Victims searching for answers after 2 burglaries at Miami restaurant

Burglaries happened at Barmeli69

By Sanela Sabovic - Reporter, Roy Ramos - Reporter

MIAMI - A man stole the purses of two older women who were in downtown Miami having dinner Friday night, and it isn't the only crime to happen in the area recently. 

Ann, who is 81 and too scared to show her face, said she's never gone through such a horrible ordeal or been the victim of a crime,

"It was a very tough lesson," Ann said. "I haven't even started really -- begun to start -- replacing everything."

Ann was trying to grab dinner with a friend at BarMeli69, parking her car in the lot off of Biscayne Boulevard when she was approached by a man claiming to be working security at the restaurant.

He said that she had to put her purse in the trunk because purses weren't allowed in the restaurant.

"I thought it sounded a little suspicious," she said. 

Despite thinking it was odd, Ann and her friend put their purses in the trunk. The man helped her get out of her car and retrieve her walker, but insisted the trunk was closed all the way even though Ann noticed it wasn't.

"I said, 'It's still open,'" Ann said. "So he took his hand like this and he pushed it down."

The man then offered to move her car a little closer and left the door unlocked. 

Ann went inside the restaurant and immediately found out there was no security in the parking lot. 

She went outside with an employee and realized both her and her friend's purses were gone.

"How could you do a thing like that?" Ann said. "Why don't you pick on a man? Why two older ladies? Please, if you're watching, don’t do this to anybody again."

It turns out Ann and her friend weren't the only victims. 

Restaurant owner Liza Meli said surveillance video showed a thief breaking through the back door of the restaurant. He stole two cellphones and cash. 

Meli said the burglary has made her feel violated and is concerned for the safety of her customers. 

"Why does he have to steal from others in order to maintain his lifestyle?" Meli said. "Why not get a job? I'll hire him!"

It's unclear if the same person was responsible for both thefts. Anyone with information is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

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