SEPT. 6, 7:30 P.M.: A young woman left the comfort of her home in the 5200 block of Greenery Court for a couple hours. Unfortunately, someone invaded her personal space while she was out.

After kung fu-kicking in her front door, the suspect rummaged through a kitchen refrigerator. "Everything appeared to be trashed," police reports state; possibly Snack Pack servings had been squashed and bites of leftover pot roast now coated white walls. The next stop was her bedroom, where approximately $400 in cash was pocketed, along with a .38 caliber revolver pistol. Before exiting her room, our frenzied scavenger gathered dresser drawers and dispersed them throughout the house, like an Easter-egg hunt, if you will. All the kitchen cabinets were flung wide open, and a kiddie-sized backpack was packed with such electronic treats as a Playstation, an Xbox plus five games and two camcorders valued at 300 bucks a pop.

SEPT. 5, 11:30 P.M.: Sometime during the evening, a suspect or suspects wandered the 6500 block of International Drive, likely past one too many gift shops promoting two-for-one Disney T's (it'd be a touristic crime to leave O-town without purchasing a Mickey T-shirt). But the prizes in mind were elsewhere, as the burglar or burglars smashed in a local business' glass door, leaving behind $300 worth of damage. Inside, cash registers were left in a pristine state, but two cool four-stroke scooters displayed just 15 feet from the shattered doorway were scooted out into the night. Together, they were valued at $1,400.

This author doesn't find it surprising that the shop's alarm failed to sound "for some reason," as police reports indicate.

SEPT. 4, 6 P.M.: A heavier-duty piece of transportation was almost heisted on a Sunday, but the suspect or suspects didn't share the I-drive lurker's(s') luck.

In this case, the attempted burglar or burglars played around on a construction site in the 10000 block of Lee Vista Boulevard. The suspect(s) spotted a small tractor and just had to have it, apparently. A backhoe – an excavating vehicle used to move earth with a shovel bucket – was enlisted to try and lift the teensy Isuzu tractor onto the bed of a trailer. This didn't work. The result, you wonder? A messed-up trailer and a ravaged tractor. Damages exceeded $10,000.

Before fleeing, they dumped the backhoe into a nearby pond like a serial killer's victim. Site workers found it a couple of days later and probably weren't too thrilled by the sight of their damaged playthings.

AUG. 29, 9 P.M.: A woman parked her white/gold-colored car in her home's driveway in the 500 block of South Osceola Avenue. She headed indoors and went to bed, oblivious to the mammoth mistake she'd made.

An unknown person or persons tried their luck by attempting to open the lady's car. Quite unwisely, she'd left the doors unlocked and the alarm inactivated, labeling the burglar(s) lucky indeed. After combing through the car, a conspicuous $3 in assorted coins was removed from the center console, along with a garage door opener. Of course, our suspect(s) couldn't help but scope out the garage, where a refrigerator was shuffled through. No goodies there, however – instead, a $300 Raleigh bicycle was wheeled away with the jingling pocket change.

This week's lesson: Lock your doors and activate your alarms, ding-dongs.

AUG. 28, 5:05 P.M.: Late last month an even luckier, but possibly stupider, suspect made off with the most expensive prize in this column's history.

The burglar happened to be strolling through a trendy shopping mall – a mall, I might add, swarming with security – in the 4200 block of Millenia Boulevard, when he walked past a jewel-encrusted jewelry shop. He went inside, blending his chameleon self with actual prospective buyers, and asked the jeweler if he could look at a particular necklace. Police reports don't indicate what the jeweler had been smoking, as he willingly opened for the stranger a case housing a $300,000 diamond necklace.

The thief slipped his arm inside the case like a snake into a gopher hole and clutched the jewels, resisting the jeweler's attempt to trap the darting limb in the case by slamming the door. Police reports state that as the thief raced out of the store, he held up a hand containing an unknown device and hollered, "I'll blow this up!," then pointed to what looked like a shoebox wrapped in blue plastic that he'd left on the counter. For all the jewelers knew, the box was filled with dog crap, but they heeded his threat anyway.

Somehow, the suspect avoided all security and exited the mall, where he hopped into a tan van and drove off, nearly half a million dollars wealthier.

Perhaps crime does pay?

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