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They're how old? (UPDATE)

The Miami Herald's Lauren Pond today had a hospital-bedside interview with the shooting victim in the Florida City home-invasion robbery.

Doctors moved the woman, 24-year-old Clara Miranda, out of the ICU on Wednesday and say she is recovering well from the gunshot wound to her chest.

Miranda said the shooters took her cellphone and $6 cash before firing a bullet into her when she screamed Monday night. 

Police have charged two teens with attempted murder.

After the second violent incident in two years at her family's home, Miranda told Pond she is frightened for her children and wants to move out of South Florida.

Posted by Evan Benn at 09:02 PM on May 17, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

They're how old?

Florida City police say they've nabbed the two people who stormed into a woman's home and shot her in the chest before running away Monday night.

A terrifying crime that only gets scarier when you find out the perps' ages: 13 and 16.

"They didn't know the victim," Florida City police Detective Henry Quintero told me. "It was a random act of violence."

When they should be wrapping up their school years and getting ready for summer break, the two teens are now in jail, charged with attempted murder, home-invasion robbery and using a firearm during a felony. Prosecutors will decide whether to try them as adults or juveniles.

The woman who was shot is in a hospital recovering. Here's our first story on the incident.

Posted by Evan Benn at 06:58 PM on May 16, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

BSO: Bank teller stole from customer

An 88-year-old was conned out of more than $20,000 by an overly friendly bank teller, the Broward Sheriff's Office said.

Arami Simmons is accused of adding her name to Irving Washington's bank account, claiming she was his granddaughter, and then withdrawing $20,000 cash from his personal account.

Her scheme didn't end there.

She somehow convinced Washington to accompany her to a car dealership and co-sign his name in the purchase of a new 2007 Toyota, worth $26,000, said a BSO spokeswoman.

On Tuesday, while working at Bank Atlantic at 5600 N. University Dr. in Tamarac, Simmons was arrested. She remains in jail in Pompano Beach, awaiting pre-trial release.

Here's her mugshot:


Posted by Jennifer Mooney Piedra at 04:25 PM on May 16, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Convenience store crook sought

RobberThe Broward Sheriff's Office is looking for a man who is accused of holding up two North Lauderdale convenience stores last week.

The first robbery happened on May 9 at 7-Eleven, 955 SW 81st Ave. At 3:01 a.m., a man wearing black jeans, a black T-shirt and a checkered baseball cap with the New York Yankees logo, stormed into the store and put a gun to the back of the clerk, BSO said. He then forced the clerk to empty the cash register and his pockets.

A day later at 2:35 p.m., the same man entered the Farm Store, 6014 Kimberley Blvd. There, he demanded the clerk's drivers license and threatened to go to the man's home and kill him if he called police.

No one was injured in the robberies, both of which were captured on surveillance video.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers, anonymously, at 954-493-8477 or online at www.browardcrimestoppers.org. A cash reward of up to $1,000 may be available for information that leads to an arrest.

Posted by Jennifer Mooney Piedra at 10:33 AM on May 16, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Hollywood murder still unsolved

Mcreynolds It's been more than a week since Dorthy McReynolds was shot in the bedroom of her Hollywood home by a man, dressed like a ninja in all black.

Police still haven't made any arrests in the case, which has drawn national media attention.

Last Monday, the day McReynolds was shot, she was scheduled to appear in a Hollywood courtroom to testify against a man who held her at gunpoint and threatened to kill her during an armed robbery at a check cashing store three years earlier.

McReynolds was shot just after 8 a.m. The trial against Billy James Lewis Jr. was set to begin at 9 a.m.Billyjameslewis 

Police are calling Lewis - who was arrested Tuesday for violating the terms of his probation - a person of interest, not a suspect.

They are still piecing together evidence, said Capt. Tony Rode, a police spokesman.

Meanwhile, McReynolds' family is preparing for her funeral, which will take place later this week in her Kentucky hometown.

Posted by Jennifer Mooney Piedra at 05:39 PM on May 15, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Lara  Once again, Broward teens are making news for attacking the homeless.

The latest attack happened on Sunday night in Dania Beach when a 19-year-old Fort Lauderdale man shot a homeless man three times with a paintball gun. You can read about the shooting here

Posted by wanda J. DeMarzo at 06:16 PM on May 14, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Cops: Stripper raped at party

Hialeah A stripper called her friend when she sensed things were turning violent at a Hialeah house party she was working Sunday morning.

The friend called 911. When police arrived, they found several men raping the woman, possibly at gun point, according to investigators.

The men scattered, but police nabbed all of them after a long hunt that included helicopters, police dogs and SWAT members armed with rifles. One of the men was caught running through yards wearing only boxer shorts and socks. (That's a photo of one of the arrests, above) 

Co-writer Jonnelle Marte and I are waiting for police to identify the suspects. Meanwhile, here's the story so far.

Posted by Evan Benn at 06:42 PM on May 13, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Bogus things at Bargain Town

Police swooped down on the Bargain Town flea market over the weekend, seizing 11,291 counterfeit movie DVDs and music CDs worth about $180,000.

They arrested six people and charged them with copying and selling illegal merchandise.

It was the result of a three-month investigation that included undercover buys at the South Miami-Dade flea market.

Among the items Miami-Dade police seized during the Sunday raid: Bootleg DVD copies of the new Spider-Man movie, which just hit theaters on Friday and is months away from being released on DVD.

Here's an article that explains how to identify and avoid buying counterfeit merchandise. It focuses on fake stuff being sold on eBay, but it includes good consumer tips for any buying situation. 

Posted by Evan Benn at 05:28 PM on May 7, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Deceased Case

Last month I covered an explosion and fire at an apartment complex at 7721 NW 7th Street. Lisette Carracedo, a 36-year-old woman was killed in the mid-morning explosion and several others were injured.

A few days later, Miami-Dade Police charged her husband, Juan Carlos Carracedo, 55, with murder and arson.

According to police, a domestic dispute turned violent and the man tied his wife up, poured gasoline throughout the apartment and set her on fire, causing the explosion.

The problem?

The man was in the ICU with burns covering over 90% of his body. He was in such bad shape, he didn't  know what was going on. Then, a week later, he died.

In this sort of situation, what happens?

"The case is done,'' said Miami-Dade Police spokeswoman Mary Walters, "What would be the point of prosecuting a dead man? Since the victim is deceased and the subject is deceased, the case is deceased.''

Posted by Erika Beras at 02:16 PM on May 4, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Hoisting the heist

Money As far as robberies go, armored-car heists are fairly rare. The trucks are mobile high-security vaults, the drivers are armed and their cash dropoffs are well-planned.

But someone pulled it off today in Hialeah Gardens, the Herald's Kat McGrory reports, making off with about $1.8 million in cash. Cold, hard, kinda heavy cash.

How much does that much loot weigh? Depends.

If the bag contained all one-dollar bills, the thief is looking at 3,965 lbs of cash -- almost two tons*. 

But the FBI says the money was likely in higher denominations -- and vacuum-sealed, which lightens the load a bit. If it was bundles of hundreds, the bag would weigh about 40 lbs. 

And if it was a mix of hundreds, fifties, twenties, tens and ones? Well, do the math at home -- every bill weighs a gram; there are 454 grams in a pound.

* Special thanks to Herald math whiz Rob Barry for the calculations.

Posted by Evan Benn at 07:18 PM on May 2, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

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