Differences between Lawbreakers and Psychopaths While it is true that many criminals show some evidence of psychopathic behavior, there are important differences between ordinary lawbreakers and psychopaths.
1. Ordinary lawbreakers are most often motivated by what their crime will net them, whether it is $25,000 from a bank robbery or another profitable venture. Psychopaths, on the other hand, often steal things for which they have no particular use. They may forge a check for a small amount when they have more than that in their pockets.
2. Ordinary lawbreakers seek to avoid detection and apprehension. Psychopaths do likewise for a period of time, but if they go undetected for too long, they may commit foolish crimes and leave telltale clues behind that tend to ensure apprehension.
3. Ordinary lawbreakers will avoid the police and not volunteer to help them solve crimes. On the other hand, psychopaths often see their criminal activities as a game between themselves and the police and are often detected in this way. For example, journalist Ann Rule (1986) wrote about Ted Bundy: “His cunning jousts with police were always akin to Dungeons and Dragons, and he so delighted in outwitting them, watching them scurry around to do what he considered his bidding.”