MIAMI LAKES (CBSMiami) – Detectives with the Miami-Dade Police Department have collected stolen property from an arrest and are looking for the public’s help in identifying the rightful owners.
The parking lot of Miami-Dade’s Northwest District police station looks like a gigantic garage sale. The more than 700 items displayed there are hot and added together they’re worth a pretty penny.
“Whew! Over 300-thousand dollars at least,” Detective Michael Watson told CBS4’s Natalia Zea.
From saws, to drills, to hedgers, to generators…it’s a handyman’s delight. Police say they recovered all the stolen stuff at the Opa-Locka home where 61-year-old Rafael Sofia lives. Detectives say Sophia has operated a booth at the Opa-Locka Flea Market for the last 10 years. Investigators say he would buy and re-sell the equipment, stolen from different thieves all over the state.
“You come to the opa locka flea market and you say I have a tool and he buys it knowing it’s possibly stolen. And as a person that steals tools, I know I have a place to go to get rid of my stolen property,” explained Watson.
Watson is personally determined to return the tools to the rightful owners. He wants you to come down to the police station and take a look.
“We’re trying to get people out there to say, ‘hey this item belongs to me.’ If they have any identifying documentation, receipts, anything that will assist us in identifying their property.”
He wants to see justice served.
“Nothing is too small, no item is too small if it has been taken from you. And we’re hoping we can get the community to come out and find their items.”
The property, includes air compressors, drills, drill press, angle grinders, chain saws, generators, hammer drills, nail guns, pole saws, precision lasers, pressure washers, and many other items.
The items will be available to the public throughout the weekend. If you think any of the equipment may belong to you, police asked that you bring receipts, police reports, and/or any valuable information as proof of ownership.
The property is at:
Miami-Dade Police Department
5975 Miami Lakes Drive East
Miami Lakes, Florida 33014
You can view the items until 7PM Friday. They will also be open from 9AM to 2PM on Saturday and Sunday.
As for Rafael Sofia, he is facing 7 counts of dealing in stolen property. And as the owners of the items come forward, police say the number of charges will increase.