FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A tense SWAT standoff involving a man who broke into four businesses at a shopping plaza in Fort Lauderdale and barricaded himself inside a pawn shop led to his arrest after, police said, he threatened to open fire.
Fort Lauderdale Police units responded to an alarm activation at the business, located along the 3000 block of West Davie Boulevard, just before 6 a.m., Sunday.
Investigators said a witness had alerted them about a burglary in progress.
Police said the subject initially gained entry into La Aurora Restaurant, a small cafe, by smashing through the front window.
“The police called me, telling me that basically somebody broke in,” said Jose Quintanilla, the cafe’s owner.
That was just the beginning of the destruction. 7News cameras captured a hole in the bathroom of the restaurant leading to the business next door, a cellphone shop, where it appears the burglar may have found himself trapped.
“Everybody has shutters, and everybody has bars on their doors, front and back,” said Sandra, the cellphone store’s owner. “There’s no way you can leave without having keys to open the doors.”
But the subject, later identified as 35-year-old Ricardo Mathurin, kept making his way across the plaza. There are holes into a salon, and from there, a family-owned pawn shop.
It was at the pawn shop where, police said, Mathurin barricaded himself.
“It’s been pretty surprising for us, because it’s been over 20 years that we’ve been here, and this is the first time that they’ve tried to break in,” said Alexy Carballeira, the pawn shop’s owner.
Carballeira said the perpetrator tried to break out using a ladder, but by then police were arriving and had the place surrounded.
After talking with Mathurin, investigators said, he agreed to surrender, but then he refused to obey their commands.
Video captured officers yelling at Mathurin to stop before, police said, he reached into his waistband.
At that point, officials said, SWAT officers used non-lethal force to take him into custody.
Mathurin was taken to Broward Health Medical Center as a precaution and was later booked into the Broward County Jail.
For these businesses at the shopping plaza that are already struggling, the damages caused are just one more obstacle to overcome.
“It’s not easy, you know, because business is very slow right now, and expenses like these, it’s tough,” said Quintanilla.
Mathurin is facing a long list of charges, including armed burglary and four counts of resisting officers without violence. He is being held without bond.
Copyright 2023 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.