Mission: Possible

May 2. The store manager of Lady Foot Locker at South Coast Plaza had noticed large amounts of merchandise mysteriously missing from inventory since November of last year. In total, 1,045 items of clothing were unaccounted for. The disappearances were particularly disturbing because no crime method could be determined. Later that day, the store manager's wandering glance happened upon a jagged hole in one of the ceiling tiles of the storeroom and immediately called police. After an extensive investigation, police surmised that a design flaw in the building allowed the cunning burglar to stage the heists from a men's room located outside the store. From the bathroom, the suspect allegedly climbed into the attic area and crawled across the drywall over a hallway and above the retail area of the store, eventually reaching the storage room. Cutting a hole in the ceiling, the suspect lowered himself into the room and swiped the goods. Tom Cruise is still at large.

PLEASE WASH HANDS BEFORE STEALING May 3. Burglars kicked down the door to a room rented by the Orange County Mental Health Association at 420 W. 19th St. in Costa Mesa. Among items stolen were a color TV, a VCR, a portable CD player and a telephone. The thieves rifled through cabinets and a desk and left via the emergency exit. When the president of the association arrived, she found the toilet running. Apparently, the thieves found time to use—and courteously flush—the toilet.

BROTHER, CAN YOU SPARE CRIME? May 11. Needing a job, a 45-year-old resident biked to a Costa Mesa Big 5 Sporting Goods to apply. He left his 18-speed Peugeot bicycle outside and went in to fill out the application. Fifteen minutes later, the jobless man walked out of the store a jobless hitchhiker: his bike had been stolen.

I'M THE NRA (AND AA, TOO) May 13. A 57-year-old Newport Beach resident phoned police to report his .45-caliber Smith & Wesson stolen. The victim explained he had last seen the loaded gun beneath the bedroom nightstand on April 13, during his monthly arsenal check. When he inventoried again in May, the weapon was missing. The victim waited nearly a week, hoping it would turn up somewhere inside his apartment. When no gun appeared, he called police.

The investigating officer observed no signs of forced entry. No items were missing except the handgun. The gun was not the only thing loaded, however, as the officer observed: "During my contact with the victim, I noticed he was intoxicated and had a strong odor of alcoholic beverages about his breath and person. The victim said he was a 'lifetime alcoholic' and was drunk throughout the time of the occurrence." For those of you drunk right now, that's an entire month.

When pressed, the victim offered that the gun "may have been misplaced." The officer assisted the tipsy victim in searching the bedroom but still could not locate the gun.


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