Dec. 29

(2008-561640) 7:20 a.m.: So it's the afternoon of New Year's Eve and I'm at my desk dutifully banging out this column before taking off for the weekend. "Billman!" a voice cracks through the cubicle farm. "Beer?"

It's Bob Whitby, my boss. And seeing as how it's a little after 2 p.m., he's about to start drinking. "I can't. Gotta work," I reply.

"You know the office closes at 2, right?"

"Yeah, but I need to get this done. Besides, I don't feel well."

"Whatever. We're going to Hoops. Don't be a pussy."

I didn't make it. Instead, I finished this thing, because that's what they pay me to do. Just thought you people ought to know what I put up with for your entertainment. You're welcome.

Our first bad guys helped themselves to a trailer full of lawn equipment at a business on 34th Street.

(2008-561715) 8:48 a.m.: Some crooks cut a business's barbed-wire fence, entered and burglarized a car. Then they removed the wheels.

(2008-561795) 10:10 a.m.: Carjacking on Westgate Drive. Isn't it a bit early for this sort of thing? Get some sleep, hooligans.

(2008-561799) 10:18 a.m.: A 19-year-old came home to a "suspicious noise" in his parents' house on North Lake Orlando Parkway. Upon checking it out, he discovered a man in the den. The man told the kid that he'd been sent by some company to take pictures of the house, and apparently the kid bought it because the burglar walked right out the door and onto a bicycle, which is how all home photographers get around. He took a $300 gold chain with him.

(2008-562160) 4:18 p.m.: Officer Adkins is dispatched to the office of a certain alternative weekly newspaper on West Livingston Street, where it seems some money and goodies have gone missing in recent days. One victim, a certain alternative newspaper's business manager, noticed $535 missing from her desk. Another staff member reported a missing iPod. Though unmentioned in the report, informed sources say that a recently purchased digital camera had also disappeared.

On an unrelated note, this columnist would like to note that the $500 recently deposited into his personal bank account was a Christmas present from his parents. And for the record, I don't have an iPod. I have an iPhone, and that makes me a better person than you.

Dec. 30

(2008-563087) 8:47 a.m.: A person entered a building under construction. (Wait, people are still building stuff?) "They took light fixtures and a toilet tank flush arm from the above property," Officer Virgilio writes.

(2008-563124) 9:22 a.m.: Two guys kicked in the front door of a house on Windhover Drive and stole stuff. One of them had on white gloves, and they left in a green Chrysler. No style.

(2008-563319) 12:36 p.m.: Someone got on a company's roof and "dismantled four air conditioning units," Officer Jackson writes.

(2008-563912) 8:28 p.m.: If you're pulled over with 30 grams of blow, 18 grams of pot and 8 grams of heroin, it's probably a good idea to make them get a warrant before you let them search your car.

(2008-563953) 9:07 p.m.: Three 20-year-olds broke into a house on Conroy Road and kicked in the homeowner's bedroom door. She screamed and all three ran off, even though one of them had a gun.

(2008-563976) 9:26 p.m.: A fellow got pulled over with 20 grams of weed and 8 grams of smack.

Dec. 31

(2008-564324) 2:48 a.m.: You know what the best part of visiting the new Redlight Redlight on Bennett Road is? I mean, besides the beer (highly recommended: the Dogfish Head World Wide Stout they've got on tap, which believe you me is one mean beer)? It's right across the street from our fair city's most ghetto nightclub, Roxy, which means there's all kinds of people-watching to be done. Shiny-shirted douchebags, hoochie mamas with skirts that don't leave much to the imagination (and that's not always a good thing with this particular clientele), dudes whose rims are worth more than their cars, drama queens, etc.

Thus, it's not at all surprising to read that three women punched two 20-year-olds and took their digital camera.

For those of you keeping track, the city of Orlando, population 220,000, ended 2008 with a little more than 564,000 reported incidents. Make of that what you will.

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