NORTH MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A video camera inside a car parked outside a North Miami Beach home recorded a thief breaking into the vehicle in what, police said, was the latest in a string of burglaries in the area.
The footage shows the subject wearing a hoodie as he took his time rummaging through the contents of the vehicle, early Saturday morning. He seems completely unaware of the motion-sensor camera capturing crystal-clear footage of his every move.
Police said the video shows area residents have taken some smart steps to protect their property in order to stop crime in the neighborhood.
“Our victims are tired of being victimized and burglarized, so what they’re doing is they’re taking a proactive approach,” said North Miami Beach Police Capt. Juan Pinillos. “They’re going out. They’re purchasing video cameras.”
Pinillos said the video serves as a reminder to prospective thieves to think twice before they target his city’s residents. “If you think you’re going to come into North Miami Beach and burglarize our victims, we have something else for you,” he said. “We’re sick and tired of it. The police department is tired of it. The citizens are tired of it, and now we’re taking matters into our own hands, and we will blast you over the news if you do that.”
Officials said they have had enough of the car burglaries in the area. “The officers on the street can only see so much. They can only hear so much,. It takes the citizens out there to be our eyes and ears,” said Pinillos.
Investigators said the break-ins are taking place in an area patrolled by both Miami-Dade and North Miami Beach police officers.
Last week, a Northeast Miami-Dade resident with multiple sclerosis had his special, modified car stolen.
Police believe these car thieves are working in groups. However, Pinillos said they have made progress cracking these cases.
“Just the other night, we were able to capture a burglary suspect who had committed seven vehicle burglaries,” said Pinillos. “Luckily, we were able to return a lot of the property, if not all of the property to the victims in that case.”
Surveillance video captured a suspected burglar in a car parked in a driveway getting out of the vehicle and fleeing after a North Miami Beach Police SUV pulled up and shined a floodlight on him, Feb. 2.
Another surveillance camera captured that subject jumping over a fence and into a yard. Police were able to apprehend him and make an arrest.
“We’ll catch one group one week, and then another one will pop up a second week,” said Pinillos. “It’s a crime of opportunity.”
After this weekend’s rash of car burglaries in North Miami Beach, police said, it’s time for these crooks to surrender to authorities, beginning with the burglar whose face was caught on camera.
“Turn yourself in before it’s too late. You’re gonna get caught,” said Pinillos. “It’s everywhere. Your face is being blasted. We are proactively looking for you, and we will catch you.”
Police said many residents in the neighborhoods being targeted have surveillance equipment, so there’s a good chance some of these thieves could wind up on the local news. “You buy your property. You expect it to be safe, and it’s just not right,” said Pinillos.
If you have any information on these car burglaries, 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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