The Blotter

Bizarre crimes from Tampa police files

IN THE MAIL: A cabbie picked up a woman who asked to go from the Tampa Greyhound bus terminal to the post office on N. Florida Avenue. The driver transported the woman to the post office and then asked to be paid. The woman explained that "she had a check coming in at the post office," and that she would pay her fare once "she received her check." After keeping the driver waiting for two hours with the meter running, the woman asked to go to a trailer park on Nebraska Avenue, where the cabbie sat "for about an hour." When the cabbie again asked to be paid, "the female told him her check did not come in." The woman then asked to be taken to "Church's Chicken on E. Fletcher Ave. to get something to eat," and then to the post office downtown. Incredibly, the cabbie complied. Once at the downtown post office, the woman disappeared again. When she finally reemerged, the cabbie asked for the $120 cab fare and was told by the woman that she didn't have any money. Rather than drive her anywhere else, the cabbie contacted police and arranged for her to get a ride to jail.

SMALL TIME CROOKS: Police were called to a home by a building contractor who was refurbishing the property. The contractor reported that someone had taken the hinges off the back door, gained entry to the home and stolen "lumber that was located in the living room area of the home. The lumber was valued at $20." In a separate incident, the maintenance man at a Tampa condo project reported that $25 worth of hand tools had been stolen off his golf cart. Please be on the lookout for any suspicious characters with just enough wood and tools to make a doghouse.

THE GOOD OLD DAYS: As the price of gas has skyrocketed, so has the frequency of people driving away from the pumps without paying. Way back in March, a man pulled his "80's Ford sedan" into a Racetrack station in St. Petersburg, filled his tank and drove away without paying. The total net theft: $24.25. A tank of gas for under $25? That is a steal!

THRILL OF THE JOB: Police work isn't always a high-adrenalin affair. Sometimes it can be downright sedate. An officer responding to an "intrusion alarm" at a home in St. Petersburg got less than he bargained for. Per the report: "Upon arrival I saw the garage door was partially open and the interior door leading into the residence was also partially open." Burglars? Punk kids? Ghosts? None of the above. A quick look around revealed nothing but "Miami style windows," and an outer door that required slamming to close. The officer left a card in the mailbox and headed off, his job quietly done.

From the files of the T.P.D. and the S.P.P.D.

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