A 22-year-old Polish thief was arrested after he was caught posing as a mannequin in a department store window so that he could steal jewelry from the shop after it closed at night. The unnamed man was seen at the Warsaw shop pulling his clever stunt, but he was soon foiled by police, The New York Times reports.
His plan was convincing… at first.
Surveillance footage showed him with an arm outstretched and holding a shopping bag in the store’s window. He remained there until after the store closed, which is when he stepped down from the window and began pocketing the jewelry.
He didn’t limit his crime spree to that one shop.
In fact, Warsaw Police say that in a separate incident, the man left the store after the shopping center closed and went and enjoyed a meal at one of the center’s bars. He then changed into some new clothes (also stolen, one imagines) and left under a partially opened gate. He later came back for a second meal at the bar.
The man was arrested and charged with theft and burglary.
In a statement released on Wednesday, October 18, authorities said the thief had been caught and arrested, though they didn’t clarify when exactly the incidents took place.
This is a perfect example of the Dunning-Kruger effect.
Coined by then-Cornell professor of social psychology and grad student Justin Kruger, the theory is basically that we’re basically so stupid that we don’t recognize our own stupidity. The mannequin thief fits this idea since he knew he’d be on camera and could likely be caught, but he was incompetent enough to believe it would be successful. “If people choose a course of action, they think it will work. Of course, it does not always do so,” Dunning told the NYT in an email.
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