Darwin Award goes to bungling burglars

CHICAGO — The people who compile the annual Darwin Awards say 2009 was a busy year for stupidity, and last week awarded the year's top prize for fatal poor judgment.

For the uninitiated, the Darwin Awards are named in honor of Charles Darwin, father of evolution, to "commemorate those who improve our gene pool by removing themselves from it," its organizers say. It's usually posthumous.

The winner for 2009 was a rare Double Darwin, said Wendy Northcutt of the Darwin Awards, and is awarded for a crime gone awry in Belgium.

On Sept. 26, a pair of would-be thieves hatched a plan to withdraw cash from an ATM machine by using dynamite.

"They overestimated the quantity of dynamite needed for the explosion," the citation notes dryly. "The blast demolished the building the bank was housed in."

Rescue workers rushed one bomb burglar to the hospital, where he died on arrival.

They assumed the second got away until finding his body in the rubble hours later.