MOSCOW, December 24 (RIA Novosti) – A convicted criminal in the Urals unwittingly channeled Dostoyevsky by robbing old women for petty sums in cash – though he added a touch of absurdity by using a broom to cover his tracks.
Vladimir Cherepanov broke into the house of an unnamed old lady in the city of Plast in November 2011, tying her up and taking 5,000 rubles ($160) of her money, Chelyabinsk Region prosecutors said on Monday.
When the woman broke free, he killed her with several blows to the head and made off with cash and a broom, prosecutors said on their website.
The drunk Cherepanov repeated the attack in another house the next day, targeting another elderly woman. This time, the loot was 1,400 rubles ($45).
He hit the woman on the head on his way out, though he failed to kill her, and used the broom to erase the traces of his presence, prosecutors said.
The trick made sense because Chelyabinsk Region saw frequent snowfalls in November 2011, when day temperatures reached minus 14 degrees Celsius, according to weather forecaster Gismeteo.ru.
But police nevertheless tracked Cherepanov, who was given 18 years in a maximum security prison, prosecutors said.
The surviving victim also won 1 million rubles ($33,000) in damages from Cherepanov, who already served one sentence for an unspecified crime, the report said.
In Crime and Punishment (1866), a Russian classic by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, the protagonist kills an elderly pawnbroker and her sister with axe blows to the head in order to rob them, though the haul turns out less than he expected. However, the novel’s hero did not use the broom and turned himself in voluntarily, unlike Cherepanov.