KEY BISCAYNE, FLA. (WSVN) - Police are searching for an armed man who, they said, broke into and ransacked a home in Key Biscayne before he attacked and tied up a nanny who walked in on him, Friday morning.
The home invasion caused lockdowns at two area schools, Key Biscayne K-8 Center and St. Agnes Academy, amid a heavy police presence near the residence on Woodcrest Lane.
Those lockdowns were later lifted, but police have not located the subject, whom they believe is armed and dangerous.
7Skyforce HD hovered above the island as officers dressed in SWAT gear and carrying rifles surrounded the street.
Authorities swarmed the schools and even a church while anxious parents waited outside. “We are doing an active K-9 search of a very wide perimeter area,” said Key Biscayne Police Chief Charles Press. “This hasn’t happened here on Key Biscayne.”
Police nevertheless stressed that the children were not in danger, and they were only searching the school as a precaution. “It’s a scary thought,” said parent Luis Cairasco. “When I got here, there was a bunch of cops, armed cops running around.”
According to investigators, at around 10 a.m., the suspect entered and ransacked the house. He was caught on security cameras in a baby’s bedroom.
Police said the nanny then walked in on him. “She challenged the subject. The subject immediately attacked the worker, tied her up and ransacked the area,” said Press.
The victim, later identified as 48-year-old Blanca Vargas, was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
Meanwhile, neighbors warned each other to remain indoors. “There is a man with a gun on K.B.,” said area resident Carolyn Kosken as she read an alert she received on her smartphone. “He just went into a friend’s house and beat up the nanny and left. Please keep the doors locked.”
“Well, the residents should do what they always should do,” said Press. “They should be careful, cautious, they should be looking out. If they see somebody suspicious, they should call 911 immediately.”
Authorities believe the suspect knows the area and is hiding nearby. They also believe he may have been dressed as a security guard at the time of the home invasion.
Residents of the affluent neighborhood said nothing like this has ever happened in the area before. “Violent crime in my lifetime is somewhere in the neighborhood of zero,” said one neighbor.
Key Biscayne Village Council member Allison McCormick, who lives next to the home, said she’s relieved the young children weren’t in the house when the perpetrator broke in. “Lovely family. Very nice family. They have young children,” she said. “They are wonderful neighbors. It’s upsetting, and a startling thing, because this type of thing doesn’t typically happen.”
“Sometimes we’re a little bit careless because this is such a secure community,” said Dr. Eugenio Rothe, another Key Biscayne resident. “I think we’re going to be a lot more careful from now on.”
If you have any information on the subject’s whereabouts, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.
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