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True Crime Lite: A Glass of Orange Juice a Day

As we emerge from flu season feeling either stronger or weaker for the experience, we all owe much to the wonder that is Vitamin C. Through the winter months I encourage my child to drink more orange juice to boost his immune system. I also notice the scarcity of Vitamin C on the shelves when I go shopping during this particularly contagious season. Although I've never heard of someone actually taking the time to make sure they get their all-important daily glass of orange juice in the middle of a burglary. At the very least, his immune system was slightly boosted before entering the close quarters of prison during the sickly months of winter.

According to The Village Voice, 20-year-old James Moorer spent Christmas Day in 2009 breaking into a brownstone building in Chelsea on West 25th Street. Kicking the basement-window's air conditioner in, The New York Post reports that he gained entry to the building and grabbed a set of keys once inside. The keys allowed him access to the first-floor apartment of Andy and Lita Wall, who were still engaged at the time. The couple had gone out of town for the holiday, making the bumbling burglary that took place possible.

Far from the perfect crime, the amount of noise alerted the building's super, Hanna Cheek. Listening to the clatter, she thought that there had to be more than one burglar in the apartment. She called 911 and the arrival of police cut James's venture short as he fled in fear of being caught. As badly as he wanted to avoid an arrest, he didn't seem to deem it necessary to cover his tracks before leaving. While inside Andy and Lita's apartment, he decided to grab a drink from the fridge. Because burglary is evidently thirsty work. He grabbed a container of orange juice, chugged what was left straight from the carton, and left it sitting in the middle of the kitchen counter before he fled.

When police arrived at the building they surmised that only one burglar had broken in despite the amount of clamor heard. They also quickly discovered just how careless and inept their burglar was when they found the empty orange juice container on the counter. It was sent off for DNA testing, a move that James had clearly not anticipated. On the contrary, he felt quite invincible after his near-miss. Later that night after authorities had cleared the apartment, he returned to finish what he had started. Between both of his burglaries in the same home, he took a desktop computer, a camera, and a video camera. He never even suspected that a bad habit his mother had likely tried to break him of for years would be his undoing.

As the moronic marauder went on about his business, believing he had narrowly escaped a prison term, authorities were learning quite a bit about him. A quick look into his criminal record made it clear that he had quite unsuccessfully attempted to launch a career in criminality. He had twelve priors, including charges for assault and grand larceny. Charges for dealing weed were also mentioned, but hardly a reason for alarm. He was picked up and held on a $15,000 bond.

In the aftermath of this foolishly amateur break-in, Hanna Cheek changed all of the locks throughout the building to better ensure the safety of the tenants. She had been shaken by the event, commenting to The New York Post that the brownstone had not been broken into since the 1980s. While Andy knew that he would never have the possessions stolen from him returned, that wasn't what bothered him the most. No, he was most troubled by the invasion of his and his then-fiance's personal space. The fact that James had entered their home a second time only made the incident more disconcerting.

Some takeaways from this story: I'm sure every burglar has had a close call. The answer is not to wait it out and come back for the rest of the loot, though. As tempting as it may be to raid the refrigerators of those that actually go grocery shopping while burglarizing their homes, it's certainly not a good idea. Maybe if you're going to spend your nights breaking into homes it would be wise to eat dinner and ensure your hydration beforehand. While the holiday season is certainly a time that you want to keep your Vitamin C levels up, maybe have that glass of OJ before a night of burglary.

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