Coral Gables

Coral Gables

Seven charged with trespassing in Ray Allen incident

 
 
Miami Heat guard Ray Allen with his wife, Shannon, and son, Walker.
Miami Heat guard Ray Allen with his wife, Shannon, and son, Walker.
Miami Herald file

mmadan@MiamiHerald.com

The seven young adults who traipsed through Ray Allen’s home last week in the middle of the night have been charged Wednesday with trespassing of an occupied structure — a first-degree misdemeanor that carries a sentence of up to a year in jail, $1,000 fine, and a year’s probation, according to the state attorney’s office.

“These charges have been filed today in county court,” said Ed Griffith, a spokesman for the state attorney's office.

Gregory Victor, an attorney for the Allens, said Wednesday they were pleased with the state attorney’s action.

“The Allens are satisfied with their decision to press charges,” Victor said during a phone conference, adding they are “happy with how it all turned out” and they are experiencing “a lot of different emotions.’’

“The Allens are thankful that no one was hurt and they are appreciative for all the support they have received from their community,’’ Victor added.

The Allens declined comment.

An attorney for six of the seven intruders said Wednesday they were sorry for what they did.

“Each of them truly regrets having this happen at all,’’ said Alan Ross, a Miami criminal defense attorney. “Each of them understands how their mother would have acted if she would have found strangers in their home.”

He said his clients dropped off a written apology at the Tahiti Beach guard gate. He said he sent Allen’s attorney the letter as well.

“I’ve never seen a group of finer young people who truly understand the stress that they’ve caused Mrs. Allen and Mr. Allen; he was out of town, unable to protect his family, with strange people in his home. I hope they got it.”

According to the charging document, filed Wednesday in Miami-Dade County Court, the seven adults “on Aug. 14 … without being authorized, licensed, or invited … did unlawfully and willfully trespass by entering a structure, owned by or in possession of the lawful custodian or owner...’’

The seven were not arrested. Most misdemeanor cases do not call for an arrest; rather, a summons is issued.

“The clerk’s office will send a summons to the defendants and will soon be setting the criminal case arraignment on the court calendar,’’ Griffith said. “This setting procedure may take a week or two and is in the hands of the clerk’s office.’’

The seven could enter a pre-trial diversion program, providing the Allens agree to this. Under such a program, they could have their records expunged and go through community service and counseling to get the charges dismissed. To qualify, the seven would have to be first offenders or have not been previously convicted of more than one nonviolent misdemeanor.

“If the Allens want to leave a lasting impression on these young adults, the diversion program will do a better job of that than just letting them run through the system and receive a withhold,’’ said David Weinstein, a former Miami-Dade prosecutor.

Weinstein said the trespass charge was the right call by prosecutors.

Others, however, see it differently.

"I’m disappointed in those charges. They should’ve have been charged with occupied burglary and let the plea bargaining effect go from there,’’ said Charlie Miller, a former captain with Miami-Dade police who ran the division’s burglary unit for 30 years. “I’ll tell you had they been of a less affluent status, they would’ve been charged.’’

Coral Gables police had consulted with the state attorney’s office, who said the seven could not be charged with burglary, a felony, because there was no evidence they intended to commit a crime, Coral Gables police spokesman Kelly Denham has said. Nothing was taken from the home, Shannon Walker Allen, the wife of Ray Allen, told police.

Police also said the officers could not make an arrest in the trespassing charge because they did not witness the offense, as required by state law. The Allens then decided to press charges with the state attorney’s office.

According to Coral Gables police reports, the following events took place in the early morning hours of Aug. 14:

At around 2:31 a.m. last Thursday, Alana Elizabeth Garcia, 18; Jorge Jesus Guerrero, 18; Christian John Lobo, 18; Jonathan Louis Ramirez, 19; Kevin Ramos, 18; Ernesto Romero, 18; and Angel Alejandro Sanchez, 18, entered the former Miami Heat player’s home on Tahiti Beach in Coral Gables. Walker Allen lay asleep with her four children in her second-floor bedroom. Allen was not home.

The seven young adults all live in Miami — mainly between southwest 62nd Avenue and Red Road, from Coral Way up to Flagler Street, except for Garcia, who lives in the Grove.

The seven were attending a party at a home in the 27 block of Tahiti Beach Island Road. A father of a friend of theirs, Sara Sigel, has a home in the exclusive gated community at the tip of Cocoplum in Coral Gables. Property records list the owner of the 8,165-square-foot home as Philip A. Sigel.

The seven had gone to the community beach, built a bonfire, were eating s’mores and reminiscing before heading off to college. They began talking about the house near the beach, the Allens’ home.

After a while, the seven decided to walk into the backyard of the Allens’ home. They looked into the windows, saw boxes on the floor and some furniture wrapped in plastic. They told police they believed the home was not occupied and they were “curious’’ about the home of Ray Allen, the former Miami Heat star.

One of the young men, Guerrero, told police he found an unlocked rear door, through which the seven entered the home. The seven walked around, using a flashlight app on their cellphones to show the way. They admired the pictures on the wall.

They climbed the stairs and entered a bedroom, where they were startled by a woman’s voice.

“What the f--- are you doing in my house?’’ Walker Allen screamed.

They ran down the stairs, scampered out the back door, collected their belongings on the beach and quickly fled the area.

Coral Gables police caught up with them at 4:30 a.m. at the Coconut Grove home where Sara Sigel lives with her mother, Marci Sigel. Two young women had driven back to Tahiti Beach to retrieve their sandals and told police where the seven were.

Police went to the Grove and found the seven standing outside the Sigel home on Bonita Avenue. Police talked to Marci Sigel, who told them she had learned that seven of her daughter’s friends went inside Ray Allen’s home because they thought it was vacant.

Marci Sigel told police she instructed the seven to remain at her home because she did not want her daughter to take the fall for her friends’ actions. She said the kids were all “good kids” who had just graduated from high school. They were spending an evening together before heading to college and ended up doing something “stupid.”

Victor said the Allens did not know any of the young adults.

Ross, the attorney for six of the seven intruders, said his clients all attend in-state colleges, in and out of Miami-Dade. He said that although they are considered adults because they are at least 18, he still considers them children.

“When you turn 18 you’re no longer a kid. But at the end of the day, they’re kids,” he said. “They graduated high school. They are going off to college. The script is: They find themselves interested in a celebrity’s home and made a bad decision. They solely regret it. There was no intent to do anything bad and the bottom line is, they didn’t do any harm.

“I’m hopeful that my clients will be able to go forward with their education and their lives, without there being an impediment. At the same time, hoping that the Allen family can truly put this behind them.”

Read more Coral Gables stories from the Miami Herald

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