Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

UK’s Biggest Shoplifting-Rehab Failure Arrested 335th Time — But We Can Do Better

David Archer

David Archer

Released January 1, 2013, from prison serial thief David Archer, 57, was caught red-handed slipping a bottle of Irish Cream up his sleeve in a supermarket 24 hours later. He explained that there was a long line, and he was in a hurry. Thankfully police were not in a hurry, and they arrested him — for the 335th time. The next day his lawyer told the court that, “He has been completely institutionalized but the probation service is trying to rehabilitate him. If he is sent back into custody that rehabilitation will be put off.” The judges took pity on him, perhaps in the spirit of the New Year, and Archer was released having spent the night in jail.

Archer’s life of crime reportedly started with his first arrest for theft at age 10. He claims to have spent a total of 28 years behind bars, including every Christmas for 40 years. It seems that not all of his offenses involved theft, however, because in December 2012 he was found in violation of an existing ASBO (Anti-Social Behavior Order) against him, by threatening to slit a female police officer’s throat.

As jaw-dropping as this report is, fear not snarky Americans, we can top it. I am referring to the legendary arrestee Henry Earl of Kentucky who was reportedly arrested in Fayette County in 2008 for 1333rd time and had spent over 13.8 years in jail. According The Smoking Gun, Earl was first arrested in July 1970, at age 20, for carrying a concealed weapon. He was busted 33 more times in the 1970s, 230 times in the 1980s. Wikipedia stopped tracking him sometime in 2010 at 1335 arrests for alcohol-related offenses. The reports do not mention any attempts to rehabilitate Earl. One can safely assume that, at age 64, Henry Earl is still going strong.

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