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Exclusive: South Miami Police Bust Serial Car Burglar

SOUTH MIAMI (CBSMiami) - South Miami Police say they have busted a serial car burglar and a CBS4 crew was with detectives as the 32-year-old suspect was taken into custody.

Police in this city say they have tied Victor Barbosa to three car burglaries and records show he has been arrested at least six other times since 2002 for other car burglaries as well as three times for loitering and prowling and once for trespassing.

Police say he has victimized people in South Miami, Coral Gables, Pinecrest and other areas of Miami-Dade.

As Barbosa was taken by detectives into the South Miami Police station, CBS4's Peter D'Oench asked him, "Do you have anything to say for yourself about the crimes?"

"What crimes?" asked Barbosa.

"Car Burglaries," said D'Oench.

"No I don't," said Barbosa.

"He's a good career criminal and he's not going to break down and give you the entire story," said Acting South Miami Police Chief Rene Landa in an exclusive interview with D'Oench.

"But he has been caught before, arrested before and he has been prosecuted before and he will be prosecuted again," said Landa. He's broken into numerous cars and I am glad through great detective work we have been able to take him off the street."

D'Oench also spoke with the victim in this latest case, Jorge Bofill. He said. "South Miami Police have done an incredible job. They were very responsive. I'm not surprised by the latest developments. These are just the cases yourknow about. I'm sure there are others."

"I feel fantastic," said Landa. "I feel fantastic for the work done by officers for getting the information to our detectives. We were able to see his face and we were able to go out and find him and lock him up right away after we positively identified him."

"This is a nationwide problem," said Landa. "These subjects know what they are targeting and they look for items of interest. They look for items that are left in cars, like ipads and computers

and whatever else they are interested in."

"In this case the car was locked and the subject broke the back window and got in to take a number of items including clothing and a box for the computer," said Landa.

"We want to remind people about a number of important things," said Landa. "Keep your valuable items out of your car. Always lock your car. And park in an area with lights and an area that might have surveillance cameras."

Landa says the crime happened between 3:45 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. on Thursday. Police say the tape shows that Barbosa was at Bofill's car for just a few minutes.

Barbosa is charged with burglary to motor vehicles and is expected to face a judge in bond court Saturday morning.

The incident happened outside a condominium complex at S.W. 58th Ave. and S.W. 74th Terrace.

One neighbor, Sylvia Vianna, said, "I think it's amazing that these people not only commit a car burglary but they can also kill people. This guy needs to go to jail and be away from us."

"It's fantastic that this person was caught on tape," she said. "Everyone should have surveillance tape nowadays."

Another neighbor, Maria de los Angeles, said, "This brings some small comfort. At least it's good to know of such things. I feel safer now that this has happened. And I appreciate how pro-active police are in South Miami."

Landa says police have launched a campaign titled, "Lock your doors keep what's yours!"

Flyers from the campaign urge people to install and use anti-theft devices such as alarms and they urge drivers not to hide a spare key in a magnetic key box because thieves know all the hiding places.

If you have a garage, park inside it and make sure the door is locked. You should also be aware of your surroundings when shopping and tuck away valuable items.

If you have surveillance equipment at your home, make sure you park your vehicle within a clear and unobstructed view of the cameras.

You can report any suspicious activity to the South Miami Police Department at 305-663-6301 or in case of an emergency dial 911.


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