SOUTH MIAMI (CBS4) – South Miami’s Police Chief is speaking out after two serial gas station robbers victimized another station in his city. They have now struck four Miami-Dade gas stations in three days.
“They are out of control,” said police chief Orlando Martinez de Castro in an exclusive interview with CBS4’s Peter D’Oench. “They do three in one night and then they hit this one in South Miami. They’re not going to stop. It appears they are headed north. They could end up in Broward County.”
Martinez de Castro made the comments as Pinecrest Police released striking new surveillance tape of the robbers checking out a Mobil station on Monday night and then victimizing a Shell Station at 10495 South Dixie Highway.
Pinecrest Police Major Jason Cohen described the criminals as “very dangerous.”
One frightening image shows one robber chambering his silver/black semi automatic pistol that is similar to a Keltec .380 and scaring the clerk into handing over cash at the Pinecrest Shell station.
Martinez de Castro said, “What we are looking at is they are using main arteries. They have stopped at three stations on U.S. One.”
The police chief also released a photo of a newer model, light blue Hyundai Sonata that the robbers used as a getaway car in his city. It was parked near the BP gas station that they robbed on U.S. One at 63rd Avenue on Wednesday afternoon in South Miami.
“It is a blue metallic vehicle with tinted windows,” said Martinez de Castro. “What we are looking for is to identify this car and we hope that will lead us to the bad guys and hopefully take them off the streets before anyone else gets hurt.”
The chief, who was a highly decorated robbery detective over 10 years earlier in his career with the Miami Police Department, says he is alarmed by what the robbers have been doing.
“The tall suspect has a tattoo over his left arm and covers it with a bandage,” he said. “He probably does that because he does not want to be identified.”
Police say the robbery spree started at 8:33 on Monday night. The robbers stopped at a US gas station at 14395 South Dixie Highway where the owners told D’Oench they robbed the clerk of $700 in cash and other items.
Surveillance tape at a Mobile station captured the criminals entering a Mobile station. They checked out the store, according to Major Cohen. One man was seen fumbling through his pockets and giving the clerk $1 for a bottle of water.
At 8:51 p.m., they are seen walking into a Shell station at 10495 South Dixie Highway that is across the street from
The Mobil station. Pinecrest Police say the robbers left with hundreds of dollars in cash, saying the total amount was “under $500.”
A Pinecrest Police “Need to Identify” bulletin says “Subject 1 is a black male with a dark complexion. He is 19 to 22 years old and 5’8” tall. Subject 2 is a black male with a light complexion and is 19 to 22 years old. He is 5’11” to 6’ tall.
They were wearing New Era baseball caps and dressed in dark clothing. They fled on foot after leaving the store. One Pinecrest officer told D’Oench the caps they were wearing were known as “snap back caps.”
After robbing the Pinecrest station, police say they victimized a station in Doral at Northwest 36th Street and 79th Avenue. They struck the BP station in South Miami on Wednesday afternoon.
In an exclusive interview with D’Oench, Matthew Flick, who has managed the Pinecrest Shell Station for the past 15 years, told D’Oench, “They’re pretty brazen. They’re skilled and they know what they are doing unfortunately. But as you see from the pictures, you can see their faces. Now it is just a matter of time before we capture them.”
“Unfortunately it’s kind of the nature of the beast, a sign of the times,” he said. “I’m not sure if these two me n are suffering much but they were pretty brazen.”
“What they do when they come in to the store is they make a purchase usually. It’s a cigar or something that they get from the cashier and they give her a bill to open the cash drawer and immediately one of the assailants pulls out a gun and the other one goes around the counter,” Flick said. “I’m hoping they get what they deserve, especially because they used a weapon. They scared our clerk.”
Major Cohen told D’Oench, “They are obviously quite experienced at what they are doing. You see that with the man covering his tattoo. They are wearing ball caps to mask their appearance and they are making a good effort not to touch anything.”
Cohen said, “They were armed. One man had a firearm. They are very dangerous. I have no idea what their intentions were, what they were going to do. But we need to get them off the street.”
“They enter the gas station and don’t seem to care that people are pumping gas at the time,” said Cohen. “They approach the teller and pull the gun. You seem them racking it, chambering it, while they commit the robbery.”
If you recognize the robbers and can help solve this case, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (405) 471-TIPS (8477).