It’s Miami Shores Mayor Alice Burch’s job to fund and oversee the village’s crime fighters. On Tuesday, the mayor became one.
Burch was robbed at gunpoint at around 4:15 p.m. by two juveniles, one of whom wielded a handgun, near a Starbucks coffee shop in the village’s downtown. Burch chased the robbers, and caught up with them, until one of the youths pushed her down. The teens then drove away. Aided by both Burch and a witness, Miami Shores police officers caught and arrested the two later, Lt. James Somohano said.
Burch was thrown to the ground “forcibly” by the two juveniles, Somohano said, but told police she was fine and did not require a trip to the emergency room.
Kelly Moore, who said she knows the mayor, saw the two youths — who were not identified by police — running away from the Starbucks on Northeast Second Avenue, clutching a woman’s purse. “I called the cops right away, and at the same time, I noticed a cop coming up on the corner.”
With good information from both Burch and Moore, police found the two juveniles in a car nearby, Somohano said. The car had been stolen, and two other young men — also believed to have been involved in the robbery — may have gotten away in a second car.
Somohano said detectives with the Miami Police Department believe the youths may be involved in a series of robberies in their jurisdiction, as well.
The area around the Starbucks, where Northeast Second intersects with 95th Street, has been the scene of other robberies in recent weeks, including an armed mugging late last month. In that episode, a man believed to have been holding a weapon accosted a woman exiting her Porsche sedan and demanded: “Give me the ring! Don’t say anything, and don’t scream or I will kill you!” The man left with a $30,000 ring and $300 wallet.
Only the wallet was recovered.
William Carroll, 57, was arrested in connection with that incident with the help of two Crime Stoppers tips and good surveillance video. He’s been charged with armed robbery, aggravated battery and third-degree grand theft.
As to Burch, Somohano said he understands the mayor’s decision to chase the two youths who robbed her, although he doesn’t recommend that others follow suit.
“We never advocate that on behalf of any victim,” Somohano said. “Nothing any perpetrator takes from you is worth your life.” He added: “Many people instinctively go after the person who took something from you. It’s a very common instinct. Certainly, it is a reaction that is understood.”