The man didn't have a handicap when he took the handicapped-only parking space. But Belinda Thomas of Alexandria made sure he soon developed one -- right smack in the wallet.

The scene was Old Town Alexandria, never an easy place to find a parking space, and a next-to-impossible place to find a handicapped-only space. But the latter was the kind Belinda needed, because her passenger was her brother-in-law, Paul, who is confined to a wheelchair.

Around and around the block they went, without luck. Finally, they found a handicapped-only space. But just as they were about to claim it, a Greedy Gus nosed in front of them and snatched it away. Naturally, Gus was as able-bodied as they come.

Belinda started her retaliation peacefully enough. She tapped her horn a few times, hoping to embarrass Gus into moving. But he ignored her, and walked off down the street. Furious, Belinda started after him on foot.

A short way down the block, however, she ran into one of Alexandria's finest. Who listened with interest. Who yanked out a ticket book. Who left Gus a $25 memento that might cure a bad habit.