Pulp novels and mobster movies lead us to believe a life of crime is glamorous. But they leave out the part about walking around with a chainsaw jammed down your pants.

Lately, the world’s outlaws have been finding all kinds of strange places to hide contraband. The movies show wise guys walking around with wads of cash in their pockets and foxy molls on their arms, but don’t forget that some of those guys end up retrieving cellphones from the guts of dead rats.

As a public service akin to Crime Stoppers, allow me to share news of developments that should prompt prospective criminals to consider other career options.

Let’s start in Fresno, California, where a store owner’s surveillance video recorded a man stealing a small chainsaw by cramming it down his pants. Jeff Bennett of RG Equipment told the Fresno Bee the video shows a man take the saw from a display, stuff the blade down his pants and cover the engine assembly with his jacket. He then drove off in a pickup truck. You know a man’s brush-cutting needs are urgent when he’s willing to push a chain of razor-sharp teeth past the invaluable goods stored in his pants.

While some criminals endanger their family jewels, others are finding questionable places to smuggle diamonds. Let’s head to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where a man faces charges after getting busted carrying nearly four dozen stolen diamonds in his anus. An officer cracked the case after seeing Eusebio Padilla remove a bag from his rear end during a traffic stop. “License, registration and bag of butt diamonds, please.”

The cop, who had stopped the suspect for riding a motorcycle without a license plate, found 44 precious stones in the bag. Padilla had been sitting on a fortune. He said his plan was to trade them for drugs. I’ll give you one guess where he planned to hide those.

Oh well, there are smellier places to stash contraband. Just ask the British prison inmates who, instead of receiving cakes containing files, get dead rats full of valuables.

Suspected mobsters have been stuffing the bodies of dead rats with cash, phones and drugs, and tossing them over a prison wall to get contraband to inmates. Guards smelled a rat after finding the bodies of rodents with long stitches along their stomachs. Either some inmates had taken up taxidermy, or something strange was going on.

The animals had been disemboweled, their entrails replaced by mobile phones, chargers, memory cards, tobacco and drugs. For inmates, these must’ve felt like Christmas presents, even though the wrapping paper was less than festive.

Britain’s prison ministry says seizures of drugs and phones has increased significantly in recent years. Inmates have used tennis balls, pigeons and drones to sneak contraband inside. Such acts might seem ingenious, except criminals have set the bar such that anything short of smuggling a chainsaw in your pants seems pedestrian.

As thought-provoking as such tactics might be — just how many diamonds can a man wedge into his rear? — they hardly shed a flattering light on a life of crime. Sure, you may get rich without an honest day’s work, but you know life hasn’t gone as planned when you find yourself digging past rat guts to retrieve a phone.

Let this be a lesson to you kids out there. Crime doesn’t pay. And given where the bad guys sometimes hide their ill-gotten booty, it also stinks.

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Baraboo News Republic Senior Reporter

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