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By TONY WINTON
Suspected thieves rammed two Key Biscayne police vehicles trying to elude officers responding to an attempted car theft in a pursuit the island’s police chief is saying is a mark of good judgment by officers in a challenging situation.
“They were very aggressive,” said Chief Charles Press, adding the attempted theft appears connected to an organized ring that has been targeting several Florida communities for months.
Press said the late afternoon pursuit began with a resident’s call about a person trying to break into a car. From there, officers quickly responded — but the suspect vehicle rammed a Village police car, turning the crime into a felony, Press said.
Officers briefly broke off a pursuit because of a large number of pedestrians and children were on Village streets, but officers were able locate the vehicle again near Crandon and Harbor Drive with help from a Miami-Dade County aviation unit.
The chase continued out of the Village, where Press said suspects rammed a second police vehicle — ending in the median near Crandon Park South. The suspect’s vehicle, which had been reported stolen in Fort Lauderdale, “was totaled,” Press said.
Four individuals were arrested. Press declined to provide more information about the suspects, but said that Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale detectives are investigating the suspects.
There were no injuries, Press said, and he praised officers for being careful given the crowds. “Our chase policy is such that even though it became a felony when they assaulted a police officer by ramming the vehicle, our officers knew it was more important to safeguard our citizens than have an active chase that would have created a chaotic event.”
Tony Winton is the editor-in-chief of the Key Biscayne Independent and president of Miami Fourth Estate, Inc. He worked previously at The Associated Press for three decades winning multiple Edward R. Murrow awards. He was president of the News Media Guild, a journalism union, for 10 years. Born in Chicago, he is a graduate of Columbia University. His interests are photography and technology, sailing, cooking, and science fiction.