POLICE BEAT 


APRIL 18, 7:16 A.M.: When a 47-year-old man left a church in the 2800 block of Orange Center Boulevard after a day of classroom renovations, a lingering suspect or suspects seized the opportune moment to steal from Jesus.

Regular readers of this column know that O-Town ne'er-do-wells generally head straight for the most random, worthless shit to be had during church burglaries, which are becoming more and more common for some reason. And such is the case in this case.

The perp or perps entered by removing a window near the church's kitchen, then used a "rusted vehicle engine part" and a shovel to break the lock off a door inside, police reports state. After all that work, the suspect(s) needed to quench their thirst and thus pinched "several drinks from the refrigerator (three 2-quart pitchers), approximately $5 in value."

What was contained in the pitchers is unknown, but reports confirm damages to the door and window total $400.

APRIL 18, 9:34 A.M.: And here we have another theft of food items, this time from an elementary school's Little League concession stand on Carol Avenue.

Hulk-like strength proved insufficient to pry the concession stand's window bars apart, so a metal pole, approximately 8 or 10 feet long, was instead employed. The pole helped pry the security gate open just enough that an uninstalled metal door behind it could be slammed onto the floor, granting access to the morsels inside. What did our suspects crave so bad? Packets of candy and peanuts.

"A canvass of the area resulted in the recovery of 54 out of 134 individual packages of candy and eight out of 24 individual packages of peanuts outside the concession stand," police reports state. Although the total amount of theft equals approximately 58 clams, $47.10 worth of nuts and sweets was indeed recovered.

APRIL 19, 8:20 P.M.: Kids these days.

A 57-year-old man walked down to a dead end in the 4200 block of Cherokee Rose Drive and entered a community center to use a phone and call his daughter. That call would be brief, however. It didn't take long to notice the mob of 10 to 15 juvenile boys standing 50 feet west of him, their beady eyes piercing from afar. Phone in hand, our victim watched as the band of juvies approached and surrounded him. One of the boys — described as approximately 5 feet, 5 inches tall, about 145 pounds and wearing a red T-shirt — wasted no time shoving a silver handgun into the senior's scalp. He and his posse immediately demanded that the man relinquish the cell phone, but our victim felt lucky, perhaps. He tried to get away with a "no way, suckas" attitude, but that didn't go over too well.

"Gimme your phone or I'm gonna pop ya," the ringleader cried.

A $250 Verizon cell phone was snatched moments later, but an attempt to swipe his wallet, too, was fruitless. The man sprinted home and dialed 911.

APRIL 21, 11:52 A.M.: A lady, 44 years of age, was driving her black 1997 Jeep in the 600 block of North Orange Blossom Trail when she stopped for directions from some bald, baggy-pants-sporting dude on the side of the road. He gave her directions and walked away, then turned around and calmly hopped inside the vehicle through the unlocked passenger-side door. Pretty rude.

He didn't want to steal the vehicle, but he did want the damsel's purse. Police reports state "a brief toggle war" ensued as he vigorously tried to tug the purse out of her clamped hands until it ripped, leaving our lady with nothing but a handful of strap. She accidentally rear-ended a Toyota Corolla in front of her while the bag snatcher made his getaway down some railroad tracks on the east side of OBT.

But a fender bender wasn't going to stop this determined miss. She put her vehicle in park, stepped into the street in the midst of lunchtime traffic and sprinted down the tracks after the hoodlum "until she realized it was too dangerous," reports add.

Wondering why our lady was so resistant? "The victim's purse contained two gold chains valued at $1,000, gold and diamond ring with three diamonds valued at $900, $700 cash" along with some valuable plastics, reports state. Don't think the lesson learned here needs to be made any clearer.

APRIL 22, 2:21 A.M.: A man, 36, roamed the intersection of South Division Avenue and West Church Street carrying a plump green-and-black book bag on his back. One stranger, approximately 30, took note of the fattened backpack. He approached the bag hauler and nosily asked him what was inside. Answer: miscellaneous papers, according to our victim. But this hooligan's curiosity was insatiable; he had to know for himself. Sure enough, after a brief chase, our suspect snitched the $20 book bag and took a peek for himself, confirming that the man wasn't kidding about its lame, paper-only contents. Oh, well.

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