Marshall Robert Bellin can't win.
On a recent balmy Saturday evening, the 63-year-old architect stepped from his 2001 silver Porsche Carrera at a Coral Gables home. On his wrist shimmered a $20,000 diamond-encrusted gold Rolex Daytona.
Suddenly 24-year-old Moses Max Sejour emerged from a side street, pistol in hand, face swathed in a bandanna.
"Papi, give me the watch," Sejour said in a low, menacing voice.
Bellin surrendered the watch.
"Give me the keys."
Bellin calmly forked over the keys.
"Now turn around."
And Bellin did, certain he'd be shot in the back.
Instead Sejour hopped into a waiting car and sped off. Police say the theft was part of a two-county spree that ended two months later during a July 5 traffic stop in Liberty City.
It wasn't the first time Bellin fell prey to Magic City bandits. Twenty-five years ago, a gunman took his Rolex and Porsche keys outside his office near SW 24th Avenue and South Dixie Highway. Back then officers told him not to worry about the keys. But the next day, Bellin walked out of work and discovered his car had been stolen.
He replaced both the Porsche and the Rolex in less than a year.
His second Porsche was stolen from a lot at MIA soon thereafter.
For the next 22 years, he drove Mercedes, Lexus, and BMW. Thieves showed no interest.
In 2003 he bought the Carrera. "You have to really love Porsches to go through all that heartache," Bellin muses.
Of course problems arose. Hoodlums twice stole the headlights when the car was parked in front of his modest Kendall apartment. So he began leaving it at the house of a friend who lives on San Vicente in the Gables. Each day, he dropped it off in the garage and climbed into an old Ford Explorer to head home.
When Sejour and his getaway driver, George Luis Ramos, ripped off Bellin in May, the architect was in the midst of his daily swap. Ramos later admitted to the crime, police say.
Now the architect says he's learned his lesson. He spent $600 reprogramming the car's locks. And he used the insurance money to buy a stainless-steel Rolex of the same model. "I'll pass on the gold," Bellin says. "It may be a little too flashy."
Asked why he continues to tempt fate, Bellin responds, "I just like the watch." Design is important to him. (His wife complains it's only about the Rolex name.)
He'll be at Sejour's arraignment this week, he comments, "for the poetic justice that's in it."
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