MIAMI (CBSMiami) – South Miami Police and victims are asking for the public’s help as detectives release surveillance tape of two suspected, serial car burglars.
“I’m very upset,” said one victim, Elizabeth Gonzalez, in an exclusive interview with CBS4’s Peter D’Oench.
“I have been living here for 40 years and I have never had any problems here before,” she said. “This is becoming very prevalent.”
“I have worked my whole life as many of my neighbors have and some have started out with barely nothing,” said Gonzalez, who is an elementary school teacher. “We would never violate anyone else. These people are very hurtful. It is a terrible thing. It is not right to take stuff from people who work hard.”
South Miami Police Captain Larry Corbin says the new surveillance tape shows two young males rummaging through Gonzalez’s vehicle in the area of S.W. 78th St. And S.W. 68th Ave. Between 11:30 p.m. On April 3rd and 7:30 a.m. On April 4th.
Gonzalez said the thieves stole some expensive sunglasses, a coin purse and cash. The surveillance tape shows that the burglars took their time going through her unlocked vehicle.
“Your doors should always be locked and do not keep anything of value in your car,” she said. “We are hoping that this video will lead to the capture of these people and they will stop doing this. Aside from the fact that my coin purse was taken, they threw everything around in my car and all of my papers were toppled. This was a violation and invasion of my personal property.”
While the burglars are seen wearing hoodies, police also released surveillance tape and photos of them inside a Tom Thumb convenience store on the same night of the crimes. The store is located at the corner of S.W. 80th St. And s.w. 67 Ave, just a few blocks away from the victims’ homes. They are seen inside the store for several moments, apparently trying to buy cigarettes.
Victor Hevia said his wife’s vehicle was also broken into next to Gonzalez’s home.
“It’s sad,” he said. “You feel this is like an invasion of your privacy especially when they are rambling all over your car. It is uncomfortable to wake u in the morning and find somebody has gone all over your car.”
“I have been here 20 years,” he said. “And I remember the days when you can leave your car doors open and your house doors open. If they are caught, this sends out a message that somebody’s doing something about this so it is not going to keep happening.”
Capt. Corbin said, “They look to be teenagers, between 18 and 19 years old. One is about 5’10” to 6′ tall. The other is shorter, about 5’5″ tall. We do know that they broke into four vehicles and may have stolen another one. We do not recognize them and believe they may not be from this area.”
“They car hoppers have been going on forever in this county, the state and the country and we want to get the word out that we want to take them off the street and charge them,” said Corbin.
“They look for anything of value in your car, loose change, your GPS and sometimes people live firearms in their vehicles,” he said. “Like we have said forever you have to look your car.”
“It also concerns us because people are walking around at night and this happened in a dark neighborhood that is not lit at all,” he said. “So aside from having your car broken into and being victimized, what if that victims walks outside when this happens. Who knows that the outcome could be.”
Anyone with information about the suspects should call South Miami Police or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).