“You wouldn’t believe how stupid some people are,” Dave often tells me. He’s a lawyer. “Criminals are just stupid.” Here’s a story from today’s issue of the Clackamas Review that supports his claim.

Burglary leads to bizarre kidnapping, drug charges
from the 28 June 2006 issue of Clackamas Review

A residential burglary went from bad to worse in Milwaukie June 16, leading to criminal charges for all involved.

According to Clackamas County Sherrif’s Office spokesman Detective Jim Strovink, the incident started out as the sort of case law enforcement often never sees: Someone burglarized a house and discovered a marijuana-growing operation. Although the resident reportedly had a medical marijuana permit, police say he was growing far more than he was allowed.

“You’ve got one individual who burglarized the house and got some marijuana,” Strovink said, “and recognized ‘what is this stuff — this stuff is great!'”

The homeowner, Bradley Poppino, 43, was apparently away at the time. The alleged burglar, Paul Canul, 18, of Milwaukie, reportedly decided to come back.

“He recruited a couple of mopes to go with him and said ‘I’ll give you a cut if you help out.’ Little did he know that the homeowner, Poppino, had returned and discovered what had happened.”

Poppino reportedly had a friend of his own, neighbor Andrew Kester, 27, also of Milwaukie. Poppino had parked his vehicle away from the house — to make it appear he had not returned — and was waiting.

“Sure enough, the three mopes come down the road there — two go to the front and one comes to the back.”

The neighbor saw them. “He said ‘school’s out and here’s three guys with backpacks — it looks unusual.’ He pops up, and Poppino comes out of his house.”

Two of the suspects reportedly ran in one direction; the third, Canul, fled with Poppino and Kester in hot pursuit. Canul reportedly had a pistol, but “they were not intimidated — they tackled him.”

Canul was brought back to the house and allegedly duct-taped and threatened if he didn’t return the marijuana stolen in the first burglary.

“They allowed him access to a cell phone, after they started intimidating him, saying they would cut off his toes — one for every hour they didn’t have the product returned.”

He was allowed to talk to his friends, to tell them to come and bring the marijuana; in the process, he made it known to them that he was still being held at the house they had allegedly tried to rob. They called the police.

“The uniformed officers go down there from the description provided to them,” Strovink said. “They go up to the door at Poppino’s house, and they’re greeted by these two individuals, Poppino and Kester. They split the two up and start talking to them, and they give it up to them.

“They go inside, and there’s this guy — sitting in a chair with a blanket in his lap — and there’s a mountain of duct tape beside him, and his shoe’s off.”

By that time it was about 7 p.m., and Canul had been there for about four hours. Strovink said Canul confessed to stealing from the house; officers took everyone into custody.

Poppino was charged with Kidnapping I as well as with manufacturing marijuana; Kester was charged with kidnapping, as well. Canul was charged wtih Robber I and Attempted Burglary I, as well as the unlawful possession of a weapon with the intent to use it.

“This is a rather odd series of events,” Strovink said. “But it’s not unusual to have people growing marijuana — manufacturing it — to be ripped off.

In this case, he said, “you’ve got guns, drugs, and stupid people…that’s the trifecta.”

It almost sounds like the plot for a bad buddy-comedy film.

7 Replies to “Burglary Leads to Bizarre Kidnapping”

  1. Jeff says:

    It almost sounds like the plot to The Big Lebowski

  2. pril says:

    man, i could tell pages and pages of stupid criminal stories, and in most of them i knew the perps because my youth was not so wholesome. Many of them, *I* was the stupid criminal. Here’s one of the shorter ones- 2 guys i knew robbed a house and were walking down the road with their bags of loot. Another friend stopped and picked them up- they were hitchiking. The car they were now riding in was stolen and equipped with a LoJack. niiice.

  3. Dave says:

    In all fairness, there probably are people who are criminals and are NOT stupid, but you rarely hear about those people because they’re significantly less likely to be caught. Second, most petty criminals (which the above most assuredly are, or at least started out that way) have a different way of processing problems than we law abiding folks do. Some rules just simply do not have the same affect on their thinking processes. Part of this is, I think, a failure to consider consequences. Which is why I think that in many cases the “deterrent” effect of a proposed punishment is a fallacy. If they were thinking about consequences they wouldn’t do x bad thing in the first place. But they’re not thinking about anything much past the reach of their arm (or other, smaller, appendage). If they were thinking about consequences most folks probably wouldn’t go to the effort that it takes to engage in the average criminal enterprise. It’s actually a surprising amount of work in many cases (leaving aside the muggings and more spur of the moment types of crimes). Nor would they typically engage in the illicit consumption of drugs, for that matter.

    Two things illustrate the above for me. First, many years ago a client came to me for representation on a manufacturing charge (this was back when I still took criminal cases). He simply couldn’t understand how the cops knew he was growing. Given that he smelled like he’d been standing in a field of burning marijuana for the last three months and I couldn’t stay in the room with him for more than five minutes without my eyes watering (hell, I couldn’t have passed a drug test at that point just from the outgassing) I had to tell him that I had a pretty good idea of how they figured it out. He discounted that, of course.

    Second, when I was a clerk the attorney I worked for sent me out to a client’s property to review the lay of the land. As I was standing in a cornfield sized plot of land surrounded by 2 foot tall marijuana plants wondering if I was going to be accidentally shot by an “associate” of my client, it was clear that there was a good sized farming operation going on. If only he’d applied his horticultural skills to something legal he might’ve been able to avoid a) jail, b) jail, c) a large fine, d) the forfeiture of his property, e) jail, and f) a large bill for attorney’s fees.

  4. PRIL says:

    a lot of criminals just think they’re smarter than everyone else. Especially The Man, and any given lawyer. You get away with things for a while, and that reinforces it. What most of them don’t realize is that The Man knows what’s going on, and is only giving them enough rope to hang themselves. That’s especially true of drug dealers and manufacturers. The Man is waiting for them to blow it BIG, rather than poik away at small offenses. You only stop doing dumb stuff when you realize you aren’t very good at the current line of work (breaking laws), after being busted a few times, and maybe it’s a good idea to get into something you are actually good at. Dave, I’m sure you might have noticed the HUGE EGOS attached to a lot of people doing time. That’s their problem. With egos like that, they’d be better off playing guitar or something. Two times through rehab and a couple of stints in jail was plenty enough for me, but some folks just never have that moment of clarity.

  5. J.D. says:

    With egos like that, they’d be better off playing guitar or something.

    Hee-larious, Pril. Very funny stuff. 🙂

  6. Dave says:

    Actually, one of the interesting things that I noticed was that there were several classes of crooks. There were the typical dumb-asses (is that really hyphenated?) and then there were the business people- mostly major drug dealers. Into that latter class I’d put most of the major drug dealers but not including the pot growers, who it seems somehow think they’re immune to the scrutiny of “the man”- “I’m invisible” because pot is no big thing- which may have had a great deal to do with their definition of what quantity of pot was appropriate for “personal use”). Any of the major dealers that I ever dealt with seemed slightly smarter than the dumb-asses and seemed to take getting busted as just a cost of doing business. Sooner or later they were going to have to pay the “getting busted tax” and that was just the way it was. If they were lucky they would get a small slap. Less lucky= bigger smack.

    The other thing that occurred with alarming frequency was stories that clients would relate:
    Me: Says here you were busted with a kilo of coke.
    Them: Well, sort of.
    Me: What do you mean, “sort of” ?
    Them: The report says they found a key but there was really two keys.
    Me: Did you hide the other key?
    Them: Not hardly.
    Me: So what happened to the second one?
    Them: Well, I don’t have it and there were about 25 cops wandering around when them busted me, so where do you think it went?

    And yes, what pril said is absolutely true. Even the dumb-asses think that they’re smarter than everyone else. You, me, the police, the DA, the judge, you name it. And if I needed a car jacked, maybe they are smarter than you or me. On the other hand, one wonders why the “really smart” people need to steal a car in the first place.

    And yes, usually “the man” knows what’s going on but there’s been a conscious decision not to do anything about it (time, resources, or, as pril said they’re waiting for a bigger score). In some cases even I can watch a car driving around and have a reasonably good idea that the occupants of the car are up to no good. Most cops can do that in their sleep. Of course, some of that has to do with the fact that morons are morons are morons and the cops usually know the local morons because they’ve crossed paths before and aren’t likely to have changed their behavior. Like the client I once had who kept complaining that the cops in his small municipality were picking on him all the time and constantly busting him for driving without a license. Kept wondering how they knew he didn’t have a license. Hmmmmmm. Let’s see. Jacked up noisy crappity-ass Camaro, long haired hippy-looking dude, 3 priors for DWS and a resisting arrest. Gee, I don’t know. Why would you attract their attention or think that you’re driving without a license? Go figure.

  7. Linda says:

    Well one thing to tell you man that criminals are not stupid rather they have a very sharp mind.

    You just need to be careful and be alert so that nothing wrong happens. Burglars always try to utilise the time at which you make a single mistake!!

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