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5 Movies & TV Shows That Inspired Real Crimes

These criminals were clearly lacking originality and brain cells.

The Town


In 2011 Ben Affleck hit the big screen donning a nun's habit and rubber mask while pulling off a bank heist in The Town. Of course, this doesn't seem like a particularly practical getup to wear outside of a Hollywood screenplay, but a pair of Illinois criminals felt differently. The suspects reportedly charged a Chicago bank wearing similar costumes a year after the film's debut, pointing guns at bank employees. Thankfully no shots were fired, but the two escaped with $120,000. Turns out the culprits used to work at the branch and - unlike Ben - were eventually charged with robbery.

Fight Club

The first rule of Fight Club is you do not talk about Fight Club. Unfortunately 17-year-old Kyle Shaw didn't get the memo. Ten years after the cult classic hit theaters, Shaw set off a homemade bomb outside of a New York City Starbucks, and later fessed up to additional plans to launch his own "Project Mayhem." According to his fellow classmates, Shaw's devotion to the film and Chuck Palahniuk novel was well-known and seen as strange. In 2010 the teen pled guilty to attempted arson and attempted criminal possession of a weapon, and was sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

Dexter

We like Dexter as much as the next guy, but that doesn't mean we aspire to be real-life serial killers. Not so for Indiana teen Andrew Conley. In 2009 the 17-year-old - whose dedication to the Showtime hit proved to be highly unhealthy - acted on his unquenchable taste for homicide, strangling his 10-year-old brother to death with his bare hands. When interrogated by police Conley explained that he'd always fantasized about committing a murder, and related to the title character on Dexter, which he had been watching obsessively. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Scream
This 1996 horror film starring Neve Campbell sparked several copycat murders and crimes, most notably at the hands of Thierry Jaradin. In 2001 the 24-year old Belgian truck driver killed his 15-year-old neighbor while wearing a long black robe and plastic ghost mask - the exact "ghostface" costume worn by the killer in the movie - after she denied his amorous advances. After confessing the crime to his father, Jaradin revealed that the murder had been premeditated and inspired by Scream.

Seinfeld

One of our favorite Seinfeld episodes is the one where Kramer and Newman hatch an ingenious scam to take thousands of accumulated cans and bottles to Michigan, where the yield for depositing them is five cents higher than in New York. A series of hilarious mishaps followed. The real-life version is also funny, but for all the wrong reasons. A couple from Maine, along with a Massachusetts resident, were accused of cashing in on more than 100,000 bottles in 2011, all of which were apparently bought out of state. The overall earnings for this hefty deposit came to more than $10,000. Of course, no one was able to enjoy the extra cash, and the group was charged with fraud.


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