A 27-year-old suspect was behind bars Wednesday after he followed a shopper and stole $2,800 worth of electronics from her car in a parking garage, police said.
Jose Antonio Bernal faces one count each of burglary and grand theft, as well as a probation violation, South Miami Police said.
It was not immediately known if he has an attorney. Bernal was being held on $10,000 bond Wednesday night, online Miami-Dade Corrections records said.
The victim, Xia Jin, saw the last thing any holiday shopper would ever want to see.
“I went to my car, and I saw that the window was broken,” she said.
Frantic, she opened her car door, fearing the four iPad Minis and two iPhone 5’s that she had just purchased a few hours earlier at the Dadeland Mall may have been gone, she said.
Her fears were confirmed seconds later. Then cam more haunting news, as South Miami Police told her that whoever broke in her car likely followed from the mall to her job's parking garage.
“I feel unsafe, because I know they followed me, after we realized what happened,” she said.
But Bernal was arrested Wednesday morning. Authorities said that when they searched a house linked to him on the 1400 block of SW 139th Avenue Wednesday evening, they found an Apple MacBook Pro, an iPad and an iPhone 5.
The difference maker in this case was that police said that people who saw something, said something – providing critical tips like a license plate number, a getaway car description, and even a good look at a suspicious looking man later identified as Bernal.
“Sometimes there's no leads, sometimes you don't get a subject. When you get something like this where everybody's involved – you've got tag numbers, descriptions on the car – we're able to make the arrest like we did today,” said South Miami Police Major Rene Landa. “Finally, we feel great if we're able to get some of the stolen stuff back to the victims, that's even better.”