Stolen trailer full of toys recovered in Sunrise

A stolen trailer containing toys intended for children with cancer was recovered late Monday night in Sunrise.

It’s a huge sigh of relief for Sylvia Vanni, who is the co-founder of the Mystic Force Foundation.

The trailer used by the organization was stolen from her driveway at her North Miami home early Monday morning. Vanni took to social media and created fliers, desperately hoping someone would come forward. 

Vanni said she received huge support online.

Tips led police to a home in Sunrise, where they found the trailer and many of the toys.

“When we arrived there, the toys were not in the trailer, but we waited until about 2:30 in the morning when Sunrise police obtained a search warrant for a shed that’s in the backyard,” Vanni told Local 10 News. “When we opened the shed, the majority of the toys were there.”

The Mystic Force Foundation helps raise money for cancer research. It also collects toys for children who are undergoing cancer treatment. Vanni made her mission to help children with cancer after losing her own son, who died of stage 4 neuroblastoma. 

Sunrise police arrested Dudley Merus, 30, and a teenager. They face charges of grand theft.

Vanni said the toys will be given to children who are battling cancer at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital next month.

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Missing trailer recovered by police in Sunrise after it was stolen in North Miami

It’s a huge sigh of relief for Sylvia Vanni, who is the co-founder of the Mystic Force Foundation, after police recovered her missing tailer.

The trailer used by the organization was stolen from her driveway at her home in North Miami, early Monday morning. Vanni took to social media and created fliers, desperately hoping someone would come forward. 

Vanni said she received huge support online. 

“We had over 1,000 shares (on Facebook) and that is actually the way that we were able to recover our trailer,” Vanni said. “A friend on Facebook saw the post, saw the trailer and called it in. Another friend also saw it and called it in. It was a mutual effort by so many and the news stations that covered it.”

Police were able to find the stolen trailer parked at a home in Sunrise, Monday evening. At this point, it’s not clear if the toys were still inside.

“I am totally ecstatic that Sunrise PD did an absolutely phenomenal job in recovering our trailer,” Vanni said. 

Police are questioning some people, but it’s not clear if anyone has been arrested or charged. 

The Mystic Force Foundation helps raise money for cancer research. It also collects toys for children who are undergoing cancer treatment in the hospital. Vanni made her mission to help children with cancer after losing her own son, who died of stage 4 neuroblastoma. 

If you’d like to donate, head to the website

Salvatore passed away just a month short of his eighth birthday. His death motivated Vanni to co-found the Mystic Force Foundation with her husband.

 

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Police find missing trailer filled with toys for children with cancer in Sunrise

A trailer packed full of toys that was stolen early Monday from the front of a home in North Miami was found at a home in Sunrise. 

Earlier in the day the trailer was reported missing by Sylvia Vanni the  co-founder of the Mystic Force Foundation. 

Vanni has made it her mission to help children with cancer after her son, Salvatore, died of stage 4 neuroblastoma. 

“He was 4 1/2 years old and he went through treatment for 3 1/2 years. He died one month shy of his eighth birthday,” Vanni said. 

Her son’s death motivated her to co-found the Mystic Force Foundation with her husband. 

“One hundred percent of our funds go to research. But we also try to help children throughout their treatment,” Vanni said. 

For Vanni, that means injecting a little bit of fun into young patients’ lives.

“Whenever we can bring happiness to them, we do,” Vanni said. 

Vanni collects hundreds of toys for the children on a regular basis — toys like the ones that made her son so happy.

But she was heartbroken Monday morning when she discovered that someone stole a trailer filled with toys from in front of her home in North Miami.

“Well, this morning my friend got here and said, ‘Where’s the trailer? Did you move it?’ And I thought she was kidding, and I realized, no, the trailer is really gone,” Vanni said. “I ran right over because I couldn’t believe that somebody could drive into our guard-gated community, hook up a trailer and just drive out like it was nothing.”

Vanni called North Miami police and posted fliers in the neighborhood and online.

“I want them to know that they’re stealing from kids with cancer,” Vanni said of the thieves.

By the end of the day the trailer was found in Sunrise. 

Those looking to donate toys can find information at mysticforcefoundation.com.

 

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North Miami man punches girlfriend’s daughter, causing intestinal damage, police say

A North Miami man was arrested Wednesday after he punched a 1-year-old girl in the stomach, causing intestinal damage, police said.

Tyquan Spencer faces charges of child abuse causing great bodily harm and criminal mischief.

According to a police report, Spencer punched his live-in girlfriend’s daughter in the stomach earlier this month while he was home alone with the girl and her siblings.

Police said Spencer’s punch caused the girl to throw up. The punch damaged the girl’s small intestine, forcing her to undergo emergency surgery at a hospital.

Spencer, 22, denied punching the girl. He was booked into the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center.

The girl’s mother, Scarlett Ruiz, was also arrested after police said she knew about the punch but failed to advise the medical staff about it.

Police said the girl returned to the hospital two days later with worsening symptoms, and Ruiz, 24, coached her other child, who witnessed the punch, to deny what she saw.

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North Miami police officer’s arrest shows state cares, attorney says

The attorney of an autistic 26-year-old man, who witnessed his caretaker being shot last year by a North Miami police officer, said he is pleased that the officer was arrested.

Jonathon Aledda was released from jail Wednesday night on bail.

The North Miami police officer is charged with attempted manslaughter and culpable negligence, stemming from the controversial shooting of behavioral therapist Charles Kinsey in front of Arnaldo Rios.  

“In this indictment, we really found that the state cares,” Rios’ attorney, Matthew Dietz, said. “The state is doing what they can to get my client justice and his family justice.”

Kinsey was walking with Rios on July 18, 2016, when officers responded to the area about a man possibly walking around with a gun.

“I don’t know if it’s a gun, but he had something that was shaped like a gun,” the caller said.

The object turned out to be a toy truck that Rios was holding, a fact that Kinsey tried to tell officers.

“All he has is a toy truck, a toy truck,” Kinsey can be heard telling officers in cellphone video of the incident.

Aledda told the Police Benevolent Association that he was aiming for Rios.

An arrest warrant said he fired his rifle from 152 feet away, although a fellow officer on the radio said that Rios was not holding a gun.

Police said Kinsey was shot in the leg and Dietz said his client is traumatized from witnessing it.

“He’s currently in a large behavior institutionalized setting up in Central Florida,” Dietz said.

Kinsey’s attorney declined to comment on the arrest, citing an ongoing civil lawsuit against Aledda.

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North Miami police officer charged in shooting of Charles Kinsey

A North Miami police officer who shot an unarmed therapist of an autistic man last year was released from jail on bond Wednesday night after his arrest.

The Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office charged North Miami police Officer Jonathan Aledda with attempted manslaughter and culpable negligence.

Aledda didn’t speak to reporters as he walked out of jail Wednesday night.

Mobile phone video shows Charles Kinsey lying on his back in July 18, 2016, with his hands in the air in the area of Northeast 14th Avenue and Northeast 127th Street. Sitting next to him was an autistic man holding a toy truck.

Police said they were called to the area about a man who was walking around with a gun and threatening to commit suicide.

Sivano Hernandez, who recorded the shooting, told Local 10 News that Kinsey was being submissive and trying to calm down the autistic man, identified as Arnaldo Rios, who was holding a toy truck.

“Before police even showed up he laid down with his hands up,” Hernandez said. “Everybody at this point thought that the little toy (truck) was actually a gun because it looked silver and shiny.”

In the video of the incident, Kinsey is heard telling officers that he is unarmed.

Authorities said Aledda was behind a car 152 feet away when he shot Kinsey.

Hernandez said he doesn’t believe that Aledda could hear what Kinsey was saying to the officers who were closer to him.

“I’m very sure that there was no possible way that you could hear from that distance,” he said.

Kinsey, who was Arnaldo Rios’ behavioral therapist at the Miami Achievement Center for the Developmentally Disabled, survived the shooting.

Prosecutors said in a news release that Aledda fired three shots from his Colt M4 carbine rifle, one of which struck Kinsey.

Aledda told the Police Benevolent Association that he was aiming for the autistic man, but Charles Kinsey, the behavioral therapist, was hit in the leg. 

The news release stated that Aledda “was not in a position to correctly assess the situation or in a position to accurately fire.”

“We are satisfied with the proper due process undertaken by the North Miami Police Department and state attorney,” MACTown president and CEO Clint Bower said in a statement. “We thank them for their efforts and effectively recognizing the severity of this situation, especially as it relates to innocent individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their caretakers.

“While this was an unfortunate incident, the safety and wellbeing of the individuals served by MACTown  remain an utmost priority, and we continue to deliver the highest quality of life for the people we serve.”

Meanwhile, prosecutors said last August that a North Miami police commander accused of giving conflicting information in the case would not face charges.

Sources told Local 10 News that Cmdr. Emile Hollant was the voice on the police radio telling dispatchers and other officers that someone had a gun. They said he then lied to investigators, telling them he wasn’t at the scene when the shooting happened.

According to the close-out memo, Hollant provided a voluntary statement to prosecutors and said that he was at the scene of the shooting and “engaged to some degree in the incidents that led up to the shooting and those that followed.”

But he claimed that he returned to his police-issued vehicle, more than a block away, to retrieve his binoculars when he heard gunshots and did not witness Aledda firing his weapon.

Hollant’s attorney released a statement Wednesday, saying that while his client had been cleared of wrongdoing by the state attorney’s office, the North Miami Police Department has yet to allow Hollant to return to work.

“The state attorney has fully vindicated my client Cmdr. Emile Hollant of any wrong doing by only prosecuting Officer Jonathan Aledda for the shooting of Charles Kinsey,” attorney Michael Joseph said. “Nonetheless, the city of North Miami has not reinstated Cmdr. Hollant to active duty nor made any attempts to clear his good name. The city must stop protecting bad cops and officials within its ranks, and make things right with my client.”

Kinsey has filed a lawsuit against Aledda, seeking damages for the “pain and suffering, mental anguish and emotional distress” he has suffered as a result of the shooting.

Aledda faces up to 5 years in prison if he is convicted of attempted manslaughter and up to a year in prison if he is found guilty of culpable negligence.

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