Coin Return

May 2. Last week, we saw a Costa Mesa couple attempt to “recover” a set of $3,500 gold wheels they said were missing from their impounded 1988 Chrysler LeBaron. This week, the stakes have risen. Our story begins this way: a resident left his 1990 Mercury Sable four-door with a Costa Mesa car detailer. Several hours later, the customer retrieved his car, apparently pleased with the results. According to the police report, however, “a few days later,” Mr. Sable just happened to pop open his ashtray and notice that his rare collection of 26 Mexican and American coins was missing. Total value: $10,000. So Mr. Sable phoned the detailer. The detailer said he “personally vacuumed” the Mercury and didn't take no stinkin' coins. What's more, “Larry,” the detailer's most trusted employee, completed the detail job. Larry has been an apprentice for four years and is close to obtaining his own place. Thus, the detailer said, he wouldn't be cadging stray coins out of an ashtray. Finding the detailer's account insufficient, Mr. Sable phoned the police to report the coins stolen. When asked the achingly obvious question—why the hell he was driving around with an ashtray worth more than the entire vehicle— Mr. Sable remarked he had “planned on selling the coins to a dealer” and so kept them in the car in preparation for such event. He simply had yet to get around to finding a dealer. No other items were missing from the car. The case remains unsolved.

THE CRIMES, THEY ARE A-CHANGIN' May 6. Used to be that if you wanted to borrow a cooking staple—like a cup of sugar—you went next door. Nowadays, if you live in Costa Mesa Village Apartments and you leave your kitchen window open, someone steals a bottle of Trader Joe's olive oil off the table.

PRESCRIPTION FROM A BIRMINGHAM JAIL May 6. A Laguna Beach man perusing the shelves of the Sunset Drug Store discovered to his horror that the lights were out and no one was home. Presuming the store empty, the owner had closed up for the night, hopped into his red Mitsubishi Montero and took off, inadvertently stranding his customer. Suddenly jailed inside a most bizarre cell—stuffed with mind-, mood- and even libido-altering drugs—the bewildered inmate called police, who intercepted the storeowner's car and set the hapless man free.

SOME ENCHANTED EVENING May 6. A Laguna Canyon Road resident phoned for police assistance because her “husband was spitting on her.”

SLEEPING BOOTY May 8. A Newport Beach resident was washing his clothing at a Laundromat on Balboa Boulevard when he fell asleep with his head resting on his backpack. An hour later, he says, he awoke to find his wallet stolen. The wallet had been stored inside the zipped pack, inches below his snoring noggin.

HUMAN BEAT BOX May 9. A woman phoned Huntington Beach police to report that the males next door were dragging a male juvenile and his head was “bopping.”

SEEMS LIKE JUSTICE HAS ALREADY BEEN SERVED May 9. A 14-year-old boy called police for help because, as he explained, “I was picking on a kid, when another kid came over and punched me in the nose with his fist!”

ONE IF BY LAND, TWO IF BY SEAGRAM'S May 13. According to a UC Irvine police officer, there are two absolutely irrefutable natural laws: E=MC2 and DUI=”2.” The latter refers to the fact that when asked how many drinks they have consumed, every weaving drunk pulled over for driving under the influence—no matter how boozed—will always respond, “Two.”

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