NOV. 29, 2 P.M.: A roving man entered an unlocked apartment in the 1620 block of Mercy Drive. Moments later, one of the apartment's residents walked inside and observed the man "taking approximately 84 pills of muscle relaxers and other medications," police reports state. Then the suspect walked back outside, hopped onboard his bicycle and pedaled off to Shangri-La.

NOV. 28, 1:30 A.M.: A 35-year-old man was walking through a parking lot in the 1800 block of South Semoran Boulevard. Then he decided to break into a shoe store. It was a natural progression of events.

After hurling an unknown object through the store's glass front doors, he slipped inside and stacked four boxes of shoes – each worth $11 – in his arms, then sneaked back out the smashed opening. Unfortunately for our tennie-toting suspect, one alert O-Town citizen had been watching closely, a bit peeved by this act of plunder. The citizen hollered at the shoe thief, who dropped the boxes on command. The citizen then chased the burglar into a nearby apartment complex until darkness swallowed him.

The good part: Thanks to one brave crime fighter, justice was served and eight shoes were returned to the shelves of a shoe store. The bad part: Officers were "unable to obtain usable prints," police reports state, because of the "waxy nature of the boxes." Damned waxy boxes.

NOV. 28, 12:30 A.M.: And now it's time for another Police Beat public service announcement: Keep your cars locked, good people of O-Town. Always.

While a couple slept soundly in their home in the 5100 block of Jetsail Drive, their vehicles were left unsecured. A burglar or burglars prowling about broke into the first car – parked in the driveway – by opening an unlocked door. Inside, the center console was rummaged through, but the only item removed was a garage-door opener.

It's pretty clear where this is going. The newly acquired tool was indeed used to open the garage doors. But less presumable happenings succeeded: Inside, a second unlocked car was searched through, and a second garage-door opener was pocketed. Why? Perhaps this burglar was intent on teaching the O-Town populace a lesson. In this case, stealing a pair of $50 garage-door openers might teach folks to appreciate their locks, and, well, to use them.

So the moral of the story is that some burglars do bring good in strange ways.

NOV. 26, 12:35 A.M.: 'Twas the midnight hour again, and strange things happen at this time of night.

This time, an unknown man dressed in white was spotted on surveillance tape roaming a car dealership lot in the 1000 block of West Colonial Drive. But this man had no plans to heist perfectly sweet vehicles. Instead, he stumbled through the maze of Mazdas until reaching a single storage shed. He then proceeded to bend the thin sheet-metal door in a Hulk-like manner to gain entry. Then he stole an air pump. And now it's obvious: This night crawler had a knack for auto repair – he just didn't possess the proper tools. Let's hope this pump was put to good use, at least.

NOV. 25, 5 P.M.: This afternoon, a burglar or burglars broke into an apartment complex's leasing office nestled in the 4580 block of South Kirkman Road. The means of entry were "undetermined," police reports conclude, as the office was perfectly secured. Just to keep things piquant, let's say the suspect or suspects at hand were Trekkies and the teleportation device they had purchased on eBay that week was not a phony.

After careful searching within the crepuscular space, they took only a baggie containing $20 worth of coins from a desk drawer. Our burglar or burglars then cornered the office Coke machine and tried prying it open, either because thirst ensued from all that beaming or because more pocket change was desired. The machine was not successfully pried, but our sci-fi suspect or suspects did manage to inflict $200 worth of damage to it. If they really wanted a cold soda, perhaps they should have tried feeding some of their pilfered coins to the machine. Trekkies can be so stupid.

NOV. 24, 10:55 A.M.: A woman witnessed a man equipped with an unknown tool attempting a break-in into a fast food restaurant in the 1800 block of South Semoran Boulevard via its drive-through window. This man probably hadn't the culinary skills to cook a Butterball or whip up a sweet potato casserole. Instead, our suspect had arterial-clogging food on his mind. Fortunately, the man was prompted to run across Semoran when he accidentally activated the restaurant's alarm. His drive-through window entry had failed, but police officers noted a peculiarity upon inspecting the restaurant's exterior: "A check of the doors of the business," reports state, "revealed the main door facing Semoran Boulevard was unlocked."

Moral of the story: Always try the door first.


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