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Real-Life Police Stories

Homeless man suspected in two home burglaries
  Broward sheriff's deputies have arrested a homeless man suspected of sneaking into Pompano Beach residents' homes and stealing their credit cards.
  Tips from the public led investigators to Richard Lewandowski, 37, in the 2300 block of Northwest 3rd Avenue on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after they released a description, spokesman Neil Birenbaum said.
  Lewandowski had a handgun in his possession, but the arrest was without incident, he said.
  Lewandowski is being held in the Broward County main jail on more than $35,000 bond and is charged with crimes ranging from burglary to credit card fraud. Lewandowski is accused of burglarizing two homes.

Police seeking man in Pines shooting
  Police are looking for a 22-year-old Hollywood man accused of shooting an acquaintance at a Pembroke Pines apartment, authorities said Thursday.
  Joseph Michael Pisegna got into an altercation with a man at 9405 SW 1st St. and shot him, Pembroke Pines Police spokesman Cmdr. David Golt said. The victim is in good condition.
  Police are withholding the victim's identity for his safety and until the investigation is complete, Golt said.   Anyone with information should call Pembroke Pines Police Department at 954-431-2200.



Chlorine leak damages stores in Pompano Beach

  At least 1,400 gallons of chlorine leaked for more than 12 hours at a pool supply store, heavily damaging several businesses inside Pompano Marketplace shopping plaza before the spill was stopped Thursday, authorities say.
  The chlorine from a 1,600-gallon tank at Leslie's Swimming Pool Supplies in the 1200 block of South Federal Highway seeped through walls overnight until another store's employee coming to work smelled it shortly before 9 a.m., said city spokeswoman Sandra King.
  "It was an enormous amount of chlorine," King said. "That pool supply [store] and possibly four other businesses next to it will be a total loss."
  No one was injured, she said.
Playful Pottery, a store that appears vacant, a dry cleaners and parts of the plaza's parking lot were roped off all day Thursday while cleaning crews vacuumed up the chlorine.
  King said the affected stores would probably remain closed this weekend. Cleanup cost is estimated to be at least $250,000.
  "It's going to be an extensive and expensive cleanup effort involving several businesses," King said.
  Employees of Carabba's Italian Grill, which officials closed for several hours, felt the impact.
  The restaurant is two doors down from Leslie's.
  Waiter James Lamboy looked at the three occupied tables and said, "We're not gonna make any money tonight."
  Calls to Leslie's, an Arizona-based chain, were not returned.
  Karin Murphy, 43, a Fort Lauderdale mother, was surprised to hear what caused the mess when she stopped by Playful Pottery.
  "It's unfortunate because a lot of kids have their parties here during the weekends," said Murphy. "What a shame."


Man drowns in Hialeah lake while trying to retrieve toy boat
  Authorities said a man drowned in a Hialeah park while trying to save a remote control boat Monday evening.

  Police said a group of friends was racing motorboats at Amelia Earhart Park, 11900NW 42 Ave., when the man's boat lost power around 7:15 p.m.
  The 31-year-old man was using an inflatable raft to paddle into the middle of the lake to reach the disabled toy boat when another toy remote boat punctured the raft and it deflated.
  Friends tried to rescue the man because he did not know how to swim, but he drowned.
  "He went in the raft, fully dressed, into the middle of the lake," witness Luis Lamelis said. "The worst mistake they made, they kept racing the other boats instead of shutting them off.   The other boat spun out of control, punctured the raft. He's in the middle of the lake. He doesn't know how to swim. He went under."
  The man's identity has not been released.
  Diver's found the man's body 30 minutes later in water 20 feet deep.
  Fire rescue officials said he wasn't wearing a life jacket.

Police arrest craps game murder suspect
  Wanted by police on charges he shot a man over a $5 gambling debt, James Williams emerged from hiding in a not-so-discreet way.
  He rode a blue motorcycle.
  Despite two warrants issued for his arrest, Williams zoomed through nighttime traffic, catching the eye of a Miami-Dade cop, who arrested him after a brief chase.
  The officer later discovered he'd nabbed a murder suspect.
  Williams, 20, confessed to murdering Leroy Brown, 23, who refused to pay him $5 from a sidewalk craps game in Opa-locka on May 13, police say.
  ''Basically, he said the guy insulted him in front of everybody,'' Miami-Dade Detective Ray Hoadley said.
Williams was booked Thursday on a charge of first-degree murder.
  Brown's mother, Gia Jones, received the news with joy. ``Words can't explain it. I'm thanking Jesus. By the grace of God, we got him.''
  And with gloom -- her son's 5-year-old daughter continues to ask about her father.
  'Especially when she sees one of his friends he was always with. She comes running, asking, `Where's my daddy?' ''
  The death was one in a recent spike of killings -- 25 since Jan. 1, police say -- involving young black men in North Miami-Dade.
  Most involve drugs, or as in this case, petty disputes. Killed in the crossfires in separate incidents, police say: two teenage women and an 18-month-old baby boy.
  The murder rate has been so alarming that politicians, community activists and top police officials such as Miami-Dade police Director Robert Parker have embarked on an aggressive media campaign, preaching peace and urging witnesses to come forward.
  In death, Leroy Brown at least had his champions.
  Witnesses were so shocked with Brown's senseless murder that they cooperated with police, a rarity in violence-plagued Opa-locka.
  They told investigators that Brown and several others were playing craps at the apartment complex, 13130 Port Said Rd., when Williams won what he believed was $5.
  Brown, a warehouse worker who loved fishing, disputed the amount and the two argued. Even though a friend offered to pay, Williams refused, returning minutes later wielding a gun.
  ''What are you going to do, shoot me?'' Brown asked, according to witnesses. He was shot dead.
  Police had already issued an arrest warrant for Williams after he skipped probation for a carjacking. Detectives added the warrant for murder.
  Williams was caught on the motorcycle -- to whom it belonged was unclear -- late Wednesday near Northwest 15th Avenue and 64th Street.
  After a brief chase, Williams stopped and tried to escape on foot but was caught by Miami-Dade Robbery Intervention Detail Officer J. Perez.
  Initially, police said, Williams gave several names before admitting his real identity. He told detectives he had spent his time on the run with friends.
  ''When you think about the case, one kid is going to prison, one lost his life,'' Hoadley said. ``It's a tragedy all the way around.''

One dead, two injured after fight in Miami nightclub
  One man was stabbed to death, one shot in the thigh and another trampled by a panicked crowd during a fight at a Miami nightclub early Monday morning.
  It was about 4 a.m. at Club Metropolis in the 900 block of Northeast Second Avenue when police heard an argument followed by gunshots inside the club, said Delrish Moss, spokesman for the Miami Police Department.
  As hundreds of clubgoers stampeded, Moss said, police found three Miami men injured in the mess: Roger Hall, 22, who had been stabbed; Lee Fowner, 22, of Miami, with a gunshot wound to his thigh, and Ijamyn Grey, 26, who had been trampled by the fleeing crowd.
  All three were taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital. Hall died shortly after, and the other two men are recovering.
  Police are asking anyone with information about the attacks to call Miami-Dade's Crime Stoppers hotline at 305-471-8477.




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