Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Carmel on the Case: Caught on Tape
Security cameras have caught all kinds of crimes on video. But the footage of a Miami Beach burglary and what the victims did with it, is kicking things up a notch. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is On The Case.
WSVN -- By all accounts, "Cocaine Cowboys," a documentary film, was a big success. It tracks the deadly 80s in South Florida. Back then, drug deals and busts and shootouts happened almost every day. Now the young movie makers at Rakontur Films are putting the finishing touches on a sequel.
Burglars stopped production when they stripped their Miami Beach office clean, stealing $23,000 worth of equipment.
Billy Corben: "It's a lot of money, and it was a lot of work for us to build this business and to get where we are today."
The crooks were caught on tape, so the filmmakers did what filmmakers do, they made a movie. They enhanced the video, added the cost of the merchandise that was stolen, threw in commentary like "smile" and "this is what stupid looks like," then put it all on the internet.
Billy Corben: "And I guess it is kind of a goof, but, in the heart of the thing, is this felony grand theft that we're trying to crack here. Hopefully, fingers crossed, get our stuff back."
They even went so far as to identify the female suspect by name, Stephanie Perdomo, a former employee.
Their "caught on camera" video became an internet sensation.
Billy Corben: "And, the next thing you know it caught on like wildfire, and all these international blogs are picking it up, people who have covered our stuff in the past and now, tens of thousands of hits later, we've got a lot of tips coming in now."
Carmel Cafiero: "The Miami Beach Police Department is working the case. Police say having this kind of video, and this kind of publicity should be a huge help in catching the criminals."
In fact, it helped them catch and arrest 20-year-old Stephanie Perdomo.
Detective Robert Lanier: "A family member saw that story on the internet, saw the video and actually called us and, ultimately, we picked her up."
According to her arrest affidavit she confessed "...to planning the burglary and using her boyfriend to assist her." With the quality of the video, police say it would have been hard for her to do anything else. They're now looking for her accomplice.
Detective Robert Lanier: "Our investigation revealed that that is in fact Ms. Pedromo's boyfriend, German de la Cruz, and we're currently looking for him."
Police say Perdomo told them the equipment was sold on the street for a $1,000. They hope it may still be recovered, but for certain, creative movie making made cracking this case quick and easy.
Detective Robert Lanier: "Yes, it was extremely, thanks to the internet."
So, wouldbe crooks, beware, you could end up with a starring role in the next internet movie.
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