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Crappy cars lure Colorado Springs crooks?

Here at the Criminal Affairs Desk, we've remarked before that malfeasance in Colorado Springs often takes strange twists. Not that crime waves are any more severe or more violent in El Paso County than they are in the Denver area; they're just...different. Like the rock-wielding bandit who recently terrorized Springs convenience stores, or the rash of burglaries and auto break-ins in the wake of the devastating Waldo Canyon fire.

This Friday the 13th weekend is shaping up to be a particularly memorable one in the annals of the Colorado Springs police blotter -- and it's just started, with an early-hours report of shots fired at a hookah lounge on South Nevada Avenue that left three wounded. Hookah lounge shootings appear to be a rising trend in southern California and Las Vegas, but they have been a rarity in our state -- until now.

But even before the hookah shootings, the local gendarmes have had plenty on their plate. Just in the last 24 hours, they've dealt with several unusual carjackings, a bike-jacking -- the search for suitable transport seems to be a persistent theme -- a bomb-squad call and other weirdness. Consider:

• Last night a carjacking in east Colorado Spring left one victim with a gunshot wound to the chest, after the suspects reportedly commandeered his vehicle, told him to get out, then shot him as he ran. The car in question? A 1999 Toyota Corolla.

• A few hours later, a man outside of a 7-Eleven demanded that a fifteen-year-old "give him something" and acted as if he had a weapon in his pocket. The man, described as having bad teeth, made off with the kid's BMX bike.

• Yesterday afternoon, the Springs bomb squad responded to a call about a suspicious package on the north side and removed one "that appeared to be a small homemade explosive device."

• Also yesterday afternoon, officers arrested a man driving a gold Ford Taurus after its owner complained that it had been taken from him at gunpoint. The night before, detectives conducting surveillance on a stolen Honda Civic nabbed a suspect believed to be involved in a series of similar thefts.

What does it all mean? Among other things, it would appear that a decent ride seems to be in short supply at the foot of Pikes Peak.