Midtown crime worries business owners

iPad mini stolen from Ramona LaRue

MIAMI - Business owners in Miami Midtown worry about increasing crime stunting the area's growth after an iPad mini was stolen from a boutique clothing store.

Surveillance video from Ramona LaRue, at 3400 N. Miami Avenue, showed the thief watch the employees walk into another room before he slid the iPad down his shorts. The theft happened Tuesday afternoon.

"It's frustrating. It really is," said Frank Reilly, who owns Ramona LaRue. "This iPad was something that we just bought two days ago, cost us $400. Four-hundred dollars is not a lot of money to some people but for us it is."

Reilly said it was the third theft at the store this year. He added that the Miami police officer who responded was less than helpful -- even after watching the video.

"I asked him, I said, 'Can't you just call the other officers around here and let them know this descriptive person is walking the streets right now?' and he said 'It will just fall through the cracks,'" said Reilly. "So I was pretty upset with that."

The Miami Police Department parks a squad car across the street 24 hours a day but everyone knows it's a decoy. The car was recently spray painted with graffiti.

The department added two more units to the area and created a problem-solving team to work with business owners.

"These types of small crimes really hurt us as a business owners," said Reilly.

Reilly said he worries that expensive security measures and the constant loss of merchandise could stunt Midtown's growth. He hopes releasing the surveillance video helps police catch the thief.

"I just have to keep thinking one step ahead and keep thinking of ways I can protect my employees and my assets," he said.

Anyone with information on the theft is asked to call Miami-Dade Crimestoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

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