MIAMI(CBSMiami)– New surveillance tape shows a crime that authorities say is happening all around South Florida: victims who are targeted and followed after buying items at shopping malls.READ MORE: Hollywood Looks To Tighten Animal Abuse Laws
“This is going on all over Dade County and Broward County and this is an organized crime being done where laptops and iphones are being stolen,” said South Miami Police Sgt. Henry Guzman.
One of the victims whose first name is Jessica, who did not want to reveal her last name told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench in an exclusive interview, “It really bothers me. I felt really violated because I do believe they followed me from the mall. It concerns me and I thank God nothing happened to me and my boyfriend but I think this story is a good way for people to realize that even in a nice city or area there are bad people and you always have to watch your back.”
“I think everyone should look at the video and help police because I don’t think I was the first person who they did this to and it is going to continue until they’ve stopped them and they need help. I don’t think it is right that people are living off of stolen property and I think that’s a lazy way to live,” she said. “I just think I was definitely followed. Police are seen making multiple passes in broad daylight so these people are fearless.”READ MORE: London-Bound American Airlines Flight Returned To MIA After Couple Refused To Wear Masks
Sgt. Guzman displayed a flyer of one robbery suspect and a female “person of interest” who are pictured on the new flyer entitled “Vehicle Burglary—Followed from Dadeland Apple Store.”
Guzman also released surveillance tape of the thief who was wearing blue shorts and a white t-shirt and a blue cap and is 47 to 48 years old and a person who Guzman says was his accomplice—a “person of interest” who he says is 52 to 53 years old and may have been the thief’s lookout.
The tape shows the robber casually approaching the victim’s white SUV in daylight as police cars drive by at S.W. 73rd St. and S.W. 59th Ave. at 5:05 p.m. on Sunday, May 31st. Guzman said the video shows the suspect removing a bag with two laptops that were just purchased from the Dadeland Mall Apple and Microsoft stores. He said the victims were followed from the Dadeland Mall.
The surveillance tape also shows the suspect’s black Volvo XC90 Sports Utility Vehicle pulling up and it also shows the robber walking up to and around the victim’s vehicle about 20 minutes before burglarizing it.
Guzman said “They’re probably communicating via cell phone and watching out who buys the computer at the Apple store and what they do is follow them from the Apple Store and wait for them to go anywhere to stop and eat. That’s when there is the opportunity. They are expensive computers that they pack up and sell. These guys look like they have done this several times. Our concern is you’re going out there to buy something and no one should be out there taking these items from you. This is a crime of opportunity where people are taking advantage of our victims.”MORE NEWS: Florida COVID-19 Hospitalizations Decrease
“Our main concern is we need to identify these people and get them off the streets,” said Guzman. “We want to make sure these guys stop these crimes.” He said anyone who recognizes the people in the surveillance tape should call Detective Taylor at (305) 663-6312 or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).