NOV. 5, 12:45 P.M.: On this crisp, autumn afternoon, a 19-year-old man marched over to a local check-cashing business in the 5600 block of Curry Ford Road with $98 check in his hand. As he entered the shop, a bewhiskered robber was exiting, cash in hand. Not one to miss an opportunity, the robber pushed a gun into the 19-year-old's face and demanded his money, too.

The barbate, blue-jeaned robber then took to his heels, running past speeding Curry Ford traffic as if he had ants in his pants, until he reached Semoran Boulevard, where he disappeared. Our now penniless victim, meanwhile, dialed for the authorities. It was later discovered that the $98 cashed check had really been a check for $51.24. When officers later contacted the man about the discrepancy, he told them he did not know why he had lied the first time, according to police reports. Good answer.

NOV. 5, 2 A.M.: Any downtown clubgoers out there? Read carefully, then consider stuffing a can of pepper spray in your pants before leaving home.

A 32-year-old man had just hopped in his car after leaving a club in the 500 block of North Orange Avenue. Let's call him Mr. Clubgoer. While driving out of the parking lot, Mr. Clubgoer crashed into a black pickup truck, enraging the driver of said truck, whom we'll call Mr. Pickup. After the crash, Mr. Pickup proceeded to spout off at Mr. Clubgoer, who did not respond in kind; instead he remained cool, suggesting that Mr. Pickup calm down and talk sensibly about the cost of damages so they could come to an agreement for reimbursement without involving the police. As you might have guessed at this point, that is not what happened.

Instead, Mr. Pickup got in Mr. Clubgoer's car and proceeded to punch the bejesus out of him, landing three blows to his face. Then he told Mr. Clubgoer to drive, which he did. They stopped at a dark, witness-free vacant lot, and Mr. Pickup resumed punching and kicking Mr. Clubgoer until he passed out. Still not satisfied, Mr. Pickup then rifled through Mr. Clubgoer's car, pocketing $500, a cell phone, his driver's license and two bottle of cologne, among other things. Then he got back into a waiting vehicle that was driven by a female to the second lot and split.

Moral of the story? There isn't one. Crime is as ugly as it is random.

NOV. 4, 4:50 P.M.: In other robbery news, a 17-year-old pizza-delivery boy was stripped of valued tips.

The boy was working his delivery route that afternoon in the 1100 block of City Park Avenue. On his way, a group of males yelled that the pizza was for them. Our delivery boy - nobody's fool - did not stop to relinquish the oven-baked meal. This embittered the hungry bunch. After delivering the pie to its rightful owners, the snack-craving suspects followed the deliverer back to his pizza mobile, cloaked his peepers with clammy hands and fished for fresh tips totaling $20 from his pockets.

It should be noted that one suspect was last spotted racing toward Mercy Drive. Pizza delivery is a tough game.

NOV. 4, 2:20 P.M.: Someone burglarized a golf club maintenance shop nestled in the 1900 block of South Hiawassee Road.

Entry was gained by shattering a window to shards with a single rock. (This author estimates a rather sizable stone was employed.) The burglar or burglars did not come in search of Ping polo shirts or personalized golf tees - bulkier, pricier goods were desired, in this case a pair of commercial golf course mowers, together valued at $17,500. The suspect or suspects then hopped on board the mowers (giddyup!), riding them to freedom outdoors through a bay roll-up door. Tire tracks led out of the shop and through an outside fence that's going to cost $1,200 to repair.

How could such a heinous burglary have been prevented? A working alarm would have been a good place to start. Police reports state that although the shop is equipped with an alarm, 'it has not been monitored in three years.'

NOV. 4, 11:30 A.M.: Just hours earlier, another hunk of rock was pitched through a window, this time at a home in the 630 block of West Kaley Street.

Inside, the sneaking suspect or suspects rummaged through a series of drawers in room No. 1; they spared socks, T-shirts and other daily garments eventually settling on jewelry scattered across a dresser and a brown wallet stuffed with various cards. Next up was room No. 2, where again, the only confiscated loot was of the flashy kind: a class ring and one gold chain. Now, pockets jangling with jewels, the burglar entered room No. 3 where a final batch of miscellaneous pieces was stolen from a woman's jewelry box. Having cleaned the house of gems, our suspect or suspects vamoosed like the Grinch with sparkly spoils totaling $7,283.

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