Dec. 12, 2002: An Isla Vista resident entered the I.V. Foot Patrol office to report that a PlayStation 2 had been stolen from his residence on the 700 block of Camino del Sur. The video game enthusiast said his roommate had moved out and taken the video game system without permission during Winter Break. Likely, the PlayStation’s absence left a void between his GameCube and Xbox on his shelf o’ coolness.

The enthusiast also said the allegedly thieving roommate never got along with anybody else in the house. Thus, the owner of the PlayStation had removed all wires and controllers necessary for full appreciation of the PlayStation 2, in hopes of reducing the alleged thief’s level of Sony-generated joy. Nonetheless, the video game console was gone when the enthusiast returned. After ruling out the infamous video game thief Carmen Sandiego, suspicion fell upon the missing roommate.

The IVFP officer who took the enthusiast’s complaint contacted the alleged thief and asked if he knew the whereabouts of the PlayStation 2. The young man first feigned ignorance, but then admitted he had taken it. The officer said the young man would not be charged with any crime if he would just return the console. The young man agreed to mail it back to its rightful home; if he failed in this endeavor, he would be charged with petty theft.

Like any good video game, however, there’s a sequel to this little adventure.

The officer contacted the video game enthusiast again on Jan. 9 to see whether the PlayStation 2 was once again filling the living room with the presence of the latest Grand Theft Auto incarnation. The enthusiast said the package had been mailed and was waiting at the post office in the name of a third roommate. This roommate was in another state until Jan. 19, leaving the enthusiast still unable to wile away his hours in its warming glow.

The enthusiast is presently waiting for his chance to check the condition of his PlayStation 2. But until then, game over.

Couch Survives Trial by Fire

Jan. 11, at 2:08 a.m.: Once again, the epic struggle between those polar opposites of nature, fire and couch play out on the streets of I.V.

IVFP officers patrolling the 6500 block of Madrid Road observed a 21-year-old man place a cardboard box stuffed with newspapers on a couch. Shockingly, the couch was resting in the middle of the road, awaiting an imminent immolation.

The officers continued watching and observed the same would-be pyro run out of a Madrid Road residence with a flaming newspaper in hand. (One shudders at the thought of a copy of the Daily Nexus being the publication used in such an incendiary manner.) He placed the flaming publication atop the box.

While one officer immediately arrested the young man for attempted arson, the other extinguished the flaming box before it could spread to the road or the couch itself. The little firebug was Mirandized and questioned at the IVFP station.

Upon being asked if the couch belonged to him, the firebug responded, “No.”

Upon being asked what he had intended to do with the box of newspaper, the firebug decided he didn’t want to answer that particular question.

Upon being told that the officer had seen the flaming newspaper-torch, thus making his intentions fairly obvious, the firebug responded, “Well, nothing really caught on fire.” You know, except for the flaming box of newspapers.

The firebug denied using any gasoline or lighter fluid in the fire that he totally didn’t try to start.

“This isn’t like me,” he said. “I’ve never been in trouble before.”

The firebug was doused with a night in the Santa Barbara County Jail.