By Kevin Deutsch
A man accused of stealing pricey basketball sneakers in Tamarac became the target of an intensive manhunt recently, as aviation and K9 units pursued him by both air and ground, court records show.
The search for Nidenson Martinez, 25, began June 23 when a man in his bedroom heard his garage door open on Northwest 59th Street in Tamarac about 5:30 a.m., according to the Broward Sheriff’s Office.
The victim looked out his window and saw a man – who he later identified as Martinez – sitting in the front passenger seat of his gray 2008 Honda Accord. The culprit had clicked the garage door opener on one of the Accord’s sun visors, alerting the victim to a burglary in progress, court records show.
The man went outside and yelled at the burglar, who took off with two pairs of basketball shoes he had found on the victim’s backseat floorboard: an orange, white, and blue pair of Nike Kevin Durant 5 sneakers, and a white pair of Nike Air Jordan 3s, with an overall value of about $340, records show.
The culprit ran east on Northwest 59th Street, dropping the Air Jordans as he fled, deputies said.
The victim picked up his shoes and called 911, setting the manhunt into motion.
“BSO aviation and K9 responded to the scene and tracked the [defendant] from the residence to 4960 East Sabal Palm, where he was located and taken into custody,” wrote Deputy Samantha Kaplan, a member of BSO’s Tamarac division. “It should be noted, this location is behind the incident location and divided by a fence.”
According to BSO, its aviation unit has two aircraft, each outfitted with infrared technology, night vision capabilities, a Nightsun SX-16 searchlight, and a moving map system.
At the arrest scene in Tamarac, Martinez, of Fort Lauderdale, was read his Miranda rights. He then identified himself “through a picture that was taken from a RING video surveillance camera,” Kaplan wrote.
According to deputies, Martinez was wearing the same clothes as the man in the surveillance footage.
With the alleged shoe thief in custody, BSO conducted a “show up”: an identification procedure in which a suspect is shown to an eyewitness, then asked whether he recognizes him as the perpetrator.
In Martinez’s case, the victim was not sure.
“He stated with only 50% certainty, that the male that was detained by deputies was the same male he observed inside of his vehicle,” wrote Kaplan. “It should also be noted, the [defendant] was observed entering multiple vehicles in the immediate area via video surveillance cameras, whereas the victims are still being located.”
Deputies said property was found on the ground nearby and collected as evidence, including the victim’s stolen Kevin Durant 5s.
A BSO body-worn camera was also activated during the investigation, records show.
Martinez was charged with burglary to a conveyance and petit theft, then taken to the BSO Main Jail. Records show he was released on an unspecified bond.
Martinez could not immediately be reached for comment Sunday.
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