Crime Watch

Crime Watch solves mystery of the peeping Tom who wasn’t peeping


Special to The Miami Herald

The last couple of weeks we have concentrated on holiday safety. I have received a lot of feedback, and I will share some of it with you next week.

But this week I want to share some great emails that I think you would appreciate, including one from a lady that was almost terribly scammed with an ad from the paper.

First we are going to hear from a Crime Watch group in Shorecrest:


Recently my block's crime watchers effectively caught someone lurking in my back yard. A man in his early 40s, dressed in a sweatshirt and shorts walked around the rear of my house and peered into the sliding glass door. After a few minutes, he exited again out the front yard and walked away from my house.

Crime watchers saw him, reported it as suspicious by both calling the police and asking if other neighbors in their phone chain saw the man and where he might be headed next.

When we got home, we saw fingerprints on my sliding glass door where he must have peered into the house. Police took fingerprints.

A day or so later, my friend Jesse called me to say that he had come by my house and was looking for me. He had gone around back to see if I was home or if anyone else was. Apparently, he put his fingers on the glass.

I'm so very happy that nothing bad happened. And I'm also so happy that it's a story of Crime Watch working. Sometimes when crime watch works, we don't really know because the crime never is committed. Or in my case, there isn't really a criminal. But we all feel a bit better knowing that we are watching out over each other.

Don, Shorecrest

Next I received a call from a lady named Rebecca, who answered an ad in the Miami Herald looking for a Nanny, which turned out to be a total scam. After several emails with the women, she realized it was a scam. It was reported to the FBI and police. Here is how the ad read:

GENERAL LABOR/DOMESTIC: Nanny needed to take care of 5 year old boy. Main duties dropping and picking up from school. Assisting in few household chores. Pay $400.00 per week. Email resumes:

After exchanging a few emails with the advertiser, Rebecca received a check for $2,350 in the mail and this message:

Hello Rebecca,

This is to inform you that a check for your advance payment and the wheelchair has will be delivered by FedEx today. What is required of you is to have it deposited in your bank account using the ATM or directly over the counter. Funds would be verified and you can have it available tomorrow (Usually 24 hrs or less) as soon as you have the funds available you can take out your payment ($4oo) after which you will be left with the remaining balance of $1950. Remaining balance should be sent out using the minute option to one of the warehouse manager for the wheelchair using Moneygram or Western Union so they can have it delivered ASAP! Upon completion of the transfer you will be provided with a Money Transfer Control Number which should be sent to me.

Rebecca asked at her bank, which told her the check was worthless. Had Rebecca deposited the check, of course, it would have bounced, and she would have lost any amount she sent to the supposed wheelchair company.

Carmen Caldwell is executive director of Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade. Send feedback and news for this column to, or call her at 305-470-1670.

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