Last week we shared with you the tale of a burglary spree on Bill's block and the heightened vigilance thereon. Small potatoes compared to the story of a 36-year-old Hyde Park architect whose home was burglarized five times within two and a half weeks (that's five times, 17 days).
"It all started on a Tuesday, I believe, about four to five weeks ago," said the architect, who preferred not to become any better known to his tormentors. "There was a break-in to my back porch and someone stole my lawnmower."
Number two came the very next day, apparently courtesy of the same burglar, through the back porch again.
"I didn't think he'd come back the very next day," the man said in amazement. Gone this time: fishing poles and a weed-eater.
The following night, somebody rummaged through his shed (there was nothing left on the porch, apparently), but found nothing worth stealing.
Five days later, while the man was at work, two men backed up an old Toyota to his house and proceeded to fill it like Santa's sled with every electronic item he owned.
"That time they cleaned me out," he said. He thinks this team might have gotten tipped off by the first burglar in the same way travelers exchange recommendations on good restaurants and hotels.
They were almost caught when a car alarm went off and a neighbor looked out. Ironically, it was the car alarm on the stolen car being driven by the burglars.
"I guess they like to protect their stolen goods," the man noted a little acidly.
Finally, the man decided to buy an alarm system. Of course, there's little left to protect, he acknowledged.
About five days later, he planned to meet with the alarm salesman, but they had to push it back a night because the salesman was running late. Instead, the man went out to dinner and spent two hours bending his date's ear about his horrible misfortune.
He returned to find that he had been victimized a fifth time.
"He took my power tools," the man said, summoning all available irony. "The ones I had used to fix my door from the last time."
I'll take attorneys general for 200: At a dog and pony show for Jeb! Bush, Tampa Deputy Police Chief John Cuesta was trying to impress upon the candidate and his aides how democratic is the drug scourge in Tampa. Why even a visiting assistant federal prosecutor, on loan to Tampa to handle an overload of drug cases, once was nabbed in a crack cocaine sting, he said.
One of Bush's entourage expressed some interest in the anecdote, and Cuesta asked if the visitor was with the U.S. Attorney's Office.
"So to speak," said the gentleman. "I actually was the attorney general of the United States."
Deputy Chief Cuesta, meet William Barr, attorney general under Jeb's pop, George Bush, and now working on Jeb's campaign for governor.
"I had been introduced, but I didn't catch the name," Cuesta said. "He looked familiar, but I couldn't connect the two. And neither did anyone else."
Knowing he'd be a good candidate for an American Express commercial, Barr laughed heartily.
No stranger to a courtroom: You'd think there were already enough interesting characters in the Manny Machin vs. The Neighborhood Vermin case playing out in county court this week. You've got a controversial defense lawyer, plus the state attorney, the police chief and the pirates of Gasparilla _ not to mention a couple of drooling possums, one of them an albino.
Turns out even Mike Dockery, owner of a wildlife capture service who displayed the possums to the jury this week, has an interesting background as well.
He used to be a bank robber.
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