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COCONUT GROVE (CBSMiami) — A victim has spoken out after confronting criminals in his home during a rash or burglaries in Coconut Grove.
It’s unusual, police say, because the number of home burglaries in the neighborhood is at a historic low.
Now they’re investigating three burglaries in the past two weeks. In two of those instances, victims were home at the time.
“I was terrified. My wife was terrified,” said Jim Herron, whose barking dog woke him up to find himself face to face with two crooks on Monday.
“It looks like they knew my property, that we had gates,” said Herron.
Miami Police are now stepping up patrols in the area. Crooks got away with jewelry, electronics and televisions at a home on Nocatee Drive. Early Sunday, an intruder broke inside a home on Jefferson Street, taking cash and property.
A day later on Seminole Street, two men tried breaking into Herron’s home after first removing the front gate from its track.
“I had gates here for 25 years,” Herron said. “I don’t know how they did that.”
They also broke into his shed in the backyard and ripped out an FPL meter.
“They simply pulled out this meter and threw it on the ground,” he said. “I think they thought it would kill the alarm but most have a battery backup.”
Within 15 seconds, his emergency generator kicked on.
“They took this panel off the generator hoping to get in there and turn it off,” Herron added.
“Another person jimmied the door and tried to get in through the patio door, and that is when I saw them,” he recalled. “I said, ‘what are you guys doing here?’ And they ran.”
And police want answers, as well.
“It’s one thing to break into unoccupied cars and it is another thing to break into a home where people are hoe,” said Cdr. Mike Gonzalez with Miami Police. “If you see anybody or anything you don’t recognize in your neighborhood, call us and we will come by and check that out.”
Herron is making sure it won’t happen again.
“I’m going to put in cameras and increase security. This was a terrifying experience,” he said.
Investigators are trying to determine if the same crooks are behind the burglaries.
If you know anything that can help, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS.