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Stay alert...help rescue a lawnmower

Sure, there is a significant amount of crime in the Lower Valley. It seems everyone has to have a Honda Accord, and those cars get stolen quite a bit. Especially in Sunnyside for some reason. Grandview has its own problems. God help anyone in that town who owns a lawnmower. The recent rash of thefts of these grass clippers is alarming.

But we're pretty safe considering what citizens of say....Cambodia might experience when it comes to crime. I don't mean to pick on Cambodia but the police blotter coming out of that country can be somewhat baffling and very interesting.

The most famous story I heard about concerning Cambodian crime was when an older lady, trying to keep youngsters out of her yard, went to the local market to purchase some land mines.

I'm sure she was thinking, "...this ought to keep them rascals out of my yard," as she leaned downed to place the assorted mix of land mines throughout her yard.

BOOM!

That was the last thing she heard, I'm sure. A land mine blew up and killed her as she was completing her master plan.

That was approximately 10 years ago. Land mines aren't readily available at the local market anymore. You really have to know where to look for them if you want them now.

Hand grenades are quite big in Cambodia, although attacks are becoming less frequent. It used to dominate the police blotter. If anyone had a problem with someone else, just toss a hand grenade in their home. That will fix them.

The Phnom Penh police blotter for the first eight days of 2007 included such reports as a 25-year-old man being attacked with a sword while dancing during a wedding party. The man told police an unknown man ran up to him, chopped him twice in the shoulder and arm, then ran away.

Other reports included:

• Police arrested two people, 16 and 21, for murdering a man. They killed the man and then put him into a sack, which they threw into a lake. No reason for the murder was available.

• A 50-year-old man was shot, in a case of revenge, while he and his wife were riding to a nearby school to sell boiled rice. The victim told police a gunman appeared on the sidewalk, shot him twice in the leg, and then fled.

• A 38-year-old man was watching television at night when he ran out of his house shouting before losing consciousness. Police said the man was hit on the head with a rock, his neck had been cut and he had been stabbed in the chest five times.

• A 42-year-old man was found dead in a rice field. The victim was killed with a knife and his head had been cut off. A witness told police three men had accused the victim of stealing a plastic pipe from their water pump before killing him.

• A 20-year-old was seriously injured when he was shot in the groin. OUCH! He apparently stopped his bike along the side of the road to watch a fight between two groups of gangsters.

• Another 20-year-old was attacked while leaving a restaurant by a group of gangsters. A witness said one of the gangsters chopped the victim several times on the back with a meat cleaver.

• And yet again, a 20-year-old was stabbed with a bayonet while arguing with 10 gangsters at a dance.

Pretty wild times in the first seven days of 2007 in Cambodia. These incidents didn't just take place in one city, rather they were spread out around the country.

When you look at what things could be like, they don't seem too bad here. Sure, we have our moments, but we are mostly spared from violent crime. At least I haven't heard of anyone getting hacked up with a meat cleaver and no one has yet planted land mines in the Lower Valley.

So count yourselves lucky, you people of the Lower Valley. Next time you see a police officer, give him a hearty thanks for a job well done. And stay alert. Call the police when you see something. If it turns out your suspicions were unwarranted, there won't be a problem. But if there is something going on, you might just save someone's lawnmower.

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