Police have arrested a man who they say went into jewelry stores to ask employees to try on Rolex watches and then ran off when a partner in crime set off firecrackers to scare both employees and shoppers into thinking that there was a shooting.
Kevin Triana, 22, was arrested Sunday in South Carolina, Miami-Dade police announced Monday.
Police say Triana's distraction tactic was used to help him steal from jewelry stores at:
- The Florida Mall in Orlando
- Sawgrass Mills mall in Sunrise
- Dolphin Mall in Doral
- Dadeland Mall in Miami-Dade County
"Eleven people were injured at the Florida Mall when they were all running out because they thought it was an active shooter," Orange County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Joe Covelli said.
Orange County Sheriff's Office Deputy Ingrid Tejada-Monforte said Triana was accused of using the watch, valued at $16,900, as a deposit with a pawnbroker to get cash. He was caught while trying to steal another watch in South Carolina.
The incident at Dadeland Mall "caused shoppers to run from the immediate area, resulting in some minor injuries not related to the fireworks," Miami-Dade police Detective Argemis Colome said in a statement.
Police said the investigation is ongoing.