Police said they arrested a man Saturday who was affiliated with a notorious South Florida gang and is accused of holding up a Liberty City market with an AK-47 and carrying out a home invasion robbery last month.
Miami-Dade police arrested Willie “Pee Wee” Wilcher on Friday and charged him with robbery and home invasion with a firearm, armed burglary, firearm possession by a convicted felon, improper firearm display and trespass after warning.
Wilcher, 35, is no stranger to Liberty City and to crime in South Florida as he was affiliated with the infamous “John Does” gang in the 1990s and served an 18-year prison sentence for first-degree murder, attempted murder and several other charges. He was released in August 2014.
Miami police said that on Dec. 30, Wilcher walked into the City Market store, at 1274 NW 62nd St., with an AK-47 and threatened the store’s owner and patrons. According to surveillance video, Wilcher said, “They talking about they looking for ‘Peewee’ I’m right here, I just left out the projects.”
He then left the store in a Nissan Altima. The same day police found the car after it was crashed into a light pole and riddled with bullet holes from a shootout.
That shooting was one of many in the Liberty Square projects area in late December that created fear and apprehension among residents. Police said they believe Wilcher was involved in that incident and are investigating his potential involvement in other recent cases. They hope this arrest can give some solace to the community.
“They told us that they were scared and they gave us information about what he had done and where he was,” said Miami Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes.
Miami-Dade police said that before the Liberty City case, Wilcher allegedly committed a home invasion in unincorporated Miami-Dade. Wilcher allegedly held up a couple who had returned from shopping Dec. 17.
Llanes and Miami-Dade police acting director Juan Perez thanked the community for their assistance.
“Eighteen years of being stuck in that time capsule [jail], he doesn’t realize there’s been a change in the community,” said Miami police Maj. Delrish Moss. “I think he was trying to take us back to yesterday and we’re trying to combat that.”
Miami-Dade County Commissioner Audrey Edmonson, who represents the area, saluted neighbors for their efforts and also pointed to the effectiveness of cameras placed around the Liberty Square projects in aiding the arrest.
“It is time we stop these criminals from terrorizing our community and we take it back,” Edmonson said.