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Car ad leads to car theft

It seemed like a done deal.

Earlier this month, after posting an ad in the Auto Trader flier, William Taylor thought he had found someone to buy his blue 2002 Chevrolet Monte Carlo.

A man, who identified himself as Mr. Farmer, called Taylor about the $7,000 car and arranged a meeting at Taylor's workplace in Hollywood.

Thinking he was going to sell the car, Taylor returned to his Pembroke Pines home and picked up the car's title.

A short time later, Farmer showed up for the meeting in Hollywood.

Farmer got into the driver's seat of the car, while Taylor rode shotgun.

Seemed like a test drive, Taylor thought.

After a short drive, Farmer asked Taylor, "Would this be a good place to count the money?" according to a police report. Taylor said yes.

Taylor stopped the car and reached for his yellow and orange backpack. But it wasn't cash that he pulled out. It was a small, dark handgun.

"You're kidding, right?" Taylor asked.

"No, this no joke," Farmer said, before reaching into Taylor's shirt pocket and taking the title, as well as $100 cash and a few checks.

Farmer demanded Taylor get out of the car. He did, unharmed.

Farmer - whose name probably isn't Farmer - drove off. He hasn't been found since.

Posted by Jennifer Mooney Piedra at 01:30 PM on March 31, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Don't become a victim

Carbreakin It's the kind of crime that most people think will never happen to them.

But smash-and-grabs are quite common throughout South Florida.

Earlier this month, two women had their purses stolen from inside their cars as they watched a softball game in Davie.

The crooks smashed the window of Alison Goldberg's blue Nissan and snatched her $350 Helen Weld purse from the floor between the passenger and driver's seat. Stolen was $40, a cell phone and her ID.

Police believe the same thief broke into Jodi Fisher's unlocked white Jeep while she attended the same softball game at the baseball field, 5810 SW 82nd Ave. Though nothing of Fisher's was taken, her sister's purse was stolen.

In that incident, the bad guys got away with the $2,000 black Gucci handbag and its contents - a $350 Kodak digital camera and identification.

Officer Jonathan Sanders, who wrote the police reports for both thefts, said the lighting in the area is "very bad at night."

But the best advice to prevent becoming a victim is to lock any valuables - purses, wallets, electronics - in the trunk of your car.

Don't tempt crooks by leaving anything in plain sight inside your vehicle.

Posted by Jennifer Mooney Piedra at 04:07 PM on March 29, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Police trying to KETCH-UP with thief

KetchupAs a Hooter's customer in Sunrise waited for his take-out food, he decided to help himself to drinks.

Carlos Mecia, the restaurant manager, told police the man walked behind the service counter and started serving himself drinks shortly after 11 p.m. March 14.

But the man's behavior got even weirder when he was spotted trying to steal bottles of ketchup.

When it came time to pay for his $35.78 tab, the man handed over a credit card bearing the name Derek L. Pearson. The card was declined. So he handed over another, which was also turned down. A third credit card, with the same name, also didn't work, police said.

The man "became belligerent" and headed straight to the drink counter and the condiment shelf.

Then, the man walked out of the restaurant - with his unpaid takeout - and drove off in a black Ford F-150.

Police are still trying to ketch-up with him.

Posted by Jennifer Mooney Piedra at 03:42 PM on March 29, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Fake cops: Broward edition

Miami-Dade residents aren't the only ones posing as fake cops.

It happens in Broward County, too.

Earlier this month, a 26-year-old man -- not a police officer -- attempted to "pull over" a car full of people in the 1900 block of Hollywood Boulevard. The impostor caught the driver's attention and flashed a phony police ID, the real cops say.

You can imagine the look on the fake officer's face when he discovered the car was full of undercover Broward sheriff's deputies.

The frazzled impersonator was arrested, the authorities said.

Posted by Kathleen McGrory at 03:26 PM on March 29, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Smoked fish

Fishcounter Customers at the Miami Beach Wild Oats might have thought the seafood department was doing in-house fish smoking this afternoon.

Turns out, the gray smoke wafting through the store was unintentional. A small electrical fire somehow ignited inside the fish display. A store manager sprayed a fire extinguisher on the disturbance.

Shoppers continued pushing their carts down the aisles, although several did so while covering their mouths and noses with their shirts. 

I would have snapped a cellphone picture (the one above is from the web), but I was too preoccupied with the sad fact that salmon no longer figured into my dinner plans. 

Posted by Evan Benn at 04:58 PM on March 27, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Cops considering mice-demeanor charges

Mouse While SWAT teams work to resolve a bank-robbery-turned-hostage-situation in Miami Beach, police in the Northern European country of Estonia are working on another bizarre bank heist.

A customer realized something was wrong when an ATM spat out partially chewed bills.

Further investigation revealed that a mouse snuck inside the cash machine, ate its way through a bunch of bills, then made a bed for himself out of the torn-up cash. 

Nice work, mouse. Let's hope bank security officials are figuring out a way to keep the crafty Estonian mice away from American ATMs.

Posted by Evan Benn at 04:02 PM on March 27, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Reward money being offered in Fort Lauderdale hit-and-run

The owners of a sporting goods manufacturer in Fort Lauderdale, where the warehouse manager was run down Thursday by a robber, are offering a $25,000 reward to find his killer.

Shaul and Riki Ashkenazy, owners of Exist Sports Line, were close friends of Mahmoud Mansour, 45, who was run over by man who was stealing a box of sweat shirts from the warehouse.

Today at 11 a.m., the Asheknazy's are giving the money to Crime Stoppers to help find Mansour's killer.

So far, police have had no luck finding the thief - who got away in a teal Nissan Titan. But the search continues.

Hopefully the money will be an incentive for someone to turn in the thief turned hit-and-run driver.




Posted by Jennifer Mooney Piedra at 10:18 AM on March 23, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

DUI checkpoint coming Friday

Dui Miami police officers will be on the lookout for drunken drivers Friday night, including at a sobriety checkpoint downtown.

Drivers will be checked for impairment at the intersection of Northeast 11st Street and First Avenue from 8 p.m. Friday to 1 a.m. Saturday, according to a Miami Police news release.

So if they want to catch drunken drivers, why announce where the checkpoint will be?

Florida is one of 39 states, plus Washington, D.C., that allow police agencies to set up DUI checkpoints. In several of those states -- Florida included -- police have to announce ahead of time when and where they will conduct sobriety checks.   

Here's more information about the Florida Sustained DUI Enforcement Program and here is a .PDF document from the federal highway administration that explains some rules and statistics concerning sobriety checkpoints and patrols.

Posted by Evan Benn at 05:41 PM on March 21, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Jury Duty and Chick Flicks

8da00355_court I wrote a story this morning from court, and by court I mean the waiting room at 73 W. Flagler St. where I was prospective juror 576. Gotta admit. The spacious and (largely empty) civil court jury room feels like Shangri-La compared to the zoo that is jury room at criminal court.

Thank God for the chick flicks.

How else could I have withstood my six-hour wait without the cuddly smile of Drew Barrymore in Fever Pitch or the sassyness of Reese Witherspoon in Sweet Home Alabama (though it's mind boggling that Melanie chose bumpkin Jake over super bachelor Andrew; he's sooooo cute!)?

Either way, the fun of Movie Day at Court was interrupted by this so-called "civic duty," meaning I sat on a prospective jury panel in Victoria Sigler's court on a dog-bites-woman-who-sues-owners-who-don't-acknowledge-case-and-are-found-liable-by-default-and-jurors-are-needed-to-reward-damages case.

I was highly offended. I clearly wrote on my questionnaire that my impartiality could be questioned "BECAUSE I COVER EXCLUSIVELY CRIMINAL MATTERS," which meant I needed to be dismissed right away but for some reason the attorneys only asked us about who our fear of dogs and their jaws. I longed to raise my hand like a third grader and say "Ooh! Ooh! Mr. Attorney, Sir. I covered a fatal Presa Canario attack in Broward. Dismiss me! Me!" But he never looked my way and I just shrunk into my seat. Dismissed for my lack of dog-bite scars, I finished watching Melanie ruin her life and after dismissal returned to my normal CRIMINAL mayhem.

Posted by David Ovalle at 08:59 PM on March 20, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Two in two days

There were police cars aplenty the past two days at a North Miami apartment complex.

North Miami Police officers say they made a big drug bust Monday at 400 NE 137th St. after a lengthy investigation, then they made another today at another apartment in the same complex.

Unknown yet if the two are related. Police say they are still investigating

Posted by Evan Benn at 03:47 PM on March 20, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

 
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