MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) – Police have arrested three men in connection to a string of dirty crimes involving cleaning appliances at several Miami Beach properties, including a swanky hotel.
Cellphone video captured men pushing a washing machine down the street in Miami Beach’s Mid-Beach section.
According to Miami Beach Police and city officials, this was a stolen item.
It ended up loaded onto a pickup truck, and detectives said the item was stolen from a hotel that’s not even open yet.
The Palihouse Hotel on Indian Creek Drive should be open within weeks and is part of a high-end national hotel chain.
The owner of the property, developer Rory Greenberg, is still reeling over the brazen theft.
“I couldn’t believe it. I really couldn’t believe it,” he said.
The timing, Greenberg said, could not be worse.
“Even after seeing the video, it really took me a second to accept the fact that somebody stole something of that size in broad daylight,” he said.
Alemán said this was not an isolated burglary, but part of a summertime crime spree in Mid-Beach.
“They were wheeling washer/dryers, there was a meat slicer,” said Miami Beach Commissioner John Elizabeth Alemán.
Investigators said a Faena-owned property and nearby condos were targeted as well.
“It is alarming, and it’s totally unacceptable,” said Alemán.
Police identified the three men who were arrested this week as Jose Colon, Regino Mendoza and Antonio Lopez.
They have been charged with burglary, grand theft and criminal mischief.
Police and city officials said the trio are believed to be operating from a common base nearby: the Bellamar Hotel along 31st Street, which also has apartments.
Pictures of units at the property were provided by the Miami Beach Crime Prevention and Awareness’ Facebook page.
“It is a big concern if people are squatting and living in the Bellamar Hotel, and then for their day job, they’re going out and committing crimes,” said Alemán.
The Bellamar is located directly across the street from the Palihouse and steps away from other burglarized spots.
The staff at the Bellamar gave 7News what they said was the owner and general manager’s business card. He did not immediately return calls for comment.
Commissioners and authorities described the Bellamar as a “problem building.”
When asked whether it could be shut down, Alemán replied, “It’s possible.”
The commissioner said the property will be on the agenda at City Hall on Monday morning.
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