CRIMINALLY CURIOUS 


JUNE 12, 2:30 A.M.: Mark N. was surrounded by the swampy night air outside Hoops Tavern in the 40 block of West Amelia Street when two men approached him. The deviant duo ostensibly wanted a cigarette. Mr. N. never had a chance to offer them one.

      Having fooled Mr. N. with their tale of nicotine need, the suspects proceeded to kick him in the rib cage. Mr. N. fought back, attempting to push the men away, but the shovefest only allowed them access to one of his pockets and the wallet contained therein, from which the cig bandits removed a mere $2. Before racing off for good, the duo snatched the victim's two backpacks as well. The knapsacks contained such gems as $25 work boots, a $10 alarm clock and $30 worth of miscellaneous clothing – possibly enough apparel to build a stylish ensemble.

      Mr. N. reported no injuries and refused medical attention, despite his tenderized rib meat.

JUNE 11, 11 P.M.: After a long day of lather, rinse and repeat, Patsy P. locked up the New Beginnings Hair Salon in the 1200 block of North Mills Avenue. Sadly, the locks did not hold against criminals determined to violate this house of beauty.

      The burglar or burglars pried open the bathroom window, slipped into the salon and began the search. Our snooping suspect or suspects engaged in a ransacking spree, bypassing hair spray, ultra-hydrating balm and professional shampoos in search of lucre. In the end, $50 was taken – $25 from a glass jar and the remainder from a bank envelope. Reimbursement for a dye job gone awry? Police reports do not indicate.

JUNE 10, 12:35 A.M.: This particular case proves that for a select few burglars, criminal curiosity can only be quenched through the invasion of a stranger's home, sweet home.

      Shaneen Y. and her hubby, Jones C., were unwinding in the privacy of their bedroom in the 1900 block of Williams Manor Avenue. Their repose was interrupted, however, when Ms. Y. heard the creaking noise of a door opening somewhere in the residence.

      The source of the noise turned out to be an extra-nosy, 5-foot-tall man who'd sneaked inside through the unlocked back door. Fueled by the novelty of breaking into a strange couple's abode, the burglar began investigating until he found a household treasure too swell to resist: a computer desk. The diminutive dude tried hauling the hefty furniture out the door, but gave up upon hearing Mr. C.'s approaching footsteps. By the time the man of house arrived on the scene, the diminutive prowler was prancing westbound in the back yard, perhaps headed toward Rooms to Go.

JUNE 7, 4:11 A.M.: Sometimes, inquisitive burglars are just bored, and new journeys bring new answers. They aren't always out to steal furniture or petty cash, but their unwelcome break-ins can be enough to disturb the peace.

      Cynteria B. and her mother, Cynthia B., were fast asleep at their home in the 900 block of Bentley Street. Unfortunately for little Cynteria, her dreams were destined to be soured that evening.

      The madness began when the young Ms. B. awoke to the sound of a man's voice. Discombobulated, she turned to her window – which had been pried open – and witnessed a spectacle frightening enough to startle anyone: a strange man clutching a lighter, peering inside the bedroom with wide eyes. Ms. B. expelled an ear-piercing scream into the dark night, petrifying the peeping Tom, who took to his heels and fled northbound. Ms. B.'s mother was awakened by the howl and raced out the front door, but the frenzied intruder was nearly out of sight by then.

According to Ms. B., the suspect appeared to be approximately 35 years old and was sporting a black fisherman's hat. She ably added that the spying suspect had a very pointy nose – perfect for snooping, of course.

JUNE 6, 10 P.M.: Six hours before our window-peering perp struck, apartment dwellers experienced a bizarre burglary that affected an Orlando baby's summer fashion choices.

      The burglar or burglars in this case reportedly broke into an apartment complex in the 4900 block of Bottlebrush Lane sometime between 10 p.m. and 9 a.m. the following day. While the victims slumbered, the suspect or suspects plundered, pocketing mounds of pastel, possibly puke-free bibs, nightcaps and baby-soft jammies. Perhaps the burglar or burglars left a clutch of children at home, waiting to be clothed? Or maybe there were plans to auction the outfits on eBay? Whatever the case, $700 in brand-new baby clothes went missing, and a young person learned a very hard lesson about the world at an early age.

JUNE 6, 10 P.M.: Exactly 24 hours earlier, another eager burglar pried his or her way into someone's private space, stealing a prized possession.

         This time, David M. was the victim of a burglary in the 900 block of Ellwood Avenue. The perp emerged from the shadows, wheeling a bicycle while walking. He then entered Mr. M.'s side yard, advancing steadily until reaching a 2-foot-tall child gate, an obstacle that was easily surmounted. After hopping the gate, the criminal walked to the rear patio and pocketed a single item – a humidor, valued at $100.

      The burglar pedaled off into the humid night air, leaving Orlando residents to wonder when criminal curiosity would strike next.

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