Life Sentences

Forget Hiaasen, Balmaseda, and Steinback -- the Herald's weird, wacky "Police Report" is the prose by the pros

Innovative Weapons
A frozen egg hit a man in the back of the head as he rode his bicycle in the 1700 block of Drexel Avenue in South Beach. Witnesses saw three men in a black pick-up truck slow down next to the biker, and someone inside threw the egg. When the biker fell down, the three started to get out of the truck, but a large crowd formed and scared them away. The biker was not seriously injured.

Police were called to the Amoco gas station on South Dixie Highway when a man became incensed because the car was not dried properly in the car wash. The man began cursing, then throwing gum and air freshener at the attendant. After the customer was told to come back the next day to speak to the owner, he dumped a rack of potato chips on the ground. No charges were filed.

A woman was robbed by a man whom she was with as they walked through a Goulds neighborhood. The woman had walked a few blocks with the man when the man reached out, placed his left hand on her shoulder, and, putting his finger to her temple, said: "Give me your wallet or I'll shoot you." A neighbor who saw the disturbance outside scared the man off. He did not take anything.

A man threw a bucket of water mixed with urine at a woman in her Miami apartment, then struck her right hand with a stick. Serese Arthur, 46, was charged with burglary and assault.

An elderly man used a ceramic toilet tank cover to bludgeon two other residents of a North Dade retirement home. The man removed the ceramic piece from his bathroom and walked across the hallway to another room. As they slept, the man began to strike the two people in the head. Eventually orderlies were able to restrain the man and sedate him, but not before both victims suffered major head injuries. No reason was given for the attack.

Creative Criminals
A man was robbed at gunpoint in his Florida City home by two men who pretended to be Immigration and Naturalization Service officers. The men were wearing badges and radios and asked if they could enter the home to show the victim some INS documents. Once inside the men brandished a handgun, pointed it at the victim, handcuffed him, and forced him into the bedroom while threatening to shoot him. The two men robbed the victim of $300 in cash, as well as his resident alien card.

Posing as a tour guide, a man distracted a group of Brazilian tourists who were checking into the Dilido Hotel on South Beach. While the group was sorting out the misunderstanding, someone took their bags, which contained a $1000 gold bracelet, a $50 camera, and $160 in cash.

The midnight valet at the Delano Hotel was swindled out of $737. The thief told the valet that the valet's boss had an emergency and needed money from the safe. The valet made a copy of the man's identification card and had the man sign for the money. When the valet's supervisor came in at 6:00 a.m. Monday, he said there was never an emergency and he had not authorized anyone to take money out of the safe.

Stupid Criminals
A would-be robber who couldn't drive a stick shift couldn't steal a car, either. A man was parking his 1996 Honda Accord in Miami when he was approached by a man with a handgun. "Give me all your money," the suspect shouted. When the driver said no, the gunman demanded his car keys instead, only to discover that the Honda was a stick shift, which he couldn't drive. When he told the car's owner to drive, the man locked the doors, locking himself in the car and the burglar out. The frustrated robber shot out the Honda's rear window, then ran away.

A careless forger attempted to cash a $900 check from a stolen checkbook at the South Miami BankAtlantic branch on 6202 S. Dixie Hwy. When the clerk went to verify the check, the man fled the building, leaving behind his own Florida driver's license.

A homeless man dropped a bag he was carrying when a police officer drove past him at night in downtown Miami. When the officer picked up the bag, he found a pair of shoes from a nearby store inside. The officer checked the store and saw it had a smashed window. The burglar said: "I know the law, you didn't see me in the business, so you can't charge me." The officer searched the man and found a homemade pipe with possible cocaine residue in his top left pocket, and the top part of a vehicle sparkplug. Police arrested Eric Macon, 24, no known address, and charged him with burglary, possession of burglary tools, possession of cocaine, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

A tourist from Las Vegas had just dropped her car off with the valet at the Roney Hotel and was walking into the lobby when a man kicked her on her right ankle and grabbed the purse off her shoulder. Four witnesses saw the attack, chased the thief, and tackled him outside the hotel. When the thief's accomplices, who were waiting in a white Oldsmobile, saw what happened, they tried to run over the witnesses with the car. The witnesses jumped out of the way and the attacker was hit and carried a few feet under the bumper. Someone pulled the attacker inside the car before it sped away.

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