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An offbeat look at area crime

Opinions differ

SOUTH ALKIRE STREET — It was long after midnight on Jan. 22 when, seized by intense cravings for sugar and tar, Munchie walked into the all-night gas-o-mat to scratch those persistent itches. Munchie selected three doughnuts, asked the clerk for a pack of cigarettes, and handed over a credit card. Clerk ran Munchie’s credit card, which immediately came back as “declined.” Turning to share the bad news with the credit-less customer, Clerk found himself alone at the counter and Munchie halfway out the front door. Running outside as Munchie was climbing into his car, Clerk yelled, “Your credit card was declined!” In response, Munchie just “rolled his eyes” and started backing out. “If you leave, I’ll have to call the cops,” Clerk warned. “My card was not declined,” Munchie declared, driving serenely away. As good as his word, Clerk called JCSO, telling deputies that if Munchie would make good on the pastries and Pall Malls, the store wouldn’t press charges. Easily locating Munchie at his West Dorado Place residence, officers relayed the message. “It’s just a misunderstanding,” Munchie declared, insisting that Clerk never told him that his card was declined and that he always pays his debts. Giving him a chance to prove it, deputies drove Munchie back to the gas-o-mat, watched him pay cash for the doughnuts and Dorals, and drove him home again.

Hamlet, Act I, Scene III, Polonius

FOX HILLS ROAD — Working a job on the morning of Jan. 26, the landscaping crew parked a “demo saw” on the front lawn while they were busy in the side yard. After circling the block several times, a motorist pulled up in front of the residential job site and asked to “borrow” the demo saw. The crew foreman explained that company policy forbade the lending of expensive tools to perfect strangers, and the motorist motored away up the street. A few minutes later, an alert member of the landscaping crew observed the same motorist run into the front yard on foot, seize the demo saw, heave it into the back seat of his strategically parked vehicle, and speed off in a southerly direction. The saw has not been seen since.

Saved by the bell

WEST BELMONT AVENUE — Torn from sound slumber at 3:44 a.m. by the urgent shriek of her home alarm, the startled woman rushed to the security system’s control panel and saw that her sliding glass door may have been compromised. Dispatching her husband downstairs to find out for sure, she was much relieved to receive Husband’s report that the sliding glass door appeared to be intact and secure. With dawn’s first light, however, Wife’s personal alarm started howling when she discovered the metal gate in the backyard badly damaged. More distressing still, the damage appeared to have been caused by someone forcing it open from inside the yard, perhaps a would-be burglar fleeing the urgent shriek of a home alarm. Without more useful physical evidence or a likely suspect, deputies could classify the case only as second-degree criminal trespass and advise that Husband and Wife remain vigilant.

Pass it on

SOUTH BOWLES AVENUE — Manning the customer service desk on the afternoon of Jan. 25, the grocery store manager was happy to help when a middle-aged fellow approached with an item for the lost and found. The manager was less happy to see that the item was a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson pistol, which the expressionless man handed over without a word of explanation and then disappeared. Not entirely comfortable dumping a handgun behind the counter in a box full of cheap sunglasses, car keys and mismatched gloves, the manager turned the heater over to JCSO deputies, who could find no record of the firearm having been reported lost or stolen. Officers recorded the pistol as a found item and placed it in the JCSO evidence locker so it wouldn’t get lost.