Four Ohio college students were indicted earlier this month on a multitude of drug charges, after they were caught last May trying to steal chemicals from a school chemistry lab in order to cook up some ecstasy in "an empty dorm room." An all too typical tale. For purposes of instruction—and to ensure that future college ecstasy labs are more professionally run—allow us to examine what mistakes they made in their budding criminal enterprise, all detailed exhaustively in this Plain-Dealer story:

  • They began by stealing a key from a chemistry professor's key ring. He noticed and immediately reported the theft. He also spotted one of the students prowling around the lab room.
  • The next night, a campus security guard "saw a man and woman, both dressed in black and wearing black face masks, in that same lab room." They ran away.
  • They ran to a nearby, nearly empty dorm and hid with another student. That student is now charged with helping them set up an ecstasy lab, in the dorm.
  • The police subpoenaed the students' cell phone records, whereupon the entire case was laid out for them in a series of text messages between the criminal planners, including which drugs they needed to order, how they wanted to get them, and exactly how they wanted the break-in to happen. And what to wear: "He said he had a really sweet hat for [the break-in] and she said a fedora is not B-and-E [breaking and entering] wear."
  • They also said where they would be cooking up drugs. Police went there and found a bunch of evidence of cooking up drugs.
  • "We took their computers, which they used to order equipment and chemicals, and one asked, 'When can I get my computer back? I have a thesis due.'"

In conclusion, never use cell phones and all college students and Ohio residents should probably be arrested, to be on the safe side.

[Cleveland Plain-Dealer. Image via]