Watch CBS News

Criminal Dials 911 While Stealing Tree

STOCKTON (CBS13) -- Three men are behind bars after, cops say, one of them accidentally called 911 while committing a crime. Stockton dispatchers listened to their every move.

Police say a pair of teenagers and a 21-year-old man were caught red handed stealing a pricey bamboo tree from someone's front yard.

"A bamboo tree? Really? You're stupid for that," said Gerica Jones, a nearby resident.

If you think that's stupid, get this: Just as the trio starting chopping down the tree, one of them accidentally dialed 911 from a cell phone.

"How do you pocket-dial, especially 911, out of all the numbers in the phone?" said Gerica.

The call went through and dispatchers listened in on their every move from the theft to loading the tree into a truck. It wasn't long before officers tracked the cell phone and found the thieves parked in a neighborhood. The huge bamboo tree in plain site was a dead give away.

Neighbors say they heard the commotion.

"I think they might be the dumbest criminals on the face of the earth," said Steven Wright, a neighbor. "I was confused. I didn't know what just happened. There were at least 10-15 cop cars out here at the time."

The trio left behind a pair of tree sheers, a shirt and the tree itself. It was a bamboo blunder that grew into tall trouble.

"I think they deserve to be arrested, it is still theft," said Wright.

The trio now faces trespassing and theft charges.

Officers are still trying to track down the owner.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.