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Bikini-Clad Tourist Chases Thief After $41,000 Jewelry Snatch at Delano Pool

Jessie Torrecilla
Jessie Torrecilla
Courtesy of Miami-Dade County Corrections

A brazen bandit snatched a handbag from a bikini-clad guest at 3 p.m. Friday, June 13, as she lay poolside at the swank Delano hotel, and made off with $41,000 in jewelry.

The victim, 30-year-old Staci Gabrielson from Orangeburg, New York, "began to yell" and then chased the man, who bolted "northbound on the boardwalk," the police report shows, past the Surfcomber Hotel.

Inside Gabrielson's bag: $41,000 in "various pieces of precious jewelry," the report shows, including $300 in cash and an Apple iPad.

"I got it from an inheritance," Gabrielson told Riptide. "We weren't able to check it in yet."

"He just hopped the fence into the pool area, took my bag, and ran," said Gabrielson, who dashed after the suspect, raising eyebrows at the posh art deco hotel known for its celebrity clientele. "I ran after him barefoot, in my bikini."

Two bystanders heard her cries for help and joined in the chase. The group -- including the loot-clenching suspect, bikini-clad victim, and two good Samaritans -- scurried along Collins Avenue past a police officer, who called for backup.

The suspect "dropped the handbag" near 17th Street and kept running. Minutes later, a police sergeant found and arrested Jessie Torrecilla, 30, of Miami Beach, who was charged with grand theft and trespassing, according to the report.

Torrecilla entered a plea of not guilty June 16, court records show, and was released on bond.

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