Miami, FL - Local neighborhood on alert for thieves
MIAMI - As Jews across South Florida observe the Passover holiday, some of the faithful have been left on edge after a fellow congregant in a North Miami Beach neighborhood was targeted by thieves.
"The guys came over and started punching and kicking at me, so I immediately grabbed my hands and covered my face up."
The man too afraid to show his face on camera said he was walking home from synagogue on Friday night when he was brutally beaten by five thugs in a robbery attempt. The man said he got on the ground and covered his face while five men repeatedly kicked him and punched him, but the thieves did not manage to get away with anything. "They said, 'Give us your money.' I said, 'I don't have any money.' They said, 'Give us your phone. I said, 'I don't have a phone, I don't have anything,'" the robbery victim recalled.
The victim in this case was an Orthodox Jew, and he is not alone in his concern for safety. Two weeks prior to his attack, a grandfather was robbed at gunpoint in front of his 1-year-old grandchild.
He is also an observant Jew. "He put the gun to my head and the side of my forehead, as he walked behind me, and ordered me to get on the floor. In front of baby, yes," said the second victim.
All of this has led to an increased police presence in the area. Especially on the eve of Passover which begins at sundown on Monday. Miami-Dade Police Sgt. Thomas Buchanan said, "We are in the area, and we have regular patrol officers that patrol this area during Jewish holidays and at anytime there is any type of incident."
North Miami Beach Police Officer Tom Carney added, "They are picking on the most vulnerable. They are picking on the individuals with children or the women or the elderly, and that's horrible."
In each of these cases where the victim is beaten or terrorized, the thieves got away with absolutely nothing because observant Jews are prohibited from carrying money, cell phones or their wallets on the Sabbath or holidays. "There is absolutely no value in their pockets or anything that they can have," said a robbery victim.
Buchanan said, "We're going to get you. We have people looking for you. We're in the area. There is increased patrols, and if you prey on people, we're going to find you and put new jail."
If you have any information on these attacks, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward.