WHEN CRIME DROPS IN 


JULY 31, 9 A.M.: A man thirsty for some morning adventure hopped on to a bar's roof in the 200 block of North Lee Avenue and crafted a hole to slip into. If he thought no one would see a man smashing through the roof, he was sadly mistaken.

A police officer and her K-9 companion, Maverick, arrived immediately. The officer heard loud banging sounds echoing from within the bar and shouted, "Orlando Police, come out with your hands up," police reports state. She repeated the demand. No response.

The man, perhaps, didn't hear the officer, because he was hiding inside a cabinet on the south wall. "Come out or I will release the dog," she added, according to police reports. The man then sprang out of the cozy hiding spot, causing the cabinet to burst and expel the nails holding it together like shrapnel in the jungles of 'Nam. But he was a little too late, as the canine had already been unleashed. The sounds a man typically makes when his leg is being chewed off were noted by the police officer, who found the suspect lying on the floor with a bloodied bite on the meat of his right thigh.

The bar-hopper was treated at the scene and transported to a hospital for further treatment. Damage to the roof totaled approximately $500, and we hope the man learned a valuable lesson: Break-ins often don't work in broad daylight.

JULY 29, 3:44 A.M.: In just 19 minutes, this morning's suspect would get a lot farther than our previous sneak, but the grand finale was still destined to be grim.

The 17-year-old suspect gained entry to a popular pizza store in the 1500 block of East Michigan Street by ravaging an air-conditioner duct on the roof. After illuminating his way to a front counter with a flashlight, he found what he was looking for: a safe storing 1,300 buckaroos. His eyes darted about the room until he found a dolly to wheel away the unwieldy prize. He sealed the deal and fled the scene.

Unfortunately for our young burglar, a hidden camera revealed him to be one of the pie shop's ex-employees – an ex-employee, apparently, who had never noticed the store's surveillance equipment.

Later that day, a police officer tracked down the young man and located a drink bottle he'd been holding. The cop told him he'd be using the bottle for fingerprints, whereupon the boy split like a banana into some nearby bushes – mistake No. 2.

The boy was captured in the thick brush and found covered in cuts. The stolen safe was spotted soon after beneath a heap of leafy branches near the building, demonstrating that our suspect, at least, might've learned a thing or two about stashing valuables from Boy Scouts.

JULY 29, 7 P.M.: Hours earlier, a somewhat brainier burglar or burglars lingered, planning one sweet steal.

Their target was a restaurant in the 900 block of South Goldwyn Avenue, where the burglar or burglars kung fu-kicked the building's door in. Inside, the suspect(s) zoned in on their prize: two candy machines, squarish contraptions filled with, perhaps, a spectral assortment of sour gumballs. Ignoring everything else in the place, the perp or perps walked out with two of the machines, leaving behind a third. Together, the candy machines were valued at approximately $300. JULY 28, 8:30 P.M.: A woman was working solo at a gas station/convenience store in the 5300 block of Curry Ford Road when a man who appeared to be in his late 20s waltzed through the doors. He wasn't seeking snacks, a six-pack of Pabst or a jug of 2 percent. Instead, he asked the woman if she had any new magazines.

The gentlewoman was kind enough to walk over to the magazine rack – which rested near the cigarette rack – to check. As she approached the soft-drink station/ ready-to-go chili area, the woman saw the man slickly slip an arm behind the sales counter and extract two cartons of Newport 100s cigarettes, valued at $57.49.

Before she had time to whack his head with a frozen burrito or catapult a spoonful of piping-hot chili to his face, he'd escaped, fleeing out the front doors and hopping into a car with tinted windows. The car backed up away from the store, so its license plate remained hidden.

A video camera taped the incident, but the woman couldn't access the videotape when officers arrived. The tape will be sent to officers at "a future time," police reports state – with luck, before next month's magazines hit the racks.

JULY 27, 11:30 P.M.: It was on this sweltering evening that perhaps the canniest, swiftest criminals of all (in this week's report, anyway) struck.

The burglar or burglars approached a local Vietnamese joint in the 2000 block of East Colonial Drive and broke down a rear door. The suspect(s) clipped the alarm system wires, displaying more criminal cunning than any other perp(s) who have made these pages. Color this author impressed.

Once inside, they raided two freezers storing unknown Vietnamese goodies and took two bottles of liquor from the dining room. Damage thus far: $50. Then came the cash register, where $40 worth of rolled coins was pocketed. Two wall ornaments valued at $100 were also snatched.

Frozen goods and liquor? Check. Plenty of change? Check. Decorative wall adornments? Check. Be on the lookout for a new Vietnamese bistro in the future – it looks as if our suspects might be going into business for themselves.

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