Wrinkled Fiends: 5 Surprising Crimes Committed by Senior Citizens

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Two suspects were arrested in New Jersey recently, accused of using drugs and running a prostitution ring out of their apartment that had caused their building to be overrun with drunks, drug addicts and vagrants. Sounds like pretty standard stuff for a seedy prostitution ring, right?

It is. Except for the fact that the two people accused of masterminding the entire plan were 75 and 66 years old, and the building they overtook was a senior citizen housing complex.

James Parham and his neighbor Cheryl Chaney, proved that the elderly can still get a thing or two done if they put their minds to it, and that while Grammy and Pop-pop may seem inherently innocent, they’re just still plenty capable of committing an unexpected crime.

5 Jell-O Bandits

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Does it seem like there’s more sand in this Jell-O than usual? Alexander Clement, 68, and his wife Christine, 64, had seemingly found the perfect crime. Not only was it difficult to trace, but it was delicious, too. The couple was eventually busted for buying large quantities of Jell-O pudding, emptying out the contents at home, then refilling the packages with sand or salt and returning them to the grocery store for a refund. The oddest part about this crime is that they really made no profit, they just got a bunch of free Jell-O (and if you account for their sand and salt budget, they might have actually taken a small loss).

4 The Condiment Dumper

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For more than a year, Boise, Idaho police were completely stumped. On several occasions, police received calls from employees of the Ada County library reporting the books in their overnight drop box were completely covered in condiments. One time it was ketchup, another it was 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.

3 Grandma Stole Christmas

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Turns out the Grinch is all too real, but he’s not a furry, green curmudgeon that steals fentoozles and jang danglers from the innocent citizens of Whoville; he’s actually a she, and the 73-year-old head of a foster care organization in San Diego. Virginia Kelly was charged with grand theft and embezzlement when it was revealed that she was storing items donated to the Toys for Tots program, which provides toys to needy children at Christmas, and selling them at a later date. Yeah, it’s a pretty despicable thing to do, but you’ve got to admit, it’s a solid business model.

2 The “Mad Hatter” Thieves

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“Can you describe the person that stole your purse, ma’am?”
“Yes, it was a gang of little old ladies wearing silly hats.”

That’s an exchange that has actually been had quite a bit in Detroit, thanks to the work of the crime consortium known as the “Mad Hatter” thieves. A group of elderly women who curiously always wear floppy hats while committing the crimes, are responsible for a total of around $500,000 in robberies that include purse snatchings, merchandise and bank fraud.

1 Granny Kingpin

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Imagine the plot of the show Weeds, but Mary-Louise Parker’s character is a 73-year-old grandmother. When Oklahoma police raided the home of Darlene Mayes, they knew she was somehow involved with drugs. What they didn’t expect though, was that she was the leader of the entire drug ring, a supply network that stretched across 4 states. Inside of Mayes’ home police found 4 pounds of pot, $276,000 in cash, a couple of semiautomatic weapons and we imagine a bag or 10 of Werther’s Originals.

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