JULY 5, 1 A.M.: Two 18-year-old men were getting ready to cruise home from a trendy nightclub in the 700 block of Bennett Road after an evening likely packed with too many fake teen tans and overpriced Jäger bombs. If the duo had plans to sober up by grabbing a Chalupa Supreme en route, however, they'd have to put them on hold.
They hopped in their car, leaving its doors unlocked and windows rolled down, and one of the men started talking on his cell phone. While he chatted, a stranger's arm slipped through the window and snatched the man's Cingular phone, valued at $125. Infuriated, the club hoppers exited the vehicle and approached the suspected cell-phone thief in a parking lot, where he had made a stand with approximately 19 of his companions. As the infuriated clubbers approached the posse of possible perps, adrenaline flowing, five of the strangers strongly advised them to get back in the car. Police reports state one of the suspects hollered, "You better not do it, man." As they were seriously outnumbered, the two chose not to "do it."
To add insult to thievery, the 20-man band followed the two back to their car, then began striking and slapping them through the open windows. The rowdy crowd opened the car's unlocked doors and continued battering the pair until one man's wallet fell out of his pocket. It was stolen, of course, as was the $203 cash and college ID it contained.
As they lacked a phone, the men were only able to contact one of the club's security officers. Police reports state that said bouncer "would not assist with contacting police." One of the lacerated lads received stitches on the bridge of his nose and beneath the nostril, while the other was bruised in the head.
JULY 3, 1:11 A.M.: Two nights prior, as Orlando slept peacefully, visions of fireworks on America's birthday dancing in the heads of its citizens, a suspect or suspects desirous of a celebration of their own were on the prowl.
The burglar or burglars waited until a temporary fireworks stand in the 3200 block of South Rio Grande Avenue looked empty, then they emerged from the inky night to pilfer all things sparkly.
The suspect(s) approached the stand's portable, on-demand storage unit, located on the west side of the building, and proceeded to slice open a padlock, causing $25 worth of damage. The suspect or suspects then began pillaging piles of pyrotechnics including, quite likely, perennial favorites such as the Golden Vesuvius and the Blue Bee. The person or persons filched approximately $1,000 worth of eye candy and $1,500 in cash before sneaking away.
Clearly the spectacle-seeking suspect(s) had major pyrotechnic plans for July 4; but how would they spend the $1,500? On hamburger patties and potato-salad fixings? Police reports don't speculate.
JUNE 28, 9:30 P.M.: Almost a week before Independence Day, a suspect or suspects devised a deed to steal one item most Americans simply can't live without especially on a holiday afternoon.
At some point before 9:15 a.m., the suspect(s) gained entry to an apartment complex's locked and secured fitness room in the 2400 block of Lake Debra Drive. Just past the rows of aerobic apparatuses and cardio-boosting machinery they found two bulky RCA TVs, firmly mounted to the south wall. The boob-tube burglar or burglars meticulously unscrewed the TVs from the wall, temporarily depriving future carb-counters the ability to enjoy a few minutes of music videos or a string of news briefs while firming up their abs and pouring streamlets of sweat onto slippery treadmill handles. The two 27-inch tellies were worth approximately $500.
JUNE 24, 3:30 P.M.: The fourth and final suspect or suspects in this week's report also sought stolen goods that could, conceivably, spice up the Fourth of July.
The suspect(s) began the burglary binge sometime before June 28 by approaching an unoccupied, locked business in the 600 block of West Pine Street used to store vehicle air-conditioning parts. Entry was gained by smashing a pane of glass adjacent to the shop's front door, leaving behind $250 worth of damage.
Inside, the burglar or burglars immediately snatched the spoils, in this case two comfortable office chairs, valued at $100 each, and a York stereo system, also worth $100. The chairs could, quite possibly, become a lovely set of patio furniture used to enjoy July 4's late-night light shows more cozily, whereas the stereo would surely do a fine job of playing patriotic hymns and Americana classics in the midst of an all-American cookout.
Before exiting, the patriotic perp or perps rummaged through several storage bins, but nothing was taken. The burglar(s) sneaked back into the sweaty outdoors through a roll-up garage door on the building's east side, leaving a 10-inch space ajar. It is unknown whether the suspect or suspects had plans to continue breaking and entering until they found a table to match their heisted chairs.