Police investigating after crooks break into firefighters’ vehicles

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - First responders in two Miami-Dade cities have found themselves victims after some crooks broke into their vehicles overnight.

All of these vehicles belong to firefighters. One incident happened to Miami Beach Fire Rescue at the station in the eighth block of 69th Street and Indian Creek Drive, early Friday morning, between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m., according to Miami Beach Police.

Burglars smashed the windows of 10 personal vehicles and took whatever they could find, according to authorities. “They were vandalized. The windows were smashed, personal property was taken,” said Miami Beach Police Officer Ernesto Rodriguez.

In that case, four personal firearms were taken from those vehicles.

“These are the personal firearms of some of the employees. Those have been registered and entered with their serial numbers, so when and if those are located we’ll automatically be able to gather more information,” said Rodriguez.

A similar incident happened in Miami-Dade, also overnight. In that case, a state vehicle and six cars were broken into at MDFR Station 7, near Northwest 22nd Avenue and 93rd Street while crews worked an overnight shift. But nothing was taken.

“Some of our guys coming on shift noticed that some of the cars are broken into,” said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Lt. Felipe Lay.

Police from Miami Beach are now working with police in Miami-Dade to see if the crimes are connected.

MDFR said the incident is not the first of its kind. “We had another station a couple weeks ago, after Hurricane Irma, that cars were broken into, and we had Miami Beach, and this has happened also with the City of Miami,” said Lay.

The crime has left the public servants feeling vulnerable as they work to protect and save the community. “Some of the guys are frustrated for sure, just like anybody would, but we did take an oath, and this won’t deter us from our job and serving the community,” said Lay.

“Actually, one of our detectives is actually over there,” said Rodriguez, “working with those folks to see if there are any similarities. Obviously, two different fire departments hit overnight. We’re taking measures across the city this evening and for the remainder of the week to ensure that all of our locations, all of our city staff, is safe.”

“This is something very unfortunate,” said Lay, “and in the wake of Hurricane Irma, dealing with not having power, trees down and personal issues at home, this is just something unfortunate for anybody in the community to have to go through.”

If you have any information on these vehicle break-ins, 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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