A South Florida man who went on a violent crime spree that ended in his arrest following a police chase crash may be responsible for several other crimes, authorities said Wednesday.
Leonardo Lopez, 47, was taken into custody Tuesday after flipping a stolen Jeep Cherokee in the area of Northwest 26th Avenue and 3rd Street at the end of the pursuit, Miami Police said.
Lopez faces charges of fleeing a police officer, grand theft, driving with a suspended license, reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident. He was being held on $13,000 bond Wednesday and it was unknown whether he has an attorney.
At a news conference Wednesday, Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa said Lopez is linked to more than a dozen robberies in Miami and may be responsible for other crimes.
"Mr. Lopez went on a little rampage recently and we know that he has done seven robberies of local gas stations in the last few weeks," Orosa said.
Perhaps the most recent and most violent crime came earlier this month when Lopez attacked a Valero gas station clerk with a lead pipe during an armed robbery Nov. 12, police said.
Lopez, who has a violent criminal history that dates back to the mid-1980s and includes 22 felony convictions, was released from prison last September, police said.
Orosa said Lopez was caught after he left evidence behind in one of the stolen cars he used for one of the crimes. Lopez is facing local and federal charges, Orosa said.
"We're going to go federal with the gentleman, that way it guarantees more jail time, it guarantees swifter justice and we won't see him for a long time to come," Orosa said.
Anyone who may have information about Lopez is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.
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