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Police Strive To Keep Chronic Crook Behind Bars

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(Source: Miami-Dade Corrections)

(Source: Miami-Dade Corrections)

Gary-Nelson-600x450 Gary Nelson
Gary Nelson has been a member of the CBS4 News team since Septem...
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South Florida Crime

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Leonardo Lopez, the man accused of savagely beating a gas station clerk and leading police on a wild chase, has a rap sheet you could paper a wall with—that’s why police say they’re determined to put him away for quite some time.

Lopez was wheeled into Ryder Trauma center Tuesday injured after the stolen Jeep he was driving flipped over during a police pursuit.

Lopez, a chronic crook, had been tracked to the inaptly named “Paradise” trailer park. As cops moved in, the chase was on—but Lopez inevitably lost the race.

Last week, police believe Lopez was the man who beat Valero clerk Arif Chowdhury with a metal pipe, robbing him, and left a bloody mess at the gas station at 78th Street and Biscayne Boulevard.

“I feel real great about it. I wish they could have caught him more earlier,” said Chowdhury when Lopez was arrested.

Actually, he was arrested earlier—in fact, records show 47-year-old Lopez has been jailed 41 times, for everything from car theft to assault with a deadly weapon. Lopez has also racked up 22 felony convictions, spent most of his adult life locked up. Cops said that when he’s out, he’s committing crimes—so they intend on keeping him locked up and want to make a federal case on Lopez to turn him over to the FBI.

Lopez’s state prison page says he has the tattoo of an angel, and a devil.

“We’re going to go federal with this gentleman because that way it guarantees he’ll get more jail time, swifter justice, and we won’t see him for a long time to come,” said Chief Manuel Orosa of Miami Police Department.

Investigators suspect that Lopez has committed at least seven gas station heists—and it doesn’t stop there.

“We know he was out there stealing cars and carjacking cars.  We want to know if you were one of these victims and if you can identify him,” said Orosa.

Authorities say the idea is to catch Lopez for as many cases as possible.

While Lopez has crossed the thresholds of lots of lockups over the last 30 years, this time police would like to see him go away for longer. Therefore, they are asking for the public’s help in making more cases against Lopez.

Anyone with any information are asked to call Crimestoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

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