It seemed like a typical small-time crime: a group of five teenagers trying to rob a case of Heineken from a gas station Friday night in South Dade.
But the shoplifted beer didn’t pique the interest of a nearby Miami-Dade cop as much as their getaway car did — an unmarked Miami-Dade police truck that was stolen earlier this week.
According to police, what ensued was a car chase that included a hit-and-run and ended with a police officer shooting at the truck as it accelerated toward him, hitting the driver and two others with non-life threatening injuries.
Two 19-year-olds and a 17-year-old wound up in the hospital. The other two were not injured. All were arrested and face charges.
Police gave this account of the incident:
At around 9:30 p.m. Friday, 19-year-old Joel Cabrera stole the beer from a gas station at 24435 SW 112th Ave. He hopped in a white 2007 Chevrolet Colorado with four other teens.
A Miami-Dade officer saw the Chevy speeding away from the gas station and recognized the truck, which is equipped with police lights and a dispatch radio, as an unmarked police vehicle stolen earlier this week. The cop called for backup.
The driver, 19-year-old Jorbel Cruz, sped off on southbound 112th Avenue and sideswiped a car in the process. Police began pursuing Cruz, who kept going.
After a few abrupt turns, the brief chase ended with Cruz losing control of the car farther south at the corner of Southwest 108th Avenue and 256th Street. The Chevy spun around, stopping face to face with patrol cars that were following close.
When a detective started to approach the Chevy on foot, Cruz accelerated. The detective opened fire on the truck, hitting Cruz in the arm. Cabrera and a third 17-year-old male also were hit.
Cruz, a Hialeh resident, surrendered and admitted to knowing the vehicle was a stolen police car, police said. After being taken to the Kendall Regional Hospital to be treated for the gunshot wound, he was taken to Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center. He is charged with third-degree grand theft, leaving the scene of an accident, eluding a police officer and aggravated assault on an officer.
Cabrera, of Homestead, and the third male face petty theft and trespassing charges. They also were taken to TGK after the hospital.
Police took two females who also were riding in the truck in for questioning. One girl, 17, was charged with trespassing.
The second, a 15-year-old, allegedly gave cops a hard time at the station. Police say they had to move her to a secure interview room after she started yelling profanities and flailing her arms. In the room, she jumped onto a table, and threw bottled water toward an officer who was leaving the room. The bottle hit the door.
No police officers were injured. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating.