Miami man who carjacked SUV at hotel gets 20 years in prison

Alberto Ruiz
Alberto Ruiz Miami-Dade Corrections

The man who carjacked a Lexus SUV at a downtown Miami hotel — hitting seven people and wrecking four cars in a frightening episode captured on video — is headed to prison for 20 years.

Alberto Ruiz, 50, pleaded guilty Wednesday to an array of felonies, including armed carjacking for the September incident at the J.W. Marriott Marquis Hotel. The crime drew national media attention because it was captured on dramatic footage taken from the hotel’s surveillance cameras.

The video showed Ruiz, a career felon with a longtime drug problem, calmly getting into the SUV, then violently slamming it into reverse, knocking over valets and hotel guests before eventually bashing its way out of the circular ramp. In all, four people were hospitalized, one in critical condition.

The Lexus SUV was later found abandoned. Miami police detectives finally cornered Ruiz some 10 hours later at a Flagler Street motel. He refused to surrender and was shot with a Taser stun gun.

The case against him was strong — in addition to the footage, eyewitnesses at the hotel identified Ruiz as the carjacker. Had Ruiz lost at trial, he could have faced up to life in prison. He’ll also do five years of probation.

Miami-Dade prosecutors say Ruiz was a serial carjacker.

In May 2014, Ruiz carjacked a Lexus in front of the posh Icon condo building on Brickell Avenue and tried stealing another one two months later in Downtown Miami. He pleaded guilty to both of those crimes too.