Cops Bust Coconut Grove Car Burglary Ring, Find Loads of Stolen Stuff

Acting on a tip, Miami Police recently raided a squat ranch house on a quiet side street a few blocks south of Bird Avenue in Coconut Grove.

Inside the house, at 3152 Elizabeth St., police found a mother lode of goods stolen in a spate of car break-ins around the neighborhood over the past month -- thousands of dollars' worth of GPS devices, schoolbooks, stereos, and golf clubs, says Officer Jeffrey Giordano, a spokesman for the Miami PD.

The cops arrested three men inside -- 33-year-old William Vanwinkle, 48-year-old Michael Wriggens, and 32-year-old Daron Johnson.

Two of the men have colorful records.

Both Vanwinkle and Johnson have been arrested scores of times for cocaine and pot possession, burglary, loitering, and public intoxication; Wriggens had a clean record before this arrest.

Police distributed pamphlets about the crime wave around Coconut Grove before the tip came in leading them to Vanwinkle and his cohorts, he says.

And last Wednesday, a seperate tip led police to another area car burglar, Giordano says.

Dunel Olivia-Diaz, a 27-year-old Hialeah resident, was charged with breaking into two cars.

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink