WATCH: Box-wearing burglar blows own cover with crucial blunder

Suspect targeted Miami Gardens store 3 times in one night, police say

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – A 33-year-old burglary suspect’s disguise was unusual to say the least, but, as surveillance footage from Miami Gardens shows, not at all foolproof.

He used a cardboard box to cover his face in one of three burglaries of a supermarket over a span of a few hours overnight Saturday, according to police.

Police said Claude Vincent Griffin Jr., who lives on the streets of Miami-Dade County, ended up stealing tens of thousands of dollars worth of cash and merchandise from vendors and the store itself inside the Price Choice Supermarket at 4500 NW 183rd St. overnight Saturday.

He faced 10 felony charges.

According to an arrest report, using a much more conventional disguise, a mask — Griffin was first seen on surveillance footage entering a rear door used for product storage just after midnight. The report states he started to rifle through a filing cabinet and found some gloves, which he would soon use to steal more stuff.

Police said Griffin went to the front counter and took some scratch-off lottery tickets and several cartons of cigarettes, loading them up in a trash bag he also took from the store.

According to the report, he came back for more an hour later. This time, he was wearing a cardboard box over his head.

Police said Griffin used a blunt object to break through a glass display case from a cellphone repair kiosk within the store and stole multiple iPhones.

But the burglar blundered — he knocked off the box, which didn’t appear to have eye-holes, with his hand as he frantically loaded more loot into his bag, showing his face to the cameras, the video shows.

“I had a laugh on my face (when I saw the video),” Jeremias Berganza, who owns the kiosk, said. “I was sad because it happened.”

Griffin then turned to a jewelry kiosk and smashed its display case, stealing multiple wristwatches, the report states.

According to the report, Griffin, now masked again and carrying a multicolored bag, came back several hours later to commit more theft, stealing more iPhones from the kiosk and then jumping over a counter to pry open a wall-mounted cash box.

Berganza said Griffin made it out with 19 cellphones and about $8,200 in cash.

All the while, the store’s security alarm never activated, the report states.

Police said they were able to identify Griffin as the suspect thanks in part to his “distinct facial tattoos” and “abnormal lump on his right cheek,” revealed thanks to the cardboard malfunction.

But police didn’t end up having to look far to catch him.

“Ten hours later after the break-in, they called me from the barber shop saying he was in front of the liquor store,” Berganza said.

Cellphone video shows Griffin trying to run from a Miami Gardens police officer. He gets a few feet before being tackled.

Police said following his arrest, they found multiple baggies on Griffin, as well as a sandwich bag of cocaine and one of the stolen iPhones.

They said he later confessed to the crime.

Griffin faced charges of burglary, grand theft, criminal mischief, cocaine possession and resisting arrest.

He was being held in the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center on a $23,500 bond as of Monday afternoon, according to jail records.

Berganza said he hopes he can get some of his money and merchandise back.

About the Authors:

Bridgette Matter joined the Local 10 News team as a reporter in July 2021. Before moving to South Florida, she began her career in South Bend, Indiana and spent six years in Jacksonville as a reporter and weekend anchor.

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