window. Once inside, they covered the surveillance cameras with napkins from inside the business. They went on to remove the ATM machine using a pallet jack. But, sometime during the operation, a napkin fell from one of the surveillance cameras. As he replaced the napkin, the camera caught an image that could have served as the fellow's class photo. Anaheim Police arrested Charles Edward Blackmon Jr., 43, of Los Angeles, a couple weeks later, but he did not give up his partner.
5) Robert Ellsworth Shorter Jr.
Nine times during the summer of 2010, someone used a pass code to enter the gates of the sparkly Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) headquarters across the 405 freeway from South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. The intruder would enter the facility that looks like a Liberace wet dream inside, go to the donation box, turn it upside-down and shake-shake-shake it until envelopes slithered out. This apparently must've cut into the Almighty's bottom line, because TBN investigators finally decided to take a gander at surveillance video. "Hey, isn't that Robert Ellsworth Shorter Jr., the security guard we fired in 2008 for sleeping on the job?" one of them must've said. "Look, here he is in his 'God is Good' t-shirt." (True story.) Shorter was later charged with stealing an unknown sum of money because who bothered counting around that holy money machine.