Beer theft is a pretty great racket. You steal beer, and then you drink it. It's simple, it works, and even if you go to jail, your fellow inmates will probably treat you like a hero.
Miami's most feared cerveza crook saw his reign of terror end today, though. Because the Miami Police Department very clearly has its priorities in order, MPD announced this afternoon that it has arrested a "notorious beer bandit," just in time to protect South Florida's very vulnerable stashes of Labor Day booze from getting seized. Here's to the labor movement!
According to arrest reports, 25-year-old Gabriel Rodriguez walked into a Publix on SW First Avenue at 8:55 a.m. Tuesday, loaded a cart with "several boxes of Corona beer" — a $159.72 value — and plowed right out the front door. After the general manager chased him down, police say, Rodriguez dropped the boxes and ran.
But he dropped his cell phone too, which the general manager then handed right over to the cops. The cops then used the phone to track down Rodriguez.
Because Rodriguez was apparently indebted to some sort of deity that accepted onlybeer-based sacrifices, he then burst into a Winn-Dixie on Coral Way at 9:15 that very same day, loaded yet another cart full of twelve 12-packs of beer — this time a $305.88 pretax value — and, again, tried to walk right out the front door, police say.
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Given the fact that cops had just been called to a Publix for the same crime and were armed with Rodriguez's name, date of birth, and description, they went right to Rodriguez's house just before noon the next day, where they found both him and the car he allegedly used to steal the beer. After his car was towed, Rodriguez was towed to jail. He's charged with one misdemeanor count of petty theft and one felony count of retail theft, because the Winn-Dixie haul cost more than $300. He also had two outstanding bench warrants.
Apparently, there'd been a series of "similar incidents" recently in Broward County — the Broward Sheriff's Office said in a release that it's investigating whether Rodriguez might have been involved.
At least he wasn't trying to steal some sort of fancy IPA or cherry-infused stout. Corona is a workingman's beer, the sort any proud blue-collar type should be proud to get caught stealing in time for Labor Day.