April 2, 2008, 11:29 PM
Join Date: March 11, 2005
Where are all the mall ninjas when you need one???
Today, April 2, 2008, police locked down the Dolphin Mall in Miami after four fugitives, suspected in a home invasion chose the mall as hide out.
Dolphin Mall reopened for business at 6 p.m. Wednesday after an hours-long search for two suspected home invaders who hid at the popular west Miami-Dade mall proved fruitless.
Earlier in the day, the four fugitives fanned out through the mall -- one dashing into the Marshall's, the other ducking into the Old Navy -- after a home invasion in the area.
Two were captured; two others managed to elude police, who were not taking any chances and decided to shut down the mall.
It remained closed as of 5 p.m. as police dogs searched each store, Miami-Dade police said.
All customers were ordered to leave and their cars were searched as they drove out past a roadblock.
Here's how it all began, according to police on the scene:
Four armed men in ski masks broke into a home at Northwest 10th Street and 129th Avenue. After the home invasion, they took off in a white minivan.
The occupant of the home took off after them in a green car.
The van stopped at the Dolphin Mall, 11401 NW 12th St., dropping off at least two of the occupants. They dashed into the mall.
A suspect was reportedly spotted on the roof of Dave and Buster's eatery.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue was called to treat the person who was pistol whipped. Within an hour, patrons were being allowed to exit the mall.
After dropping off the two fugitives, the van continued on its journey, still followed by the green car.
Patrons at a bar toward the middle of the mall remained oblivious to the manhunt.
But soon the incident left the usually busy mall deserted.
''It killed business,'' said a bartender at a mall eatery.
Customers said the incident chilled their afternoon at the mall.
At an afternoon press conference, Miami-Dade police spokesman Alvaro Zabaleta said police had two men in custody.
Nobody was injured, he said, adding that a possible victim of the home invasion who had chased the suspects to the mall was taken to a local hospital for treatment.
The search was on for two others in a white van.
Earlier in the morning, a group of men wearing ski masks was seen running out of a home on the corner of Northwest 129th Avenue and 10th Street.
Minutes earlier, Jose Cabrera, who lives on the block, had received a call from another neighbor, alerting him of a suspicious van circling the neighborhood.
''I knew there was something suspicious going on when my neighbor called me to tell me about the van. I took a look outside and saw four guys in ski masks running out of the house,'' Cabrera said.
On a street lined with groomed lawns and ornamental mailboxes, the one-story peach house where the home invasion took place stands out. Christmas lights and decorations are still hanging, and the yard is overgrown with weeds. A pole-and-tarp car cover is set up in the small front yard.
Wednesday at about 2:30 p.m., a woman who neighbors said lived in the house where the robbery took place left the scene in an unmarked police car.
Andy Martin, who lives next door to the house where the home invasion took place, said he hopes nothing else goes down on his block in the near future.
''Hopefully, there's not going to be any retaliation,'' Martin said. ``It didn't seem like a simple robbery.''
Martin said in the 15 years he's lived on the street, he hasn't seen anything quite like Wednesday's robbery and chase.
''The guys drove around the block three times. My dog was barking,'' Martin said. ``Then there was a guy standing here, like looking out, on our driveway.''
The company I work for has 7 restaurants in this mall. I was off at another location today and missed all the excitement. The good thing is that no one was hurt and two of the bad guys were caught. The bad thing is that we lost sales from 7 restaurants and it is currently spring break. The restaurants still have to pay rent and salaries even though no sales were generated. I wish we had some mall ninjas present that could have just swooped down and chopped them up!
The ATF should be a convenience store instead of a government agency!