Last month, Brazilian tourists Apareceda Pata and Denieze Ferreira were stunned to return from breakfast at the Miami Beach Hotel & Spa to find everything they'd taken on their trip to Miami stolen, including $20,000 in designer goods. They were even more shocked when the hotel told them how it had happened: A man claiming to be their son had lied his way past a housekeeper and then walked out with their belongings.
Turns out they weren't alone. A Miami Gardens man was arrested yesterday for the burglary and has since admitted his links to more than a dozen similar crimes at South Beach hotels, police say.
When Miami Beach Police officers picked up Dequan Johnson at Aventura Mall after a surveillance operation, they soon realized at least six other local police departments were looking for him on burglary charges.
Police finally caught up to Johnson after releasing surveillance footage of the Miami Beach Hotel & Spa burglary. The 32-year-old quickly admitted he'd stolen the Brazilians' possessions -- and then, amazingly, owned up to at least 14 other capers.
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"He was proud of his accomplishments to say the least," MBPD spokeswoman Vivian Hernandez tells CBS4.
Johnson had a unique burglary style, police say. At 6'4" and more then 300 pounds, he would first try to lie his way past maids or sneak into rooms and then would use his size to intimidate anyone who thought he looked suspicious.
Police in Sunny Isles, Surfside, Palm Beach County, and Coral Gables all believe Johnson is tied to crimes in their jurisdictions. He's been charged with 11 counts of burglary and 12 counts of grand theft for his Miami Beach crimes.