Feb. 20

(2008-77237) 7:40 a.m.: Hey kids: I know you like MySpace and Facebook and anything else that substitutes for actual human interaction. It’s fun to see which jock various cheerleaders are hooking up with this week, or to keep up to speed on what mood that weird goth kid from art class is in today. Besides, there are hot chicks in skimpy clothes on the Internet. Had such a device been available when I was your age, I could have saved all the money I wasted on Hustler and Juggs.

But I don’t get sending out a bulletin to your 1,700 MySpace friends, all of whom I’m sure you know intimately, announcing that there’s going to be a “shoooooting in `Dr. Phillips High School` rumor is somebody is going to get shot in DPHS by somebody at Olympia on Thursday during school.”

See, kids, everything on the Internet is traceable. Hell, I know that, and I’m still having trouble figuring out why my dial-up AOL account is so slow. Also, the cops tend to frown on such threats, just so you know.

Feb. 22

(2008-80110) 9:37 a.m.: Police Beat Tip o’ the Week: If you need to send 18 pounds of reefer, the U.S. Postal Service is not your delivery method of choice. They have dogs, you know.

(2008-80777) 5:30 p.m.: Writing this column, as I have for a few weeks now, you start picking up on trends. Thieves like copper (see below). Criminals are dumb (see above). And while some kids are watching Hannah Montana or whatever craptacular programming passes for family entertainment these days, other young rascals are stealing golf carts.

Three teenage hooligans took a joy ride in one such conveyance – which they stole from a nursing home, and that’s not cool – but ditched it when they saw a cop drive by. The cops tracked them down. End of story, right?

Not quite. “As the three suspects were detained, I returned to the location where they originally abandoned the golf cart,” Officer Crosby tells us. But the golf cart was gone.

Turns out, two other hormone-charged miscreants decided that they’d steal the same golf cart. Because who can resist the allure of a golf cart? They were arrested.

(2008-80947) 7:30 p.m.: Police Beat Tip o’ the Week, part deux: If you’re going to stick up someone on the South Orange Blossom Trail, your chances at success improve dramatically if your choice of victim isn’t a drunk redneck who just walked out of a redneck bar (the location of which, incidentally, makes zero sense). He might kick your ass.

(2008-81332) 11:40 p.m.: It is scientific fact that upon entering a Wal-Mart your IQ drops 26.4 points. Geniuses become average. The average become stupid. The stupid, well, they’ve really got nowhere to go. Case in point: Some nimrod figured if he stuffed a DVD player in his bag, no one would notice. He was wrong. A manager chased the 17-year-old thief out the door and began to fight with him for the bag. The DVD-snatcher pulled out a knife, cut the manager’s forearm, yelled, “Leave me the fuck alone,” and ran away. The cops tracked him down a few minutes later.

Feb. 24

(2008-84147) 8:41 p.m.: Three men in ski masks entered a Pine Hills Chinese restaurant through the back door. One pistol-whipped the cook, then grabbed the cash register and fled. Small detail: The cash drawer containing all the money fell out of the register, so the bad guys got nothing.

Feb. 25

(2008-84815) 8:45 a.m.: If you’re going to smash the glass front door of a South Orange Blossom Trail business, you might as well steal something. Otherwise, it’s a waste of time.

(2008-84829) 8:56 a.m.: These guys know how it’s done. They smashed an I-Drive business’ window, went inside and jacked a flat-screen television.

(2008-84922) 10:04 a.m.: Not to be pro-criminal or anything, but these dudes kinda earned their booty. They removed a 3-foot section of lattice to get into the crawl space that runs under a Colonial Drive business (the name of which reminds me of a mid-’90s boy band where all three guys were brothers and they sang crappy songs that made no sense but got stuck in your head anyway). They crawled under the business and cut out 60 feet of copper piping, that hot, hot commodity.

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