JULY 22, 5 P.M.: Probably because there was nothing better to do, an unknown suspect or suspects sneaked into a miniscule mailroom office found on the ground level of a downtown building's parking garage in the 400 block of South Orange Avenue. Entry was quite simple: The suspect(s) slid open a window on the office's west side and crawled inside. But rather than emptying the office of finely stacked letters, 37-cent stamps and ponderous packages awaiting pickup, our burglar or burglars set searching eyes on a tiny television set, valued at $50, and an itsy-bitsy radio, worth another $50, that were privately owned by a city employee. After selecting the pickings, the burglar or burglars opted to use the front door as an exit point, and headed home, perhaps with plans to enjoy hours of quality tube and tuner time.

When Orlando's finest arrived, the scene couldn't be processed because the victimized office dweller had felt the need to "thoroughly clean the office," police reports stated. Unconcerned, apparently, the victim stated he had no desire to prosecute the telly-taker or takers, let alone receive a police report, because the spoils were worth less than $200.

Lesson to the wise: Don't clean up before the cops arrive, because you could destroy valuable evidence needed for justice to run its course.

JULY 21, 9 P.M.: A beefier burglary one night prior prompted the victim to say "aye," rather than "nay," to prosecuting the case.

This time, the burglar or burglars broke through the front glass door of a dollar-goods store in the 4300 block of Clarcona-Ocoee Road, causing $500 worth of damage. But the real damage was done inside, where the suspect or suspects first removed a gray Casio register filled with greenbacks. Another cash register – a Royal Alpha – was also snatched, still in its box. The dollar-shop despoiler or despoilers moved on to take 10 fog machines – anyone witness an impromptu disco party that night? – and a large black bag stuffed with purses. Before fleeing for good, the burglar(s) grabbed a case of cheap multicolored lighters from the front counter.

The responding police officer told the store's owner that she'd never received an alarm from the business. It wasn't until the officer approached the shop's rear that a jarring alarm went off: too little, too late.

JULY 21, 4:30 P.M.: Earlier the same afternoon, criminals struck an unoccupied home under construction in yet another incident of what looks like a trend in Orlando: new-home defiling.

The suspect or suspects neared a construction site in the 7300 block of Regina Way and entered a locked, unoccupied house by lifting sliding doors off their track with an unknown tool that's apparently very handy. The burglar(s) wandered about the uninhabited home and peeped inside a storage closet, where goodie No. 1 was spotted: a brand-spanking-new Hampton Bay chandelier – still in the box – valued at $500. The suspect or suspects exited via the same door.

But they weren't done. Another home in the same site was visited, likely by the same people, whereupon the door leading from the garage into the residence was opened. Inside, two new Kohler toilets, valued at $100 altogether, were heisted. Two loos and a chandelier make for an odd quarry indeed, but there's little logical about the criminal mind.

JULY 20, 5:30 P.M.: Almost 24 hours before the toilet-toting suspect(s) hauled ass, another potentially prosecutable perp lurked.

A 28-year-old woman was walking through her apartment complex in the 5200 block of North Orange Blossom Trail, unaware of a burglar and his buddy or buddies behind her. After approaching her, one of the perps rather rudely forced a knife to her neck, shouting, police reports state, "Give it up."

Give what up, you ask? For starters, her $4, aquamarine-hued purse, containing a Social Security card and a Florida ID card. The burglar then commandeered the woman's $10 lunchbox, raising the question, "What 28-year-old woman carries a lunchbox?," a riddle that was not answered in police reports.

Armed with the midday meal, the suspect(s) fled in a southerly direction, likely contemplating treats unknown in the lunchbox. A guess as to the lunchbox's contents based on nothing more than this author's intuition: E.L. Fudge Sandwich Cookies, carrot sticks and a lukewarm Capri Sun.

JULY 20, 4:30 P.M.: A person or persons did a real horror-show job of ravaging the roll-up doors on three stores, but only managed to break into one.

At the first business, a furniture store in the 3600 block of Old Winter Garden Road, the perps tried ramming a roll-up. It didn't work, but it did cause $1,100 damage to the door and another $400 in damage to some scaffolding inside the business.

Behind door No. 2 was an automotive shop, where the roll-up also, coincidentally, suffered $1,100 in damages. This time, however, a sliding glass door also took a hit, to the tune of 4,000 big ones. Nonetheless, the ramming robbers had not yet gotten themselves inside a single business.

The third time proved the charm, however, as door No. 3 – also protecting an auto shop – did not hold, probably because these determined criminals changed their tactics and pried the door open instead of pummeling it. Their efforts caused the door to actually fall inward and land on a 2000 Dodge pickup truck nestled inside. The suspect or suspects didn't care, obviously, and rummaged through the unlocked vehicle's contents, but took nothing.

And what did they get for their night's work? Three cases of Mountain Dew lying on the shop's floor, a number of checks from the store's checking account, a wad of cash and a variety of coins, a cordless phone and an antique Remington rifle displayed on the wall.

The rampage cost law-abiding citizens of Orlando $8,540 in damage and stolen goods.


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