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Robber uses stolen backhoe to take ATM

By Times wire services
Published September 27, 2007


HOMESTEAD

Usually, bank robbers use a gun. But one used a stolen backhoe to lift and haul away a drive-through automatic teller machine from a Bank of America early Tuesday. The ATM, a free-standing unit at the rear drive-through, was thought to contain about $100,000 cash, police said. Surveillance video from the bank showed a backhoe scooping up the ATM before the cameras went out. Police found the abandoned backhoe - still running. It was stolen from the nearby South Dade Busway construction site, said Homestead police.

MIAMI

Judge's rulingon father delayed

The judge in a contentious child custody dispute is expected to rule today whether a Cuban father is a fit parent to his 5-year-old daughter. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jeri B. Cohen initially indicated she would release her ruling Wednesday, but shifted course after attorneys for the girl's father, Rafael Izquierdo, objected to the release of the document to the media. Instead, Cohen will read her ruling in open court. The proceedings are scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. The mother, Elena Perez, left Cuba in 2005 with her two children, who have different fathers, and attempted suicide within a few months. The children were eventually placed with a Cuban-American couple, Joe and Maria Cubas, who have argued that the girl should remain with them.

WEST PALM BEACH

Man accused of killing his nephew

A West Palm Beach man is being held without bail on a first-degree murder charge in the stabbing death of his 1-year-old nephew. Palm Beach County sheriff's deputies were called to a home Tuesday night and found the boy wrapped in a blanket in a laundry room. Sgt. Pete Palenzuela says the boy was bleeding and died at the scene. The boy's uncle, 38-year-old Eric Sawyer, was arrested. A sheriff's report says Sawyer stabbed the baby with a butcher knife because he didn't want the child to grow up in a bad environment.

PUNTA GORDA

Girl charged in fatal home invasion

Detectives say a 15-year-old girl is now the fifth person to be charged in a home invasion in Charlotte County that left two men dead. The girl was arrested Tuesday at her school in Port Charlotte. Three of the others charged are teenagers. The remaining suspect is a 31-year-old man. Cristobal Perez Rodriguez, 24, and Jose Manuel Lopez-Rodriguez, 22, were killed during an armed home-invasion at their Englewood mobile home in July.

FORT PIERCE

5-year-old killed running for bus

A 5-year-old boy has been killed by a car while crossing the street to get on a school bus. Kristopher Huffman stepped out of his mother's car Tuesday morning and darted across the street to catch the bus when he was struck by an oncoming car. Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Tim Frith says the boy died a short time later at a hospital. Frith says Danielle La Rocca, who was driving the car that struck the boy, may face traffic violations but no serious charges are expected. The bus had not come to a complete stop so traffic was not yet halted.