Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Carmel on the Case: E Lake
Tonight, homeowners in one waterfront community are up in arms over a rash of thefts issuing a warning that if the crooks are not caught soon, someone may get hurt. 7 News investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is On the Case.
WSVN -- The eyes of a brazen burglar have a spooky glow in video captured on a home security camera. The image has Lonny Held sleeping with one eye open.
Lonny Held: "It's amazing how bold the guy is, which is pretty scary."
More than 100 homes surround this lake shaped like an "e" in an affluent waterfront community in Southwest Miami-Dade, but this little piece of paradise is under attack.
Paula Romeo: "I moved in down on the end of the street a year and a half ago, and our welcoming was the wheels and rims off of my husband's vehicle stolen within the first three weeks, and it hasn't stopped since."
Paula Romeo and her neighbors say their losses add up to $2,000 in two years.
Rick Wieder: "It makes me sick to my stomach. We work hard to live here and enjoy the things that we have."
Things like pricey car rims and tires taken in the dark of night repeatedly. Owners have found their cars sitting on landscaping blocks stolen from neighboring yards.
One homeowner has even cemented his blocks to keep the crooks from using them, and that's just in front of the homes. Flat screen TV's and other valuables have vanished from back yards at an alarming rate.
Carmel Cafiero: "Neighbors suspect that thieves may also be accessing their properties from the lake itself. They say they've seen boats out here late at night, running with no lights."
And night time is the right time for these thefts. Lonny says this guy stole a neighbor's dolly to help him steal his hundred pound generator.
Lonny Held: "I sleep right here and the generator was stolen right outside this bedroom door."
Carmel Cafiero: "That's horrifying."
Lonny Held: "Yeah, very much so."
Miami-Dade Police major James O'Donnell says the department has started specialized patrols in the neighborhood and has a suspect in the tire theft cases.
Major James O'Donnell: "The economy sometimes drives drives crime again. we have seen an increase district wide in burglaries, residential burglaries with people breaking into homes."
But frustration is growing and neighbors are saying if police can't catch the crooks soon someone could get hurt.
Lonny Held: "I have a handgun in my house that I bought 20 some-odd years ago that I keep in a safe, don't have the bullets in it. I actually took it out, loaded it and keep it by my bedroom door because I feel threatened."
And people are getting fed up all across South Florida. Just last month, a man was shot and killed in Miami Shores when police say he tried to steal a personal watercraft.
Paula Romeo: "If something isn't done, we are going to have that here. We're going to have either the thief shot or a homeowner shot by a thief."
Major James O'Donnell: "Every citizen has a need or should have a right to feel safe in their homes and their property."
If you recognize the man in this video, he appears to have a tattoo on his leg or have information on the "e" lake thefts, call Miami-Dade Crimestoppers at 305-471-tips. That's the message from police, this is one from a homeowner.
Rick Wieder: "If you don't want to be shot, then you don't go steal people's stuff, it's that simple."
Both hope burglars get the message.
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