December 23, 1 PM, 2700 block of North Pine Grove. Theft. Woman was walking home from bank. Two men jumped her and took her purse, which contained $650. Woman got call later that day from man, who asked for $200 to return her purse. She offered $100. Man said that wasn’t enough but arranged meeting anyway. When man emerged from cab with purse under coat, police arrested him. Man said he’d found purse downtown and had hoped to collect reward.

January 6, 11:20 AM, 4400 block of North Sheridan. Robbery. Two men approached another man on street. They pulled knife and said, “Hey, that’s a nice coat you’ve got on there.” They took coat and fled. Police subsequently searched area and approached two men. One of them said, “Oh, is this about some guy coming up to you and saying I took his coat?” Victim identified men. They were arrested.

January 15, 8 PM, 4600 block of South Drexel. Theft. Man was spotted in building lobby repeatedly putting paper dollar halfway into soda machine, unplugging machine, pulling dollar out, and plugging machine back in. Apparently man had discovered that these actions triggered not only release of free can of soda but also extra change from machine. When residents of building asked man to stop, he tried to bribe them with cans of Pepsi. They called police, who found that man already had outstanding warrant. He was arrested.

January 25, 2:15 PM, 1800 block of West Monterey. Battery. Man reported car stolen. Police found car and thief later that day and called victim into station to identify vehicle. When man saw handcuffed suspect, he began beating him. Police arrested man.

–Neal Pollack