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Exclusive: Possible Serial Car Burglar Caught On Surveillance Video In SW Miami-Dade

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – There’s a safety alert about a man captured on surveillance video in Southwest Miami-Dade who homeowners say maybe a serial car burglar and who may have struck twice in less than a week.

Surveillance video obtained exclusively by CBS4’s Peter D’Oench shows a crime unfolding just after 3:20 p.m. last Thursday at a home near S.W. 31st St. and 51st Ave. in the Schenley Park neighborhood just blocks away from Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.

Homeowners have been talking about this crime on Facebook ever since it happened and some say there has been a rash of crimes where workers and homeowners have been burglarized while they are distracted.

The surveillance tape from last Thursday shows a man in a red cap getting out of a black car in front of a home where carpentry work is being done and there are several unlocked vehicles belonging to the work crews and the homeowners.

The man is captured on camera going to the back of the worker’s van and taking items and putting them in his trunk. He is also seen going to the driver’s side of the van and getting more items before being driven away. He is also seen rummaging through a pickup truck.

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It happens as work is being done by crews from Ashmandy Kitchen of Hialeah. Mark Anthony Fernandez, whose family owns the company, says a $500 power saw and $300 air gun are stolen along with a backpack that contains one worker’s passport.

Fernandez says “This is terrible. We are a small company and we have installers that are independent. They really rely on tools to get the work done and if they don’t have the tools it can hold up jobs for weeks. I would like to get the items back but that is probably not possible right now. I would like for the person to come forward or for someone to tell us who is.”

Fernandez says “Sometimes we lock vehicles in different areas but I guess they may have thought they felt safe in this area but crimes can happen anywhere.”

Christine, one of the homeowners where the work was being done, said she preferred not to give her last name but agreed to speak to CBS4, saying “We were home in the middle of the day and had carpenters finalizing the upper part of the kitchen. We just moved in and were remodeling part of the home when somebody pulled up and got out of his car. He took a backpack with the gentleman’s wallet and papers in the middle of the day. There were tons of people at the house and this person was very brazen. The individual hopped out and hid behind one of the trucks and then ransacked a vehicle.”

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Christine said, “I felt terrible of course. We always keep our cars locked and doors closed at all times in the middle of the day even if it is a weekday safety comes first but who have thought that this would happened when we were going in and out of the house regularly. I definitely feel violated and this is very upsetting.”

She said, “We think of crimes happening in the middle of the night but they can really happen anytime in the middle of the day in any neighborhood. This is just a reminder to be vigilant and cautious and think of safety. On our Facebook group some people have said this has happened to them in the past few weeks.”

“Gardners and jobs sites have been burglarized so you have to keep your eyes open,” she said.

Miami-Dade Police were not able to comment about this crime as a police report had not been filed by the victims.

But authorities urge people to be careful. And one officer told D’Oench there has been an uptick in crimes recently involving homeowners and work crews who were victimized while they are distracted.

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Christine’s husband Tony said, “This is happening more and more every day and it is disappointing to see.”

As they were speaking about last week’s crime, the same suspect may have struck again nearby at a home at S.W. 62nd Ave. and 27th St.

The owner of Alejandro’s Lawn Service said several items were taken from his truck while he was doing work at the home. And he called Miami-Dade Police to file a report.

Surveillance tape shows a suspect taking items from the truck and the owner of the home named Jo, who also preferred not to give her last name, said “This looks like the same black vehicle from last week. He opened the back of the truck and started taking items out.”

Jo said, “It is sad to see one person going around and waiting for the right opportunity.”

Anyone who thinks they may recognize the thief or who may know him should call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).

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