MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) — The owner of a Miami Beach travel agency says she is hoping police will find the gunman who stormed in to her business earlier this month in broad daylight and robbed her of more than $2,000.
“If you can help police, call them immediately,” said Patrica Chiara. “It is important for me and everyone on Miami Beach. I feel scared now here in the city because I am on Collins Avenue and there are lots of tourists here. I need more protection from police in the area.”
Miami Beach Police released new surveillance of the incident, which shows the gunman and the type of vehicle that he and his accomplice were in.
Chiara told CBS4’S Peter D’Oench that it happened at 1:48 p.m. on Friday September 7th at her business: First Vacations at 6638 Collins Ave. Police say $2023 was taken.
The tape shows the gunman wearing a straw hat and wearing sunglasses and a white shirt over his face entering the business and committing the crime in just seconds.
Chiara did not struggle with him but the video shows that Chiara and her daughter ran after the gunman.
He’s also seen running down an alley by the business.
“This guy came down an alley where he was parked in the area and he was going from where he was parked to my business and his face was totally covered,” said Chiara. “He’s coming at me and he demands more and more money. When the guy sees my daughter he starts running from the place. I was really scared and I was in shock. I tried to see the gun and he put the gun over here and took the money and then he took his money and went outside.”
“This has never happened to me before,” she said. “I have been here since 2015 and I have been in business since 1997. I work every day of the week from Monday through Sunday. I have to do that to support my family. I work half a day on Sunday.”
Police believe an accomplice was with the gunman. Cameras captured their vehicle: a 2018 or 2019 white GMC Acadia. Detectives believe they stole a temporary tag and placed it over the tag of their vehicle.
Miami Beach Police officer and spokesman Ernesto Rodriguez said, “We were able to track them thanks to technology entering Miami Beach. We lose them for a moment which is when they most likely stole a license plate. Then they canvassed the neighborhood and parked the vehicle and he entered the business and pointed a gun at the owner.”
“He got in to the passenger side of a vehicle when he left so we know that there is another subject that we are looking for as well,” said Rodriguez. “This is a very dangerous criminal who was entered who entered the business in broad daylight. That’s why we need the assistance of the public and we need to get this dangerous criminal off the street.”
“I could not tell what he looks like because his face was covered,” said Chiara.
“Now I am taking a lot of security precautions,” said Chiara. “This gunman got in when the front door was open. Now I keep it locked at all times. You only get in after you are buzzed in. And I have also added even more surveillance cameras. I am not taking any chances.
Anyone with information that can help Miami Beach Police should call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).