POLICE BEAT 


;JAN. 31, 8:10 P.M.: A 45-year-old man ran errands tonight, but not by himself. A 20-year-old stranger he had previously met at a bus stop kept him company. Let's consider that mistake No. 1.

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;The duo began the day by hitting a local pharmacy. After shopping, they headed over to the 20-year-old's condo. But they didn't stay long. Next on the agenda, the young stranger agreed to take the hombre to a hotel near the airport in exchange for some change. They hopped into a car — a dark blue SUV similar to a Jeep Liberty — drove off and made a pit stop at the stranger's "friend's house." Surely this unexpected stop confused our hotel-bound victim, but any feeling of discomfort briefly ceased when the young man told him they "were just going to drive the second suspect to his home to drop him off," police reports state.

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;You and I know that didn't happen. Before dropping sketchy 20-something-year-old numero dos off, the trio came to a stop at Sago Lane, where the newcomer proceeded to smash a silver-colored gun into the victim's face. The twosome demanded the man's wallet and pants, pronto. So he stripped, handing over $264 in cash along with numerous credit cards and was left in the streets, pant-less.

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;Wondering what mistake No. 2 might have been? Reports add the "pants were checkered and valued at $20." Either these suspects were on a mission to rid the world of ugly pants, or they really did like those britches.

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;FEB. 1, 9:59 A.M.: Here's one super-;villain the City Beautiful can't seem to get rid of: the green-thumbed garden-tool taker.

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;A man contracted to do landscaping for a condominium complex in the 5200 block of Cypress Court left for the day. Some time that night, a mysterious suspect or suspects emerged and gained entry into the complex's fenced-in storage area — secured with a "6-foot privacy fence," police reports state — located west of the clubhouse. Entry was indeed gained through this "privacy fence," however, making it more of a "public fence." Inside, the locked latch on a storage shed was busted open and the following gardening implements removed: one trimmer and a black-and-orange leaf blower, both valued at $250.

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;Guard your lawn mowers and hose reels, citizens.

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;FEB. 2, 9:16 A.M.: A neighborhood in the 5300 block of Lake Margaret Drive would not be safe this week. Though no gardening hoes, pruners or trowels went missing, some unknown suspect or suspects vandalized a cluster of 15 mailboxes. "Unknown person(s) pried open the locks with unknown tools," police reports state, though "it is unknown at this time if any mail was taken, as several pieces of mail and ads were located on the floor."

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;Let's look at this deed in a positive light. Perhaps the perp was on a mission of good, not evil, pocketing and later paying for electric, phone and cable bills from community to community as a gesture of neighborliness. A stretch, no doubt, but if robbers are threatening to blast faces off for a pair of checkered pants, anything is possible.

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;FEB. 3, 10:43 A.M.: Today, an approximately 25-year-old man was on the prowl, though not for junk mail or horticultural goods. He wanted to burglarize a bank, the good old-fashioned way.

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;ýfter selecting his target — a financial institution in the 3100 block of East Colonial Drive Ñ the mustached bandito walked inside wearing brownish camouflage pants, brown shoes and a dark, hooded jacket pulled tightly over his head. He calmly walked up to the teller window and handed the young lady behind it his note.

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;The note didn't say, "Hi!" or, "I'm Steve, wanna get together after work?" It conveyed a sentiment much like the following: "Give me all your money or I will shoot you in the face."

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;The message was intimidating enough to prompt bank employees to dish out $2,800 immediately. Money in hand, the man ran out of the bank and into a Panera Bread attached to the Fashion Square Mall. What police reports don't state is whether the suspect paused to nosh on a blueberry scone or a turkey ;panini.

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;FEB. 4, 10:29 P.M.: A blue-eyed man, 34 years old, battered an officer of the law in the 50 block of North Orange Avenue by chucking a beer can — full to the brim — right into the back of the cop's head. The man was arrested minutes later. Unsatisfactory behavior, and a waste of brew.

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