Four masked men wearing gloves and carrying tools broke into a secured Little Havana apartment garage Thursday morning and damaged 46 vehicles, stealing GPS devices, iPhones and other electrical gizmos.
The men were scared away by a woman who returned home after 3 a.m., noticed the vandals, and blew her horn.
“They scattered,” said Freddie Burden, a Miami police officer.
The amount of valuables the burglars got away with and the amount of damage done haven’t been totaled, but is certain to be at least tens of thousands of dollars.
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Though most of the cars in the three-level garage were gone by late morning, the ground remained littered with glass, empty bags and torn vinyl.
Car owners were vacuuming and cleaning their cars. Two women were sweeping glass from the garage floor. An auto-glass worker was replacing a broken window on an SUV.
A silver, newer model Camaro in parking spot No. 47 had a shattered passenger window. An empty bag rested inside-out next to it on the ground. A few spots over, in space No. 52, a shiny silver Corvette sported a slashed vinyl roof.
The group of vandals blew past the “No Trespassing” signs on the front and side of the building, as well as a picture of a camera next to the ground-level garage entrance that warns of surveillance.
“You’re in a secured garage, and you think it’ll be OK,” said Burden, noting residents would be better off taking their valuables with them when they leave their vehicles.
Though the 11-story building is secured — a separate pass is needed to get into the garage and the adjacent front entrance of the building — getting inside isn’t difficult. The vandals could have gotten a hold of a pass, made their way in when a car or a person left or entered the complex, or they may even live in the building.
One man who only gave the name Lorenzon, said the back window of his 2005 Nissan Maxima had been shattered.
“We don’t have any idea how the people got inside,” he said.
Laura Sera, 20, said she moved into the building two weeks ago. She lives on the seventh floor with her brother, whose car no longer has a front window.
“We didn’t hear anything,” Sera said.
The crime scene, just across from an outdoor cafe, attracted a throng of onlookers.
Jose Fernandez was one. A developer, he said he hopes Thursday’s events don’t scare people away.
“It is bad, though this seems more like an isolated incident,” Fernandez said.