DEC. 12, 9:50 P.M.: Upon locking and securing a local restaurant in the 3200 block of Orange Center Boulevard, an employee headed home. A burglar or burglars had an eye on some foodstuffs within. This meat-swindling mission begins now.

The first step was gaining access. To do this, the suspect or suspects used brawny strength to pry open a steel gate surrounding the restaurant. Then, an unknown object was thrust into a back-door window. Voilˆ: access granted.

Inside, our burglar or burglars headed straight for the freezer, and a bunch of assorted meats purchased the previous day were swiped with haste. All cash registers were left in pristine condition, but the suspect or suspects scrammed with $250 worth of meat in hand. It should also be noted that police reports state an employee "was fired from the restaurant on Saturday for stealing meat." Beefy lead, I'd say.

DEC. 8, 6:55 P.M.: Our second crime of the week did not involve raw meat, but did reflect some rather crude behavior.

A CD deliveryman had an appointment to deliver five compact discs to a customer in the 1400 block of Mercy Drive. Upon reaching the apartment, two men approached him asking what he had in his hands. He told them he had CDs, and was subsequently punched in the nose. His $40 bundle of discs was heisted, and the second suspect proceeded to peg our deliveryman in the head with a beer can.

A neighboring female later told our victim that one of the ne'er-do-wells had in fact been his CD client's boyfriend. When police officers contacted the woman, she told them she did not have "any knowledge of anyone ordering CDs or of any males being in her apartment," police reports state. Fishy, no doubt.

DEC. 8, 10 A.M.: A 68-year-old man hired some cabinetmakers this morning to work on his home in the 1900 block of Burchstone Drive. The plan was to keep the garage door open so the craftsmen could enter and exit the house through it as often as they needed to. Bad idea.

When the cabinetmakers were done crafting cabinets, they left. Our dear resident went back inside the house, leaving his garage door open. Coast now clear, the suspect or suspects at hand crept inside the carport and chose the worthiest prize in mind: a mammoth, 300-pound, 10-horsepower generator. How the burglar or burglars managed to scoot this beastly apparatus out of sight leaves this author perplexed. An investigation later that evening, however, revealed that "it appeared that the person(s) entered through the open garage door, removed the generator, and exited via the point of entry," police reports state. Cunning hunch. In the City Beautiful, it is never too soon to prepare for hurricane season.

DEC. 7, 9 P.M.: A man closed the laundry shop he and his wife own in the 4300 block of Curry Ford Road. All was cool, but when his wife opened shop the following morning, things were amiss.

Over the course of the night, a burglar or burglars chose to tamper with the bubble-gum machine near the front door, outside the store. The confectionary contraption was relocated to the back of the business and $250 worth of damages were inflicted upon it.

But the late-night laundry tomfoolery did not end there. Rather than gaining entry to the store by smashing a window, the suspect or suspects smashed a hole in a nearby vacant unit. Inside, most craftily, an adjoining wall to the coin-op laundry was violated and access was granted.

What's worth stealing in a laundry? Quarters, baby! In this case, $300 worth of coinage was copped, and on the way out, bags of clothing were left scattered outside the business. Police reports do not indicate whether any of these quarters were used to purchase gumballs.

DEC. 2, 2:47 P.M.: A man, 63, was strolling through an open field near the 700 block of Bentley Street. A leisurely stroll turned into an excruciating torture session, however, when a stranger emerged.

"Give it up, Pop!" hollered the stranger, police reports state.

"Give what up?" our victim replied.

The armed suspect told him he wanted money, then brandished a semi-automatic handgun. Now would have been a great time to satisfy any and all demands, but no. Instead, the victim pushed the gun away from his face and began walking away speedily.

"I'm gonna shoot!" the gun toter tipped, according to police reports. The victim then began crying, "Angelo, Angelo!" Angelo, police reports note, is the suspect's cousin. Was Angelo even there? This much is not known. The victim was shot in the leg moments later.

The damage "consisted of an entry wound at the meaty part of the victim's upper left leg, two inches below his testicles, and exited slightly below that on the rear meaty side of his leg." Miraculously, this wound perilously close to the huevos did not bleed, police reports add.

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