Just before 11 a.m. yesterday, a woman pulled up to the JW Marriott Hotel downtown in a sparkling Lexus she'd only recently driven off the dealer's lot, still decked out with paper license plates. She stepped out of the luxury ride as valets pulled her luggage from the trunk. Suddenly, a disheveled man in his 50s rushed the car, threw the woman to the ground, jumped in and gunned the engine.
Before he could escape with the Lexus, though, the carjacker barreled through guests and valets, injuring seven -- including one person critically. Police later found the wrecked Lexus abandoned and late last night arrested the perpetrator. To say he's well known to Miami police puts it mildly.
Update: Police have released video of the carjacking. Watch the tape here.
Police say the carjacker was Alberto Ruiz, a 50-year-old with an impressive criminal record.
Ruiz has been charged with at least 20 felonies dating back to the mid-90s, by Riptide's count. Most of the charges involve drugs or alcohol, with numerous cocaine sales and possession beefs on his record. But he's also been charged in the past with multiple counts of burglary and grand theft.
When witnesses described the attack at the Marriott yesterday morning, police quickly matched the description to Ruiz -- whom they described as an "active downtown criminal" -- and launched a search.
About two hours later, they found the Lexus -- completely mangled from its careening path through the Marriott driveway -- abandoned about a mile from the hotel.
Ruiz, meanwhile, was located at the Ramona Motel on Flagler, and had to be Tasered by officers before he could be booked.
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He's now back in familiar territory: Dade County lockup, facing seven counts of aggravated battery, attempted murder, resisting arrest and carjacking.
Not much information has been released about the victims in yesterday's spree. The woman driving the Lexus was not seriously injured, the Miami Herald reports, while at least four valets and four other cars were hit by Ruiz on the way out. One of his victims remains in critical condition.