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World’s Dumbest Criminals – Chicago robber gives cashier his phone number, shot by cops upon return

By | Rachel Brooks

Staff | Telegraph Local 

See | The New African Living Standard

A Chicago robber thought it would be a brilliant idea to give the cashier his number. Police shot him upon his return to the establishment he robbed, citing The Chicago Tribune. This once-in-a-lifetime story happened all the way back in 2008. It may yet hold the record for the world’s dumbest criminal champion. 

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The Chicago Tribune reported that a male suspect robbed a Northwest Side muffler shop during the week of March 26, 2008. He left the shop a number to call him when their boss came back to open the safe on-site. 

The 18-year-old male suspect returned within a few hours of his first robbery. Plainclothes Chicago police were posted at the scene. They shot and wounded the suspect in the leg. Ruben Zarate, associated then with 5100 of West Schubert Avenue, was charged that week with attempted armed robbery and aggravated assault. He had assaulted a police officer. This was citing the Cook County state attorney’s office. 

The robbery incident took place on Monday, March 24, 2008. It happened at approximately 8 am. Zarate arrived at Velasquez Mufflers For Less at 2600 N. Laramie Avenue. He was armed and demanded money. This was citing Jose Sida, age then 37, who was a mechanic at Velasquez Mufflers for Less. 

The employees told Zarate that they had a little money, but they could not open the safe. 

Ruben Zarate appeared in this Listopedia video. 

Sida quoted the suspect as follows, 

“He said, ‘You guys better call me because otherwise, I’m going to come back to shoot you.”

Newsweek followed up the story, stating that criminal self-identification is rare but does happen. 

Newsweek stated that Ruben Zarate gave not one, but two phone numbers to the muffler shop so that they would call him when the boss returned to open the safe. Imagine Zarate’s surprise when the muffler shop employees contacted the police instead. 

CBS News posted Zarate’s story in a collection of all-time favorite dumb criminal stories. Citing CBS, Zarate stated that the muffler shop did most definitely call Zarate back when the police arrived. 

Believe it or not, this is not an isolated incident in stupidity when the robber leaves a call request for his money. Chicago Now reported the story of then 27-year-old Albert Bailey from Bridgeport, Connecticut in 2010. Bailey may be the first and only bank robber to call the bank ahead of time and demand that his money be ready for him when he arrived. Bailey likewise had a 16-year-old accomplice in this crime. The writer of the Chicago Now story directly associated the incident with the earlier crime of Ruben Zarate. The Chicago Now story stated that the police also contacted Zarate. This hadn’t been directly confirmed at any other source. 

To make matters worse for himself, Zarate filed a lawsuit against the City of Chicago later on. The record of his lawsuit can be found on the Justia US Law database. Zarate claimed his fourth amendment rights were violated in the incident with the muffler shop robbery and giving Sida his phone numbers.

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