PETTY THEFT 


SEPT. 18, 1:45 A.M.: After a punishing day of pizza-dough-kneading and marinara-sauce-scooping, the expert folks at a local pizza buffet chain in the 5700 block of North Orange Blossom Trail called it a day. Their work had ended, but somewhere a criminal was just clocking in.

A burglar or burglars gained entry to the house o' pies through an unlocked back door – a door left unlocked by an 18-year-old employee. Inside, as one might assume, the perp or perps headed straight for the cash registers, where a variety of coins were purloined. The petty change, as one might assume, didn't satisfy. Our burglar or burglars continued snooping for the Benjamins until they hit the mother lode: a meaty wad of cash from the prior day's sales stashed in one of the kitchen's sub coolers. Having now pocketed a total of $693, it was time to depart.

In the end, the booty was a no-brainer, but why a burglar wouldn't take advantage of the situation and purloin some pies leaves this author befuddled.

SEPT. 17, 11:58 A.M.: In a likely attempt to avoid skyrocketing gas prices, today's burglar or burglars focused on filching alternate forms of transportation – twice.

While a 41-year-old woman still snoozed, the suspect or suspects approached her home in the 2050 block of Semoran Boulevard with plans to pilfer. Upon creeping toward the back, they spotted their target inside a screened-in porch: a pair of petroleum-free bicycles, valued at $125 each. A hole was carved into the screen and the wheeled things were extracted. But that wasn't all.

Earlier that day, at 9 a.m., the bicycle-boosting burglar or burglars had paid a 25-year-old neighbor's house a visit. The same screen-slicing technique was employed, but this time a distinctly shaped letter "U" – the symbol for the element uranium (do we have a chemistry major gone wrong on our hands?) – was cut from the screen, leaving a giant 4-foot-wide, 4-foot-high gash to enter. A single, apple-red mountain bike was taken from the enclosed porch, valued at $120, but one measly bicycle wouldn't suffice, apparently.

Perhaps this is the first in a series of crimes in which burglars plan to announce their presence via the alphabet. Stay tuned for next week, when a man will drill the letter "V" into a moving vehicle, then hijack it. Or not.

SEPT. 15, 6 P.M.: A trendy clothing shop in the 4300 block of Clarcona Ocoee Road was locked up tight for the night by the owner's husband. Or so he thought. It turns out that glass windows are never secure as long as concrete chunks, boulders and other solid objects are in the air.

In this case, an unknown object was used to smash the shop's front glass window, possibly producing a hole that vaguely resembled the letter "O." Inside, an undetermined amount of clothing, rather than cash, was taken as the suspect or suspects engaged in the shopping spree of a lifetime. Armfuls of haute couture were hauled back out the hole and into the breezy night.

The 48-year-old owner "fears for her life and that of her family," police reports state, as this is the fourth time the stylish shop has been burglarized. It's interesting to note, also, that she told her alarm company she wouldn't be running down to the store after it informed her of the sounding alarm. "She eventually decided to respond," reports add, but by then it was too late.

SEPT. 14, 9:30 P.M.: Really, who wants to steal clothes when there are dollar stores to knock over?

This burglar or burglars obviously had a nose for a bargain, selecting a popular dollar store in the 2300 block of South Kirkman Road as a target. Entry was again gained by smashing the front window with an unknown item (again!), leaving behind $100 worth of damage. But the suspect or suspects knew how to maximize their time inside, bypassing the three-for-one candy bars, generic soaps and toiletries stacked to eye level and going right for the pricey stuff. First, $200 was removed from the unlocked cash register. Second, a whopping $5,000 to $8,000 worth of prepaid phone cards were swiped from the wall. Third, and undoubtedly most oddly, the burglar or burglars made off with a micro-motorcycle valued at approximately $600.

Is it commonplace for a burglar to be interested in pocketing cash and prepaid phone cards? Yes, of course it is. Is it likely that a dollar store would stock a $600 peewee motorcycle as part of its catchpenny selection? No, unless this author's completely out of the loop.

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