Miami Heat player loses Rolex in restaurant robbery

 

mnavarro@MiamiHerald.com

Heavy hangs the crown when you’re a member of a three-time championship-winning NBA team.

But for some members of the Miami Heat, the weight has been getting lighter.

On Sunday night, hours after the Heat beat the Charlotte Bobcats by one point, reserve guard Roger Mason Jr. and his sister were among those robbed by four armed suspects at Ni.Do. Caffe and Mozzarella Bar off Biscayne Boulevard in Miami.

The thieves took a diamond-studded Rolex watch from Mason and his sister’s purse. The items later were recovered Monday when Miami police said they arrested two of the robbers - Rashoud Stroud, 32, and Steven Dawson, 30 - after a brief pursuit. The two other suspects remain at large.

Although Mason, 33, has only played in six games for the Heat this season, he’s the third team member to be the victim of crime this year.

In April, Chris Bosh’s Miami Beach home was robbed of nearly half a million dollars worth of jewelry, purses and other goods when he was out celebrating his 29th birthday with his wife.

Ten days later, someone broke into the home of Udonis Haslme in Southwest Ranches, but nothing was stolen.

"It was a scary moment,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Tuesday of the incident. “We talked about it as a team. Thankfully, they came out of it [unharmed]. You have to count your blessings sometimes. There are so many unpredictable things that can happen when you think you’re just going out for a nice dinner. Thankfully, everybody is safe and two of the people have been caught. We’ll continue to talk about it with our security staff. Awareness is certainly something our guys have to understand."

Although the natural assumption is that celebrity is a magnet for thieves and robbers, Miami Police Department public information officer Kenia Reyes says being famous doesn’t necessarily put you at a higher risk for crime.

“What criminals look for most definitely are opportunities – an opening to grab something and run away,” Reyes said. “Those can happen anywhere. Some criminals may target a wealthy neighborhood, hoping to come away with luxurious items. But everyone is a potential victim, from a panhandler who puts out a can to collect money to a woman who walks into a store without her purse properly secured.”

But Gary Kleck, professor of criminology and criminal justice at Florida State University, disagrees, saying professional basketball players in particular are known to carry around lot of cash, jewelry and other expensive property.

“If you go around wearing a Rolex, you’re going to be a more attractive robbery target,” Kleck said. “Someone who constantly shows up on TV, like a professional athlete, is going to be conspicuous no matter whether they are – a restaurant, the movie theater, a night club. And criminals know these people are very wealthy.”

Due to the ongoing criminal investigation, Mason declined to address reporters about the case before Tuesday night’s game against the Detroit Pistons at AmericanAirlines Arena.

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