Police Beat

Feb. 6, 11:29 a.m.: Criminals, take note: The following is an example of why it is a bad idea to return to the scene of the crime.

Sometime between the evening of Feb. 2 and the morning of Feb. 6, a burglar broke into a car-repair business in the 1300 block of West Washington Street. The perp(s) apparently hopped the 6-foot-high chain-link fence and "used an unknown tool" to cut through a sheet of galvanized metal covering the rear of the shop, causing $200 in damage. Once inside, the person(s) went to the paint storage room and pocketed 14 bottles of paint, valued about $500. Just for bad measure the bad guy(s) also broke into four cars parked at the shop, causing a collective $700 in damage and making off with an estimated $2,400 worth of electronics.

All of which is pretty sucky, and enough to get the shop owners' attention, right? Correcto. He decided it would be prudent to spend the night on the premises to make sure the perp(s) weren't going to make another shopping trip. Guess who came back that very night?

At 11:09 p.m., Orlando police got the call. Officer Ford picks up the story: "The complainant reported that … while sleeping in his place of business he heard an acquaintance, `53-year-old male witness` screaming his name. This alarmed the complainant and he immediately ran outside through the west end of his business to see an unknown black young male approximately 6 feet `tall`, medium build, wearing all-black clothing with white stripes on his jacket, jumping over the west end fence heading westbound on Washington."

This time the perp left empty-handed, as the report reflects. "A computer and printer were discovered outside the door. Both items' original placement was inside the building." Foiled, sucka!

Feb. 6, 1:53 p.m.: Officer Padilla responded to the 9700 block of Piney Point Circle for an attempted vending machine break-in: "An unknown suspect used force on the dollar bill coin receptacle. This area was completely smashed out. Entry to the machine was not gained."

Vending machines next to pools seem to be a popular spot for mischief. Our perp(s) did $400 in damages to the machine, but were unable to steal any cash, or quench their thirst. Business idea: The Pepsi-Cola Company should get into the business of making ATMs.

Feb. 6, 8:23 a.m.: Officer Yuhas responded to a burglary at an elementary school on the 600 block of South Texas Avenue. An employee from the school assured the officer that on Feb. 3 at 6 p.m. the despoiled portable classroom was locked and secured. Employees discovered the foul play when returned on the morning of Feb. 6. The perps made off with a TV and DVD player, though there was no sign of forced entry. Estimated value of the haul: $300.

If this is an "inside job," as the lack of damage to the classroom suggests, there could be a one very hardened elementary schooler on the loose in O-Town. Scary thought.

Feb. 6, 9:19 a.m.: At this date and time, Officer Burk responded to a possible burglary on the 1300 block of West Church Street. A 30-year-old male told Officer Burk that he left his business secured and his vehicle intact before going home for the weekend. Returning to work on Feb. 6, the victim found his vehicle up on blocks and all four tires and wheels missing. From the police report: "The vehicle was located inside the fenced property of the business. The gate was secured with a chain and padlock, although there was a gap between the gate and the fence large enough for a person to fit through." Hmm, wonder how they got in. "No damage was caused to the gate. It was determined unknown suspect(s) entered through the existing gap … the unknown suspect(s) removed all four tires and wheels.

Further investigation finds that the vehicle also has a broken right rear vent window where the perp(s) reached in, unlocked the door and entered the vehicle. The perp(s) popped the hood and stole the battery, cutting the terminal wires with "a blue-handled box cutter" that was left in the battery's stead. Total estimated damages to vehicle: $185; stolen tires, wheels, and battery estimated at $550.

Moral: You never know who'll squeeze into your gap, so keep it tight.

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