Tuesday, November 16, 2010

16 NOV 10: Search for the Snickers Sneak

The evening news Monday was filled with violence. Two murder trials, a dog-mauling -- certainly nothing to joke about. So what was a humor blogger to do? Especially since no one spread any new rumors about Cam Newton?

An item on the Monday police blotter came to my rescue. WTVM reported someone broke into A-1 Safe and Lock on Midway Drive. Police say the suspect used a rock to break a window - which could encourage this business to expand into selling double-pane plexiglass.

But what caught my attention was what the burglar stole. Police say the suspect took two candy machines. If they were full-sized vending machines, that couldn't have been easy. It's hard enough simply to shake one, when a pack of cookies gets stuck.

Why would anyone steal candy machines from a business? Police suspect it was because the machines held about $400 in coins. Either that, or one of the candy bar wrappers holds the winning code for a lifetime of free video games.

(If the thief saw "100 Grand" inside one of the machines and thought it referred to the amount of cash inside, he truly IS a dumb criminal.)

If this candy caper seems familiar, it should. Columbus Police searched earlier this year for someone who stole gumball machines [13 Jul]. An arrest was made in that case, and a suspect quickly pleaded guilty. So do we have a copycat criminal here - or does the candy-napper qualify as the second of Three Musketeers?

(Keep in mind most candy vending machines also dispense packs of chewing gum. So it might simply be the brother of the "gumball bandit," trying to get his life on the stick....)

Consider the potential trend here. First someone steals gumball machines. Now two candy machines have been stolen. What's next -- soda machines? After all, I think the American Lung Association took all the cigarette machines years ago.

But another theory comes to mind. Perhaps the candy-napper is taking a stand against the items which commonly fill vending machines in Columbus. For instance, I'd rather have a plain Hershey bar than the ones with added items such as almonds. I'll leave the looking for Mr. Goodbar to Diane Keaton, thank you....

Cases like this explain why some people still consider public safety the top priority in Columbus city government, and in the mayoral runoff. Teresa Tomlinson said on WRBL Monday night Columbus needs 50 to 80 more police officers - on top of the 100 added through the local option sales tax. This tells me Tomlinson's legal career has NOT involved police brutality cases.

In response, runoff opponent Zeph Baker said his concern is on "neighborhood policing," combined with new economic opportunities. Baker added he wants criminals to be "as uncomfortable as possible" in Columbus. Does that mean he opposes an expansion of the Muscogee County Jail?

-> Our other blog starts with poker, then goes in directions you might not expect. Visit "On the Flop!" <-

E-MAIL UPDATE: A reader sent us this note with a picture during the Monday afternoon rush hour....

The rain and little effect on the ones in line for food.

This line was outside Golden Corral on Manchester Expressway, which marked "Military Appreciation Monday." Active-duty personnel and veterans ate for free - and they didn't even have to show identification. Early arrivals for SOA Watch weekend probably were pulled aside, based on the length and texture of their hair.

Were you as happy as I was to see Monday's rain? Columbus is about nine inches below normal for rainfall this year. So this will give Columbus Water Works even more water in reserve -- and you'll still have to pay extra for it next year, because you didn't use it this week.

Let's see what else splashed across my face and brain on Monday....

+ The Muscogee County School District approved the purchase of eight new buses. If they're all standardized yellow, it will be hard to spot the new ones from the outside - so step in and feel for chewing gum under the seats.

+ GPB Radio reported Georgia Tech scientists are trying to develop robots which can give people sponge baths. Forget about that - how about a robot which can X-Ray my body at the airport AND give me a pat-down at the same time?

+ Kennesaw State stunned Georgia Tech in men's college basketball 80-63. The game puzzled me even before tipoff, because it was played in Kennesaw and not Atlanta. If Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt wants to impress supporters in wealthy suburbs, the Gwinnett Arena is in a different direction.

+ Columbus State lost its official opening game of the men's basketball season. Alabama-Huntsville humbled the Cougars 96-66, only days after C.S.U. surprised Auburn. If I'm Auburn coach Tony Barbee, I wouldn't even think about turning the team bus toward Huntsville on the way to Mississippi State in January.

+ Auburn quarterback Cam Newton was named Southeastern Conference "offensive player of the week." But in a major surprise, no Auburn defensive players received awards from the commissioner of Ultimate Fighting.

+ LaGrange High School called a news conference for today on "the future of the football program" - then canceled it several hours later. Either the head coach received a last-minute "Pardue pardon," or the University of Kentucky suddenly imposed a hiring freeze.

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