It wasn’t a very merry Christmas for Tuscany Estates, a gated community in Palmetto Bay.
On Dec. 24, five homes were burglarized and three cars were stolen. All crimes were committed blocks from each other in the manicured community, located off Southwest 84th Avenue and 136th Street.
“They were all in close proximity to each other,” Palmetto Bay Police Commander Gadyaces Serralta said. “All houses that were hit, residents were out of town, except one. The one that was not out of town, had just left to celebrate Christmas Eve at a family member’s home. We believe that the bad guys were already there, so they did that house, too.”
I was very disheartened at the fact that there are individuals out there that are capable of ruining multiple families’ Christmas for their own gain
Gadyaces Serralta, Palmetto Bay Police Commander
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About a week earlier, four houses were burglarized in Mangowood Estates, another private community in Palmetto Bay off Southwest 94th Street and 84th Avenue.
“We’re looking to see if there is any relation or similarities between the burglaries, if it’s the same crew,” Serralta said. “We have reached out to all the homeowners associations and are proactively asking them to give people crime prevention tips.”
In all the Christmas Eve Tuscany Estates burglaries, the bad guys entered through windows, glass doors or by prying open hurricane shutters. Among the items stolen were televisions, purses, jewelry and other electronics.
In two of those house burglaries, the crooks stole three cars from inside garages.
“We believe they jumped the walls of the community, stole the cars, and used the cars to transport the stolen goods from the houses,” Serralta said. “We believe it was a systematic and organized group that victimized the Palmetto Bay residents on Christmas Eve. By the volume and efficiency in which the burglaries were committed, we believe there are as many as four to six involved, but we don’t have much information other than three nicknames given to us by the one person arrested. It’s still under investigation.”
In custody is Rodgerick Everette, 30, of Goulds. He was caught by Miami-Dade County Police on Dec. 28 in Goulds, driving a Cadillac XTS — one of the vehicles stolen from Tuscany Estates.
Armed, Everette fled the car and hid at his girlfriend’s home, which is also in Goulds. Police got a warrant and inside the home they recovered a 60-inch television and purses belonging to some of the Palmetto Bay victims.
Everette was charged with with grand theft auto, dealing in stolen property, unoccupied burglary (two counts), grand theft and criminal mischief. Both Miami-Dade and Palmetto Bay police are handling the investigation.
“I was very disheartened at the fact that there are individuals out there that are capable of ruining multiple families’ Christmas for their own gain,” Serralta said.
On Christmas Day, officers’ shifts were adjusted and police presence was increased with marked and unmarked cars in Tuscany Estates.