"The lesson here," says recently retired Miami Herald photographer Walt Michot, "is put on your belt when you get out of bed."
Michot didn't have his belt on yesterday around 8:30 a.m. when he spotted a guy in his backyard. His pants drooped toward his knees as he held a cell phone in one hand and a dog leash in the other. Yet he sprinted out out the back door in pursuit of the interloper, a homeless guy with a lengthy criminal record who had crept into Michot's Miami Shores backyard.
The ensuing chase included a helicopter, a dog bite, and some pretty good photos taken by the pursuer, who just five weeks ago retired after decades at the Magic City's daily newspaper.
Arrested and charged with trespassing and likely burglary was Dwayne Felton Cromer, age 53, a cocaine addict with 15 felony arrests over the past 25 years for burglary, assault, carrying a concealed weapon, drugs, and more drugs.
"He's been in the neighborhood before," said Miami Shores Police Chief Kevin Lystad. "That has drawn people's attention."
Michot says he followed the guy, who threw off a sweatshirt as he ran, about 30 yards behind until police joined the chase and set up a perimeter. A helicopter from North Miami, already in the air, helped track down Cromer near NE Second Avenue. A K-9 unit from North Miami also joined the chase, though it is unclear whether the police dog nipped Cromer.
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According to Michot's wife, Emily, who is still a Herald photographer, kids at a nearby school are raising money so Miami Shores can buy a new police dog to replace one that will soon retire.