MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The arrest of eight men last month accused in a series of robberies in Coral Gables and several surrounding cities came a great news to the walkers, joggers and dog-walkers of the “The City Beautiful.”
In early August, 40-year old Paris Casanova was out for a jog in the 600 block of North Greenway when he was robbed by three men at gun point, according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald.
The three got away with Casanova’s iPod Shuffle, gold wedding ring and a $150 exercise watch. They went to a waiting vehicle, where a fourth man was behind the wheel, and ordered Casanova to walk away and not look back or be shot, according to the police report.
“It’s quiet, it’s beautiful and there are so many people out you’d think it’s not the kind of place to target,” said Carol Damian who walks in the area every day. “Now I’m a little bit weary when I see somebody that I don’t recognize.”
On hearing of the robbery, several walkers and joggers launched an email and phone campaign directed at the city’s mayor, commission and city manager asking that something be done to prevent any more.
Margarita Delgado, 64, a public relations executive who spurred the campaign, emailed city leaders and the chief of police and asked for a dedicated patrol of North and South Greenway Drives between 5 a.m. and 6:30 a.m.
“I’m concerned,” said Delgado. “This has always been a wonderful community and I don’t feel we should be exposed to that level of crime.”
Police chief Dennis Weiner replied that they were working with Miami, Miami Beach and Miami-Dade police departments and their data showed that the “robbery teams were active all over eastern Miami-Dade County with the likelihood that they were living within the city of Miami Beach,” according tot he paper.
On Aug. 16, Miami Beach Police arrested eight men, including the four who were allegedly involved in Casanova’s robbery – Johnson Sanchez, 20, Marte Pena, 19, Miguel Alexander Rijo, 18, and Yoan Acosta Orta, 20.
“We will be closing both robberies and many more will be closed by surrounding agencies.” Coral Gables Police spokesman Dean Wellinghoff told the paper.
“Still have to be weary, just because they caught those 4 doesn’t mean there aren’t another 4 waiting in the wings,” said Damian.
Coral Gables police have also beefed up their presence in the North Greenway area with more uniformed and undercover officers.
CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed to this report.