NORTH MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida visitor is sharing her story after, she said, thieves smashed their way into her rental SUV in broad daylight and took off with hundreds of dollars in valuables, including the hair styling tools she uses for work.
Syreeta Ervin, who traveled from Boston to visit her ailing mother, said the Kia SUV she had rented was broken into Saturday morning.
“Everything that I bought here on my trip was gone,” she said.
However, the smash and dash was followed by a positive outcome for the victim. After watching the story on Saturday evening, 7News viewers came forward saying they want to help Ervin replace the stolen items.
Ervin said the break-in happened while she was having breakfast with her boyfriend at the IHOP at 1101 NE 163rd St. in North Miami Beach.
“They came and said, ‘Is anybody driving a gray SUV?’ I said, ‘Yeah, that’s me.’ She said, ‘They just broke into your car,'” said the victim.
The theft took place within minutes in the parking lot of the IHOP, sometime before 9:30 a.m.
“I made my order at 9:07. By 9:11, the order was coming out. By 9:28, I was leaving the restaurant, and the [rear] window was shattered,” said Ervin.
The victim soon discovered the break-in was captured on cellphone video.
She said someone who was waiting for a pickup order outside the restaurant recorded the video. She said the witness started recording after they noticed the driver of a white sedan acting strange.
It’s difficult to make out what’s happening in the clip, but Ervin pointed out the moment when the crime was committed.
“You see the people just bashing in the window and just taking all my stuff,” she said.
7News cameras captured Ervin speaking with North Miami Beach Police detectives outside of the restaurant while they combed for clues.
Ervin is also hoping surveillance video helps police track down the culprit.
“My mother’s a retired health care worker, and I specifically came down here to provide beauty services for my mother because she’s not in a condition to go to places like that, and I help domestic violence victims,” she said.
The victim said the thief took off with several items, including personal belongings and her professional hair styling equipment.
Clippers, a blow dryer, shears and more are now gone.
“That stuff was valuable to me because it helped me help other people,” said Ervin.
Ervin said she uses her skills to help people feel good on the inside after a little primping on the outside.
“Here I am, offering services to people that I don’t even know, out of the kindness of my heart with no expectations, and then you just come along and you snatch,” she said. “He didn’t take from me only; he took from my clients.”
To make matters worse, this all played out the day after her birthday.
However, after her story aired, several viewers reached out to 7News and said they want to help replace some of the items that were taken. She is currently in contact with them.
Ervin may live in the Northeast now, but this is home for her. She said the stolen items are a loss she takes personally.
“I was raised here. This is my city, this is my community, and I’m disappointed in it,” she said. “I feel bad that I’m not going to be able to do what I love to do because it’s not a job for me. When I wake up and I have to go service someone, that’s not work for me. I enjoy doing it.”
Ervin has filed a police report and said she plans to return to Boston in the next few days.
If you have any information on this car burglary or the thieves’ 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.
Copyright 2020 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.