Archive for November, 2005

Shopping Mall Bandits.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comFellas watch your wallets and ladies keep an eye on your purse, there are bandits about.

Orlando Police Release Photos Of Distraction Theft Suspects

Orlando police said they have surveillance pictures of at least two people involved in a distraction theft scheme. There are at least five victims from two different shopping malls. In each case, women lost purses or wallets and the credit cards or bankcards inside were being used by the crooks within minutes.

But these were no small purchases. The crooks bought things like laptop computers and digital cameras and camcorders. Victims were taken for thousands of dollars. Tuesday, Orlando police released images of two people they said were spending with stolen credit cards, cards ripped off from people like Augusta Peterson.

“It made me angry. After being shocked, it made me angry,” she said.

Peterson said, in her 80 years, she had never been scammed like this. It happened to her inside a Macy’s. She thinks the man in the surveillance image distracted her while someone else stole her wallet right out of her purse.

“He was very smooth, very smooth. He gave no indication of anything going on,” she said. Peterson is one a growing number of victims at The Mall at Millenia and Florida Mall. Police said the thieves use distraction techniques to steal purses and pocketbooks and then go to stores like Circuit City, emptying bank accounts and maxing out credit cards.

“When we called in, they had purchased $1,064 over at Target,” Peterson said.

“We’re not sure if they’re all linked, but we do think they are working in groups,” said Sgt. Barbara Jones, Orlando Police Department. Jones said the thieves are after high-dollar electronics and usually spend thousands of dollars before victims even know what hit them.

“These people, they’re criminals, and they do know how to do their business, and they’re going to do it as quickly as possible,” Jones said.

Police said one of the things that makes matters worse is that merchants are not checking ID validating the possession of the card, especially with large purchases. Several victims were hit with charges in excess of $1,000 and, in one case, $3,500.

Let the holiday season begin.

Breaking Wind*

*Yes, that’s two fart jokes in a row, maturity is my specialty.

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You know while I am loving the cool weather and clear skies, what’s with all the wind? We had gusts up to 40MPH yesterday. It blew down a tree in our yard and scattered the porch furniture. Florida is becoming increasingly unstable weather-wise it seems. Prelude to the apocalypse, or just a coincidental stream of meteorological events? I’d like to go with option B.

Passing Gas.

Gas is as low as $2.19 (regular) all around town. Mostly I’ve seen it that low in the Semoran/Aloma/Goldenrod area. Is there a tax break going on that I am unaware of, or is gas actually dropping in price?

Anyone seen any lower? Spread the word.

Wanna be a pirate anyone??

Pirates of the Caribbean is casting for extras today… and a few people I know are headed downtown to see if they can be cast as a pirate, solider, scallywag… or whatever!

http://www.piratescasting.com

A couple of things to note however… they are only looking for men (bummer). You have to an Asian male or a caucasian male. But more importantly, you have to have a valid passport and be able to go to the Bahamas for 3-5 weeks in January/February.

Sounds like a lot of fun if you can swing it…. Grab a photo, fill out an application and head on downtown!!

Simulacra.

Otronicon Gaming & Simulation Event Announced

Orlando Science Center (OSC) has announced that it is launching Otronicon, a 10-day exploration of electronic gaming and simulation, planned for January 20-29, 2006 in Orlando, Florida.

The event plans to entertain guests with multiple levels of activity, including displays, games, competitions, seminars and demonstrations that bridge the gap between video games and the simulation industry. The event will also include a national Halo 2 tournament, a PC LAN party, plus a modding workshop from Digital Media Alliance Florida, and content from the Joint Advanced Distributed Learning Co-Laboratory of the Department of Defense.

Orlando Science Center President and CEO Dr. Brian Tonner commented of the announcement: “OSC’s mission is to increase awareness and understanding of science and technology as they relate to everyday life. Video games provide an attractive entry for this discussion. Otronicon will be a showcase for Orlando’s role in the digital media industry as it relates to the fields of government, education, defense and entertainment.”

This looks to be an awesome event that will no doubt enmesh Orlando even more into the multi-billion dollar gaming industry. Considering we are home to the Tiburon Division of Electronic Arts, Full Sail, and the new UCF Master’s Program in game design hopefully this event will become an annual event. Attracting attention from some of the gaming industry heavies wouldn’t be a bad thing either as it would keep some of the highly educated graduates from these elite programs in the area and contributors to the local economy.

Keep an eye on the Orlando Science Center website for more info.

Think Pink.

Senator from New Port Richey proposes pink DUI plates

CLEARWATER, Fla. – A Republican senator wants a law to require bright pink license plates on vehicles driven by people with restricted driving privileges due to convictions for driving under the influence. Sen. Mike Fasano, of New Port Richey, filed a bill earlier this month that requires the first three characters on the plate to read “DUI.”

“Maybe it will embarrass people and keep them from drinking and driving,” Fasano said. “Maybe they’ll think twice.”

The bill also says police “may stop any vehicle that bears a DUI plate without probable cause to check the driver.” Ohio and Michigan have similar laws in place. Other states have debated the issue, but failed to pass it due to privacy reasons.

“Pink plates would hold out individuals for punishment as well as ridicule. We are very opposed to it,” said Larry Spalding, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union in Florida.

About 840,000 of Florida’s 15 million licensed drivers have an active DUI sanction on their driving records, said Frank Penela, Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles spokesman. A small percentage of those have limited driving privileges, such as permission to drive only to and from work, Penela said.

This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. The fact that it would give police officers the right to pull over and search any driver and their vehicle without question is beyond Orwellian. What if you borrow someone’s car? Sen. Fasano also says that if he can’t find a sponsor for this bill in the House he will go to the Senate and try to attach it to a major piece of transportation legislation. This could sneak in right under our noses. There are enough penalities for getting a DUI, this is taking it too far.

Oh, and just so you don’t get the wrong idea I’m not trivializing drunk driving or condoning it in any way. I just think that this is a horrible piece of legislation that shouldn’t even be considered.

Police Log, Stardate 11.13.2005.

I wasn’t aware that this stuff was public information, although I guess since they aren’t very detailed they can be posted.

Orange County Police Call Log

These are among recent reports filed through Nov. 8 by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and the Orlando, Winter Park and Ocoee police departments.

Northwest Orange

WEST 17th STREET, 5:30 p.m. Nov. 3, officers helped locate a fugitive.

Central Orange

SOUTH ORANGE BLOSSOM TRAIL, 4100 block, 10:20 p.m. Nov. 2, an officer’s vehicle hit another vehicle when the car in front of him made a turn.

WILMER AVENUE, 200 block, 4:16 p.m. Nov. 7, two juveniles reportedly shot a man in the back while he was riding his bike.

WILLIE MAYS PARKWAY, 900 block, 3:10 p.m. Nov. 7, four armed men reportedly struck another man with a handgun and stole his wallet.

Southwest Orange

SAND LAKE ROAD, 800 block, 11:22 p.m. Nov. 4, a man was charged with smashing the glass front door of a restaurant.

SOUTH APOPKA-VINELAND ROAD, 12000 block, 10:04 p.m. Nov. 3, a man said another person tried to break into his car, but he was able to drive away,

VIA HACIENDA CIRCLE, 5200 block, 7:22 p.m. Nov. 7, a man said an armed man stole $45 from him.

Orlando

SOUTH ORANGE AVENUE, 2500 block, 3:20 a.m. Nov. 3, a fast-food restaurant reported being robbed by two armed men.

NORTH ORANGE AVENUE, 1400 block, 1:10 a.m. Nov. 3, someone threw an unknown object through the window of a restaurant.

OLD WINTER GARDEN ROAD, 3600 block, 9:09 p.m. Nov. 2, a man was charged with trying to rob a business.

WEST CENTRAL BOULEVARD, 500 block, 2:25 p.m. Nov. 2, a man said two armed suspects stole $40 from him while he was walking down the street.

NORTH WILTS CIRCLE, 5:10 p.m. Nov. 2, a man was charged with possession of cocaine and marijuana during a traffic stop.

GARDENIA AVENUE, 5 p.m. Nov. 1, someone stole a spool of signal cable.

LEE VISTA BOULEVARD, 5800 block, 5:15 p.m. Nov. 1, an equipment trailer filled with $5000 worth of equipment was reportedly stolen from a construction site.

MORE…

I-4 and Hwy 192

Today I headed to Celebration for a softball game for my daughter’s Delaney Park team. I was very surprised to find that just past the EPCOT exit, there is not the normal exit to get onto 192!! I mean it’s kinda there… but it’s all torn up with construction and I had to go down to the Celebration Exit to get access.

How are the tourists getting to 192 and how mad must the local businesses must be if they’re having to go the long way around. Does anyone have an idea how long this exit is going to be unavailable??

Obviously I don’t often go down that far, but I would think this would be something they’d talk about on the news etc. And I don’t recall hearing about it.

Sub-Par CFL.

No C. Fla. hotels, only one restaurant get 2006 AAA five-diamond rating

Once again, only one Central Florida restaurant and none of its hotels have made the annual five-diamond rankings posted by AAA. Victoria & Albert’s restaurant at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort was honored again this year. It has been recognized for six years in a row and is one of six Florida restaurants awarded AAA’s top ranking, giving the state the No. 1 spot for largest number of five-diamond restaurants.

For being a hub of tourism you’d think C. Fla would rate a little better than that. The restaurant part is to be expected though since so many of our eateries are corporate units (Darden, Brinker, etc.) and usually privately owned places are the ones that get the best ratings.

Still, I’d of thought better of our hotels.

Operation Crackdown, it’s about time.

$7 Million Worth Of Drugs Seized In Historic Bust

50 Drug Arrests Take Down Oviedo Soldiers

Drug Bust50 Arrested In Central Florida Drug Sweep

While I don’t whole-heartly agree with the war on drugs, especially marijuana, it is good to see that our local police force is taking action against something that can actually have an affect on the community. After all of the debacles against the local adult entertainement industry (see Operation Overexposed) and the out-of-pocket cost to taxpayers it has wasted, it is nice to see them putting our money toward more constructive efforts.

Get the drugs and crime off of the streets. Let us keep the boobs, and I’m not talking about Kevin Beary.

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