Boca Raton again-Jeweler shoots robber dead

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Thread: Boca Raton again-Jeweler shoots robber dead

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array miklcolt45's Avatar
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    Boca Raton again-Jeweler shoots robber dead

    Robber shot dead in Boca Raton jewelry heist

    Robber shot dead in Boca Raton jewelry heist

    By MICHAEL LaFORGIA and KEVIN DEUTSCH

    Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

    Wednesday, May 07, 2008

    BOCA RATON After Leon Rozio got robbed, he vowed never to let it happen again.

    Three or four years ago, the 64-year-old owner of Miami-based H&L Wholesale Jewelry Inc. lost some $300,000 in gold and jewelry in a hold up, said his half-brother, Fernando Mirabal.

    Soon after, Rozio, a prominent member of Miami's Cuban-American community, started bringing a gun on his sales runs, which took him and his priceless jewelry to shops across South Florida.

    About 12:45 this afternoon, not long after Rozio parked his red Ford Explorer outside St. Moritz Jewelers on Boca Raton's west side, four men screamed up behind him in a silver car, boxing him in. They surrounded the Explorer, smashing out all four windows to get at the jewelry inside, witnesses said.

    "They took the jewelry from the car," said Sherry Frost, manager of the jewelry store at 21310 St. Andrews Blvd. She watched in horror at what happened next.

    Rozio retrieved his pistol and started firing, witnesses said. He emptied three or four rounds into the robbers' Silver Saturn Vue, which was outfitted with a Kansas license plate obscuring a Florida tag, aiming for the tires and the driver's side window.

    "He opened up like I have never seen," said Greg Sanderson, manager of a nearby Omaha Steaks shop, who watched the shooting through the store's plate-glass windows. "I couldn't believe it. It sounded like the Wild West out there."

    The driver, a young man dressed head to foot in black and wearing a black hood, slammed the car into reverse as the other three men scattered, speeding northbound in the parking lot before lurching to a stop beside a nearby Wendy's.

    Shopper Jerry Winter said he was browsing with his wife at Nose For Clothes, a shop next to the jewelry store, when he saw Rozio dashing after the silver Saturn, his gun blazing.

    "Somebody could have caught a stray slug," said John Whitmer, a salesman at Omaha Steaks.

    One of the men staggered from the car and ran west through the parking lot toward St. Andrew's Boulevard, Winter said.

    Paramedics found the wounded robber bleeding in the car, said Fire Rescue spokesman Frank Correggio. The man was taken to Delray Medical Center, where he died soon after, officials said.

    The other three men escaped in a silver van, triggering a manhunt; it wasn't clear whether any of them were wounded, or whether they made off with any gold or jewels, police said.

    Hours after the shooting, the silver Saturn - its back left tire deflated, its driver door ajar, a smear of blood on the left rear quarterpanel - sat in the parking lot, the dash bell still chiming. Officers and crime scene techs huddled round it as detectives interviewed witnesses.

    Investigators still were quizzing Rozio, who held a concealed weapons permit in 2006, records show, about 3 p.m. It's unclear whether he'll face charges in the shooting, police said.

    "It's a risky business," said Frost, the store manager, still shaken at what she had seen. "I'm so sick about this."
    Is Boca is becoming a hell hole, or what?
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. - Jim Elliott

    The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.
    Albert Einstein

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  3. #2
    Member Array whyipackmy45's Avatar
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    It's unclear whether he'll face charges in the shooting, police said.
    At least in my state, you're not allowed to shoot at fleeing suspects. It doesn't matter what property of yours they are taking with them.

    He'll most likely lose a lot of money over this. Maybe more money than the jewelry was worth.
    That's right, this sweet baby was made in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Retails for about a hundred and nine, ninety five. It's got a walnut stock, cobalt blue steel, and a hair trigger. That's right. Shop smart. Shop S-Mart. You got that?

    http://www.nevadashooters.com

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    Ex Member Array SoFloAuthor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whyipackmy45 View Post
    At least in my state, you're not allowed to shoot at fleeing suspects. It doesn't matter what property of yours they are taking with them.

    He'll most likely lose a lot of money over this. Maybe more money than the jewelry was worth.
    How will he lose money besides the $100,000 in gems the 3 other bad guys got away with? Flor-DUH's "extended Castle Doctrine" has been court tested a few times already.....

    1) Case #1-A guy killed an ex-Air Force soldier he caught hiding in his backyard with.....A CAMERA! The jury did not care the perp was ex-AF.

    2) Case #2- A guy walking his dogs late at night has words with some gangtinos in a Jeep...they leave and come back and "dust him" with the truck...CWP holder shoots as the Jeep is "leaving" he hits the driver, who crashes into a fence...CWP holder walks up to truck, unloads clip ONE and reloads...I believe he killed two and left one breathing........he walked too!

    These are two of many cases in FL where the new law has prevailed. I'm not saying the shooters lives have been improved by the incident...contrary to that...the shootings have taken a personal/mental toll, however....... I believe if you cause me to draw...you've caused yourself to get shot.

  5. #4
    Member Array whyipackmy45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoFloAuthor View Post
    How will he lose money besides the $100,000 in gems the 3 other bad guys got away with? Flor-DUH's "extended Castle Doctrine" has been court tested a few times already.....
    You're probably right. I was thinking about Nevada laws since that's where I live.
    That's right, this sweet baby was made in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Retails for about a hundred and nine, ninety five. It's got a walnut stock, cobalt blue steel, and a hair trigger. That's right. Shop smart. Shop S-Mart. You got that?

    http://www.nevadashooters.com

  6. #5
    Ex Member Array SoFloAuthor's Avatar
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    An UPDATE to this story...appears LEGAL that one of the perps was dropped...As I said in a response yesterday.....in Flor-DUH, if you cause me to draw, you've caused yourself to be shot....(Thanks Jeb for signing the law!)


    South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com
    Jewelry salesman feared for his life in deadly Boca Raton robbery
    Police think gang followed salesmen, maybe for days
    By Peter Franceschina

    South Florida Sun-Sentinel

    11:21 PM EDT, May 8, 2008

    Traveling jewelry salesman Leon Rozio and his partner were returning to Miami from a West Palm Beach sales call when they made an unscheduled stop to pick up a payment at the St. Moritz Jewelers store in Boca Raton.

    Rozio and authorities now think a gang of sophisticated robbers was following him, targeting him in the latest of a series of brazen daylight heists of South Florida precious gem dealers that are the focus of FBI and local police investigations.

    After his partner went inside the store Wednesday afternoon, Rozio parked. Robbers quickly boxed him in with their silver SUV, and three windows in Rozio's Ford Explorer exploded.

    "On that day, I think I was as close to being killed as any other," Rozio recounted in a Thursday interview.

    A robber grabbed the duffel bag filled with more than $100,000 worth of precious stones. He had a black shirt wrapped around his head and face, with only his eyes showing, "like they do in those riots in South America," Rozio said.

    Licensed to carry a concealed firearm, Rozio scrambled out of his SUV and fired several shots. His attorney wouldn't let him detail what happened next, but arobber was fatally wounded.

    "I tell people I am against the death penalty, but I give the death penalty to this guy," Rozio said. "It hurts. It hurts. I know it's going to be like this for a while."

    As he talked in his lawyer's office, tremors took over his hands. He says they always shake a bit, but not this much.

    Rozio, 64, emigrated from Cuba in 1961, and he's been selling jewelry from Homestead to West Palm Beach for 30 years. He knows the dangers, having been victimized several years ago when he was followed to a house in Miami-Dade County.
    The thieves handcuffed the front double-doors shut and stole jewels from his car as he watched. He got his concealed weapons permit.

    On sales trips, Rozio drives. His partner keeps his eyes glued to his side-view mirror, his feet on the duffel bag on the floor. They saw nothing suspicious Wednesday, but Rozio thinks he was followed — perhaps for days — by a patient gang that specializes in targeting jewelry salesmen.

    "They were waiting for the right moment — I was sitting with the merchandise in the car."

    The robbers tried to speed off in the silver SUV, but they abandoned it as Rozio fired into the vehicle, leaving their wounded accomplice behind, Boca Raton police said.

    That robber, who remained unidentified late Thursday, was taken to Delray Medical Center where he was pronounced dead, police said. The three other robbers escaped in a silver van.

    Rozio's attorney, Bill Matthewman, said Rozio's actions fall squarely within a Florida law that allows people to use deadly force to protect themselves and others, or to prevent a violent felony.

    "If this isn't justifiable self-defense, then we're all in trouble in South Florida," Matthewman said. "These thugs come up and rob him, and he was in fear for his life. This is one of those cases where you have to say the Second Amendment is a very good thing."


    Boca Raton police spokeswoman Sandra Boonenberg said investigators will review the shooting to determine if it was justified and present their findings to the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office.

    The FBI is working with Boca Raton detectives to determine whether Rozio and his partner were targeted by a network of South American robbers who have struck jewelers across South Florida in recent months. Jewelers and investigators say Wednesday's robbery appears to have the hallmarks of those international gangs.

    "They are very good at doing their homework. They spend a lot of time reviewing their victims, studying their victims," said Miami FBI agent Noel Gil, who works with the multi-agency South American Theft Group Task Force. "Usually if they target somebody, they have been following him for several days before that victim is robbed or the car is burglarized or the hotel room is burglarized."

    The gangs are loosely affiliated and don't operate under a single hierarchy, investigators say, but their skills are passed on to younger generations.

    "It has been our experience the younger crews are more violent because they want to accomplish their task as quickly as possible," Gil said. "With the older groups, the ones that are a little more seasoned, they will attempt to do a crime that is not violent, such as a burglary or a theft, but if they have to resort to a strong-arm robbery, they will."

    Miami-Dade Police Detective Jeffrey Frau, who investigates jewel-theft gangs, said the older generation preferred to distract the salesmen, snatch their wares and flee.

    "It is taught, it is passed down from the old guys to the new guys," he said. "Now we have the younger ones coming out, and they are not adhering to the old techniques. They are whipping out guns and doing robberies."

    Jewelry salesmen say they are aware of the dangers and take steps to protect themselves, and that includes carrying a gun. They say they remain hyper-alert, vary their routines and take evasive maneuvers while driving to make sure they are not followed.

    Rozio says he makes a modest living, one to which he will return despite his wife's concerns. He says he needs to make back what he lost — more than $100,000 in uninsured goods.

    "My wife is against it. I can't live with the retirement I get," Rozio said. "I don't know anything else, so I know I'm going to have a problem with my wife."

    For now, he's still worried the robbers might try to find him. It's no secret he lives in West Miami, and he's well known in the Cuban community.

    "They already know my name. They know how to locate me. I've got my name in the telephone book. I guess if they want to find me, they will find me," he said. "I worry about my family. These people are animals."

    Staff Researcher Barbara Hijek and Staff Writers Mike Clary and Dianna Cahn contributed to this report.

    Peter Franceschina can be reached at pfranceschina@sun-sentinel.com.

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    Member Array utf59's Avatar
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    I'm surprised he doesn't insure his merchandise. Though if an insurance company knows he carries around that much jewelry in a car around Miami, the premiums would probably be astronomical.

    As for reprisals, they came out $100k ahead, and they know he won't hesitate to defend himself with deadly force. Going after him would be really stupid. Which sounds like exactly the sort of thing criminals would do.
    "An armed society is a polite society." -- Robert A. Heinlein

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    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Agreed UTF.

    As well for that sort of job I would be driving in an uparmored vehicle too.
    At the very least have all of the windows glazed in very much available coating that is impact force and pistol caliber round resistant to being shattered.
    Used armored passenger cars go up for sale on eBay motors for as little as $100K and for these guys it would be a deductible business expense not to mention a life saver.
    Also it's curious that they being professionals would leave such expensive jewelery in unsecured easy to smash and grab bags on a back seat, in an SUV at that. A proper vehicle with a secure able frame mounted trunk would have been optimal and remove the back seat altogether to mount it as it;s not like one would be needed anyway for such work. Build it out into a secure cage akin to the back seat of a cops cruiser.

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

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    Ex Member Array SoFloAuthor's Avatar
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    Most of the reps drive "low key" vehicles. This is not the first time this has happened....a female rep in Pembroke Pines many years ago was beaten badly after the gangtinos broke out the windows in her van to steal her gems.....I think insurance many be co$t prohibative...but not sure.

    It's a high price we pay to live and play in sunny SoFlo..."this ain't Kansas Dorothy, keep your doors locked and hammer cocked."

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    Quote Originally Posted by SoFloAuthor View Post
    2) Case #2- A guy walking his dogs late at night has words with some gangtinos in a Jeep...they leave and come back and "dust him" with the truck...CWP holder shoots as the Jeep is "leaving" he hits the driver, who crashes into a fence...CWP holder walks up to truck, unloads clip ONE and reloads...I believe he killed two and left one breathing........he walked too!
    If I remember correctly, the guy walking his dog went to jail and his house was burned down. He finally walked after I think 9 months behind bars - it was touch and go for him for awhile, something about him changing out mags and continuing to fire after the threat was gone.

    I'll see if I can find something in print.

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