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Thick as a thief

Burglar’s bumbling ineptitude leads to swift arrest

Arad man breaks into carpentry shop, forgets to hide his face from security cameras, falls off ladder during escape

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Screem capture from video of a burglar breaking into a carpentry workshop in Arad, January 2022. (YouTube)
Screem capture from video of a burglar breaking into a carpentry workshop in Arad, January 2022. (YouTube)

A bumbling burglar’s actions, which led to his arrest within hours of the crime, have left even police amazed at his ineptitude.

The break-in happened two weeks ago at a carpentry workshop in the southern district city of Arad, the Kan public broadcaster reported Sunday.

Security camera footage from the workshop, which was broadcast by the station, showed how the suspect broke in via the roof of the building and then dropped to floor, aiming to steal cash from the office.

However, it was only after landing on the ground in full view of security cameras that the man apparently remembered that he should cover his face. He did so using a wool hat he was wearing, but then had to immediately remove it as there were no eyeholes cut out. The suspect, a resident of the city in his thirties, removed the covering while he looked for a suitable tool to poke holes in it and then replaced the hat on his face.

By then his visage had been clearly recorded and was easily identified later by the workshop’s owner as a carpenter who had worked there in the past doing private projects.

The thief entered the office, took NIS 9,000 ($2,820) in cash and then tried to make his escape back out through the roof using a stepladder that he leaned against some shelving rather than opening the legs properly. As he scrambled up, the shelves toppled over, bringing down the burglar.

Having learned his lesson, the man opened the stepladder and climbed out.

The suspect was arrested just hours after the workshop owner, Yechiel Belisha, viewed the security footage.

“What can I say? He’s a poor, stupid guy,” he assessed.

“The truth is even we were a bit surprised when we arrived at the scene,” recalled Israel Police superintendent Yossi Sharfi.

The suspect, Sharfi said, did not have any notable history of property crime and apparently carried out the offense due to financial difficulties he was facing.

By the time he was arrested, half the money was gone, according to the report. The remaining money was returned to Belisha.

Prosecutors are preparing to press charges against the man, Kan reported.

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