MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The mother of a 19-year-old accused serial car burglar from South Miami who was captured on surveillance tape is speaking out. She says is baffled by the crimes that her son is accused of committing.
“It bothers me,” says Doris Bell, the mother of suspect Jeremy Davis. “I was upstairs last night when I heard about it. He was on the news.”
Bell told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench in an exclusive interview, “He was a good boy. He was a very good boy. He never got into trouble. He was very obedient. So I don’t know what happened. He moved in with his Dad and came back and got away. That’s what I heard what happened. He got in with the wrong crowd.
“He needs to turn his life around and go to school, go back to school and do what he did. He wanted to be a doctor. I don’t know what happened to that.”
Davis’s older brother, Demetrius Debose, said, “He just needs to come out and get his mind right. I already told him that. He doesn’t need to be doing that.”
South Miami Police said they believe Davis had burglarized dozens of cars and had been arrested three other times for burglarizing cars.
Police Sgt. Henry Guzman had said Davis was a car hopper, and like other car hoppers would scour neighborhoods early in the morning – often between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. – looking for unlocked cars that he could get into to steal valuable items.
In bond court, Circuit Judge Mindy Glazer said Davis was currently charged with burglary and criminal mischief.
Police said Davis and 21-year-old Robert Markeith Nickles were arrested Tuesday afternoon in Pinecrest after an alert from a UPS driver who saw them jumping over a fence in the area of S.W. 63rd Ave. and S.W. 92nd St.
Pinecrest Police said Nickles had “multiple run ins with law enforcement both as an adult and a juvenile.”
Nickles was also charged with burglary to an unoccupied dwelling and criminal mischief.
Pinecrest Police said they were riding bicycles. They said an investigation revealed that they had entered one victim’s home through a sun porch that had an unlocked door and used a clay brick to smash an impact resistant glass rear door and door handle. Pinecrest Police said they did not get inside but caused $2,000 worth of damage.
Davis told Judge Glazer, “I’ve been studying to get my GED. I have a job.”
He said he lives with and cares for his 82-year-old grandmother Mary Bell who is now hospitalized with heart and blood pressure problems.
“I am the caretaker for my grandmother,” he told the Judge. “She can’t live without me.”
Judge Glazer set bond at $10,500, telling Davis, “You need to think about your actions.”
Davis had been the subject of an intensive search by South Miami Police who issued a BOLO, or a be-on-the-lookout bulletin, for him.
He was seen in the surveillance tape wearing a black vest and camouflage pants.
Records show Davis had been arrested before for loitering and prowling, resisting arrest, battery, possessing marijuana and stealing cars.
Liz Regalado, whose car had also been broken into, said she was grateful an arrest had been made.
“I feel very grateful, especially to South Miami Police Chief Rene Landa who met with us because of our concerns and gave us advice on how to keep our neighborhood safe,” said Regalado.
“I’m very relieved and happy but we remain vigilant. It’s not over. He’s not the only one. We understand this is going on nationwide, especially during the holidays so we have to remain vigilant.”
Regalado added, “I hope that he (Davis) finds his way. I am a social worker by profession so I understand that people make wrong decisions, especially young people. Hopefully he will turn his life around and learn that there are other ways to address his needs other than stealing from people.”
South Miami Police have pro-actively issued alerts to CBS4 news about car hoppers. It is a crime that police say has risen dramatically in the past four years in South Florida.
“The bottom line is to lock your cars to keep what’s yours,” Chief Landa has said in the past.
Police said 40 percent of all car burglaries could have been prevented by locking doors.
CBS4 made contact with the UPS driver who called police about the Pinecrest crimes. He said he did not want to comment on camera because he did not want to call attention to himself. He said he was just doing his job in order to protect the customers he had been serving for 20 years.
Sgt. Guzman said South Miami Police plan to give the UPS driver a commendation.