WEST MIAMI(CBSMIAMI) – A safety alert and warning about a shoplifter who has been targeting a West Miami Publix supermarket and who has been going to unusual lengths to carry out his crimes.
CBS4’S Peter D’Oench has obtained an exclusive cell phone video that West Miami Police said shows the man leaving the store at 1500 S.W. 57th Avenue last Tuesday with stolen items while carrying a stun gun that he uses to scare off anyone who tries to stop him.
West Miami Police Major Pete Delgado says he has not encountered a shoplifter like this before who uses a stun gun. He said the thief is seen wearing a face mask while leaving the store with a duffel bag and another bag with $250 worth of stolen meat and laundry detergent.
Delgado says it happened between 6:30 p.m. and 6:40 p.m. last Tuesday night and the same man victimized the same store three months ago.
“He has the stun gun inside his waistband and what he does is when he is approached by someone either from loss prevention or the management team he raises his shirt and says he has a stun gun and he tells them to get away or he is going to use it,” Delgado said.
On the cell phone video, you can hear a manager telling the thief “You need to put it back. Put it back. Police are going to be on your (expletive deleted).”
“He is actually on his way out and he is being followed by one of the management team members telling him to stop and he is going to call the police. But he continues walking out the door and flees,” said Delgado.
On the cell phone video, you can see the men getting on a bicycle and riding north of Southwest 57th Avenue. The manager can be heard saying, White male. Two bags.” It’s possible the shoplifter lives near the store.
Delgado said, “I would say he is a white male, probably in his mid-20s with a thin build and dressed in black clothing.”
“We were actually very surprised especially in this area because somebody who would do that so blatantly without any regard for anyone obviously has done it before,” said Delgado.
“Obviously we don’t want anyone getting hurt inside the supermarket or outside it,” he added. “If he’s committed this type of crime it could escalate to something even more dangerous than just shoplifting.”
D’Oench showed the cellphone video to Publix customers and they said they did not recognize the shoplifter.
One unidentified customer said, “This is horrible.”
Lizette Fagudo lives next to the store and is a steady customer. She looked at the cell phone video and said, “He’s not right. He is not right in the head. Something is wrong. I feel afraid and I feel scared. I mean I live across the road and I come here all the time.”
Delgado says if anyone can help his department find the thief they should call his department at (305) 266-0530.