Broward County

Since turning 18, pepper-spray suspect is accused of committing a felony a day

Erica Abraham is charged with 10 felonies related to the pepper spray robberies in Plantation and Dania Beach.
Erica Abraham is charged with 10 felonies related to the pepper spray robberies in Plantation and Dania Beach.

Police say in Erica Abraham’s first three weeks of legal adulthood, the 18-year-old Hollywood woman:

▪  Led two minors, including her 15-year-old brother, in pepper spray robberies in Plantation.

▪  Was spotted by surveillance cameras and a former school classmate working a Pollo Tropical drive-through trying to spend the robbery booty

▪  Flipped on her younger brother as an accomplice under police questioning.

Abraham, who turned 18 in January, sits in Broward County Jail on $356,000 bond covering the 10 felony charges and a misdemeanor involved in all of the above. She has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Members of a BSO VIPER unit arrested Abraham on Jan. 23 as one of the three suspects in robberies that unnerved Publix shoppers in Plantation. From Jan. 15-18, four people described criminals popping out of a black Nissan Altima, firing pepper spray to the eyes, then robbing the blinded amid agony.

All the victims were women. Three of the four got robbed after Publix shopping trips.

An arrest affidavit for Abraham says law enforcement in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties recognized the simple, but effective method of operation. Several Broward agencies met on Jan. 19 and determined one set of criminals committed most of the robberies.

The last of the Plantation robberies involved a senior citizen. Surveillance cameras saw a dark Nissan Altima tailgating the senior’s Hyundai through the security gate of her housing development. The woman told police the Nissan rear-ended her. When she got out to assess and photograph the damage, the attack began.

Pepper spray. Punches to the woman’s face as she fought for her car. More punches to the face as she fought for her handbag. Dragged along the ground by thieves pulling on the handbag.

Surveillance cameras caught both cars leaving at the same time.

Hey, I know you. We went to high school together.

Erica Abraham to a Pollo Tropical drive-thru worker

About 40 minutes later, police say, the woman’s debit card was charged $50.87 in the Pollo Tropical drive-through. Two minutes later, another $21.68 of Pollo Tropical chow was purchased with the card. The young woman working the window recognized the young woman driving the dark sedan as Erica Abraham, a former middle school and high school classmate who returned the recognition.

Police say they recognized Abraham on a Jan. 15 Chevron gas station surveillance video, using a credit card stolen 15 minutes earlier in a spray-and-grab. Later that night, following another such robbery, the same woman appears back at the Chevron, 5601 Sunrise Blvd., using another victim’s credit card.

On Abraham’s Facebook page, a Facebook photo from November showed her with a black Nissan Altima.

A Broward sheriff’s unit took in Abraham with her alleged accomplice, a 16-year-old female. Police say the 16-year-old admitted Abraham was the getaway driver in the robberies and that Abraham’s younger brother was involved in a pepper spray robbery at a Dania Beach Publix.

That’s when Abraham admitted her brother’s involvement in the Dania Beach robbery. Her brother and the 16-year-old female were taken to the Juvenile Intervention Facility.

An elderly woman walking back from checking her mailbox was pushed and robbed Wednesday afternoon. Miami police are looking for the man, who stole her gold chain. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Miami Police Department’s Robbery Un

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal