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Pit crew of night thieves steals tires from former Miami lawmaker's car in Coral Gables

@PatriciaMazzei IMG_0132

Marcelo Llorente stepped outside Monday morning -- April Fools Day -- to find his leased Mercedes, parked in the driveway of his Coral Gables home, on cinder blocks. All four tires were gone.

"I've never seen anything like it," he said. "It's just crazy."

The car was parked "five yards" from his front door, Llorente said. The family dog, a Maltese named Lulu, had woken him up twice in the middle of the night, barking. He got up, turned on the indoor lights to look outside, but didn't see anyone.

"I didn't think to look down" at his tires, he said. "Now I know to trust my dog!"

After reporting the brazen theft, Llorente said police told him the tires had also been removed that same night from a car belonging to one of his neighbors a few houses away.

"This is a professional job," Llorente said.

Llorente, a Republican former state representative, works as a lawyer and is one of the Miami Dolphins' Tallahassee lobbyists. He recently moved to the Gables from Kendall (where he never had his car tires stolen, he said). 

News of the theft traveled quickly among alarmed political-types in the Gables. A city election takes place Tuesday, and crime has become a point of contention between Mayor Jim Cason and challenger Ralph Cabrera. The police chief has said the overall crime rate is down, but has also acknowledged that residents are worried.

Photo courtesy of Marcelo Llorente