Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Brooklyn Man’s Saggy Pants Led to his Capture by Police

A map of the area with Donaldson's alleged run in red.

A map of the area with Donaldson's alleged run in red.

We’ve all heard of crimes of fashion, well the arrest of Brooklyn man Joel Donaldson, 21, may be the first time that a poor fashion choice prevented a crime.

Donaldson was allegedly in the process of robbing someone’s cell phone at around 2:30 p.m. August 28, 2013, near the courthouse in Brooklyn, New York. He reportedly punched his victim in the face, grabbed the cell phone and ran. Getting away from the courthouse and the heavy police presence was of course, the key to victory. At that point, however, Donaldson began to experience a serious wardrobe malfunction, so serious that it drew the attention of other pedestrians. “He was zigzagging all over the place, but he couldn’t run because his pants was falling down,” witness Arlene Williams reportedly told the New York Post. It seems that Donaldson’s jeans kept slipping down as he ran, exposing his boxer shorts. Try as he might, he was unable to generate the necessary velocity to escape the scene — or to escape even the block.

The fashion of wearing saggy pants supposedly comes from copying the way prison-issued pants sag down around the hips from not being properly sized. It has also, unfortunately, long been associated with crime outside of the pen. After Donaldson’s pants fiasco, would-be criminals, who prefer to express their personal style via saggy pants, may opt to commit crimes that only require walking, or perhaps riding a bike.

Donaldson’s struggle with the pants was so bad that he caught the attention of a nearby LEO directing traffic. Donaldson got about a block, a short one at that, before the police officer was able to tackle him, with the help of Donaldson’s own pants, which were down around his ankles at that point. He was arrested and charged with robbery. He was two blocks from the court house.

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