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The Birdman Mystery

Claude00_krenson_mdh Somebody beat the Birdman to death.

Four days ago, the blue-eyed pigeon trapper was discovered bloodied on a mattress in the grassy Allapattah vacant lot where he lived.

No witnesses so far, except the couple of pigeons he kept in a small cage.

The Birdman's real name was Claude Alan Krenson, 52. Krenson once ran a Miami bird trapping business successful enough to land on the front page of the Wall Street Journal in 1994. Then, he fell into a crack cocaine addiction.


Posted by David Ovalle at 11:56 AM on January 24, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A night undercover

It took about 20 minutes for one of the ladies to get a "buyer."

The ladies were three undercover Hollywood police officers, posing as prostitutes. They were part of an undercover operation Hollywood police did Tuesday night along Federal Highway near Pembroke Road.

One person had already come up -- on a bicycle -- to "negotiate" a price with one woman but left. Another man comes at about 6:25 p.m. in a two-door Chevy Monte Carlo. He strikes a deal, then goes to an ATM for cash.

He's back in a few minutes, ready to buy. But  the "prostitute" recorded the whole conversation. Another officer, further away, has it on video. And more than 10 officers are within a few blocks and ready to move in.

In minutes, the man is handcuffed, searched and brought into a nearby substation. One officer drives the Monte Carlo to the substation, where Jason Fox with Superior Towing is working some extra hours, waiting for the car he will tow away.

By 6:40, the "prostitute" is back in on Federal Highway. Less than a minute later, another potential customer has pulled up. As the night goes on, the ladies get people in BMW's, bicycles and on foot.

One asks if the woman has contraceptives.

"You never can totally eliminate the act of prostitution, but you can deter it," Hollywood police spokesman Capt. Tony Rode said.

The prostitution stings rang from two a week to two a month, Rode said, depending on what each community needs.

"The overall objective of tonight is to enhance the quality of life for our citizens in South Lake and south central Hollywood," he said.

Posted by Diana Moskovitz at 12:20 AM on January 24, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Musings from Monday

After two straight Mondays with big breaking murders in Miami, yesterday was relatively quiet. Some interesting tidbits popped up, however:

* The medical examiner's office ruled Dwann Green, a man who died in police custody, passed away of a cocaine overdose. Initially, I reported that Miami-Dade police were leaning toward that conclusion. A local TV station took more liberties, sparking this line in a normally staid Miami-Dade press release: "Please note that, contrary to inflammatory and misleading reports made by a local media outlet, the Medical Examiner determined the cause of death to be Acute Cocaine Toxicity.  "

* Miami-Dade's lab did not find marijuana in Michael Vick's nifty water bottle. No charges will be filed. (After a modest stint as a sports writer early in my career, I just don't get excited about athlete-in-trouble stories any more. Not when you chronicle real tragedies every day.)

* I swear I'm not making this up. In today's newspaper, I wrote about a gentleman named Ralph Aviv, an Aventura bank loan officer who is accused of running over a man while allegedly drunk driving, killing him, driving to his father's condo then crawling into bed and falling asleep. Twelve years ago (totally unrelated to the incident,by the way), Mr. Aviv was quoted in a Houston Chronicle story about Rockets fans in San Antonio for a playoffs series:

"Rockets fans are taking the heat with a grin. Ralph Aviv and his friend Gary Giovanella, sporting Rockets wear, were shopping at Dillard's before the game when a clerk made a loud hissing noise. But Aviv, who along with Giovanella are Houstonians enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin, allowed, "We've crossed the
street, and nobody's run us over."


Posted by David Ovalle at 01:09 AM on January 23, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Policing in the Northend

A recent crackdown on crime in Northeast Miami netted 101 arrests, Miami Cmdr. David Magnusson tells me. It was part of Operation Difference, a periodic sweep of high-crime areas in Miami-Dade. Most of the arrests were for narcotics, made in reverse stings where undercover detectives pose as sellers to cuff the buyers. Magnusson (seen here a few years ago during a similar sweep) tells me cops also made 10 prostitution arrests, including a 16-year-old runaway and her pimp. "We were able to pick up the leech that was pimping her out," he says.Magnusson The 10-hour sweep took place Thursday in Little Haiti, Model City and the Upper Eastside.

Posted by David Ovalle at 04:27 PM on January 20, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Another Broward homicide

In the 20 days since the start of the new year, 11 people have been killed in Broward.

That's almost double the number the county had seen this time last year.

Number 11 is Anthony Fernandes, a 20-year-old from Sunrise who was stabbed to death at a block party early this morning.

Fernandes, a graduate of Piper High, was at a block party in the 2800 block of NW 110th Avenue when he got into a fight with another male at the party, police said.

Fernandes was stabbed in the chest - police won't say with what - at about 12:30 a.m. He later died at Broward General Medical Center. The suspect got away.

Police were interviewing witnesses throughout the day Saturday, but had no suspects in custody, Lt. Robert Voss said.

Meanwhile, another family is making funeral arrangements.

Posted by Jennifer Mooney Piedra at 04:20 PM on January 20, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Bad week for Northwestern

BullsNot a good week for Northwestern High. This week, we learned that top administrators knew of allegations of sexual misconduct by their star football player, Antwain Easterling, and never reported it to police.

Now, in an unrelated matter, one of their students is accused of murder.

Posted by David Ovalle at 04:08 PM on January 20, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Coffee and crooks

KeysListen up, ladies.

In the past week, four women have had their purses stolen from their cars while they ordered coffee inside of several Dunkin' Donuts shops in Broward.

All the women left their purses in plain view on the seat of their cars, the Broward Sheriff's Office said. The windows were smashed in each car.

The thefts happened between 5:42 and 7:25 a.m. at three different Dunkin' Donuts in Pompano Beach and Oakland Park.

To avoid becoming a victim, BSO says, lock your doors every time you enter and exit your car, always be aware of your surroundings and never leave valuables, such as your purse, cell phone or briefcase, in plain sight - even if you're only leaving your car for a minute.

Similar purse thieves have been targeting people at Broward gas stations, as they fill up their tanks. In four seconds, they sneak up to the passenger side of the car, crouch down, open the unlocked door , reach in for any valuable and then drive off in a getaway car.

In many cases, BSO said, the victims of such thefts have their identities stolen because the thieves have their driver's licenses and bank information.

To view a safety video about these types of thefts and how to avoid becoming a victim, log on to

Posted by Jennifer Mooney Piedra at 03:27 PM on January 19, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Don't try this

Natour  A Broward man who wanted to get his coworker into a jam called police Wednesday and said the man might have a bomb in the trunk of his black Acura, according to sheriff's deputies.  He thought a cruiser, maybe two, would show up and maybe find something illegal in that car.


Nearly 100 law officers -- from Hallandale Beach, BSO, FDLE, ATF -- converged on John's Market, at 229 N. Dixie Highway, in what must have looked like a scene out of The Blues

"The caller was implying, making it seem like this was some sort of terrorist incident,'' said Jim Leljedal, Broward Sheriff's Office spokesman.

It wasn't.

According to Leljedal, the beef involved the caller's belief that his co-worker had ratted him out in connection with a drug deal.

"He didn't expect an army of law enforcement to show up at the store,'' Leljedal said. "He expected the co-worker to be arrested,''  Leljedal said of the man, identified as Randy Natour.

     But Natour was the only one arrested.

The Hollywood man, 30, was charged with two counts of making a false report of planting a bomb, Leljedal said.

Posted by wanda J. DeMarzo at 06:10 PM on January 18, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Give back that chainsaw

B0002tnex402lzzzzzzz_1 Generators. Blowguns. Chainsaws.

The baggage screeners at South Florida airports have seen it all, Transportation Security Administration officials said Thursday.

"People have even tried to bring small onboard motors in their carry-on luggage," said Sari Koshetz, a TSA spokeswoman. "That's bizarre."

On Wednesday, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick tried to clear security at MIA with a small safe disguised as an Aquafina water bottle. The secret compartment had a dark residue and smelled of marijuana, police said.

An oddity it was not -- for the baggage screeners at least.

"People try to bring the strangest things on board planes," Koshetz said. "And with the new rules, that means we have to confiscate more items."

What happens to prohibited items turned in at checkpoints?

Hazardous materials -- including alcohol -- are shipped to designated warehouses. The TSA contracts numerous companies to pick them up and dispose of them properly, Koshetz said.

Weapons, on the other hand, are turned over to local police departments. Sometimes, they are useful in investigations. If not, police destroy them.

Lastly, anything that isn't a weapon or hazardous material is sold for charity. (Think pocket knives, scissors and tools.)

Vick's bottle has a different destination: the Miami-Dade Police crime lab. Investigators there will determine what exactly was inside.

Will the bottle end up on eBay? Falcons fans will have to wait and see.

Posted by Kathleen McGrory at 12:32 PM on January 18, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Fort Lauderdale fugitive detective nabs another bad guy


Fort Lauderdale Fugitive Detective Chuck Morrow knows how to get the job done.

He is routinely called by law enforcement agencies throughout South Florida to catch violent offenders - murderers, armed robbers, rapists, child molestors, kidnappers, etc.

On Saturday, after a three-day operation in Fort Lauderdale, he arrested Keddrick Dixon, a 21-year-old who in November allegedly robbed a man at gunpoint and tried shooting him in the head. Luckily, the gun jammed.

Morrow, a member of the FBI's Fugitive Task Force, spent three days conducting surveillance operations on places Dixon was known to visit. Morrow spotted him Saturday roaming through backyards in his grandmother's Fort Lauderdale neighborhood. 

Dixon was arrested and is facing a slew of charges, including attempted murder.

Morrow, a cop for 27 years, averages about 300 arrests each year.

He says he loves getting criminals off the streets.

"It's a tremendous high," he says.

Posted by Jennifer Mooney Piedra at 11:15 AM on January 18, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

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