Miami Beach

An attempted car theft from a South Beach car wash ends in a fatal shooting, cops say

The top of the white Mercedes SUV can be seen on the left crashed into a power pole and the side of Office Depot. Miami Beach police say a man tried to steal the car from the car wash across the street.
The top of the white Mercedes SUV can be seen on the left crashed into a power pole and the side of Office Depot. Miami Beach police say a man tried to steal the car from the car wash across the street. Miami Beach Police Department Twitter

A Tuesday morning car wash ended in a shooting and car crash that killed a car theft suspect, Miami Beach police said.

Miami Beach police released the gunman and owner of the car, 48-year-old Stephen Lott, Tuesday afternoon. The name of the man who allegedly tried to leave a South Beach car wash in Lott’s car hasn’t been released.

This all occurred on 18th Street between Alton Road and West Avenue, about half a block west of Alton.

At the intersection of 18th and West are The Fresh Market on the northwest corner, an Office Depot on the southeast corner, and Soul Tavern restaurant on the northeast corner. Between Soul Tavern and the newly built Michael’s on Alton Road is South Beach Finest Hand Car Wash.

“It’s believed the Mercedes was being detailed and someone got in the truck and drove off,” said Miami Beach police spokesman Officer Ernesto Rodriguez. “The owner (Lott) sees what’s happening and discharges his firearm.”

The would-be thief crashed the Mercedes SUV into the side of the Office Depot across 18th Street from the car wash and took out an FPL power pole in the process.

Miami Beach police said via Twitter: “FPL has assisted police with shutting off power to the area, for everyone’s safety.” Area residents had power back on by 12:30 p.m. and all businesses by an hour later.

Despite being rushed to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital, the man whom Lott shot died early Tuesday afternoon, police said.

Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.

Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.
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