Editor's note: Jeffrey C. Billman has moved away and is no longer all that interested in crime in Orlando. Therefore, we've turned this column over to our newest staff writer, Jim Gaines, who has a deep and abiding fascination with all things criminal. We think you'll like him. First, however, Billman would like to say a few words to his loyal readers:
So here it is, time to pass the torch. It's been fun writing this column these last few years, plucking it from obscurity and making it awesome enough to win awards and such. Hopefully the new guy won't fuck it up too much.
The fact is, I've become disconnected; up here in the Great Gray North, it's hard to muster up any sort of concern for and/or humor about the dude who decided to jack some copper wire from an AC unit. Thus, a new day is dawning. Mr. Gaines, this column is yours. Take care of her and she will take care of you. Stay classy, Orlando.
(2009-527179) 11:40 p.m.: Gaines here, the new guy. I expect Police Beat to provide a valuable education. Soon I'll know the best spots to get away with muggings, buy all sorts of drugs and steal all the copper I can eat. But first, let's start out with some dude who can't even successfully steal car rims from a scrap yard on West Kaley Street.
(2009-527617) 3:10 p.m.: A half-hearted bicycle thief gave up on Norwood Place when a neighbor yelled at him. He didn't really need that bike anyway, because he already had an old brown pickup, in which he fled.
(2009-528199) 9 p.m.: Somebody's whole family will smell better after Christmas. That somebody ran out of the Walgreens on Edgewater Drive with five cologne gift boxes. "This is the second time this week the suspect has taken these cologne gift boxes without purchase," Officer Gregory Boop informs us.
(2009-528573) 2:45 a.m.: Wanna snatch a purse? Try starting a fight outside Icon nightclub. Worked for one guy.
(2009-528579) 2:58 a.m.: Your fashion-conscious smash-n-grab artistes know which colors are in this year. The unknown beau who hit Family Dollar on Bruton Boulevard was wearing a white jacket, gold hoodie, blue jeans, dark mask, black gloves and either white socks with black sandals or black-and-white shoes. He stylishly kicked in the glass door, swiped a black tote bag that went oh-so-well with his other accessories and beat feet out of the parking lot.
(2009-528582) 3 a.m.: When police got to the red Ford two-door on East Colonial Drive, the driver was already dead. Multiple gunshot wounds.
(2009-529356) 6:56 p.m.: When a man really wants a can or three of beer, he won't be denied. The thirsty soul at the Hi-Way Mart on West Church Street, confronted by the store manager, grabbed him by the throat and threw him into a counter.
(2009-529983) 2:30 a.m.: Arlington Street. His car was in the driveway. Then it wasn't.
(2009-530273) 9:22 a.m.: A simple weed purchase on Atkins Place turned into a gunshot in the back of the neck for one man, but his two female friends took him to the hospital.
(2009-530434) 9:30 a.m.: Somebody ignored the door to an office on Shadowridge Drive and tried to cut through the wall instead.
(2009-531504) 2:45 a.m.: Even with the door lock broken, four guys still couldn't figure out how to get into Aaron's Rental on Curry Ford Road.
(2009-532111) 2:51 p.m.: Curascript employees are so tough they ho-hum written bomb threats, not even evacuating when police and firefighters came to check it out.
(2009-532475) 8:46 p.m.: Two burglars hit the jackpot at a Flamingo Drive house, making off with $39,400 in cash, jewelry and other nice stuff.
(2009-533060) 7:23 a.m.: A considerate bicycle bandit, when plundering a patio on West Winter Park Avenue, at least leaves a substitute cycle in exchange.
(2009-533091) 7:42 a.m.: Cell phone trumps knife when the would-be victim quick-draws 911. Failed mugger gets caught a block away.
(2009-533832) 5:18 p.m.: Even burglars feel insecure. One who nabbed $4,500 from a Lakemont Avenue apartment forced open the front door, then relocked it from the inside.
(2009-534208) 10:30 p.m.: This year's quickest artistic success may be an anonymous customer at the 7-Eleven on Conroy Road, who bought two $500 money orders with bogus bills. "The bills were $5 bills washed and reprinted as $100 bills," Officer April Nas tells us.
(2009-534352) 12:30 a.m.: If your girlfriend's waving a knife, don't be obvious about calling 911 or she'll smash your cell phone too. Short Avenue girls are crazy.[email protected]