The Blotter

Bizarre crimes from Tampa police reports

THANK YOU FOR SHOPPING AT ... Wal-Mart, in addition to being in the sights of union groups, environmentalists and liberal filmmakers, is now the target of several would-be mad bombers. On May 9, "several unknown suspects in a green Mitsubishi Mirage started a small fire in the parking lot" of the Wal-Mart on N. Florida Avenue in Tampa. After employees put out the fire a few minutes later, the Wal-Mart received a phone call from someone who claimed, "I'm the one who started the fire in the parking lot and there is a bomb in a 12 pack in the parking lot." Fortunately there wasn't, although the cadre of police officials who showed up did find an empty 12-pack box. The manager told officers that someone had been calling the store "for the past few weeks saying the store would be blown up or taken over."

MORE FUN AT WAL-MART: Moving over to the Wal-Mart on N. Dale Mabry right by I-275, we find more trouble in the parking lot. This time, a man approached the victim as he was getting into his car. The suspect pulled a gun, demanded money and demanded the victim slide into the passenger seat. The driver handed over his cash but then fled, leaving his car, which the suspect promptly drove off in. Prior to this successful robbery, the suspect had approached a woman in her vehicle. As he made his move, the woman reportedly yelled, "Get away from my car or I'll shoot you!" The woman never saw a weapon and just "didn't like him approaching her." Good call, madam.

PROM NIGHT: Talk about a night you'll remember for the rest of your life. A senior at Zephryhills High School reported to police that her ex-boyfriend was upset over their break-up and had threatened to "pull another Virginia Tech" at the prom on May 5. Police were dispatched to the event, held at Raymond James Stadium, with a photo of the suspect that they provided to security officers. Per the report: "Shortly after the event started, an anonymous caller claimed that the subject had arrived at the prom." The cops then "locked down" the prom for 30 minutes while they searched for the suspect. Good news: There wasn't a lunatic gunman on the loose, and the prom was allowed to continue after additional security was added. A little extra protection on prom night never hurt anyone.

From the files of the T.P.D.

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