Friday, April 29, 2016

Chilean cops chase jewelry store robbers...and it's all caught on camera

Dramatic footage filmed from a police motorbike in Chile shows a high speed road chase, as authorities capture three suspects believed responsible for a robbery in a shopping mall shortly before. The video, which has gone viral, shows police surrounding and shooting at a red car, before pulling a suspect out of the vehicle and taking him to the ground.

The incident on April 25 began at midday, when three individuals aged 16, 17 and 20, entered a watch shop in the Arauco Maipu Shopping Centre in greater Santiago, breaking the windows and threatening the attendants and robbing several items. They went on to attack a woman and steal her car to flee the scene. [via]

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Former Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez is the newest member of a very exclusive South Florida club

Former Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez arrives for a bond
hearing in a Miami courtroom today.
Screenshot via Local10.
(Click this and all images to enlarge.)

With his appearance in a Miami Dade courtroom this morning wearing handcuffs and a jail jumpsuit, Carlos Alvarez became the newest member of an exclusive South Florida club.

To join this club, you have to have been both a former politician and law enforcement official who's found himself on the wrong side of the law.

There are plenty of South Florida cops who have been incarcerated. And there's a long list of politicos who have done time at the Graybar Hotel.

But as far as I can tell there aren't that many who have been both cops and held elected office who have been arrested.

To the best of my recollection, the club has just two other members: former State Senator/former Broward County Sheriff Ken  Jenne, and former Miami Police Chief/former  Miami City Manager Donald Warshaw. 

Fifteen years ago, Warshaw was sentenced to a year in federal prison for defrauding a police charity.

In 2007, Jenne was sentenced to a term in federal prison on corruption charges.

Yesterday we learned that Alvarez who served as director of the Miami-Dade Police Department from 1997 to 2004, and was Mayor of Miami-Dade County from 2004 until 2011 when he was recalled in a special election had been arrested by the Coral Gables Police department on battery charges.

Evelyn Fernandez.

Alvarez's long time girlfriend, Miami-Dade police lieutenant Evelyn Fernandez who is on leave from the department while she battles cancer told police that Alvarez assaulted her last Saturday in the parking garage of his apartment building.

According to a police report, Fernandez told cops that Alvarez attacked her after she showed up at his residence to return a cat.

That's when, according to Fernandez, Alvarez, while in his building's parking garage, grabbed Fernandez by both arms, and spit in her face while yelling profanities.

Evelyn Fernandez and Carlos Alvarez in happier times.
via WSVN

According to the report, "a pattern of domestic violence has developed since 2013 until present."

Fernandez also showed a WSVN reporter a text message she claims Alvarez sent to her phone.


And Alvarez, the former Miami-Dade mayor, also holds the distinction of being booted from office by voters in the most lopsided recall election in Dade County's history: In 2011, 183,652 Dade residents voted to kick him out of office, while just 24,796 cast a ballot to keep him.

Saturday's incident is not the first time Fernandez claims she was assaulted.

Ten years ago this week, she called the cops after claiming that she'd been assaulted by a female Miami firefighter.

From an April 30, 2006 Miami Herald story:

Arrested on charges of burglary with battery - and criminal mischief: Miami firefighter-paramedic Susan Hart-Berrantes. Miami-Dade cops say she got into it with Miami-Dade police Lt. Evelyn Fernandez, 34, girlfriend of Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez, 53. (Alvarez used to be the county's police director.) The women are former sisters-in-law - Hart-Berrantes was once married to Fernandez's brother, Miami Fire Lt. Josef A. Berrantes, 50, officials say.

Hart-Berrantes, 49, showed up at Fernandez's home and ``began yelling and poking [Fernandez] on her chest.'' When Fernandez dialed 911 from her cellphone, Hart-Berrantes allegedly grabbed her by the throat, snatched the phone and threw it into the pool. Fernandez's 6-year-old daughter saw the confrontation. ``I don't regret what I did, and I'll do it all over again. . . . All I did was push her a few times,'' Hart-Berrantes told police, reports say. No word on what ignited the episode.

Hart-Berrantes, a 22-year Miami Fire veteran, remains in jail - no bond, because she allegedly broke into an ``occupied'' residence. The arrest report says she entered the property through ``a side wooden gate.'' Arraignment is May 12 before Miami-Dade Circuit Judge John Schlesinger.


Click here to read past Random Pixels coverage of Carlos Alvarez.

carlos alvarez arrested, miami-dade mayor carlos alvarez arrested, girlfriend evelyn fernandez

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Isabel Mascareñas is a perfect example of why you should never believe anything you hear on TV news

Isabel Mascareñas with the trophy she received in high school
for winning the 100 yard dash....or maybe it was cooking.

Ordinarily I wouldn't waste my time looking at a TV station website in another part of the state.

But last night I received a Google News alert with a link to a story on the website of a Tampa TV station.

"Bradenton Beach police chief sends warning to Floatopia organizers," read the headline of a story by WTSP's Isabel Mascareñas.

And after reading the first sentence of the story, I was reminded why I normally avoid reading anything on a TV station website.

"It’s a massive float party that left Miami’s South Beach trashed and now rumors on social media say it’s coming to the Bay area," wrote Mascareñas.

Of course there is no place in Miami that's known as South Beach.

What Mascareñas should have written was Miami Beach's South Beach.

So I headed on over to Twitter to school her on South Florida geography.

Click image to enlarge.

That's right, Mascareñas thinks so little of her followers' intelligence or their ability to understand simple facts, she'd rather make up sh*t and mislead them, rather than take a few seconds to explain that South Beach is in Miami Beach, and not Miami. You an actual journalist would do.

So there you have it folks: One more reason why should never believe anything you see or hear on TV "news." Especially if it's coming from the lips of Isabel Mascareñas.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Elitsa Bizios can't stop texting

WSVN's Elitsa Bizios can't stop texting

You started noticing it a few years ago. You'd be at dinner with some friends or family and glance at the family sitting at a table beside you.

Perhaps it was a family like yours...a mom and dad, and two or three teen daughters...or sons.

The mother and father were talking to each other. And the kids? You guessed it....they were all looking down at their smart phones.

Well, I have some bad news for you. Some of those girls have grown up and are now working for your local TV station.

Here's part of a video I found this morning on WSVN's Facebook page.

That's Elitsa Bizios reporting on a shooting at a strip club in NW Miami-Dade.

Now let's zoom in for a closer look at what Bizios is doing.

That's right....the little girl who was sitting at that table next to you in the restaurant a few years ago, is now on your local TV station...and she still can't stop texting. God help us all.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Prince played the Orange Bowl on April 7, 1985

Prince performs at the Orange Bowl, April 7, 1985.
Photograph by Phil Sandlin / Associated Press
(Click image to enlarge)

The Miami Herald's Howard Cohen takes a look back Prince's connection to South Florida in a piece for today's Miami Herald.

Writing about Prince's Orange Bowl concert on April 7, 1985, Cohen uses a quote from Herald story that ran the following day:
“Not since 1969, when Jim Morrison of The Doors was arrested at a Miami concert for lewd behavior, has a rock ‘n’ roll star come so close to depicting onstage what Ann Landers calls The Act,” wrote a Miami Herald reporter.
Cohen forgot to mention that the anonymous "Miami Herald reporter" was one Laura Misch, who was Playboy's Miss February in 1975. (I'm not sure what that has to do with anything, but I thought I'd mention it since Cohen didn't.)

But for someone who vaguely remembers Prince even being in Miami, one of the more interesting sidebars on the musician - in my opinion - appeared in the Herald that weekend. It was written by Joel Achenbach and ran on the day of Prince's concert.

Prince is not the kind of guy who keeps a listed phone number. You can't just call him up. "Yo, Prince, up for a ballgame and a couple of sixes tonight?" It would never work.

Rather he is the Artist. He is what they call "out there." Precise whereabouts Saturday: unknown.

"He's got about five hotels booked in town. He could stay at any one of the five. He likes his privacy," reports Chuck DeBow, director of marketing for Prince's Purple Rain tour, which makes its final stop tonight in Miami's Orange Bowl in front of a crowd that could reach 60,000.

Orange Bowl stadium manager Walter Golby gave that estimate Saturday afternoon as roadies climbed the high scaffolding of the set. Golby said only 51,000 tickets had been sold at that time, leaving 19,000 still unpurchased at $17.50 a pop.

Rain is possible, but not probable. Rather than bring rain gear, concert-goers should just wear something purple, as the tickets suggest. Forecaster Andrew Stern of the National Weather Service said there is a 20 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms today and tonight, but added, "the chance of getting wet at the Prince concert is unlikely."

Prince might not even show up until the last minute. Promoters are keeping things secret. Even the roadies aren't talking. Ask a question of someone on the Prince tour, and he will look into the distance, lost in time, above the language of mortals.

"You wanna do a story, do a story about how the crew hasn't slept in two days," growled one roadie in the lobby of the Omni International Hotel.

Moaned another similarly anonymous and bleary-eyed man, "He (Prince) has two days to play around, while we set up the stage."

Another chunk of the entourage is camping at the Grand Bay Hotel, but there was no sign Saturday of Prince himself.

"He'll get here when he's ready," DeBow said. "As an artist, we just let him have his way."


His way is not sitting well with church leaders in town, who had a problem reconciling the holy rituals of Easter Sunday with the performance later that day of a man who writhes around on stage and simulates the love act. The Miami City Commission approved the concert March 8 before realizing that it fell on Easter. Commissioners have since denounced Prince's autoerotic gestures as immoral, but the city officials still gave away 400 concert tickets to underprivileged children.

Students at Dade Christian School have been banned from attending the concert, just as they were banned from seeing the Jacksons in November.

"Bad is bad, regardless of when it is," said school administrator James Virtue, citing school policy. "We believe that rock music is not appropriate for Christian young people. It's totally contrary to the word of God."

A lot of fans, however, are willing to risk the wrath of church and parents in order to see the singer of When Doves Cry, 1999, Little Red Corvette and Purple Rain.

UPDATE: In 2013, James Virtue became headmaster of the Island Christian School in Monroe County where presumably, he continued preaching about the evils of "rock music."

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Miami Beach Commissioner Mike Grieco wants to ban Floatopia so he can avoid talking about the real problem on South Beach: crime

"Floatopia will never happen in Miami Beach again. Mark my
Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Grieco.
Click here to enlarge.

Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Grieco was heartbroken.

After last Saturday's Floatopia event on Miami Beach, the commish stood among piles of trash and recorded the carnage with his smartphone, and then posted the video to Facebook: "Faith in humanity has gone down today....this is an absolute travesty," said Grieco.

In the days following, Grieco spoke to anyone with a TV camera and a microphone.

"I don't know how 100,000 people can come out to my beach and just not take what they brought with them," Grieco told a Local 10 reporter.

Really, Commissioner? 100,000? (At least one other station also reported the 100,000 figure without bothering to ask Grieco where he got those numbers.)

Mayor Levine also got in on the act, declaring on Facebook "The disruption to our beaches, residents and visitors caused by Floatopia will NOT be tolerated."

Umm, Mr. Mayor...the people who showed up for Floatopia were "residents and visitors." I'm pretty sure they weren't from Mars. But how would you know? You were in New York shilling for Hillary.

Grieco's outrage was so loud that he even rated a mention in the New York Daily News....where a clueless writer misidentified him as a Miami commissioner. Oh, the humanity!

But somehow missing from Grieco's weekend Facebook rants were any mention of the shooting that took place Saturday on Collins Avenue, just a block from the Miami Beach police station.

Because in Mike Grieco's world, trash left behind by otherwise law-abiding citizens having a little fun at the beach is a "travesty."

But a Miami Gardens thug firing wildly into a crowd of people...well, thems the breaks, according to Grieco. And there was also no mention on Grieco's Facebook page today of the news that the shooter had been arrested by police.

What's readily apparent to anyone who follows Grieco's Facebook posts is that he's trying to score points.

His promise to ban Floatopia next year is not only ridiculous posturing, it's unenforceable.

That voice you hear in your head is Mike Grieco saying: "Come on down to South Beach, folks...and bring all the guns you want, but leave your flotation devices at home."

Here's a suggestion, Commissioner: Instead of trying to ban an event that's good, clean fun....why not start now to put a plan in place next year that will anticipate and head off any problems that might arise? That's what a real leader would do.

Of course I understand if you'd rather pander.

Because, after all, pandering and posting crap on Facebook is so much easier than leading.

By the way, Commissioner, if 10,000 people having fun upset you this much, how are you going to handle Memorial Day Weekend next month?

Now, let's take a look at what Mayor Levine and Commissioner Grieco want to ban: People having fun.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Yesterday's 'Floatopia' on Miami Beach was a disaster, and Miami Beach's absentee mayor Philip Levine is so pissed he's comparing it to the Holocaust

Video by Tavaris B

They had a Floatopia event on Miami Beach yesterday.

By all accounts, the estimated 100,000 several thousand people who attended left behind a mound of trash and filth that took hours to clean up. 

In a video posted on Facebook last night, an angry and "embarrassed" Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Grieco vowed the event "will never happen in Miami Beach again."

For the record, Miami Beach's occasional parking enforcement officer and infrequently-seen mayor, Philip Levine - who is out of town campaigning for Hillary Clinton - is also angry.

How angry? 

So angry that he woke up his social media "branding manager" from a deep sleep this morning and had him channel that anger through Facebook posts and Tweets that seemed to compare yesterday's Floatopia to the Holocaust and the 9/11 disaster.

Click here to enlarge.

But if the ridiculous comparisons to authentic tragedies weren't bad enough, the person who posted the memes used pictures that weren't even shot yesterday. They're from a Floatopia event that took place in California in 2009.

 After deleting his original Facebook post, Levine re-posted new photos with this note: "The disruption to our beaches, residents and visitors caused by Floatopia will NOT be tolerated. Per the note below, although this is NOT a city sanctioned event, I have already spoken to our City Manager Jimmy Morales and I plan to bring this up at our next Commission meeting to approve a plan which would STOP this event from happening on our beaches going forward."

This also happened last night on South Beach....

Oh, and there was that shooting one block from the Miami Beach Police station. Other than that, everything was just fine.


Miami Herald: Miami Beach leaders want to sink Floatopia Miami Beach mayor, commissioner push to end Floatopia after attendees leave beach trashed

Miami New Times: Floatopia Trashed Miami Beach

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Yesterday, Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Grieco called out Mayor Philip Levine's hypocrisy

They held a Miami Beach City Commission meeting yesterday, ostensibly to discuss Mayor Philip Levine's knuckle-headed and ill-advised proposal to open a Cuban consulate on Miami Beach.

Via the Miami Herald:
Two weeks after Miami Beach’s mayor and commissioner told Cuban government officials that they would be open to hosting a Cuban consulate, a majority of the full commission voted to formally oppose the idea unless the island nation’s government makes human-rights reforms.

The vote came after an emotionally charged discussion over how some exiles in Miami-Dade County would see a consulate as an insult and others would see it as a convenience.
As I watched a live stream of the meeting, I felt as though I was traveling back in time....

There was lots of anger in the room.

And there was also this sub-plot:
Via the Miami Herald: Days after returning and holding a press conference to share his support for a Cuban consulate in Miami Beach, [Levine] bristled at criticism from exiles in Miami-Dade and said he hadn’t received any complaints. When Commissioner Michael Grieco placed an item on Wednesday’s commission agenda reaffirming the city’s long-standing opposition to having any kind of a relationship with Cuba, Levine called Grieco an opportunist who wants to tee up a run for mayor.

“The only reason this has happened is because you have a commissioner who is trying to use this as a political ploy because he would like to run for mayor, prematurely,” he said. “And he believes he can get the Cuban vote by appealing to their deepest level of fear and insecurity. Which is cruel. Especially when he’s not Cuban.”

Imagine that....Philip Levine calling someone an opportunist. The same Philip Levine who filmed himself throwing a hissy fit over a double-parked Fed Ex truck and who then unashamedly posted the video on YouTube. 

The same man who has a YouTube channel devoted to showing clips of his appearances on cable news shows. 

Philip Levine, the man who will exploit any issue for political gain.

Yes, Philip Levine actually criticized a colleague for not having Cuban parents.

This Philip Levine....a man who never passes up an opportunity to pander.

But Commissioner Michael Grieco was having none of Mayor Levine's hypocrisy.

He responded to Levine's mealy-mouthed criticism, calling his logic "offensive."

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Rorrry, the dashboard cat, definitely knows how to relax

Marjory Stoneman Douglas, defender of the Everglades and Coconut Grove resident used to say "If you want to know how to relax - just watch a cat - they know just how to do it."

Keep that in mind as you watch this video of Rorrry, the dashboard cat.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Jaden Hayes is on a mission

Via CBS News, August, 2015: Jaden Hayes lost both of his parents at a young age. But he is determined to live life with joy. As Steve Hartman shows us, the six-year-old is embarking on a mission to turn frowns into smiles.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Grisly homicide being investigated by Miami Beach police [UPDATED x5]

UPDATED 5x at 10:00 p.m., April 8: Jonathan Alonso has been charged with first degree murder in connection with the death of Louis Piper. (Arrest form is embedded at the bottom of this post.)

Jonathan Alonso. (Miami-Dade Corrections)


UPDATED 4x at 2:00 p.m., April 8 with new photos of Jonathan Alonso and Louis Piper below.

I've also learned that Louis Piper's employers called the manager of his condo on Wednesday after becoming concerned that Piper hadn't been showing up for work. The manager and a security guard gained entry to the apartment and saw Alonso standing on a balcony. When Alonso saw the pair, he angrily ordered them to leave. Minutes later, Alonso was caught on surveillance video leaving the apartment and getting on an elevator. A source tells me that Alonso may have lived in the apartment with Piper's decomposing body for several days, or more.

Alonso was detained by Miami Police officers this afternoon and has been transferred to Miami Beach Police headquarters where he will be interviewed by homicide detectives.

Jonathan Alonso and Louis Piper. (Source: Facebook)
(Click images to enlarge)
Jonathan Alonso. (Source: Facebook)


UPDATED 3x at 10:30 a.m., April 8: Miami Beach Police have tweeted the flyer below in connection with the homicide. The flyer says Alonso is a "potential suspect or witness." Sources who knew both Alonso and the victim tell me that the two were in some sort of relationship.

Jonathan Alonso. (Source: Facebook)


UPDATED 2x at 10 a.m., April 8: A resident of the building where the homicide occurred says Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine was seen across the street in Panther Coffee Thursday morning. Levine, who has been a regular customer at the coffee shop, but who hadn't been seen recently, was asked about the murder. "What murder, I don't know anything about a murder," the mayor replied.

Additionally a source with knowledge of the investigation tells me that the victim's body - which had been decomposing for a week - "exploded" when it was dropped while being removed from the crime scene....which might account for the odor of a dead body that residents reported smelling. 

Miami Beach Police have scheduled a press briefing for 10:30 a.m. today (Friday) when a police spokesman says he might release "potential witness or person of interest information."
UPDATED x1 at 3:07 p.m.: A source tells me that Miami Beach police responded to the scene yesterday after being notified by colleagues at work who were not able to reach the victim for several days. The victim's body may have been lying undiscovered in his apartment for as many as five days. Source also says that Miami Beach police Chief Dan Oates responded to the condo and remained in the lobby of the building for several hours a period of time. One source who lives in the building says that upon leaving his apartment this morning, the odor of a dead body was apparent.

A homicide that was reported Wednesday at a luxury waterfront condominium at 1800 Sunset Harbour Drive is being investigated by Miami Beach Police.

Here's a statement that was just released by a police spokesperson:
Miami Beach PD is investigating a homicide; the incident was first reported to us around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday and occurred at the condominium at 1800 Sunset Harbor Drive. The victim is a male in his 60’s. Family has not yet been notified, so we are not releasing his name. We have made significant progress on the investigation, although the suspect is not yet in custody. At this point, we will not be releasing the suspect information as to not hinder the investigation.
A source tells Random Pixels that the murder was particularly grisly in nature. I'm withholding that information until I can confirm it.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

So Florida Governor Rick Scott walked into a Starbucks in Gainesville today....

UPDATED below with video of Cara Jennings explaining why she called out Gov. Scott and what transpired before she launched her tirade.


....where Cara Jennings was having coffee. 

And then this happened....


Scott left so quickly, he didn't have time to take his coffee.... 


Cara Jennings explains why she decided to forcefully call out Florida Gov. Rick Scott at a Starbucks.Watch more:
Posted by MSNBC on Wednesday, April 6, 2016