;FEB. 21, 9:08 P.M.: The 36-year-old manager of a gas station was working diligently in the 5200 block of Bruton Boulevard this evening. The humming of frosty refrigerators and fluorescent lighting was interrupted, however, when one very naughty man, approximately 25, set foot indoors.


;This dude was no stranger either. Our manager immediately recognized the loner — dressed in a baggy red hoodie, black T-shirt and black pants — as a man who had previously pocketed candy bars from the store on many a lonely evening. So he braced himself, perhaps expecting the well-known visitor to start stuffing his sweatshirt with peanut butter cups and peppermint patties. But Mr. Goodbar resisted that urge. In fact, there was something he needed more than chocolate. The manager spotted "the suspect attempt to put a bottle of Tide laundry detergent [valued at $7] down his pants," police reports state.


;"If you try to stop me, I will shot you," the suds swindler — apparently not able to differentiate between the past and present tense — warned our manager, reports add. The man hopped atop a black bicycle, still clutching a semiautomatic weapon, and probably pedaled home to wash some stinky socks.


;FEB. 22, 8:49 A.M.: The following morning, another lurking suspect or suspects in need of something random struck, this time at a local meat and produce shop in the 400 block of East Compton Street.

;;The perp(s) broke into the locked, unalarmed but videotaped storage area with ease — one videotaped man sported a suave brown and tan jacket — and set eyes on a simply irresistible item. No, not an array of the finest shanks and freshest hocks, nor baskets filled with vine-ripe tomatoes and Hass avocados. Instead, the suspect(s) "removed a 6-foot aluminum meat cart from the rear storage area," valued at $300, according to police reports. Additional video footage reveals the suspect toppling the aluminum meat-hauling cart onto a dumpster lying against the east gate. It is then believed that the suspect(s) pushed it over the gate. Where the meat cart wound up next, and more importantly, why someone would filch a meat cart, are two questions that cannot be answered at this time.


;FEB. 22, 1:08 P.M.: What's a week's worth of crime in the City Beautiful if a burglar or two didn't lift a bunch of appliances?

;;Today, an unknown person or persons did exactly that, breaking into an unoccupied home in the 9100 block of Kensington Row Court. Inside, a Whirlpool brand range oven, microwave, dishwasher and an $1,800 refrigerator were extracted. So our crafty suspect or suspects now possess the goods to cook a scrumptious meal, refrigerate the leftovers and clean the dirty pots and pans. Sounds a hell of a lot more productive than an aluminum meat cart.


;Value of the stolen kitchen gadgets is approximately $3,300.


;FEB. 23, 3:11 P.M.: This is the tale of a midafternoon siesta gone terribly wrong.


;The victim, 24, was napping, sound asleep, with his 2-year-old daughter at their condominium home in the 2100 block of Raper Dairy Road. But when a series of knocks coming from the front door awoke him, he decided to answer the door and scope the ruckus out. Bad idea.


;Two unknown men — both in their mid-20s, approximately — suddenly busted through the front door, handguns in hand. Both men wore sunglasses, while one was dressed in "a red shirt with a big ‘R' on the front," police reports state. They proceeded to punch the father with their fists while positioning him in such a way that he couldn't catch a glimpse of their faces. In the end, this immoral duo yanked two gold necklaces from the man's neck, one with a medallion displaying the Last Supper, valued at $140, and the other a $100 Cuban chain. Also pocketed was an $80 ring of St. Lazarus. In the midst of all this punching and bling-thieving, reports state our victim heard one suspect scream that he'd lost his cell phone. No cell phones were recovered at the scene, reports add.


;Most undesirably, this twosome escaped safe and sound. It is now quite apparent to this author, however, that "R" stands for "reprobate."


;FEB. 25, 9:12 P.M.: On this evening, an unidentified person or persons thirsted for booze. That devil juice would be pillaged from an alcohol distributor in the 3600 block of Silver Star Road. Upon bending open a fire door, the suspect or suspects began the spirits spree by cutting open a pallet packed with bottles of Inglenook wine. Removed from within were merely a few cases of the California-brewed intoxicant, though police reports state the missing bottles are estimated to be worth $960 altogether — not too shabby.


;Unfortunately, our wine connoisseur(s) also fled before justice could be properly served. And what's worse? We have to sleep at night knowing the hell-bound bastard(s) will be safe at home, swirling, sipping and swishing the sweet crimson inebriant for weeks to come. At least they took the crappy stuff.


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