MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade Police are hoping a new composite sketch that they are releasing will lead to the capture of the three police impersonators who abducted a Southwest Miami-Dade man last Friday and left him handcuffed on the side of the Palmetto Expressway.
The new composite sketch is striking in its detail and looks very similar to a black and white photograph.
The sketch from the Miami-Dade Police Department robbery unit shows a man who witnesses have described as a “white Latin male in his late 30s with a muscular build,” according to Miami-Dade Police detective Robin Pinkard.
Since police do not have good desriptions to release of the other two suspects, this is their best lead so far.
The victim, 45-year-old Nawfal Ziane, told police he was in the driveway of his home near the corner of Southwest 43rd Lane and 150th Avenue Friday morning when three men jumped out of a black SUV.
Police say the men identified themselves as police officers and their SUV was equipped with police lights. They then handcuffed Ziane and forced him into the SUV.
All three of the men were wearing police t-shirts and carrying badges.
Police said the handcuffs on Ziane were not the handcuffs normally issued to official law enforcement.
While traveling northbound on the Palmetto, the suspects pulled over and released Ziane at Northwest 74th Street after he tried to escape.
Pinkard told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “At this time we presume this was a robbery because the victim’s wallet was taken during this incident. I’m quite sure this victim was in fear for his life.
It’s fortunate he was not seriously injured.”
Pinkard is also alarmed because there has been a reported and marked increase in the number of police impersonators in South Florida in the past five years.
“Anytime anyone presents themselves as a police officer and commits a serious crime, especially in broad daylight, that’s a concern to the Miami-Dade Police Department,” said Pinkard.
D’Oench showed the new composite sketch to more than a dozen homeowners in the Lakes of the Meadow neighborhood, a subdivision of about 2300 homes in Southwest Miami-Dade.
One neighbor, Sylvan Wong, told D’Oench, “I’m not sure but that person in the sketch looks familiar. I just don’t recall where I saw him.”
“It’s crazy and it’s scary,” he said. “We have to get these guys off the street. These guys are brazen. They could do anything to innocent people.”
Neighbor Aurelio Sica said, “This is the first time something like this has happened in this neighborhood. It’s normally quiet and safe,” he said.
“Safety is always a concern here,” he said. “We are always concerned about the safety of children and for families with children. Everyone should be concerned if this was indeed a legitimate Kidnapping.”
Some neighbors in Lakes of the Meadow have said vandalism and thefts have been increasing recently.
Ziane has declined to say anything after his abduction, telling employees at his cigar store in Miami that he had “no comment” and would have nothing to say about the new composite sketch.
Miami-Dade Police urge you to call them if you can help them with this case or Miami-Dade Crimestoppers at (305) 471-tips (8477).
If you recognize the man in the composite sketch, call Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477) or (866) 471-8477 or visit www.crimestoppersmiami.com and select “Give a Tip.” Also, a text message may be sent to 274637. Enter CSMD followed by the tip information and press send.