OCT. 3, 12:55 A.M.: After a lengthy day of dishing out hot eats at a restaurant in the 2460 block of South Hiawasee Road, four workers were stuck cleaning the kitchen. However, even the most mundane task can suddenly get exciting.

Tedium ceased when a 5-foot-3-inch man sporting a Scream mask burst into the room with his 6-foot, black-knit-mask-wearing sidekick. Scream ordered one scrubber to the ground, while his ski-masked counterpart shouted, "Give me the money," police reports state. That would've been a good time to comply with the man's orders, because he was armed, but why would anyone do that? Instead, one of the workers sprinted toward the front of the restaurant, crawled underneath a table and dialed 911. Rather than pursuing the escapee, the masked man demanded that his other captives take him to the safe. One of them did. The other – also a risk taker – fled to the bank room, dialing 911 for a second time. Lucky for the remaining victim, our masked men grew tired of playing hide and seek and ran away empty handed.

Calling 911 twice wasn't enough, apparently, because the last man standing felt the need to dial again. Third time's a charm?

OCT. 2, 2:30 P.M.: At some point during the day, a 6-foot-3-inch fellow wearing spectacles snuck into a church yard in the 4070 block of Prince Hall Boulevard. Peculiarly enough, however, he had no plans to heist the holy house's epic lighting rig or stashed, fund-raised cash; on that day we had a botanical burglar on our hands, folks.

The jerry-curled man began his spree by slicing open the lock to a tool shed attached to the church. Inside, he bypassed possible lawnmowers, weed eaters and other goods for the divine simplicity of a single hole digger. From there, he proceeded to dig up shrubs and ferns, among other plants that'd tickle any botanist's fancy. Then he tiptoed away with the sprouting spoils.

Ten days prior, a church employee had also spotted our thief extracting herbage. Upon making contact with him, the plant pincher fled, dropping his glasses while he ran away. God doesn't want green-thumbed thieves in his yard again. Ever.

OCT. 1, 6:30 P.M.: While a 51-year-old urbanite was gone, a suspect or suspects invaded her home in the 7680 block of Belvoir Drive, smashing an entry point through her lavish bedroom's sliding glass doors. Inside, all items in her closet, her TV and other common burglar booty was left untouched. Instead, ravenous rummaging revealed four must-haves: a coin collection, valued at a jaw-dropping $20,000; two stylish evening bags, valued at $5,500 together; and a prized Persian rug, valued at approximately $4,000.

Perhaps this was the dirty work of our botany bud's numismatist brother? Good chance, I'd say.

SEPT. 30, 3 P.M.: In the beautiful city of Orlando, there are always more coins to be collected. Today, a suspect or suspects chose to burglarize a life center – a nonprofit agency designed to aid mothers and families – in the 1400 block of West Colonial Drive. Entry was gained into the locked building by smashing two windows with the almighty and popular "unknown tool," police reports state. After rummaging through numerous desk drawers, filing cabinets and stacks of videotapes, nothing satisfied. A clock/CD player and a cordless phone were initially taken from the kitchen, but our burglar or burglars had a change of heart and returned the plastic goodies upon discovering even worthier booty: a bedazzling jar filled with 2,000 pennies. Finally pleased, our fellow coin collector(s) made off with the weighty $20 in copper coinage.

Little-known tidbit of information: Coin collecting, according to www.coincollector.org, is known as, "The Hobby of Kings." Who would've thought?

SEPT. 29, 5 P.M.: This week's interlopers certainly have selective tastes. In this case, a burglar or burglars crept onto a local condominium complex in the 2500 block of Woodgate Boulevard. The suspect or suspects headed for the maintenance shed, where an unknown tool was used to bend back a deadbolt on its door. They where successful, and the burglar or burglars began pocketing what made them happiest: in this case, 31 brand-spanking-new boxes of flood lights scattered across the floor promising hours of incandescent enjoyment. After filching the $1,550 worth of lighting, the suspect or suspects scrammed, rightly so.

This author advises readers to call the police in case they should find an O-town home emitting a bright light. But be careful: That much wattage won't easy on the eyes.


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