Careful use of ID techniques results in suspect’s capture

By Richard Yager….

Pictured (l-r) are Kendall CAC chair Barry White, Kendall District Officer of the Month Gary Vega, and Maj. Edward O’Donnell.

Capturing a violent suspect by using careful identification techniques earned Miami-Dade Police Officer Gary Vega honors as Officer of the Month for Kendall District on Oct. 26.

Together on Aug. 26 with Sgt. Melissa Peacock, Officer Vega answered an urgent radio dispatch to a battery complaint at an apartment complex. A mother of a 5-year-old reported she had been pushed against a wall in a purse-snatching attempt, complaining that her head and face were struck by the assailant.

When her teenage son entered the premises, the suspect left the apartment but was thought to remain in the complex area or depart for a baseball game at Tropical Park with a known friend driving a gold Saab, she told the arriving officers.

Knowing those details and using photo IDs and a cellular phone number from a second investigator, Officer Vega tracked identity of the friend’s vehicle and after an unsuccessful search of the apartment complex, arrived with a team of officers at Tropical Park where the parked Saab was immediately blocked by a police cruiser.

Locating the vehicle’s owner, an effort to contact the subject to surrender was unsuccessful. However, by using a confirmed identity Officer Vega obtained by photo IDs and other investigative tools, the subject was apprehended in a crowd at the park.

After the suspect was taken into custody, a records check revealed the subject had an extensive history of past robberies, violent crimes against persons and burglaries.

For his investigative skills and determination in apprehending an “a violent career criminal,” the citation signed by CAC chair Barry White was presented to Officer Vega during the Kendall Citizens Advisory Committee meeting on Oct. 26.

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