Whenever the sun sets and blankets the land in darkness, we lie to our children. We tell them there are no such things as monsters and no one will try to hurt them. We all know this is not true. There are some deranged killers that enjoy bringing pain to the innocent. These people are serial killers.
Not much is known about these sociopathic humans except the myth that surrounds them. Many people get their knowledge from shows they watch at home. Series’ like Bates Motel, Hannibal, Dexter, and Her to name a few. These stories most often have the killers portrayed as very intelligent, patient and resourceful. In true life however, it’s more like a Benny Hill soundtrack running all the time. Even the most brilliant among these people still make stupid everyday mistakes. In fact, serial killers range from Ivy League caliber to downright buffoons. Self-defeating habits or a failure to plan wisely have brought many a criminal to justice. Here are the top five dumbest ways serial killers have been caught.
Ted Bundy (1946-1989)
Ted Bundy was a serial killer who kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and murdered numerous young women during the 1970s throughout five different states. Don’t let the Zac Efron film fool you, he was not a good guy. He left very little evidence at the scene of the crimes and chose his victims at random to not be caught. As described later, a very charismatic and meticulous man, he was very hard to track and nail down. Luckily for law enforcement, he also was quite the panicker.
On August 16th, 1975 Bundy, after scouting a future location, saw a patrol car driving by and quickly fled the area at high speed not realizing the car was just on a routine patrol. The police officer had no choice but to pursue and pull over. After looking inside the car, he found handcuffs, trash bags, an ice pick, crowbar, rope, and a ski mask made out of pantyhose. When asked about the ski mask, Ted Bundy replied, “I use it for skiing of course.” Fortunately, this Police department wasn’t from The Simpsons and promptly arrested Ted Bundy.
Arthur John Shawcross (1945-2008)
Arthur Shawcross, also known as the Genesee River Killer, was an American serial killer active in Rochester, New York. Convicted early in his grizzly career, Arthur was sentenced to 25 years for the killing of a 10-year-old. A huge blunder for the justice department was made and he was deemed not a threat to anyone and released early after serving only 14 years. This proved disastrous for the next 12 women he slayed. It’s detectives of Monroe county, were in dire straits trying to figure out the modus operandi of this serial killer.
It was only when retired detective Robert Keppel told them they were giving this moron too much credit, that they finally caught Arthur. They waited at a scene where a body was dumped and found Arthur urinating on the exact same spot of a previous search. Later after being put on helicopter surveillance, they photographed Shawcross eating lunch over the body of one of his victims. He was convicted and spent the rest of his life in prison. Proving that sometimes you shouldn’t look for Albert Einstein, you should be looking for Abbott and Costello.
Peter Goebbels (Born 1961)
Born in Berlin, Germany, Peter Goebbels was a very elusive murderer. Through the course of 2 years, four women were found to be choked to death, with very little evidence. Even after a couple of witnesses saw some fighting in alleys, nothing could point to the identity of the strangler. It seemed Peter would never be caught – until he dropped his ID card at the murder scene. In a scene out of true romance, Goebbels accidentally dropped his ID in the scuffle and fled down the road. The police soon started questioning him and found out that all of the murders took place on his days off from work. Shortly thereafter, Peter was arrested and spent the rest of his life in prison. Where I can only assume that he constantly dropped his food tray and was nicknamed Butterfingers.
Dennis Nilsen (1945-2018)
Dennis Nilsen, aka the Muswell Hill Murderer, was a Scottish serial killer and necrophile who murdered at least 12 young men between 1978 and 1983 in London. Dennis would lure these men with guile into his apartment and then he would kill them by strangulation or drowning. Nilsen would love to keep the corpses of the men he killed. He would store them in his apartment, but never was found out. He would use deodorants and would even burn the bodies in the nearby garden and cover the smell of attire while the neighborhood would gather around afterwards, none to the wiser. Who knows how long he would have gone uncaught if not for him becoming lazy.
Dennis had recently moved to a new apartment on the third floor. He could no longer move his bodies downstairs so instead decided to try to flush the remains down the toilet. After a few weeks, he wrote a letter to the landlord that the drains were becoming blocked, noting that the situation for both himself and the tenants was becoming intolerable. Obliging Mr. Nilsen, a plumber was sent and flesh and bones were found in the apartment’s drains. The police were called and the homes were searched. The rest of his victims remains were found in his apartment shortly after. Dennis confessed and spent the rest of his life in prison. Luckily, for a murderer that was on the loose for 5 years, no one told him, you shouldn’t flush a tampon down the toilet let alone your neighbor.
Dennis Rader (Born in 1945)
Dennis Rader, aka the BTK Killer, was an American serial killer who between 1974 and 1991, killed 10 people in the Wichita, Kansas area. Rader sent taunting letters to police and newspapers, describing the details of his crimes. He became so confident in talking to the media, that he would even denounce claims that some kills weren’t his and were actually a copycat. 30 years after the first string of murders began, the case was considered too cold. With no real leads and not enough evidence, they were afraid that the BTK Killer had escaped their grasp.
That is until he started mailing letters to them again. Wanting to keep up the conversation in the new era, Dennis asked the investigators, if sending information through a floppy disk could be traced. Much like Grandpa not knowing how AOL works. The investigators were surprised by the question, and responded that he could send that in and not be found. Dennis Rader was soon apprehended, after authorities used the floppy disk to trace him back to his home. From there, the amount of evidence was monumental. When arrested, he was curious how he had been found out.
When it was revealed that it was the floppy disk, Dennis Rader said, “But I thought you said you couldn’t trace those. Why would you lie?” appearing to be completely surprised that law enforcement would cheat to catch him. Surprised by his weird morals, the detective responded, “Because you were hurting people.” He didn’t understand. So just remember, even terrible monsters would never look at your board, when you went to the bathroom during a game of battleship.