No hostages found inside Little Havana restaurant after SWAT situation

MIAMI (WSVN) - A tense standoff at a restaurant in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood came to an end, Monday evening, when police officers expecting to encounter a hostage situation instead found no one held against their will.

7News cameras captured the aftermath of the ordeal hours later, as crime scene technicians dusted for fingerprints outside Joseph Club, located at 1971 NW 7th St.

It was a much more chaotic scene hours earlier, when, according to City of Miami Police, a SWAT team entered and searched the restaurant and found no one inside.

Police responded to the scene at around 2:45 p.m.

Investigators said a woman had told police that managers at the restaurant were holding employees and patrons against their will inside after a cellphone was reportedly stolen.

“A female comes out of the business and says that she was being held hostage, that there were people being held hostage inside, approximately 10 to 12 people,” said Miami Police Officer Michael Vega. “This is how it got started, where we had to call our SWAT team and our negotiation team.”

7News cameras showed six members of the police department’s special response team arriving at the property with their guns drawn. Just before 4 p.m., they were seen making their way inside.

Cameras also showed officers on the roof of a nearby building with their long guns out.

Citrus Grove Elementary and Middle schools were both placed on lockdown as a precaution, but the lockdown was lifted just after 4 p.m.

Some time later, 7Skyforce HD captured law enforcers throwing a roll of cable under the property to establish communication between those inside the restaurant and police negotiators.

“I’m very worried about her, and all the staff, too,” said a woman referring to a friend of hers who she thought was in the restaurant.

But police said it was all a false alarm.

At around 6:15 p.m., police gave the all clear. “There was no one inside,” Vega told reporters. “The female who originally gave us this information has been detained, and she is at the station now being questioned further and pending charges.”

Police also took at two other people into custody for questioning.

Northwest Seventh Street between 18th and 21st avenues was shut down for hours while police worked the scene. The street has since been reopened to traffic.

At around 9 p.m., officials sent out a press release stating they still had a woman in custody, but did not specify whether or not she was under arrest.

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