MIAMI(CBSMiami) – Miami Police say a 47-year-old man wanted for at least six violent robberies including the savage attack last week on a convenience store clerk is under arrest.
Records show that suspect has been arrested 13 times since 1984 on charges including destroying property, assault with a deadly weapon, the grand theft of vehicles and burglary.READ MORE: Police Chase Led To Crash In Lauderhill, Two BSO Deputies Hurt, Driver Charged
“I feel very good about it. I wish they had captured him earlier so all the gas stations around here could be safe,” said Arif Chowdhury, the clerk at the Valero gas station at 78th Street and Biscayne Boulevard who was attacked and beaten some 25 times last Wednesday by a suspect who stole a safe and $300 from the store.
That attack, captured on surveillance, was first seen on CBS4 News at 6 p.m. last Wednesday. Chowdhury was left with cuts and bruises on his face and still has a black eye from the attack.
The 48-year-old Chowdhury told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “What I heard was that he was the same man who robbed another gas station in Miami earlier in the day so it’s great they caught him. Maybe he’ll be sentenced for this and go away for a long time.”
Police said they arrested the man who robbed Chowdhury.
Miami Police Sgt. Freddie Cruz told D’Oench that the suspect, 27-year-old Leonardo Lopez, faces a slew of charges from both Miami Police and the F.B.I., which is also investigating.
Cruz said Lopez was spotted by a special robbery tactical team driving his stolen, green Jeep Cherokee erratically. He said police followed Lopez and they arrested him after he overturned his vehicle after crashing into two parked cars at Northwest 2nd Street and 26th Avenue.READ MORE: Coast Guard Recovers 1 Body In Search For 38 After Boat Capsizes Off Florida Coast
“As you can see this Jeep Cherokee that is overturned in the street was being driven by Leonardo Lopez who we have been looking for several days,” said Cruz. “He’s been involved in over six violent robberies including the one last week at the Valero station where a clerk was beaten with a pipe.”
“This individual showed total disregard for safety,” Cruz said. “He was driving erratically through a residential neighborhood and struck two parked vehicles and then overturned his vehicle with no injuries. Fortunately there were no injuries.”
“He has been taken to the hospital for observation,” said Cruz.
A CBS4 crew was at the Ryder Trauma Center as Lopez was brought in on a stretcher after the accident.
“I’m just happy this criminal is off the streets,” said Cruz.
Meanwhile, Chowdhury, who is a father of four children who has worked at convenience stores for the past 17 years, says he returned to work last Sunday after taking four days off after the attack.
“I feel very good right now,” he said. “But I still have headaches. I have been putting my head in ice water to help. This morning I woke up and I was dizzy. But I am going to be ok.”
“I still have no clue why he did that to me,” said Chowdhury. “At the time I didn’t even think there was going to be a robbery. He just attacked me. Thank God I was ok.”MORE NEWS: Broward Sheriff's Investigators Looking For Two People Accused In Gas Station Confrontation
The Department of Corrections was supervising Lopez because of his arrests. The Department said he was on “conditional release.”