MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Miami Beach robbery detectives have arrested three men less than a week after they allegedly robbed and sexually assaulted tourists on South Beach.
According to Miami Beach Police, on June 22, 21-year-old Rafael Gabriel Monroy, 21-year-old Xavier Joey Lopez and 20-year-old Michael Rudy Martinez robbed a couple at gunpoint and committed sexual battery against one of them.
Police said Martinez waited in the getaway car while Lopez and Monroy went to the beach looking for their victims.
Investigators said the Texas couple had just left a club and decided to take a stroll on the sand after midnight when they were approached by Lopez and Monroy, along the 800 block of the beach.
One of the victims, a 50-year-old woman, described what happened next. “They had a gun, and they were pointing at us to take off all of our clothes,” she said.
Police said Monroy demanded they hand over all their belongings, including their clothing. In fear of their lives, the victims complied.
“They put the gun in his face and told him to shut up,” said the victim, who asked not to be identified or show her face on camera. “We got undressed, and I was telling him to please, please leave us alone.”
Police said Lopez sexually assaulted the female victim. He has been charged with sexual battery.
The female victim told 7News the ordeal was a real nightmare for them. “I mean, we came here to have a great time, and now this happens,” she said as she fought back tears.
Detectives said they worked around the clock to find the culprits. “When I say around the clock, we’re not exaggerating,” said Miami Beach Police Officer Ernesto Rodriguez. “These guys have been working 15-, 16-hour days. This whole purpose was to apprehend these criminals.”
After getting away with $300 in cash and credit cards, police said the trio of troublemakers headed to Miami, where they used a stolen credit card to buy food at a McDonald’s. The transaction tipped off investigators. “That’s how it started,” said Rodriguez.
Detectives began tracking down the men, then later took them into custody. “We were able to apprehend all three of the subjects and put them behind bars where they belong,” said Rodriguez.
The trio appeared in bond court on Wednesday. They were all denied bond.
The victims have returned to Texas. Speaking with 7News over the phone from her Dallas home, Wednesday, the female victim said she’s still traumatized. “I continue having nightmares every night,” she said.
However, she is also thankful to hear about the arrests. “I was excited that they had caught the bad guys and that they’re not out there hurting other people,” she said.
Rodriguez said their investigation is far from over. “We’re now working additional leads, which may tie them to some other robberies on Miami Beach,” he said. “But the main thing is they are off the street, and they can’t hurt anyone else.”
“I believe in karma, and I hope they learned their lesson, not to do things like that,” said the female victim.
In the wake of this incident, Miami Beach Police advise residents and visitors to stay off the beach when the sun goes down.
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