Tourist nearly goes for scary ride after man steals taxi in Aventura

A man running away from police officers almost took a tourist for a ride Friday night when he stole a taxi, according to the Aventura Police Department. 

Aventura Sgt. Chris Goranitis said the man first committed a burglary at the Kosher Kingdom Market, and an employee at the market was running after him when he attacked a cab driver with a pair of scissors.

“The cab driver sustained a rip to his shirt and small scratch to his shoulder,” Goranitis said. 

The tourist managed to jump out, before the man sped away in the taxi at the 3100 block of North Country Club Drive.

Witnesses said they saw several police cars speeding in the area. Goranitis said police officers caught up to the man and arrested him at the 19300 block of Collins Avenue.  

 

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Aventura property manager accused of stealing money from cash vending machine

A property manager for a condominium building in Aventura was arrested Tuesday for stealing money from a cash vending machine in a laundry room and for attempting to defraud the owner of Safety Electric, authorities said.

According to an arrest report, the owner was contacted by the Admiral Port’s building engineer to repair an emergency electrical situation. 

Police said the owner provided the engineer with an estimate of $12,800 for the work.

Authorities said the building’s property manager, Donovan Staley, 33, told the engineer to tell the owner to increase the invoice to $15,800.

The owner complied and when questioning the increase, was told that the money was to be returned to Staley to secure the job.

Days after the invoice was approved, Staley again requested that the owner increase the invoice to $18,800, the arrest report said.

Authorities said the owner was told that the increase was to be returned to Staley.

Staley then submitted the same invoice with the increase and same scope of work as the original invoice for $12,800, the arrest report said.

The owner of the electrical company met with Staley on Tuesday and gave him $6,000 in cash in a Wells Fargo envelope, which was the overcharge amount of the original invoice.

Police said the cash was for the contract and to secure future contracts during a renovation project.

Staley was taken into custody shortly after accepting the money and the cash was found inside his pocket, authorities said.

Police said surveillance video also shows Staley opening a cash vending machine inside the building’s laundry room and taking money from it.

He was arrested on charges of organized fraud, grand theft and unlawful use of a communications device.

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Man accepts plea deal for plotting terror attack at Aventura Jewish community center

A man accepted a plea deal Wednesday for plotting a terror attack at a Jewish community center in Aventura last year on Yom Kippur.

As part of the plea agreement, James Medina, of Hollywood, pleaded guilty to attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction against persons or property and attempting to deface, damage and destroy religious property.

Medina initially hesitated to admit guilt, at times telling the judge he was “manipulated” to plan the attack. In the end, he agreed to the terms and said, “I am guilty.”

Medina will be sentenced to 25 years for each count, which will be served concurrently, followed by supervised release.

“Acts of bigotry and hatred are evil and have no place in our society,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. “One of the top priorities of this Department of Justice is reducing violent crime, and you can be sure that this includes hate crime. We will not tolerate this repugnant lawlessness, and we will be vigilant in prosecuting hate crime offenders to the fullest extent of the law.”

Medina appeared during Wednesday’s hearing with his two defense attorneys. Two relatives also appeared in court.

During the hearing, it was revealed that Medina is taking medication for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

His defense team said his psychotic episodes are caused by an arachnoid cyst.

The plea agreement stated that Medina will be sent to a medical ward inside a prison for as long as the doctors there believe he needs treatment. He will then be placed into the general population if the doctors believe he is mentally stable.

According to a U.S. criminal complaint, the FBI began investigating Medina in March 2016, after he told an undercover agent that he planned to attack a synagogue.

During the course of several conversations with the confidential informant, Medina said he planned to strike the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center during the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, FBI Special Agent David Clancy said in the criminal complaint.

Medina “confirmed his desire to conduct the attack using AK-47 assault rifles,” the complaint said.

After the confidential informant suggested that the attack could look as though it was orchestrated by the Islamic State terrorist group, Medina liked the idea, saying, “Yeah, we can print up or something and make it look like it’s ISIS here in America,” the complaint said.

The undercover agent recorded numerous conversations with Medina, who in one recording is heard saying, “I am a Muslim, and I don’t like what is going on in this world. I’m going to handle business here in America. Aventura, watch your back. ISIS is in the house.”

Medina is expected to be sentenced on Nov. 17.

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Woman arrested after stalking Aventura man for 30 years

A 67-year-old woman was arrested Wednesday after she’d stalking a man over the course of 30 years, Aventura police said.

Tamarra Nichols had been arrested in the past for stalking the “Dr. B Clinic,” located at 20268 Biscayne Boulevard. Nichols had been arrested in the past for her behavior and Benson had an injunction against her.

In March 29  Dr. Robert Besen told police that Nichols had been stalking him for 30 years and that he’d received numerous unwanted phone calls from her in that time.

Benson got about six calls from Nichols that day, police said. She also left messages that violated the injunction.

A police officer who responded to the office in March and  spoke to Nichols on the phone and said that she began to yell at him and said that the call was making her blood pressure elevate, a police report said. Nichols then asked if she was going to be arrested, and began to curse at the officer before hanging up the phone.

The office tried to call her back, but she wouldn’t answer.

On Monday Nichols called Besen again – this time at about 4:25 p.m., police said. She also left several voice messages from four different phone numbers.

She called the doctor again at about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday – this time the voicemails were left on a line that was being monitored by police, the report said.

Besen then blocked all phone numbers and calls coming in, but Nichols continued to call from different phone numbers, police said. He also became fearful for his safety and the safety of his family when she mentioned his son in a message.

By Wednesday Nichols calls Besen’s office from the phone of a customer at Walmart in Doral and shortly after said she was heading to the JCPenny in Aventura.

Later that afternoon Benson called police and said Nichol was in his office, police said. She was then taken into custody.

Nichols was arrested on charges of violating an injunction against stalking and stalking. She is being held on a $2 million bond. 

 

 

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Woman arrested after stalking Aventura man for 30 years

A 67-year-old woman was arrested Wednesday after she’d stalked a man over the course of 30 years, Aventura police said.

Tamarra Nichols had been arrested in the past after Dr. Robert Besen accused her of stalking him at his office, Dr. B Clinic, at 20268 Biscayne Blvd. Beson had an injunction against her.

On March 29, Besen told police that Nichols had been stalking him for 30 years and that he’d received numerous unwanted phone calls from her in that time.

Besen got about six calls from Nichols that day, police said. She also allegedly left messages that violated the injunction.

A police officer who responded to the office in March and  spoke to Nichols on the phone said that she began to yell at him and said that the call was making her blood pressure elevate, a police report said. Nichols then asked if she was going to be arrested, and began to curse at the officer before hanging up the phone.

The office tried to call her back, but she wouldn’t answer.

On Monday, Nichols called Besen at about 4:25 p.m., police said. She also allegedly left several voice messages from four different phone numbers.

She called the doctor again at about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday. This time the voicemails were left on a line that was being monitored by police, the report said.

Besen then blocked all phone numbers and calls coming in, but Nichols continued to call from different phone numbers, police said. He also became fearful for his safety and the safety of his family when she mentioned his son in a message.

By Wednesday, Nichols calls Besen’s office from the phone of a customer at Walmart in Doral and shortly after said she was heading to the J.C. Penny store in Aventura.

Later that afternoon, Benson called police and said Nichols was in his office, police said. She was then taken into custody.

Nichols was arrested on charges of stalking and violating an injunction against stalking. She is being held on a $2 million bail.  

 

 

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Panel of glass injures construction worker in Aventura

A construction worker was injured Wednesday after a panel of glass fell on his leg, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said.

The accident was reported shortly before noon at a construction site on Biscayne Boulevard.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said the victim was taken to nearby Aventura Hospital.

The victim’s name and condition were not immediately known.

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