He suspected his neighbor of vandalizing his scooter, then he caught her on camera with a butcher knife. Guess what? Nothing happened, and that’s when he called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser to see if they could carve out a legal solution.
Walter was born and raised in Italy and, he says, born to be a chef.
Walter Dilibero: “That all this is, inside of you, is like something you love to do and you have to do it, right? Otherwise, you know, don’t do it if you don’t want to do it.”
Walter cooked for decades in great restaurants in the U.S.
He is now retired, but he still visits his kitchen.
Walter Dilibero: “I still cook every day. I just made some tiramisu today.”
On the day we met with Walter he was hot under the collar but not from a stove.
Walter Dilibero: “You know, my neighbors downstairs, one time, she vandalized my car and my neighbor’s car.”
Then the vandal turned to Walter’s Vespa scooter.
Walter Dilibero: “She spray paint my scooter. The chemical that she’s throwing down, that which doesn’t come out.”
Walter spoke to the 85-year-old woman, he says she admitted doing it because he knocked over a potted plant.
Walter Dilibero: “I told her I didn’t touch your plants.”
Walter filed police reports, but they couldn’t arrest her because they had no proof she was the vandal.
So Walter set up a camera, and this is what happened…
Walter Dilibero: “Look at the way she is cutting from the side now, a knife, a 10-inch knife.”
You can clearly see the woman cutting his scooter seat with the butcher knife, slicing and scratching it seven times.
Walter Dilibero: “I said that it is done. You know, she’s going to pay for it.”
Walter called Miami Police and showed them his videos.
Walter Dilibero: “And they told me that, you know, she was going to be arrested because that’s a felony.”
The woman didn’t answer when police knocked on her door.
They left, and she was never arrested, even though Walter says he spent the next month calling the police over and over.
Walter Dilibero: “Never call me back, so nobody cared about it, you know, very frustrating.”
The estimate to repair all the damage to Walter’s scooter was over $1,100.
He has the video of the suspect, but he hasn’t been paid, and she hasn’t been charged.
Walter Dilibero: “Somebody does something wrong, you should be arrested, and I want to press charges.”
Well, legally, what should have been done, Howard?
Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “If you intentionally destroy and damage someone’s property it’s a crime. If it’s less than a thousand dollars, it’s a misdemeanor. If the damage is over a $1,000 it’s a felony. Walter only has video of the seat being cut, meaning it’s a misdemeanor, but police can still charge the suspect with criminal mischief.”
I first went to see the woman identified in the police report as Miriam Cecere.
Patrick Fraser: “Pictures of you with a knife cutting the screen. Did you cut the scooter with a knife?”
Miriam Cecere: “I don’t understand you.”
Patrick Fraser: “Hmm?”
I then contacted the Miami Police Department, in one police report they listed the cost of replacing the seat at $350, making it a misdemeanor.
Walter wanted all the damage repaired. The estimate was $1,104; making it a felony.
Walter Dilibero: “So once you guys get involved, you know, the problem was solved.”
Walter says a detective met with the woman, she offered to give him $500 to replace the seat on the scooter if he didn’t press charges.
Walter Dilibero: “I just want to, you know, get over it, so I agree to get the $500.”
The seat looks good, the scooter is cleaned up finally.
Walter Dilibero: “Yes, I’m very happy. You know, if I wouldn’t call you guys, you know? I mean, I wasn’t Patrick Fraser. Forget it. You know, that case will never be solved.”
Glad Walter is happy. Now, if you are the victim of a crime and don’t feel you are getting the attention you deserve. Go up the the chain of command at the police department or contact your city or county commissioner. Walter did all that, so he turned to the third option, contact Help Me Howard.
Cooked up a problem that’s distasteful? Don’t throw it out. Scoot over to us and see if we can slice up a solution for you.
With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.
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