North Miami Beach supermarket owner helps community activist after car theft

NORTH MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida community with an appetite for giving came together to help a man who has spent years feeding the hungry after his car was stolen.

A thief may have stolen Abi Friedman’s Infiniti sedan from his driveway in North Miami Beach, Thursday night, but the setback won’t let the community activist steal his passion.

Surveillance video captured the subject, seen wearing a hoodie, opening the Infiniti’s driver’s side door and rummaging through the car before opening the trunk. Inside were 70 ready-made meals for an elderly man in need from the North Miami Beach community.

That didn’t stop the thief from stealing the food or the car. Shortly after, the footage shows him driving away from Friedman’s home, in the area of Northeast 176th Terrace and 11th Avenue.

7News aired the story of the car theft on Friday. The Spalter family, who owns South Florida Kosher Meats in North Miami Beach, were made aware of the story and knew they had to do something.

“We heard that the car got stolen with all of the food in the back. We realized that we just have to step it up, and we had to give him the food that [the elderly man] was waiting for,” said Penina Spalter, whose father owns the supermarket.

“Somebody’s so vicious to go and take somebody’s food. I felt it was my responsibility as the kosher supermarket to reach out and help them out,” said Yitzie Spalter.

Friedman expressed his gratitude for the generous gesture. “They’re actually giving me food now to take to them, just to fill in for these meals that I lost,” he said.

“When something negative happens, we always have to switch that over and make the situation positive,” said Penina.

Friedman spent New Year’s Day getting the stolen food replaced.

“I have rotisserie chicken, I have soup, I have regular chicken, I have salads,” he said.

Friedman said the Spalters are not the only ones who have reached out. He said a number of organizations have stepped up to lend a helping hand, too.

“RE/MAX Prime Realty, that also has offered to pay for everything that I lost in my car for some other organizational things I do in the community,” said Friedman.

The food was delivered to a very grateful resident. Friedman helped take the food inside the man’s home. “Everything that you need here, I’m going to help you put it inside your door, so you don’t have to carry it,” he said.

“People think that it’s important to have things, but it’s more important to have people,” said the elderly man, who did not wish to be identified.

Friedman mentioned the material possession he lost, a 2014 silver Infiniti. He’s hoping his car is returned, but in the meantime, he is returning to his passion: uplifting the people in his community who need support.

“A little bit of light dispels a tremendous amount of darkness,” he said. “You take a dark room, light one match, and you’ve transformed it into light.”

Police continue to search for the man responsible for stealing the Infiniti.

If you have any information on the car theft, 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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