Woman in custody after no hostages found in Miami restaurant, police say

Woman claimed employees were held hostage by management

By Michael Seiden - Reporter, Tim Swift - Local10.com Digital Editor
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MIAMI - A woman was taken into custody Monday after she falsely claimed that people were being held hostage inside a Miami restaurant, authorities said.

Police officers along with SWAT units surrounded the restaurant in Little Havana for hours, trying to make contact with anyone inside, but ultimately officers entered the building around 5 p.m. and found it was empty. 

Police said the bizarre standoff started when a man called 911 just after 11 a.m., saying he had been robbed of his cellular phone inside Joseph's Club restaurant in the 1900 block of Northwest Seventh Street.

The man told police that he tried to go back into the restaurant, but he was not allowed. 

About 1:30 p.m., as police were finishing their investigation into the cellphone theft, a woman, who appeared to be in distress, came out of the restaurant. 

Police said the woman told officers that her manager had been holding her against her will and roughly 10 other people were still being held inside.

The woman told police that the manager was holding the people inside because he did not want to speak to police about the theft of the cellphone.

Citrus Grove Elementary School and Citrus Grove Middle School were initially placed on lockdown, but the lockdowns have since been lifted. 

This isn't the first time police have been called to the club and restaurant. Police said a man was shot inside the nightclub in February 2014. 

Another man, Jesus Hernandez, was fatally stabbed in May 2016 during a brawl inside the business. 

Police said the woman who made the hostage claim Monday is being detained for questioning. Two other people are also being questioned, authorities said. 

It's unclear whether the woman, who was not identified by police, will face charges.

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