How the Robber with Type 1 Got Caught

Or…How Not to Calculate Your Insulin Dose When Committing a Crime.



The old Dick Tracy Sunday strip included a small section called the “Crimestoppers Textbook,” a continuing professional education resource for members of Dick’s Crimestoppers network. At least quarterly, it featured a case analysis under the heading Non Compos Mentis, which discussed times when a dimwitted perpetrator left his engraved cigarette lighter at an arson scene or his wallet on the counter during a bank heist. I was later to learn in law school that “non compos mentis” is not only the Latin root of “nincompoop” but a defense of not being in one’s right mind.

Recently, a young man with diabetes got caught after a break-in for an equally inept reason as the criminals listed above. Apparently, not only did he miscalculate his actions – he also miscalculated his insulin on board.

According to court records, 25-year-old Bradley Avery of Wilkes-Barre and two accomplices, all masked, robbed a couple in the couple’s rural Pennsylvania home; the couple apparently were not physically harmed. During the course of the robbery, Avery started shaking because of an apparent bout of hypoglycemia. He asked the homeowners for some cookies, and then removed his glove to open the cookie jar, according to a WNEP report. Apparently, Avery had a house account with the local police department, because it didn’t take more than a few hours afterwards for detectives to match his prints with those at the crime scene and effectuate his apprehension.

Many familiar with diabetes might recognize what could have caused Avery’s low. It’s quite possible that when Avery took his normal dose of insulin, he neglected to factor in how the increased exertion and adrenaline that goes with committing a crime might lower his insulin requirements.

So let that be a warning for all aspiring criminals with diabetes – you should have snacks along to ward off lows, or at least thin gloves to open up the cookie jar.

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Photo Credit: valeriiaarnaud / Shutterstock.com

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Jim Cahill is a senior writer for Insulin Nation and Type 2 Nation. Before turning to writing, he was a lawyer in government and private practice who focused on consumer protection and regulatory law. He can be contacted at jcahill@epscomm.com.