“Excellent police work” is how Key Biscayne Police Chief Frank Sousa described it.
Four male teenagers were arrested Wednesday night in South Miami after a brief foot pursuit and each were charged with three felonies in separate cases involving an armed robbery and five vehicle burglaries that occurred shortly after midnight Monday in what normally is considered a safe and peaceful Village neighborhood.
A fifth suspect also has been identified and investigators are pursuing him.
Using valuable information from witnesses, surveillance cameras and license plate readers, investigators were led to two stolen vehicles Wednesday night in South Miami.
Officers conducted surveillance of the residence, waited until the four young men occupied the vehicles and then coordinated a traffic stop. A brief foot pursuit ensued in the 6600 block of Southwest 58th Place in the City of South Miami and all four were taken into custody.
Two firearms were recovered, as well as stolen property from the armed robbery of the two teenage boys on East Enid Drive early Monday. Investigators from Key Biscayne, working alongside partners from Miami-Dade Police, were able to secure a statement from one individual implicating the others.
“This is not about me,” Sousa told Islander News Thursday afternoon. Sousa joined the force late last year from the Fort Lauderdale Police Department.
“Our two investigators worked tirelessly together with partnerships from Miami-Dade County (Police) and other municipalities that proved beneficial.
“It was excellent police work the way they identified the suspects so quickly. Our detectives proved what an asset they are ... and they’ve provided a sense of closure to what was a frightening thing that happened.”
All four have been charged as juveniles, with armed robbery with a mask being a first-degree felony.
“That’s serious,” said Sousa, who said it now is up to the State Attorney to recommend their next step in the court system.
All four also face charges of similar crimes in other jurisdictions.
Arrested and charged with armed robbery with a mask, along with third-degree felonies of burglary and grand theft, were:
- Nicholas Ramirez, 15, a white male
- Robert Lee Holton III, 17, a black male*
- Jakari Juwane Ford, 16, a black male
- Kevari Elijah Preston Miller, 17, a black male
Investigators from the Key Biscayne Police Department, with collaboration from police units from Miami-Dade, South Miami, Miami-Dade Schools, Coral Gables and the City of Miami used valuable information and leads from witnesses, which helped identify the subjects.
“As stated (Tuesday night during the Village Council meeting), we continue to increase our community policing efforts,” Sousa said in an earlier statement to the community. “You have already seen increased police officer presence in the Village over the past few months. This is something we will continue as we work to prevent crime, police youth disorder and address traffic safety, while increasing engagement with the community.”
Fifteen residents spoke — several emotionally — at the Village Council meeting, pleading to Deputy Chief Jason Younes and city leaders to keep their island safe with more police presence, more surveillance cameras and better street lighting.
The boys who were robbed at approximately 12:45 a.m. Monday were not injured, but understandably shaken, as were two of the parents who spoke in front of Council members.
Reportedly, five vehicles were broken into on Sunrise Drive in that same timeframe.
Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a holiday for schools.
“Obviously, to take a negative and turn it into a positive sign of energy is a good thing,” Sousa said, “but we’re not going to stop here. We’ll keep trying to ensure a safe and secure environment for all our residents.”
“It’s unfortunate this incident happened, but our police did what they’re supposed to do,” said Key Biscayne Mayor Mike Davey, who is in full support of the “See something, say something” mantra for residents to call police when they spot anything suspicious.
“Our police are always looking to improve and stay on top of their game, and this shows they certainly are. The relationships they’ve built with partners (from other police forces) across the Bay are special.”
Key Biscayne is perennially listed among several “Safest Cities” lists in the state, and even across the nation for its size.
Another crime in the Village last year also took place in the early morning hours when a Key Biscayne resident suffered multiple injuries after an assault in a case that had allegedly stemmed from a rock-throwing incident involving a golf cart.
Two young men were apprehended just days after the attack in North Miami Beach, thanks to the work of Key Biscayne investigators and their partners.
If you have any additional information pertaining to the armed robbery investigation, please call the Key Biscayne Police Department at 305-365-5555.