Yes, it is wrong to respect a criminal for his or her ability, because a person should not be admired for doing bad things. There is no such thing as the art of committing crime. People who are deviant from the laws in society should be scorned, punished, ignored and forgotten. Do not encourage them.
You can respect a person's attribute while not having respect for the person at all. For example, I have no problem recognizing that Adolf Hitler was a great orator and was extremely charismatic, but he was one of the worst human beings that ever walked the planet. Recognizing isn't wrong.
Criminals, especially those who get away with crimes, have a lot of talent and ability in their specific area of interest. There is nothing wrong with admiring the work of a criminal or respecting his accomplishments and achievements. Even if you respect this, you can still not condone the behavior on moral grounds.
It is not wrong to respect a criminal for his or her ability sometimes. But I do think that people should know the difference between respect and admire. I think that you can definitely be impressed with a criminal's abilities. But it doesn't meant that you respect them as a person.