catch (one) red-handed

(redirected from caught them red-handed)

catch (one) red-handed

To see, and perhaps apprehend, someone as they are doing something (often something nefarious). The phrase might have originally referred to blood on a murderer's hands. The police caught the robbers red-handed as they ransacked another house. Timmy tried to get into the cookie jar again, but I caught him red-handed.
See also: catch

catch someone red-handed

 and catch someone flat-footed
to catch a person in the act of doing something wrong. (See also caught red-handed.) Tom was stealing the car when the police drove by and caught him red-handed. Mary tried to cash a forged check at the bank, and the teller caught her red-handed.
See also: catch

catch red-handed

Also, catch in the act. Apprehend someone in the course of wrongdoing, as in The boys were trying to steal a car and the police caught them red-handed, or He tried to cheat on the exam, but his teacher walked in and caught him in the act. The first term referred to blood on a murderer's hands and originally signified only that crime. Later it was extended to any offense. The variant ( catch in the act) is a translation of the Latin in flagrante delicto, part of the Roman code and long used in English law.
See also: catch

catch someone red-handed

COMMON If you catch someone red-handed, you see or find them while they are doing something illegal or wrong. The burglar was on the roof and was caught red-handed by the police. They all pleaded guilty to conspiring to import drugs after being caught red-handed by customs officers. Note: The reference here is to a guilty person whose hands are covered in blood.
See also: catch, someone

catch somebody red-ˈhanded

find somebody while they are doing something wrong, committing a crime, etc: The thief was caught red-handed as she was emptying the till.This originally referred to catching a person with blood still on their hands after killing somebody.
See also: catch, somebody
References in periodicals archive ?
She described the charges as a 'desperate attempt to deflect public attention away from their text conversation inadvertently captured by someone's camera lens, which caught them red-handed plotting against me during a Senate hearing inside the Senate.
I caught them red-handed in a restaurant in Juffair on April 23, 2014," the husband said in his statement.
The police caught them red-handed while cheating a victim.
They were put under close surveillance and CID officers caught them red-handed trying to make off with a battery from a truck.
A special team of ROP had caught them red-handed with a gun in November, 2013 and they were later charged with firing at people.
Wayne O'Brien and an accomplice were armed with a crowbar and grappled with two policemen who caught them red-handed.
The police, in the mean time, arrive pretending to have caught them red-handed and demand money using threats and intimidation tactics.
But police tailed the gang and caught them red-handed when the drugs were moved to a haulage warehouse in Essex.
Both have been fined by Gateshead magistrates after council neighbourhood wardens caught them red-handed.
We have sent out extra patrols to catch whoever is doing this," said police spokesman Reiner Kuechler, "but, frankly, we don't know what we would do if we caught them red-handed.
A garda source said: "We like to call it good policing, but really the detective was passing at the time and caught them red-handed.
POACHERS in Co Cork tried to run down a fisheries officer after he caught them red-handed.
Police managed to identify the suspects and caught them red-handed.
The ROP caught them red-handed from the mountains of Hamriya and recovered a large quantity of narcotics from their possession.
The CID officers tracked down the culprits, caught them red-handed and referred them to the RAK Public Prosecution where they admitted to their crime.