Real Scooby Doo Situations?

Has there ever been any recorded real Scooby Doo-type crimes, i.e. the criminals set up an elaborately scary environment that promotes fear in the locals in order to protect their criminal activities?

Wreckers. People who lure ships onto the rocks by means of lights & false signal bells, to loot the wrecks.

They would sometimes used stories of ghosts to scare away others.

And, of course, spiritual mediums.

Also, the wreckers spread stories of shipwrecked sailors being ruthlessly murdered by said wreckers. The effect of this was that most sailors who ran aground would immediately abandon the ship and head for the nearest town, leaving the wreckers to loot with impunity.

And they would have gotten away with it, if it weren’t for those meddling kids!

Okay, perhaps wreckers. Are there any specific details/websites that can satisfy my curiousity?

I’ve always wanted to hear Bob Dole say “I would’ve been President if it hadn’t been for those nosy kids… and their dog!”

So are there any situations of these criminals being foiled by vigiliate meddling hippies who ride around in a van and have a really interesting dog?

Best. General. Question. Ever. ?!

Argh. Thanks for ruining one of my favorite childhood books. Now I’ll forever think of Five Run Away To Danger as a Scooby Doo episode with British accents.