Early Thursday morning as a group of firefighters slept and read in the cozy confines of their Little Haiti firehouse, someone outside was making their lives a little more miserable.
Behind a locked gate at the firehouse, broken glass from the shattered windows of 10 vehicles covered the parking lot. Gone were wallets filled with personal identification, credit cards and cash. Also stolen: Three firearms and boxes of live ammunition.
“It was the middle of the night. They were probably asleep,” Miami police Officer Christopher Bess said.
Police believe that someone broke into the gated parking lot of Miami Fire Rescue Station #9, 69 NE 62nd St., some time between 2 and 8 a.m. Thursday. They were called after a firefighter checking his vehicle noticed a broken window and told police someone got away with his black Taurus .45-caliber handgun.
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“They’re not patrolling the parking lot,” Miami Fire Rescue Capt. Ignatius Carroll said.
Detectives believe they solved the crime quickly. They were aided in their investigation when one of the firefighters got a call from his credit union saying someone had charged $579.09 in clothing from a store called Everything Lovely on Northeast 79th Street.
From there, detectives got the address of the woman who made the purchases over the internet. When they got to apartment 141 at 355 NE 80th Ter., police said they found a woman named Chelsea Velez — and a whole slew of likely stolen property.
Inside the apartment: Several credit cards and other forms of identification, two Canon cameras, several cellphones, two firearms and several boxes of live ammo.
Police said Velez, 18, admitted she was at the firehouse with accomplices, but said she didn’t steal anything. It’s not clear if she named any others involved in the theft. If she did, police didn’t share the information Thursday.
Velez was arrested and charged with 10 counts of criminal mischief, three counts of credit card fraud, two counts of grand theft and a single count of armed burglary.