Crimes by elderly people! Doesn’t it sound too weird? Even we’ve been familiar with the literature and media all the time symbolizing elderly people as the victims of crime. Never in my wildest dreams could I imagine that old people too can involve in violent crimes. But I was proved wrong. As I was doing research for this article, I came to find a number of stories explaining the involvement of elderly citizens in various crimes ranging from misdemeanor category to petty theft or shoplifting. Isn’t this shocking to hear that an 89-year-old who stabbed fellow citizens with a knife and the reason being simply this: she was homeless and had the idea that if she committed crime, she would be given a place to stay when arrested and jailed.
So, here I am preparing this list of most horrible crimes committed by old people. Let me assure you first that the events and people we discuss in the following list will let you believe for sure that elderly people are no harmless. As seen on the big picture, many elderly are responsible for some of the most irrational, shocking and egregious crimes newspapers felt fit to print. While it does not say how many of these elderly citizens are also politically active in our own governments, it does expose some disturbing facts for sure. So, it’s no laughing matter. It’s serious, and it’s horrible of course!
10. Kidnapping, torturing, and ransom
In 2009, a group of German Pensioners kidnapped and then tortured a financial advisor in connection with losing 2 million pounds of their savings. Before kidnapping, they battered him with Zimmer frames. They kidnapped James Amburn, a financial advisor. He was ambushed half naked outside his house in Speyer. After locking him up, they started beating him mercilessly and demanded ransom of $1.4 million as the compensation of their lost investments. Amburn somehow managed to escape by jumping over a garden wall. And he was finally rescued and later on treated for two broken ribs. Two couples and a friend were found involved in this horrible crime. All of them were the senior citizens between the ages of 61 and 80.
9. Granny Drug Kingpin
Imagine the plot of the show Weeds, but Mary-Louise Parker’s character is no one but a 73-year old granny. In April 9, 2012, when Oklahoma police raided the home of Darlene Mayes, they had a guestimate that she was somehow involved with drugs. But never in their wildest dreams could they imagine that she can be the leader of entire drug ring—a drug supply network stretched across 4 states. After all, who would imagine that a 73-years-old sweet-looking and silver haired granny would be found involved in such a crime? Police found 4 pounds of marijuana, a couple of semiautomatic revolver and pistol, and $276,000 in cash.
8. Plotting Bank Heist and Robbery
Now, let’s talk about three elderly men who were arrested for plotting to rob an armored car in Chicago. It’s the story of April 2010. Jerry “The Monk” Scalise and Arthur “The Genius” Rachel, 73, teamed up with Robert “Bobby” Pullia to rob a La Grange bank and break-in at Bridgeport house of an old mob leader, Angelo “The Hook” LaPietra. Their plan was fairly ambitious considering that most men their age weren’t probably plotting anything more complex than backgammon moves. They have planned in such a perfect way that they’d even staked out the weight of the cash bags to be sure if they could carry them without cracking their hips, let alone the other things like the habits of the guard and all. Just imagine how sharp they were. Such a perfect planning and organization!
7. Tampering with Jell-O
In the spring of 2009, an old couple in Long Island decided they were dick of paying for Jell-O. So the couple together devised and launched the scheme of buying the packages of pudding mix, then removing the powder and replacing it with sand. They then returned the boxes to the stores reaping the astronomical profits of around $1.40 per box. Actually they never wanted to sell it. All they wanted is to distribute a lot of it for free. Once the customers got to know about this, they started complaining about their Jell-O packages just like sandwich bags filled with sands. While technically not a misdemeanor, this is a crime so irrational and so weird that it makes anyone just as worried about the devious and erratic nature of the old people as anything else on this list.
6. Lifelong criminal Dennis O’Brien
In October 2010, Dennis O’Brien was jailed at Norwich Crown Court for offences including handling stolen goods, forgery, and theft. He was 75-years-old and known as one of the longest serving criminals of Britain boasting 35 convictions for 70 crimes since he was caught stealing since 1945, when he was just 9. It wasn’t for the first time that O’Brien was caught he has been locked up 13 times for burglary, arson, forgery, and handling stolen goods. At the age of 19, he was jailed for the first time and sentenced to three years imprisonment for robbery. Since then, he has been jailed several times for many offences including forgery, burglary, wounding, arson, and so on.
5. The Condiment Dumper
For more than a couple of years, Boise, Idaho police were completely stumped. They’d receive calls from employees of the Ada Country Library on several occasions reporting the books in their overnight drop box were completely covered in condiments. One time it was ketchup, another it was a corn syrup. Finally, 74-year-old Joy Cassidy was busted, weapon in hand, when police caught her outside the library, dumping a jar of mayonnaise into the overnight box.
4. Stealing Christmas from Poor Children
Imagine the toothless and bloody pile of pedophiles. Too weird and shocking it is, yeah? And here comes the story of such a person who tried to steal Christmas from poor children. In April of 2009, Virginia Kelly—a 73-years-old granny, was put into prison for stealing toys from the Toys for Tots program. She would steal the toys and selling them for profit. For your information, Toys for Tots program is run by the US Marine Corp and aim to distribute toys to the impoverished children who otherwise wouldn’t have a Christmas. At the time of Kelly’s arrest, police recovered over 11,000 toys from her house which equates to around 11000 heart holes. If you consider the emotional part of this, Kelly becomes the worst thing to happen to children suffering from ventricular septal defect. She really makes us say that some people really don’t deserve to live on this planet.
3. Possessing Marijuana
In the April of 2009, Mr. Adebayo of Ogun State was arrested for possession of 6.5 tonnes of marijuana, has not given the explanation though, but it should be some of solace to him that he will be among a selected group of individuals to be incarcerated presses the octogenarian mark. However there’s no confirmation of his age, Sulaiman Adebayo was claimed be at a debatable age of 114 years making himself the oldest man in any prison system and proving that you are never old to be arrested.
2. Setting a woman on fire
India has long been suffering from problems like misogyny, sexism, and domestic abuse. And it’s no surprise that a bride is tortured and made the victim of domestic abuse simply because of dowry issues. About 6 years ago in Mumbai, a 62-years-old women Mangal Bharat Thorat, had an argument with her daughter-in-law Neelam over a dowry. Neelam had been subjected to torture ever since was married to Mangal’s son Sunil in 2005. Before the 62-year-old Thorat beat the 19-year-old girl, she poured kerosene over her and set her afire. Thorat received life in prison for the crime which is just a small consequence to a 62-year-old woman.
1. The Oldest Serial Killers
Of course, Ray and Faye Copeland aren’t the only husband and wife killers. However, there’s something very weird about them. Besides being serial killers together, they were both eligible for Social Security at the time of their crimes. Both of them were over the age of 60. It’s absurd to hear that their lust for killing came with their retirement years. This old couple was convicted of killing five men, none of them being crimes of passion. When the police investigated their house, they found five victims of their homicidal fling entombed in fluffy graves around the property. At the ages of 76 and 69 respectively, Ray and Fay Copeland became the oldest couple ever sentenced to death in the history of America.
As we see a report by globalaging.org in 2003, about 10% of 30 million senior citizens were abusing alcohol, and about 20% were abusing illegal or prescription drugs. Japan, also touted as having one of the lowest crime rates in the world, had released more disturbing figures in 2008 relating to a rise in crimes with 21%. There’s an increasing number of crimes committed by older people. In the last seven years, the number of felonies committed by people above 65s rise by almost 50%. So, what might have caused old people to commit crimes? What the concerned bodies are doing to scrutinize the real reason behind this? Isn’t this right time to take strong actions to prevent this? Having all this said, we can’t and shouldn’t put aside a number other shocking of the crimes of which the senior citizens are the victims. Undoubtedly, old people are the living histories. They are to be honored and respected. They should be treated well, and discouraged to even think of committing crime. It’s all bitter to hear such disturbing news of old people involving in the crimes.
Arun is an IT-gradate. But writing is something he has innate passion for. He loves to explore new things, places and ideas.