9-Year-Old Becomes Person of Interest in Aventura Deli Theft

The child was cleared due to lack of evidence.

By Keith Jones
|  Wednesday, Apr 10, 2013  |  Updated 6:42 PM EDT
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Aventura Police questioned a 9-year-old who appeared on surveillance video after nearly $1000 were stolen from Mo's Deli in Aventura. NBC 6's Keith Jones spoke with server Vilma Ramirez and manager/co-owner Paul Kruss about the incident.

Aventura Police questioned a 9-year-old who appeared on surveillance video after nearly $1000 were stolen from Mo's Deli in Aventura. NBC 6's Keith Jones spoke with server Vilma Ramirez and manager/co-owner Paul Kruss about the incident.

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It's not usual that a person of interest wanted by police turns himself in. It's also very unusual that the person of interest is 9-years old. 

That's the scenario for Aventura Police, as they investigate nearly $1000 stolen from Mo's Deli in Aventura.

Four purses were taken from a wait staff prep area where servers keep personal belongings while they work.

On March 27th the bags were taken from two sets of shelves.

Vilma Ramirez, a server, had $950 in her purse. She was going to use some to pay her bills and put the rest in savings, but said she was running late that day so she shoved it in her purse. Later that day, her purse was missing.

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When manager and co-owner Paul Kruss heard about the theft, he went right to the security camera video.

He knew the purses were taken in the evening sometime and began checking.

The video shows a child - all alone - walking in using a back-room door. Cameras show him walk towards the restrooms out of view. He's seen in the the main dining hall, then Kruss said he made it back to the prep area.

Kruss said the child, who was holding a green folder, told a waiter he was collecting donations for his church.

The child walks out, but roughly an hour later, he's back- again - all alone.

The purses disappeared after the second time the child walked in, Kruss said.

Kruss believes the child left the prep area, used a back hall way and into the mens room, where the purses were found in the trash.

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Aventura detectives said as soon as the boy's mother recognized her son on the news, she  called dispatch and said she was bringing her son in so police could speak with him.  

Police said the boy denied taking anything, although he admitted the claim of collecting for church was bogus. Officials said the boy admitted the money he tried to collect was for him.

Detectives said mom admitted the boy is known to be in trouble, known to disappear from home and even ride the bus alone. The boy told police the bus is how he made it to Mo's.

According to police, his Mom thinks the boy is lying and probably took the money. She said she searched for it, but can't find it anywhere to return it.

Police said there's little evidence to support the boy did anything wrong, so the boy has been cleared of all charges.

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