Welcome to another bizarre Friday in the Magic City.
Our story today involves a man in a wheelchair, a teenage shape-shifter, and a hella buff Mexican soap opera star.
According to Miami Police, 16-year-old Gabriel Soto was riding the bus in Little Havana one Friday morning last month when he befriended a man in a wheelchair. When the older man pulled out his cell phone, Soto asked to use it. His new friend obliged.
When the bus arrived at the older man's NW 22nd Avenue and Flagler Street stop, he asked for his phone back. But Soto said he was also getting off and kept talking.
Once on the street, Soto continued chatting on the borrowed phone and started walking away. When the man in wheelchair caught up to him and again asked for his phone, Soto ignored him, then asked for a cigarette. You may know where this is going...
For reasons unknown to Riptide -- Charity? Grace? A last ditch attempt to change Soto's mind? -- the older man pulled his pack of smokes out of his pocket. But in a why-must-you-punish-me-God type of moment, the cigarettes and $200 in cash fell onto the sidewalk. Soto scooped up the cigs and cash and, with the phone still in hand, bolted north on NW 22nd Avenue.
Fear not, dear readers. There is justice, even in our beloved hell hole of Miami. Police recently received a tip fingering Soto as the asshole who robbed a man in a wheelchair. The victim positively identified him in a line-up. Soto was arrested yesterday and charged with grand theft.
Normally, that would be a refreshingly just ending to yet another tale of petty theft. Call us cynical, however, but we have a few problems with this scenario. In the original bulletin sent out by MPD, the perpetrator was listed as around 5'7" and 145 pounds. Yet, according to the arrest affidavit, Soto clocks in at 6'0" and 205 pounds. That's a big difference.
Has he been on the Mike Jacobs diet? Or is Soto the Not-So-Incredible Cuban Hulk, capable of growing five inches and 60 pounds when angry? Only, instead of shredding his clothes, he shreds his eyebrows in the process?
Check out his transformation. If it weren't for the "305" tattoo on his neck (barely visible), we would think it was two different guys.
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Soto, who according to court records was also charged with breaking into and robbing an empty house in April, should not be confused with the prodigiously bicepped Mexican soap opera of the same name.
If only our friend in the wheelchair had run into this Gabriel Soto instead. He would have disembarked from that bus feeling a lot better about humankind: