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Off Key!

By Bob Frederickson

From Unlocked Cars to Text Messaging Charge?

Do As We Say, Not As We Do?

We’ve all seen the TV news reports showing neighborhood surveillance videos featuring bands of ne’er-do-wells roaming streets late at night, checking for unlocked cars to burglarize. The reports invariably include comments from a law enforcement spokesperson emphasizing the importance of making sure citizens lock up their cars, day and night.

Well, Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Detective Brian Keane, an 18-year veteran of the department and member of the SCSO SWAT team, must not have gotten the memo. Either that or he’s under the impression he lives in Mayberry, NC and it’s 1962, not North Port, Florida, circa 2018…

His vehicle was left unlocked in his driveway on the evening of December 5th with more than just a cell phone, stereo system or some loose change inside to attract the attention of a would be perp.

Rather, an Accuracy International AT308 sniper rifle valued at $4,000, a Sig Sauer P226 9mm handgun, body armor, a night scope and a Taser were among the grab bag of goodies inside. And of course, all of those items were missing by the next morning.

Now that must have been a pleasant conversation with his supervisor when he reported the theft the next day.

The guns and other equipment were thankfully recovered a short time later with the arrests of two men: David Eugene Byrd Jr., 18, of North Port and James G. Tolbert Jr., also of North Port and also 18.

So all’s well that ends well? Maybe, but this could have ended very badly. According to the Herald Tribune, Byrd has been arrested five times previously on charges that include armed robbery with a firearm, burglary and larceny.

No word as of press time on the results of any internal investigation or sanctions Keane may face for neglecting a responsibility law enforcement regularly reminds us we should all live up to: Locking our car doors. And we haven’t even touched on the subject of the responsibilities that come with gun ownership.

Quote of the Day…

            “Those who ride the high road of humility in Washington, DC are never bothered by heavy traffic.”

-Former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson speaking at the funeral of President George H.W. Bush

Kicked to the Curb in Venice?

After a single car on East Venice Avenue struck four bicyclists earlier this fall – killing one of them – it’s understandable that some area riders might have come to the conclusion they’d be better off on the sidewalk.

But not so fast. At least in downtown Venice. The city recently passed an ordinance banning bicycles on the sidewalks of some of the city’s busiest downtown thoroughfares…streets with much more traffic than the stretch of East Venice Avenue where the recent cycling fatality occurred.

…Leading some two-wheel enthusiasts to feel like they’ve been kicked to the curb…Or perhaps left to spin their wheels at home on a stationery bike or at a spin class at the south county YMCA, which come to think of it might not be a bad idea given Florida’s less than stellar record when it comes to vehicles sharing the road with cyclists..

Often Wrong, but Never in Doubt

Back in 2008, while at a stop in Germany on his Chicken Little Eco-Calamity Tour, Al Gore told his audience that the North Pole would be ice-free in five years. Here we are, TEN years later and guess what?  The North Pole has more ice than when he made that oh so certain pronouncement.

The New China Syndrome?

A report linking the Chinese government to the recent hack of Marriott Hotels’ parent company – Starwood Hotels and Resorts – is just the latest in a string of alleged cyber attacks by the communist nation against US interests. The list includes the theft of government personnel records from the US Office of Personnel Management, similar compromises of customer account information at Insurance companies like Anthem and CareFirst and also at telecom giant Verizon. All of which points to the striking conclusion by some analysts that the Chinese military is trying to compile a personal and financial dossier on most if not all citizens of the United States.

Why?

Well, just imagine what would happen if one morning we all awoke to discover our checking accounts and 401Ks suddenly showed $0 balances. It would make the crash of 1929 look like a relatively minor ‘market correction.’

Why isn’t Al Gore or just about anyone else in the government or media worried about this?

The ‘Stoop-Surfer’ Sting

In Jersey City, NJ, local police are working with Amazon to nab porch pirates by sending dummy packages that include tracking devices that help catch offenders, often within minutes of their crime.

It’s reported one-in-twelve Americans have had a package stolen from their stoop. The problem has grown along with the increased popularity of online shopping in recent years.

The Millennial Tax?

California legislators have come up with an innovative way to ‘enhance’ state revenue (i.e. raise taxes). The latest brainstorm? Tax text messages.

No Joke.

Especially if you’ve got teenagers in the house.

Quiz Time:

Q: What’s the most streamed song of the 20th century?

Q: Best selling album of 20th century?

Q: Highest grossing Broadway show of all time?

A: Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.

A: The Eagles’ Greatest Hits with 38 million copies sold.

A: The Lion King: +$1.46 billion and counting. And you have a chance to add to that total this spring when the show rolls into town at the Van Wezel, March 14-16.