HITTING HOUSES OF THE HOLY 


OCT. 25, 10:10 P.M.: A church patron was cruising by his holy house in the 6800 block of Lake Underhill Road when he spotted the preliminary phase of one downright sinful deed. Said parishioner noticed a peculiar and unknown person wandering in the church's backyard and then entering a fenced compartment. Why would anyone rove around church grounds at this hour? Had this nomadic soul missed 6 p.m. mass after spending countless hours lost on God's property? No. Of course not.

What our irreverent roamer came for were the parts of a single air conditioner. After dismantling $1,000 worth of air-conditioner scraps, the suspect split, satisfied.

OCT. 23, NOON: Yes, the following vandal or vandals probably skipped out on mass too.

A group of workers locked and secured a building on a construction site in the 6900 block of Piazza Grande Avenue before heading home at noon. Peace and quiet ceased all too soon, however, when the nearby suspect or suspects broke inside with the help of – what else – the ubiquitous "unknown tool," police reports state.

As the unfurnished edifice offered no big-ticket TVs or ritzy refrigerators to filch, our perp or perps pried open some paint cans, smearing the name "Kurt Cobain" on a white wall. After enough finger-painting, the probably teen-spirited suspect or suspects fled the fuming room, leaving windows open for Hurricane Wilma to ravage $5,000 worth of drywall and flooring.

The idolatry is appreciated, kids, but Kurt would not approve of vandalism.

OCT. 23, 12:01 A.M.: What's with all the crime at the houses of God around here, people?

On this day a suspect or suspect(s) smashed in a church window, crawled inside and snooped for spoils. Leather-bound Bibles, holy water and other pious prizes were spared; instead, an $80 VCR and a portable CD player were pilfered from a stand within the sanctuary. Before vanishing, the burglar or burglars went through the trouble of removing a locked storage cabinet door. What righteous loot was found inside? A 12-pack of Coca-Cola, valued at $3.

Upon discovering the missing goods in the morning, the complainant waited until Monday to notify police "because he had service at 9:30 a.m." on Sunday, police reports state.

Now, I'm not going to launch into a long sermon or anything here, except to say that while the perps may have succeeded in evading Orlando's finest, at least for now, God knows who you are. Have a good night's sleep.

OCT. 22, 3:17 A.M.: Perhaps because he had nothing better to do than wander the darkened 1400 block of West Colonial Drive, a man chose to spice up his night by breaking into a phone store. For once, something other than an "unknown tool" was used to gain entry (which frankly gives this author no small amount of satisfaction), although it wasn't the gutsiest of gadgets. No, not a chain saw. Not even a machete. A garden brick picked from an outside walkway was employed to shatter glass. Boring.

But effective. Inside, the same stone was used to smash open a plastic case displaying several prop cell phones. Paving brick in hand, our cellular criminal thought he was heisting a fairly sweet deal – as would any burglar – but because the phones didn't have serial numbers, they couldn't be activated and used as real phones in the real world. These were, in fact, phony phones.

What makes matters worse is the security camera the suspect completely overlooked. Karma, perhaps?

OCT. 21, 4:30 P.M.: And here we have yet another pilferage on sacred ground. It truly was a bad week for O-town bethels.

This burglar or burglars shattered a window, this time on a portable classroom belonging to a church's Christian academy in the 3000 block of Bruton Boulevard. The perps rummaged through file cabinets and desks, but found nothing worth bank. They even left the classroom's VCR and computer untouched. They did, however, heist a 15-year-old color TV valued at $30.

It should also be noted, police reports add, that an Orange County Public Schools vehicle used as a "bookmobile" was broken into on the property.

OCT. 19, 11 P.M.: Tonight's suspect or suspects couldn't resist a snack, choosing to break into a local Chinese restaurant in the 1900 block of East Colonial Drive. After prying open a gate and bending a slide lock – damage that totaled $50 – the piggish perp or perps headed straight for an unlocked freezer, where a $200 shrimp feast was filched. Just because he or she could, the burglar(s) took a $100 leaf blower and a $150 pressure washer before heading home.

The restaurant's owner said "he has not been reporting burglaries to his business," and "several have occurred since the beginning of September," according to police reports. In that case, notifying the police for the first time after burglary No. 4 was probably a clever call.

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