Life Sentences

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

Safety Tip: Don't Be Sassy
A robber pointed a gun at two seventeen-year-old girls at a Burger King drive-through and ordered them to give him their purses. One of the girls shouted an obscenity at the robber and told him to get the gun out of her face. The robber cocked the gun and fired one shot at the passenger door, leaving a bullet mark in the door of their black 1995 Honda Accord. He then fled on foot.

Only in Miami
A home invader burst into an apartment in Bay Harbor Islands shortly after midnight. When the resident answered after hearing a knock on the front door, the robber said, "I'll break your arm and kill you if you don't pay the $21,500 you owe to the people in Venezuela." The intruder then pushed his way into the apartment and started taking jewelry and a gun collection.

An invasion-style robbery took place at the Howard Johnson Hotel, 4000 Alton Rd. As a woman left a hotel room, two men pushed their way into the room. One of the robbers kicked her in the stomach. The other, armed with a .357 Magnum, hit a man inside the hotel room over the head with the gun, then kicked him in the face. All the while, the robbers were yelling, "Where's the dope?" The robbers took $4500 cash from the man's pocket. The front-desk clerk saw the two robbers run out of the hotel and get into a brown Cadillac.

A man was robbed while sitting on the porch of his home in Naranja. A man came up to the porch demanding drugs. The owner said he did not have any. The man left, but returned twenty minutes later with an accomplice who was wearing a white skullcap. Both men confronted the homeowner with handguns. The robbers forced him inside, and one of them said to lie facedown. The robbers ransacked the home but found no drugs. They took two wallets from the victim and fled.

A robber with a broken leg stole $5.45 from a man sitting in a wheelchair outside Eckerd Drugs, 7400 Collins Ave. The robber allegedly used one of his crutches to restrain the man by the chin and took the money out of the man's pocket. Police found a man fitting the description about a block away. Donald Anthony Smith, 33, was charged with strong-arm robbery.

Random Acts of Violence
While walking through a parking lot in South Beach on a Sunday afternoon, a woman hit a man on the face with a bottle for no apparent reason. The man and the woman did not know each other.

A bloody man wearing nothing but a towel around his waist and holding a stereo receiver was caught inside Fun Tours in Miami Beach. Early on a Tuesday morning, a security guard called police when he heard glass break. The officers followed a path of blood from a broken rear window, through a hallway into an employee area, out a door, and into a pump room. That's where they found the alleged burglar, as well as the stereo receiver covered with blood. Police then found a second trail of blood leading to the restaurant next door. The hasp latch had been broken off the refrigerator door. The burglar helped himself to some of the food and "made a mess" of the refrigerator. He also drank from and broke a bottle of burgundy.

Police were called to the South Miami Market by a woman who said she was approached by another woman asking her for five dollars. When she refused, the woman slapped her across the face. No arrest was made.

A woman called South Miami police and said a group of juveniles had entered her home and were beating her with a stick. When police arrived they found the woman on her front lawn, stumbling around and yelling toward the sky. When police asked her what was wrong, she responded: "With who?" She began to cause a scene, drawing people out of their homes, yelling at police. Gerdhilde Albrand, 63, was escorted to the South Miami police station and charged with filing a false police report and disorderly intoxication.

The Occasional Murder
A newborn kitten was mauled by two dogs who got into a house through an open door. The dogs, which had been running loose through the neighborhood, were captured by animal control.

Someone killed a rabbit in a cage in the front yard of a house in Coral Gables. The suspect removed the rabbit from the cage and cut its head off with a sharp object. Then the body of the rabbit was thrown across the street. The rabbit's head was not found.

A dead duck and another barely alive were found on the lawn of a home in North Miami. The homeowner believes the ducks were poisoned by corn kernels left on the driveway. Several kernels were impounded for testing.

Customer Service
A clerk at a Florida City Texaco refused to exchange a soda that two young boys, both under twelve, brought to the store. The clerk shouted at them to leave and waved a gun at them. The clerk, 31, was charged with assault with a firearm.

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