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Firefighter, wannabe cop arrested in Miami Beach robbery

Police: Men posed as cops, robbed group of women Sunday

From left: Jason Hibbert, Matthew Navarro, Barry Hunter
From left: Jason Hibbert, Matthew Navarro, Barry Hunter

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – A Miami-Dade firefighter and a man who applied with the city of Miami Police Department were arrested Sunday after robbing three women in Miami Beach, police said.

According to the arrest report, one of the victims told police she and her friends were having a verbal argument when they were approached by Jason Hibbert, 38, and Matthew Navarro, 22, who claimed to be police officers.

One of the women said Hibbert placed her in a choke hold, twisted her right arm behind her back and stole her watch, bracelet and earrings. Another victim said she was punched in the face by Navarro, who told her to calm down.

When the victims asked the men to show identification proving they were police officers, Hibbert showed them his phone which contained a photo of him in a police uniform, they said.

Shortly after the assault and robbery, Miami Beach police tracked down the men westbound on the MacArthur Causeway in a Nissan Altima.

Police said Hibbert, who is a Miami-Dade firefighter, was taken into custody after he pulled out the victim's watch from his pocket. As Navarro was being taken into custody, he told police he really is a cop. Miami Beach police said further investigation revealed Navarro is in the process of being hired with the Miami Police Department. A sergeant with the department was called to the scene.

On Wednesday, Miami police spokesperson Maj. Delrish Moss said Navarro "was merely one of more than 1,300 applicants who have applied for the position of police officer with the Miami Police Department and nothing more."

The men are charged with robbery, battery and impersonating a police officer. Another man who was in the car, Barry Hunter, was also arrested.

One of the victims suffered bruising and swelling to the left side of her forehead and scratches and small cuts to her right wrist. The second victim suffered cuts and swelling to the right side of her face. The third woman was not injured.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue spokeswoman Griselle Marino said in a statement Tuesday that Hibbert, who has been employed since January 2004, was "relieved of duty pending formal charges and investigation."

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