June 20, 2006 — -- Any plumber could tell you droopy drawers tend to trip you up, but apparently a lot of crooks fail to listen. Loose-fitting, baggy jeans have been in fashion for years, but police officers say they can also help fight crime.
"When they run, it makes our job easier," said Jim Matheny, a lieutenant with the Stamford, Conn., police department. The 41-year-old told ABC News he has no trouble chasing down suspects who wear low-hanging pants.
"They go to take off and either they have to use their hands to hold their pants up or several times the pants just fell down around their knees and they had to stop running," Matheny said. "They spend all day thinking of ways to beat the police and then they go and put these pants on. It really handicaps them."
Matheny said that those considering a life of crime might want to take a look at their wardrobes first.
"It's hilarious to me if you think about it," he said. "This is what they do for a living. It's like when the big thing was not tying your shoes and we had kids running out of their shoes."
Matheny is hardly the only officer to benefit from what's trendy. The Wall Street Journal reported on a thief in Ferndale, Mich., who might have gotten away with copies of "Donnie Brasco," "The Bourne Identity" and other DVDs he stole from a store had it not been for his baggy pants. As the guy bolted from police, his pants slipped beneath his hips. He tripped, fell and was finally shot with Taser darts.
In Hendersonville, N.C., a robber who tried to scale a fence was nabbed after his ill-fitting trousers snagged on a post. Officers found the man dangling upside down.
"The only reason we caught the guy was because his pants fell down," Hendersonville Police Chief Donnie Parks told the Journal.
Loose-fitting pants may make the catch easier, but Matheny said they make searching a suspect harder.
"They're able to wear jeans, sweatpants, long johns and boxers," he said, "so if I'm looking for a small item it makes it a little bit more difficult."