Tamarac Man Charged In Theft of Rabbi’s Van


By Kevin Deutsch

The thief who stole a Coral Springs rabbi’s van Sunday purposely crashed the vehicle into a marked police patrol car, causing the sergeant at the wheel to fear for his life, records show.

Lavon Gibbs, 23, of Tamarac, is charged with two counts of grand theft auto, three counts of burglary, and one count of aggravated battery on a police officer, according to an arrest affidavit.

He was being held at the BSO Main Jail Thursday on a $15,000 bond.

Gibbs, who allegedly stole a gray 2015 GMC in Tamarac and burglarized multiple vehicles before his capture, stole Rabbi Yankie Denburg’s blue Toyota Sienna from the driveway of his home Sunday before 2 a.m., the affidavit states.

Denburg, leader of the Chabad Jewish Center on Atlantic Boulevard, said his family was awakened at 2:30 a.m. by a Coral Springs Police officer banging on their door.

“Our minivan had been stolen from our driveway by a thief who had been driving another stolen car,” Denburg wrote in a Facebook post describing the incident. “They were looking for another opportunity when the security guard from the next development called the cops on their suspicious vehicle.”

The security guard at 12100 Lakeview Drive denied Gibbs access at the guard gate, as the culprit drove the stolen GMC, records show. Gibbs then ditched the vehicle and ran north, winding up in Denburg’s unlocked van on Northwest 119th Avenue.

As Gibbs tried to drive out of Denburg’s development, police said they spotted him.

Tamarac Man Charged In Theft of Rabbi's Van

Lavon Gibbs

An officer tried to pull Gibbs over while Sgt. Gilbert Monzon, also responding to the van theft, tried to turn into the development, records show.

“The defendant proceeded to drive westbound without any regard for Sgt. Monzon’s life and intentionally struck the rear of his CSPD marked patrol vehicle,” Officer Dakota Dussault wrote in the affidavit. “The defendant’s actions caused the vehicle to be disabled and pinned under Sgt. Monzon’s patrol car. Sgt. Monzon stated that he was in fear for his life and wellbeing when the vehicle struck.”

After Gibbs’ arrest, a judge signed a supervision order barring him from contact with Denburg and Monzon, records show.

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Kevin Deutsch
Kevin Deutsch
Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.
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