MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade police have released surveillance pictures of a serial burglar who they believe is now operating in the Kendall and Hammocks area.
Police suspect he has victimized at least 10 businesses.
The man, who is described as being in his 30s, dresses in business attire and is usually seen talking on his cell phone prior to breaking into the business, according to police. He is always seen carrying a messenger bag.
On December 1st, 2013 he burglarized the Samaria Beauty Supply, at 8260 SW 40th Street, and stole a cash register containing a $100 in cash.
“I think it’s very sad what he’s doing. It’s very unfortunate that people work hard to establish a business and then he just comes in and takes what is not his,” said store owner Jackie Mejia.
Mejia told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that she is offering a $1,000 reward, in addition to the Crime Stopper’s reward, for information that will help the police catch this guy.
“We’re offering a $1,000 reward for whoever finds this guy or tells us a clue where we might be able to find him,” said Mejia.
“He popped open the lock to the store and just went in and jumped over the counter and stole the cash register and left,” she said. “Replacing the register could cost us $150 to $200. I am just hoping someone can help us catch this guy.”
On December 30th, 2013, he was caught on camera breaking into the Latin Caribe Restaurant, at 8901 SW 157th Avenue, where he stole about $400.00.
In January 2014, security cameras captured him burglarizing the Peace Love Hair Salon, at 7190 SW 87th Avenue, and the IPC Insurance office at 10481 SW 88th Street. In both cases he went in through the front door and stole cash along with electronics.
“It’s upsetting,” said Ileana Varas, who has owned the Peace Love Hair Salon for the past two years. “You work hard and you have your own business and they come in and steal. In our case, he didn’t take that much because the alarm went off and police came. But he did take about $100.”
Varas said, “He doesn’t look like a thug. He looks like a normal every day guy. He dresses nicely and his hair is nice. He looks normal and the guy fits in. I think he also has an accomplice because after looking at the surveillance video, we think he had a woman with him.”
Police said in each case the man used a channel lock tool to punch/twist out the lock. They suspect he’s responsible for as many as ten burglaries in the area.
“Of course this is affecting all of the businesses and who knows if this individual is then next going to move on to residential burglaries and start breaking into homes. So for us we take it very seriously and we’re urging the community to come together with the police department, look at the footage and if you are able to identify this subject, we urge you to contact Crime Stoppers,” said Miami-Dade police spokesman Det. Alvaro Zabaleta.
Zabaleta said “You look at this surveillance tape and you see that he is looking around the area and seeing if anyone is watching him.”
Zabaleta said other stores that the suspect may have struck include 5 Start Nails at 12530 S.W. 120th St., Dry Cleaner Alterations at 12526 S.W. 120th St., Te Max Insurance at 7990 SW 117th Ave., Lady of America at 7350 SW 107th Ave., Interstate All Battery Center at 8290 S.W. 40th St and Power Pizzeria at 8825 S.W. 107th Ave.
Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS.