Police arrest 2nd North Miami Beach city employee in Publix gift card theft case

NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – North Miami Beach’s human resources director became the second city employee accused of stealing Publix gift cards intended for a city giveaway after police arrested him Wednesday.

Andrew Bejel, 36, was fired before being taken to the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center, according to police. According to his LinkedIn account, he had worked for the city of North Miami Beach since September 2018, having previously worked for the city of Miami Beach and the private sector.

Police said an investigation determined that Bejel used two stolen gift cards, totaling $287.89, at the Publix on 601 S. Andrews Ave. in Fort Lauderdale. According to his arrest report, he lives in that city’s Las Olas neighborhood.

Police arrested 33-year-old public affairs staffer Jennifer Hillmon last Thursday, after accusing her of stealing $1,200 worth of Publix gift cards.

According to Hillmon’s arrest report, the gift cards were purchased with COVID-19 relief funds. A bundle of cards had been purchased as part of a controversial giveaway event put on by a then-city commissioner who was up for reelection at the time.

The city had previously lost track of several gift cards, raising concerns over possible mismanagement of federal taxpayer funds.

Bejel had been held on a $6,000 bond on charges of organized scheme to defraud and petit theft, but was no longer listed in jail records as of Thursday morning.

According to his arrest report, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office public corruption division was involved in the investigation.

About the Authors:

Chris Gothner joined the Local 10 News team in 2022 as a Digital Journalist.

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."