SOUTH MIAMI (CBSMiami) – New surveillance tape obtained by CBS4 shows a thin young man who police say is a serial car burglar and is wanted by authorities in at least two South Florida cities.
“God forbid he gets ahold of a gun and does something stupid with it,” said South Miami Police Sgt. Henry Guzman in an exclusive interview with CBS4’s Peter D’Oench. “Any weapons you might have and anything of value should be put inside your home. Lock your doors and keep what is yours.”
Guzman said the surveillance tape shows a criminal who has broken into at least nine vehicles in South Miami and Pinecrest between May 4th and May 6th. He usually strikes in darkness in the early morning hours.
Guzman said the tape shows the suspect between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. on May 5th breaking into unlocked vehicles that are parked in driveways along SW 58th Avenue between SW 80th and 83rd streets.
He carries a flashlight in his right hand and wears a baseball cap, a dark long sleeve shirt with reflective parts and a dark colored backpack.
Guzman said he is a white male who is thin, about 5’6” to 5’8” tall and 18 to 25 years old.
“He goes to unlocked doors and if they are locked, he moves on to the next door,” said Guuzman. “He is looking for anything of value. A lot of times he is looking for that extra key that is left there like a valet key that may actually take the vehicle. He is looking for jewelry, guns, weapons, anything of value, loose change.
“There’s a myth that if you keep your door unlocked you save yourself from having the glass broken. Also since we see some cars driving by while the crime is being committed, we urge neighbors who see something to say something and get involved. We have gone to the neighborhoods to alert everyone.”
Guzman said he was also struck by how casual the criminal seems to be and how much time he spends inside the vehicle of one of the South Miami victims.
He said police were alerting neighbors. Some said they are on guard.
One neighbor, Beth Wheeling, said, “I think as times get harder people are getting more and more desperate and there is more theft.”
D’Oench also spoke with one of the six victims from Pinecrest.
Michael Yanaros said his truck was broken into.
“I opened the door and I saw stuff lying on my seat so I knew somebody had been there,” said Yanaros. “He had taken all of my change and dollar bills for the homeless people and a pocket knife and a utility knife. It’s like anything else when someone violates your property you are not real happy.”
He added, “It is not a good feeling when you are walking out to your car in the morning and you know that someone had opened the door to your vehicle. All I can say is don’t leave your vehicle locked anymore.”
“Would you like to see this guy caught?” asked D’Oench.
“That would be a good idea,” said Yanaros. “That way we could get him off the street.”
Pinecrest police said their crimes have happened between midnight and 6 a.m. They said the suspect carried a backpack to load the stolen items.
Anyone with information that can help police should call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).