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Two too many

Two 7-year-old girls struck by cars in two days, one yesterday that ended in death and another today where it appears the victim will recover.

Last night, a man accidentally ran over Amanda Wehn in Pembroke Pines, Herald writer Ani Martinez reported. Mark Presno was pulling into his driveway in his Ford F-250 pickup and didn't see Amanda, who had been playing in the street with Presno's son.

Tonight, a man driving a Chevrolet Impala hit a girl who darted across the street in Northwest Miami-Dade. The girl had been getting ice cream from an ice cream truck parked in the street, and the Impala's driver didn't see her as he maneuvered around the truck.

Both accidents happened about 5:30 p.m., right as the sun was setting. Both are examples of what can happen if children are left unsupervised in the street.

"There is no substitute for good supervision," Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Lt. Eddy Ballester said at tonight's scene on Northwest 107th Street. "It doesn't matter if a child is in a street or a parking lot, an adult should always be there to hold their hand."

Children are victims of many of the more than 70,000 pedestrian injuries that happen each year. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has some tips on how to keep kids safe.   

Posted by Evan Benn at 08:37 PM on January 31, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Will he be caught red-handed?

Hand If you see a balding man with red dye splattered on his clothes and hands, you might want to call Miami police.

They're looking for a guy in his 40s with a receding hairline who robbed a Northern Trust Bank on Brickell Avenue this afternoon.

He didn't make it far before a dye pack exploded inside the bag of cash a teller handed him. The robber ditched the money that got stained red and took the rest with him, police said. Investigators suspect some of the red dye may have gotten onto the robber as well.

Dye packs are pretty nifty devices -- here's an article about how they work.   

Posted by Evan Benn at 07:31 PM on January 30, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

TNT in Opa-locka

Interesting ride-along with Miami-Dade's Tactical Narcotics Team, the jump-out cops who arrest dope peddlers in some of the county's most crime-ridden areas. The Gardens Apartments in Opa-locka are notorious --last year, I wrote about a man named Leroy Brown, shot dead there over a $5 craps bet. Early this morning, I'm told TNT arrested 32 people in Opa-locka and Miami Gardens, confiscated several thousand in cash and seized caches of crack cocaine, powder cocaine and marijuana.


Posted by David Ovalle at 07:39 AM on January 30, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

'I mean, damn.'

Shaq_police It'd be your reaction, too, if the 7-foot-1 angry guy whose SUV you and a buddy just sideswiped was Shaq.

Junior Rondon told me Sunday night he and Emmneuo Cibrin were just leaving Vision nightclub in Coconut Grove around 4 a.m. when Cibrin nicked a black Cadillac Escalade -- bad move No. 1.

The pair kept going -- bad move No. 2 -- but Shaq, a reserve police officer, and his bodyguard jumped into action and chased them. Rondon said he and Cibrin thought the guys in the Escalade were going to hurt them, so Cibrin tried to get away.

But Officer Shaq caught up with the young men a few minutes later. He flagged down an on-duty officer, who wrote up Cibrin for several violations. But not before the Heat star gave the partying friends a stern tongue-lashing.

"He told us to shut up," Rondon said, still amazed it was Shaq in that SUV. "Of all the people. I mean, damn."

Perhaps it's time the bum-kneed Shaq (who is easing his way back onto the court after missing 35 straight games) drop the whole basketball thing and switch over to full-time crimefighting. Sunday's incident was the third time Shaq has found himself assisting South Florida police agencies since he started training with the Miami Beach police department in 2005.

Posted by Evan Benn at 07:49 PM on January 28, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

A dozen killings in less than a month

Twelve people have been murdered in Broward since Jan. 1. That's three more than this time last year.

The most recent homicide victim in the county is a woman in her 40s, who was found dead in Hollywood this morning. No details yet on who she is and why she was killed.

Here's what we know so far:

A woman was walking her dog near Oakridge Elementary around 8 a.m. when she spotted the body on a sidewalk on the south side of the school.

The dead woman was found laying in the fetal position, partially naked. Her body suffered "blunt force trauma" in several areas, police say. That means, she may have been beaten. Until an autopsy is done, police won't know what caused her to die.

Neighbors in the quaint neighborhood, located just east of Interstate 95 and south of Sheridan Street, were shocked to learn of the murder.

"Things like this don't happen here," said Christine Bauduin, whose home is across the street from the sidewalk where the body was found. "It's usually very quiet."

The neighborhood is so safe, Bauduin said, that kids regularly ride bike with their friends and play on their front lawns.

But not today.

Posted by Jennifer Mooney Piedra at 01:17 PM on January 27, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Fallout from l'affair Michael Vick

Safe_2Have "stash bottle" sales soared since Michael Vick sported one at Miami International Airport earlier this month?

Not really, says Ray Gilbarte, president of Cutting Edge Products, a supplier of safety and security products.

In fact, Gilbarte worries that sales may drop now that the water bottle diversion safe has made headlines. "People had no idea you could hide stuff inside a water bottle," he said. "Now, people know. This put the bottles in the national spotlight."

Also in the national spotlight: Miami-Dade police for their handling of the case.

After the Atlanta Falcons quarterback was stopped at MIA, police uploaded a copy of the security checkpoint's surveillance recording onto a computer flash drive. The department denied a request from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution to view the video, saying it was part of an open investigation.

A few days later, the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office announced the case was closed and no crime had been committed. OK, said the newspaper: NOW let us see your copy of the video, since it is no longer evidence in a criminal case. Oops. The copy had been deleted. It "no longer had any evidentiary value,"  Detective Robert Williams, a Miami-Dade police spokesman, told Herald reporter Evan Benn.

The original surveillance video is property of the Transportation Security Administration. The agency also denied a request from the Atlanta newspaper to obtain a copy of the video, citing security reasons.

As for the water bottle, sports memorabilia hounds are apparently out of luck. It's in the hands of the TSA.

Posted by Kathleen McGrory at 03:02 PM on January 26, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Final arrest in Metrobus murder

The fifth and final teen in the murder of a man who was pushed in front of a Metrobus was nabbed. Only one of the teens pushed the man but all are charged with murder because they were trying to rob him. His mother tells me:  "I don't think they all pitched in to hit the man. I think most of them were just thinking it was a game. He shouldn't be charged with murder."

Posted by David Ovalle at 10:24 AM on January 26, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A case of stolen cigars

Cigar_1A crook with a taste for cigars broke into a Coral Gables dwelling earlier this month, police say.

It was the home of City Attorney Elizabeth Hernandez.

Police say Hernandez's teenage son left the house around 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 11 to buy some ice cream at a nearby store. When he returned home -- roughly 10 minutes later -- he heard a window slam shut. The teen ran into the master bedroom, where he discovered the contents of the dresser drawers had been dumped on the floor.

Missing: one humidor and several cigars, valued at more than $200.

Coral Gables Police are investigating.

Posted by Kathleen McGrory at 05:28 PM on January 25, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A break-in over Christmas break

Safe Over the Christmas break, someone broke into into the school cafeteria at the Upper School at University School in Davie. The crooks headed right for the safe.

Alicia Cooper, a supervisor at the school, told police that she counted money from the cash register at noon on Dec. 12 and placed $455 in the safe.

More than two weeks later, when she returned to the safe, the money was gone - except for $25.25 in coins.

Cooper is the only school employee with access to the office where the safe is kept.

The mystery of who took the money remains unsolved. 

Posted by Jennifer Mooney Piedra at 02:14 PM on January 25, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A bra thief and a handful of spare change

Here is a sampling of wacky crimes straight from Broward police reports:

Bras Watch out, Victoria's Secret. A man walked into Maidenform, an undergarment store, at Sawgrass Mills Mall in Sunrise at 6:04 p.m. Jan. 3 and stole bras. Lots of them. According to a police report, three men snatched 314 bras, valued at $6,640, and three Maidenform pajamas that cost a total of $54. The manager realized the store had been burglarized when she saw a wall of merchandise half-empty.

A Pembroke Pines woman called police after someone broke into her unlocked 2005 Hyundai Tucson, while it was parked in front of her home in the 1600 block of Northwest 96th Avenue on Jan. 7. No windows were smashed, no purses stolen, no valuables gone. Well, except for $1.50 in coins, which were taken out of the center console. That's a lot of work for 150 pennies.

Thefts at construction sites are not uncommon - tools are taken, sometimes even building supplies. But this is something new: A $1,330 wooden staircase was stolen from a Miramar construction site at 2643 SW 99th Way.  The  incident happened sometime between Dec. 20 and Jan. 4.

Posted by Jennifer Mooney Piedra at 12:09 PM on January 24, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

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