First, they boldly approached a couple, pointing guns and rifles and stealing $140 and electronics. Then, they drove a few blocks and were equally brash when they pointed weapons at a man before taking his $6.
But the four men who police say committed the brazen robberies in Normandy Shores early Thursday morning turned meek once police caught up to their Chevy Trailblazer — showing their hands out of lowered windows, exiting the truck without a fight, quickly lying face down on the ground.
None of the victims were hurt, and the suspects are now facing firearm charges.
“Police were responding to one of the crimes when they saw them,” said Miami Beach Police Detective Vivian Thayer. “As of now, we haven’t connected them to any other incidents.”
According to police, the short-lived robbery spree began just before 2 a.m. in front of an apartment building at 960 Biarritz Dr. in Normandy Shores, east of the causeway that links North Beach and Miami. That’s where a couple were confronted by five men, they told police.
One of the, men, the victims said, pointed a rusty rifle at them and demanded they hand over a fanny pack worn by the man. He obliged. Inside: a cellphone and $140. When the woman tried to hide her purse behind a wall, another of the robbery suspects pointed a weapon at her. She handed over her purse before the five of them took off, one on foot, the others heading east toward the beach in the Chevy Blazer.
Just over an hour later, police got another call. This time, a man told police he was walking past a bus stop in the 2000 block of 71st Street, about six blocks from the initial incident, when someone pointed a shotgun with a wooden grip at him and demanded money.
The man handed over his $6 and a bus pass.
Moments later, a Miami Beach officer responding to the first call spotted the Blazer with four men inside on Dickens Avenue near 71st Street. The officer followed the Chevy and stopped it at Alton Road and 63rd Street in Miami Beach.
“All defendants immediately put their hands out the window,” the officer wrote in the arrest affidavit. Police found a rifle on the truck’s floorboard.
Christopher Etienne, 16, Johnny Etienne, 18, Wittenberg Desbouquets, 20, and Rockenley Morisseau, 17, were all charged with conspiracy to commit armed robbery and armed robbery with a deadly weapon.