Crime is not usually a laughing matter. But from time to time it is.
The following are some highlights of Southwest Florida's offbeat crimes of 2012.
Hot pink getaway
It had the makings of a top-notch police chase; a man in a stolen pickup, speeds at more than twice the legal limit — a little girl's pink bicycle?
The 35-year-old Lehigh Acres man obviously didn't have much of an escape plan as he drove a stolen Chevy pickup around Immokalee while pulling a stolen trailer in early May. Tipped off about his crimes, Collier deputies caught up to the thief and attempted to pull him over.
Instead, he fled, reaching speeds of up to 60 mph in a 25 mph zone. It was after he abandoned the pickup, however, that things took a turn toward farce.
After a foot pursuit through several yards and over a few fences, the man looked for another vehicle to make his getaway.
His choice: a little girl's pink bike.
Increasingly exhausted, the emasculated bike bandit pedaled and pedaled. But to no avail. Deputies eventually caught up to him and hauled him to jail.
Raining beer on your wedding day
It's every bride's dream.
A sunset wedding on a Southwest Florida beach. The calming sounds of waves lapping the shore. A drunk man tossing cans of beer at guests
It was supposed to be a day of memories for a couple getting hitched on a Marco Island beach in early December. It is unlikely they'll ever forget the 22-year-old wedding crasher who turned their big day into a big debacle.
The wedding party tried to ignore the uninvited guest as he ran behind the alter trying to get their attention. But he was impossible to ignore when he began shouting "Hey tourists, get off my beach, I'm local," and throwing full cans of beer at attendees.
Fed up, members of the wedding party took off after the sauced-up scofflaw, who told authorities he had a "right to be on the beach as a taxpaying citizen" and the right as a veteran to do whatever he wants. He also has a right to a court to a day in court on a battery charge.
Messin' with mama Grizzly
A mother of three in her early 40s, Betsy Stibler is not exactly the most intimidating person in Southwest Florida.
Tell that to a burglar who found himself on the wrong side of the angry, self-described "mama bear" after he broke into her father's car in late February.
Awakened by her youngest child around 2 a.m., Stibler saw what the burglar was doing and called the Sheriff's Office. But instead of waiting for deputies to arrive, Stibler — who runs 5K races in her spare time — slipped on her shorts and flip flops and chased him through her North Naples neighborhood.
"You may as well stop. The police are coming," she said. "And if you are going to run, you better fun fast and more than 3 miles because I'm a runner."
The burglar, who is half Stibler's age, did run. And Stibler chased after him, cornering him between two homes until authorities arrived and took him to jail.
"I was scared for her," Stibler's father said. "I was worried she might catch the dude and he might be violent.
"I also worried she might catch the guy and beat the crap out of him."
Talkin' tough on Twitter
Some people use Twitter to share their thoughts on life. Some use it to promote their business.
A Naples man was arrested after police say he used Twitter to brag about punching his neighbor.
The 30-year-old — "Fatboy Swaggin" in the Twitterverse — describes himself modestly online as a "Pill popping animal!" and a father of one. Just before 10:30 on an October morning, Mr. Swaggin eloquently tweeted his intention to "knock this (expletive expletive expletive) out today!" Minutes later he added the victim was "talking about callin da police! He betta call Jesus, because that's da only thing gone save him!"
A little after noon, Swaggin tweeted that he had, in fact, successfully "knocked this (expletive expletive expletive) out cold."
But things took a turn for this worse for Swaggin, which he noted in a later tweet after the victim contacted authorities and "got me running from da police!"
Alas, he didn't run long. That night Swaggin accepted his fate — again on Twitter: "Thinking about going to turn myself in, in a lil bit! I just hate that long (expletive) booking process!"
Swaggin turned himself in and is facing a battery charge. But he was soon back to Twitter, because they "can't hold a (expletive) in forever!"
Not so happy birthday money
If you're going to steal thousands of dollars from complete strangers, you may as well brag a little about why you deserve it.
A North Naples teen did just that in February, after he stole checks from a couple of cars, made them out to himself and wrote on the subject line that they were for "good grades" and "birthday money." In the process, the teen added about $12,000 to a bank account that had been running in the red.
But his attempt to throw off bank employees backfired when an eagle-eyed teller — already suspicious about the rapidly increasing savings account — noted something fishy: The teen's birthday is in July, making the forged birthday gift either very early or very late.
He'll have another reason to celebrate in three years — when he completes his probation.
Smile, you're on Candid Camera
A couple of fledgling Collier County crooks learned an important lesson this year about how to stay out of the hoosegow. Namely, after you've told the detectives you know nothing about the crime, keep your mouth shut.
After an East Naples home was burglarized in mid-October, deputies said they pulled over the bungling bandits who were passengers in a blue Saturn spotted by neighbors leaving the scene. The driver told deputies she had picked the two men up and drove them to the home, which they proceeded to burglarize.
Not true, said one of the accused thieves, who told deputies he was only a passenger and had no clue what was going on. His partner in crime simply refused to tell the cops anything, according to reports.
Turns out, the two men inadvertently told the deputies all they needed to know.
Locked in the backseat of a patrol car together, they were caught on the in-car video system discussing the crime in detail, all while they passed marijuana back and forth.
Sorry, wrong number
Sometimes its the smallest of clues that leads to an arrest — a finger print on the wall; a strand of hair on the floor.
And sometimes the crooks accidentally pocket dial their victim and give the whole thing away.
That was the case for two Naples sisters, who authorities say robbed a local hotel in mid-November. One of the sisters, wearing a bandana and sunglasses, entered the business, claimed she had a gun and robbed the joint, police say.
But moments after the robbery, the hotel's phone rang. On the other end: two women discussing the crime.
The clerk recognized one of the voices as a former employee who had been canned two days earlier. Detectives tracked the phone to the sisters' mother, who denied involvement but noted that she shares the phone with her two daughters.
Police arrested the women in December on robbery charges.