Experts Urge Caution For Holiday
Experts urge caution for holiday
Ever since hearing about last week's double murder at the Boca Raton Town Center, Amy Zolto has carried Mace in her purse to her job at the Sawgrass Mills mall in Sunrise.
''I just don't want to take any chances,'' said Zolto, a sales associate at the Burberry Factory Outlet who leaves work at the late hour of 10:30 p.m.
Across South Florida, police and sheriff's deputies have stepped up their presence at malls and shopping centers in an effort to deter crime and make shoppers feel more secure. They've mounted horses, climbed towers and mapped out patrols at all hours of the day and night -- even giving their operations catchy slogans like ''Scrooge'' and ''Grinch'' and ``Reindeer.''
While crime generally jumps during the holidays, the murders of a mother and her young daughter at a mall in Boca Raton last week have heightened fears among some shoppers and have led law enforcement to encourage the public to be even more vigilant.
The Broward Sheriff's Office on Monday announced that in response to the Boca mall murders it is launching a new program aimed at educating shoppers about how to stay safe while holiday shopping.
Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti, who narrates a video for the new program, said the Boca murders could have happened to anyone.
``They were simply doing what a lot of us do at this time of the year -- holiday shopping in a mall.''
Police continued to search for the killer or killers who bound and shot Nancy Bochicchio, 47, and her 7-year-old daughter, Joey Bochicchio-Hauser, late Wednesday afternoon or evening at the Town Center at Boca Raton.
Violent random crimes like those in Boca and this month's killing spree in an Omaha, Neb. mall are hardly the norm, said Robert McCrie, a professor of security management at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.
''These incidences probably can't be ascribed to the season itself,'' McCrie said.
But crimes of opportunity during the holiday season can be prevented by taking simple precautions, experts say. First and foremost, shoppers should always be alert of their surroundings.
Rosemary Erickson, a national crime consultant and security expert, said December, on average, has the second-highest incidences of robberies and murders of any month. Mall and retail center parking lots are the prime areas for attacks, and women make easy targets, Erickson said.
At the Sawgrass Mills mall, Carmen Grimly of Weston said she parks as close to a mall entrance as possible.
''I don't care how long it takes -- I'll keep circling until I am very close,'' she said. ``It's a horrible thing what happened, but it's a matter of being alert. It's about self preservation.''
Miami Herald staff writer Ani Martinez and the Palm Beach Post contributed to this report.
December 18, 2007
As a neighbor of Nancy Bochicchio and her lovely 8-year-old daughter, Joey Bochicchio-Hauser, who were so senselessly murdered at the Town Center mall last week, and as an employee at that very same mall, I feel I would be quite remiss if I did not write this letter. It is too horrific a crime for it ever to be understood. I have no hope for that now, or ever.
As I drive on my street where they lived, the holiday decorations, left dark on their lawn, are too real, too heartbreaking not to feel pain, a void and anger. I have to question how this could have happened. Just how many things could have and should have been done to prevent such a horrific act?
This double murder occurred very close to the exit Randi Gorenburg took the very day she was killed. No cameras were present to even document her last too few minutes alive. And we were never informed of a similar incident happening to another mother and child just four short months ago.
As one of the most affluent malls in the state, how could it be that it may take a double homicide for proper security measures to be taken, for employees as well as our clients? I suggest better lighting, more security guards and cameras in the parking lot, and that would be just a very good beginning.
It is my sincere hope that Nancy's
and Joey's lives will not be lost in vain. It is my hope that their
legacy be this — a much more secure environment for every man,
woman and child who chooses to shop at a mall, day or night, with as
little fear as possible, knowing their lives will not be at stake.
Mother and daughter holiday shopping
trips aren't supposed to end this way. They are occasions for giggles,
and frantic searches to find the perfect gifts, for a stop at the food
court for ice cream and Christmas carols on the way home.
The mother and daughter were found shot to death in the mall's parking lot last week, their bodies tied up in their idling SUV.
It's a horrible crime on its own, but what's even more frightening is that the murders speak to a growing, alarming number of violent incidents in our community and beyond.
This year, 28 women and girls died violently in Broward County, an 87 percent increase over 2006, according to a recent report in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. We lost four law enforcement officers to gun violence across South Florida, and four others were wounded by gunfire - in the past year alone.
As a nation, we still mourn the loss of the eight people executed at a shopping mall in Omaha, Neb., and two sisters gunned down at a church in Colorado Springs. And who can forget the mother who was gang-raped and the son who was assaulted by merciless thugs at a West Palm Beach public housing complex last June?
All this is a poignant and unsettling reminder of just how vulnerable we all are - even when innocently going about our daily routines.
What's just as disconcerting is the lack of public and community response. Why aren't community and local leaders, as well as their constituents, speaking up? Why aren't elected leaders in Tallahassee, or even the presidential candidates, paying attention to public safety?
Violent crime is a national problem that will only be mitigated when the citizenry prods elected officials to make it a priority. Until then, no one is safe.
BOTTOM LINE: Elected officials need to step up to the plate and address crime problem.
By Leon Fooksman and Sofia Santana
|South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Two homeless men are wanted for questioning in the slaying of a woman and her daughter found in their SUV at the Town Center at Boca Raton mall last week, police said Tuesday.
David Goodman, 40, and a man known as Charles came to the attention of detectives after they found a purse belonging to the mother, Nancy Bochicchio, 47, dumped in Miami's crime-ridden Overtown neighborhood, according to two law enforcement sources familiar with the double-homicide investigation. The men used at least one credit card found in the purse, sources said.
Charles may have had access to Bochicchio's cell phone, Boca Raton police said.
The two men, known to frequent the Miami area, are not suspects in the killings and suspected robbery of Bochicchio and Joey, 7, who were bound and fatally shot in their Chrysler Aspen on Dec. 12, police said.
The person of interest in the slayings, whose sketch was released Friday, is between the ages 18 to 25. He also is a suspect in the Aug. 7 carjacking and robbery of a 30-year-old mother and her 2-year-old son at the same mall.
Boca Raton police said the identification of Goodman and Charles is a break in the case.
"How big? It's hard to say right now," Boca Raton police Officer Sandra Boonenberg said.
Police confirmed Tuesday that they are working with investigators in Miami-Dade County to find clues to who killed Bochicchio and her daughter.
More than a dozen Boca Raton detectives and officers also are swapping information on other robberies and violent crimes with investigators in the Palm Beach County and Broward sheriff's offices, FBI, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and other agencies.
In addition, investigators are examining video from surveillance cameras, reviewing tips, and examining fingerprints and DNA found at the crime scene, officials said.
Boca Raton police would not confirm that Goodman and Charles found the purse and used at least one of Bochicchio's credit cards. Boonenberg said she did not know how her agency's detectives identified the two men.
A family friend of Goodman said he has worked at a bakery and lived in Miami. He had trouble with the law years ago but was trying to get back on his feet, said Ann Baker, of Hollywood, who has known him since he was 17 and last spoke to him about a month ago.
"He was a good boy. He would do anything for anyone," Baker said. "I'm praying that he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time."
Goodman's father, Junior Goodman, declined to comment.
Police have not said why they suspect Bochicchio was robbed or how long she and her daughter were dead in the SUV before the guard found them around midnight.
Detectives have linked their killings to the Aug. 7 robbery in the parking garage at Nordstrom department store at Town Center. The 30-year-old shopper told detectives that she and her son were abducted as she was putting her bags in the car. A man with a gun appeared and shoved it to the boy's head, her family said. The woman then was tied up.
That woman provided information for the composite drawing of the person of interest. The drawing was made a day after the slayings.
Police said anyone who knows where to find Goodman and Charles should not approach them. Police should be notified at 561-338-1352. People with additional information can call Crime Stoppers, 800-458-8477.
A viewing for the Bochicchios will be 2 to 9 p.m. today at Babione Funeral Home, Glades Road and U.S. 441, west of Boca Raton. The funeral Mass will be 10 a.m. Thursday at St. Jude Catholic Church, 21689 Toledo Road, west of Boca Raton.
Staff Writer Rachael Joyner and Staff Researchers William Lucey and Gail Bulfin contributed to this report.
Leon Fooksman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 561-243-6647.
By Jerome Burdi |Sun-Sentinel.com
BOCA RATON - Police found one of the people sought for questioning in the Town Center Mall slaying of a mother and daughter last week.
Detectives spoke to David Goodman Tuesday night in Miami and he provided additional information, police said.
Miami police officers then arrested him on a grand theft auto warrant from Broward County. According to an incident report, Goodman spent the night with a woman he met at a gas station on May 23 and left with her car before she woke up.
Police are still searching for a man known as "Charles" for questioning in the mall case.
The two are not suspects in the killing and suspected robbery of Nancy Bochicchio, 47 and her daughter Joey, 7, who were bound and fatally shot in their Chrysler Aspen on Dec. 12, police said.
Charles is homeless and is known to frequent the Miami area, police said. Charles is believed to have had access to the victim's cell phone.
Police are asking anyone with information on this case to call police, 561-338-1352.
By Michael LaForgia and Kevin Deutsch
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
BOCA RATON — Hours after a woman and her 8-year-old daughter were found bound and shot to death in an idling SUV outside the Town Center mall, a homeless man in Overtown found the murdered woman's cellphone in a lot by the Miami Arena and gave it to a Miami police officer, according to a source familiar with the investigation.
Unaware that it was a key piece of evidence in the double-homicide investigation, the Miami officer drove around with the cellphone in her car for several hours, until Boca Raton and Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office detectives caught up with her; when the detectives retraced the officer's steps in a search for the homeless man, known only as Charles, he was nowhere to be found, the source said.
On Tuesday Boca Raton police circulated a composite sketch of Charles and another man, 40-year-old David Goodman, saying both were wanted for questioning in the killings of Nancy Bochicchio, 47, and her daughter, Joey Bochicchio-Hauser.
The pair were found early Thursday bound and shot to death at point-blank range in Bochicchio's 2007 Chrysler Aspen SUV outside the Sears loading dock at 6000 West Glades Road.
Last night, Boca Raton detectives tracked Goodman to a Burger King at Biscayne Boulevard and 17th Terrace in Miami, where they questioned him about the case. Afterward, Miami-Dade authorities arrested him on an outstanding warrant and took him to a Miami-Dade jail.
Police said he's cooperating with the investigation.
"He agreed to speak with our investigators," said Boca Raton Police Sgt.
Jeff Kelly. "Hopefully, this case moves forward."
Goodman and another man, known only as Charles, are believed to have information about the slayings of Nancy Bochicchio and her daughter, Joey Bochicchio-Hauser, who were found bound and shot to death in Bochicchio's SUV outside the Town Center mall last Wednesday.
Goodman and another man known as Charles may have found a purse and credit cards belonging to the woman, which had been dumped on a city street.
Charles has not been found. Goodman will eventually be moved from Miami-Dade to the Broward County jail.
Detectives got what could be a big break in their investigation into who killed Nancy Bochicchio and her daughter, Joey, on Tuesday when they uncovered names and pictures of two men with possible knowledge of the killings.
One is a felon and the other had access to the slain woman's cellphone after she died, police said.
Goodman has a prior robbery conviction and might have information regarding the double homicide, police said. They also want to speak with a man known only as Charles, who is believed to have had access to Nancy Bochicchio's cellphone after Wednesday's killings at the Town Center mall.
Bochicchio's friend, David Stewart, told The Palm Beach Post he tried to call Bochicchio's cellphone Thursday and said a man answered in Spanish, then hung up when he heard Stewart's voice.
Both men are known to spend time in Miami-Dade County. Police advise the public to call 911 if they see them, but not to approach them.
On Tuesday, Junior Goodman, 67, saw his son's face on the 6 o'clock news, shortly after a detective called to warn him.
A few days had passed since Junior Goodman spoke to his son, who had been living in Miami about a month ago. For a while Junior Goodman would drive his son to a bakery off 32nd Avenue, where David Goodman had a job making bread.
Then Goodman struck out again, his father said, though his leaving was nothing extraordinary: Goodman's behavior had strained his relationship with his father since Goodman was a young man.
"When he came out of school, he started getting into stuff, and he wanted to be grown, and I decided to let him be grown," Junior Goodman said from his home in Miami.
Goodman, who stands about 5-foot-9, has been arrested seven times in Florida since 1989, state records show, on charges from cocaine possession to grand theft auto. In four of those cases, adjudication was withheld. In a fifth, a felony burglary charge was dropped.
In South Carolina, where he lived with his family before returning to Florida, he was convicted of felony robbery in 1997 and sentenced to five years in prison, records show.
Four years later, Goodman was arrested again, in Miami, on a battery charge.
"I can't speak a lot about what he's doing," Junior Goodman said Tuesday. "He's out there on those streets."
But, the father said, his son isn't capable of murdering a mother and her child.
"Stuff like that - he's my son, I'm not trying to take up for him - but he would never do anything like that."
A family friend said the same Tuesday. Anickey Kindred, who also saw David Goodman on the news, said she prayed he wasn't involved. She last spoke to Goodman, whom she knew as a teenager, about a month ago when he called to tease her about something.
He acted like a joker, she said, not a monster.
"He's a sweet one," Kindred said. "If he can do something for you, he will."
Police would not say how they developed information about Goodman or Charles, and didn't release any specifics about their possible links to the case, other than to say they believe Charles had Nancy Bochicchio's cellphone at some point after her death.
"Every time you have a name and a face it's a good step," said police spokeswoman officer Sandra Boonenberg. "It's a break. Hopefully, they'll provide us with some valuable information and further the investigation."
In addition to Goodman and Charles, police are still looking for a third man whose composite sketch was widely distributed by the department on Friday. That sketch was based on a victim's description of an armed robber who abducted her and her 2-year-old son from a Town Center mall parking garage Aug. 7. Investigators suspect the same man killed Nancy Bochicchio, 47, and Joey Bochicchio-Hauser, 7.
There were similarities between Wednesday's killings and the August attack, police said. In the earlier case, the 30-year-old victim, who had been shopping with her son, survived with cuts and bruises after the man forced her to withdraw $600 from an ATM and brought her back to the mall.
At least one of the victims was blindfolded, taped or tied up and handcuffed, then forced into a vehicle and tied to an object, according to the incident report. Police are looking into whether the Bochicchios were also forced to go to an ATM, but stress that is just one of many possibilities they are investigating.
Just after midnight Wednesday, a security guard patrolling the shopping center at 6000 W. Glades Road found the Bochicchios bound and shot to death at point-blank range. Their bodies were in Nancy Bochicchio's black 2007 Chrysler Aspen SUV, which apparently had idled unnoticed in the parking lot in front of Sears for hours after the crime.
Nancy Bochicchio was bound at the neck, according to a source familiar with the investigation.
Investigators believe the killer probably was involved in crimes in other areas.
All 198 sworn officers at the police department, including every detective, are playing a role in the search for the killer.
"Even with it being the week before Christmas, everyone's here," Boonenberg said. "All personal plans are on hold. This is a very important case and very personal for all of us."
Investigators have enlisted the help of the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit, which is profiling the killer from Quantico, Va. Police have also teamed with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, among other agencies.
A wake for the Bochicchios will be held from 2 to 9 p.m. today at Babione Funeral Home, 10060 Calle Comercio Drive, near Glades Road and State Road 7. The funeral will be 10 a.m. Thursday at St. Jude Catholic Church of Boca Raton, 21689 Toledo Road.
City officials are offering a $350,000 reward for information leading to the killer. Anyone with information on any of the three men should call Boca Raton police at (561) 338-1352 or Crime Stoppers at (800) 458-8477.
"This is a break," said police spokesman Sgt. Jeff Kelly. "If we talk to them, it could be a big break."
I've been trying to figure out what I should do differently now that a mother and her daughter were killed at Town Center Mall in Boca Raton, where I shop all the time.
I park in the same area where they were found. I also park in the Nordstrom garage, where another woman and her toddler were robbed and carjacked in August (now they tell us).
Should I shop with not one but at least two kids, so one can run away? Should I learn self-defense techniques? Should I make sure I'm holding the car-alarm button on my keys as I'm exiting the mall for the long walk to my car?
The mall is always so crowded you have to park really far away. Compounding the problem is the ever-expanding number of valet parking spaces, which are at all the important entrances.
I guess I could pay $5 to valet-park and make us a little safer. But I've been refusing on principle. Why should I have to pay to park?
Do you plan to do anything differently now that we know a murderer is on the loose?
Discuss this entry
I'm a single guy, but if I were married and had kids, I'd INSIST my wife valet park if she HAD to go to the mall. Hmm $5 vs risking getting murdered. Only go to the mall when necessary, not out of habit like a lot of these stay at home parents do to waste time or spend $ on something they don't really need.
Posted by: LM | December 19, 2007 10:15 AM
You always hear you can't live your life in fear, but you can live your life with caution and common sense. I say, trust your gut instinct. I took a self defense class not because I was scared that I would be attacked one day. I took the class because I wanted to feel more confident and learn how I could protect myself if I were attacked. I learned a lot from that class…like how you can use your keys as a weapon and how you can use your heel to stomp on the attackers foot and break it—those are some sensitive bones. There are also pressure points behind the ears that can help enable an attacker. One of the greatest things I learned was how to flick and turn my wrist to get out of a firm grasp (if someone is grabbing your arm). I have used this technique many times…although not with an attacker. I say, take the self defense class. You will learn a lot and it is surprisingly fun. The most important thing they teach you is that you should never have a false sense of security. I also shop at Town Center and park in the Sears parking lot most of the time. I try to park close and I rarely go at night without a buddy.
Posted by: Boca | December 19, 2007 12:02 PM
Not only is this the mall I normally go to when I need something and don't want too drive far, the incidents were also at the entrances that I use most frequently. And then there was the Three Amigos robbery 2 weeks earlier that ended in nearly the same area but just a few miles west. I know that crime is everywhere and it really can't be avoided, but I'm to the point of wanting out of Dodge. It's rather unnerving!
I guess it would be just to go when I absolutely, positively have to go and try to have my husband with me if possible.
Posted by: area resident | December 19, 2007 12:07 PM
Someone in Boca should hire the best plaintiff's class action law suit in the Country. Simon Property a $60 billion company should be legally be brought to it's knees. Everyone who frquents the Town Center Mall is now suffering mental anguish emanating from Simon's RECKLESS DISREGARD for human life. This company should be put OUT OF BUSINESS and its assets fully distributed to the citizens of Boca and any other city where Simon's CRIMINAL behavior has caused harm.
Posted by: andrew ross | December 19, 2007 12:21 PM
I think it's more when it's your time its your time. I thank God have never been carjacked, mugged, or anything and I too frequent malls and shopping centers late at night. I am a single parent of one daughter who is 23 and now a son who is 5. I do though pay attention to my surroundings and try to be quick getting in and out of my car late at night. I will lock me and my son in the car before I strap him in his car seat if it's late at night. This way the door is not open and I'm vulnerable.
Posted by: VJ | December 19, 2007 12:33 PM
I take no chances when out alone or with my child. I do exactly as we are told, look all around you. Be aware of a car running and sitting in a space etc. Paranoia will do that but I ain't going down without a fight!! They have the wrong girl in ind if they pick me.
Posted by: Kara Mechtly | December 19, 2007 12:39 PM
I don't feel safe any more going to the mall nether and is a shame that after all these incidents the mall owners, have not take any action to improve the security of the mall. I hope that the family of the lady that was kills take legal action against the mall, this is the only way things change in America, after a million dollar lawsuit. Is a shame that after the incidents at the mall in March and August, the mall management did not increase the security measurements and this sensitive information was hiding from the public eye, in which kind of society we live on? where the monetary interest are more important than the life of a young mother and her little daughter.
Posted by: Hector Sanchez | December 19, 2007 12:56 PM
The sad thing is with holding the panic button on your car key is that no one really ever pays attention to it....they say you have a better chance at saying "fire, fire"
Posted by: Heather | December 19, 2007 1:02 PM
If we cower in our homes, afraid to go to the malls, movies, restaurants, and other things we enjoy...then the criminals and terrorists win. They have succeeded in stealing the joy from our lives. Yes, there is danger everywhere, that is the nature of life. Be smart, keep your eyes open, don't take chances, but enjoy your life!
Posted by: Bobbie | December 19, 2007 1:38 PM
Boca Town Center has a history of criminal activity on its premises that has been going on for years. There have been lawsuits filed in the past although, they have probably been settled quietly. The security has been a joke, guards with walkie talkies do not cut it. I agree that the mall owners should be held accountable. The best way to hold them accountable is to not shop there, but that will never happen in a big enough way to make a difference.
Posted by: Mark Baker | December 19, 2007 2:28 PM
I just wonder what would have happened if this poor woman had been armed?
Posted by: CallMeIshmael | December 19, 2007 2:32 PM
I'm reading the comments about safety in the mall and not agree that you need to take karate classes to defend yourself or that people must be aware of the surroundings excuse me but the town center parking lot is not public is private, so for that reason is the mall ownership obligation of make sure is safe for the costumers that frequents the different department stores. We should go out to protest in front of the mall, because the big corporations don't want to invest in our safety, they want just our money, but they don't give anything back. The corporations like "Simon" have a lot of money that have gain thanks to costumers like you like me. It is time to stand up and ask them to give back to the community, because without costumers they would be out of business tomorrow. What happened with the stores like sears, or Macys, Nordstrom, boomingdales they haven speak at all, keeping a low profile with this issue because it would hurt their sales, it is the only thing they care about, what about caring for the community they profit from?
Posted by: Hector Sanchez | December 19, 2007 2:42 PM
Almost every time there's a murder, armed robber or assault in this area, it's a young black perpetrator.
Let's cut the political correctness crap and face the facts.
To answer the question often asked by civil rights leaders and preachers as to why there a disproportionate number of young black men in prison --- well, it looks like they're the ones doing the crime.
This is scary: too many young black and hispanic males drop out of school. They have no skills so they can't get a job. They hang out trying to make a few bucks selling weed. Others, rob, steal, assault and kill. Then they go to jail and everyone wonders why our prisons are filled with young black men.
Those smarter than me should focus on this issue or else we're going to be terrorized by bands of roving young marauders.
Posted by: Boots | December 19, 2007 2:50 PM
I live in Utah and will be coming
to Boca Raton in January for 6 weeks. I will be going to this mall with
my 76 year old mother quite often. I have arthritis and am not very
strong, but I would be interested in taking the self defense class.
Would the writer please let me know where it is. email@example.com
Posted by: realtoreen | December 19, 2007 3:08 PM
Palm Beach Post Staff Report
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Friends and family mourned the death of Nancy Bochicchio, 47, and her 7-year-old daughter Joey Bochicchio-Hauser this afternoon at Babione Funeral Home on Glades Road in suburban Boca Raton.
Joey would have turned 8 Monday. Visitors took turns praying by each coffin, which were surrounded by birthday balloons, pictures and bouquets of fresh flowers.
Phillip Hauser, Nancy Bochicchio's former husband and father of Joey, was comforted by guest during the way. The funeral for the mother and daughter, who were found shot to death early last Thursday in their car at the Town Center mall in Boca Raton, will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at St. Jude Catholic Church in suburban Boca Raton.
By Luis F. Perez and Leon Fooksman
| South Florida Sun-Sentinel
A mother and her son survived a carjacking, abduction and robbery Aug. 7 at the Town Center mall in Boca Raton for one reason: She was nice to the robber, a family friend and two relatives said.
The 30-year-old woman - who told police a man held a gun to her 2-year-old son, forced her to withdraw money from a bank and tied her to her car seat - lived through the roughly hourlong ordeal in August because she talked to the robber and kept him calm, the friend and family said.
The friend and family members asked not to be identified because they fear for the life of the victim, and their lives.
The woman's family said her account didn't get serious attention from Boca Raton police until a woman and her daughter were shot, killed and found in their SUV last week at the mall. Based on the similarities between the two crimes, investigators said they suspect the same person is behind both incidents.
The August victim's family is indignant at Boca Raton police, claiming investigators should have made more of an effort initially to find the robber and publicize the incident. Many people in the area, and particularly mall shoppers, also have questioned why police didn't issue security precautions until Nancy Bochicchio, 47, and her daughter, Joey Bochicchio-Hauser, 7, were killed Dec. 12.
Several of the city's elected leaders said the police should have released more information about the August incident.
"You have a guy who had the gall to pull a gun on a child at the mall. That's outrageous," said Kenneth Vianale, a longtime Boca Raton attorney and former federal prosecutor who wrote to Mayor Steven Abrams after the killings to complain about security in the city. "That's serious stuff in this city. We're not living in a terrible neighborhood in Manhattan."
Boca Raton Assistant Police Chief Edgar Morley said the Police Department fully investigated the August incident. He said a news release was issued about the woman's account, but it received little attention. He suggested reporters were deeply involved in covering the statewide budget crisis.
Morley said officers regularly release information to the media on robberies, and the August incident didn't warrant further response.
"We don't have news conferences on every robbery that we have," Morley said. "It was an incident we were tasked with and we investigated it fully."
The August victim's family said police doubted her story and missed an opportunity - through alerting mall shoppers about being vigilant of their surroundings - to possibly prevent two killings.
According to the woman's friend and relatives, the robber got into the back seat of her dark-tinted SUV in the parking garage next to Nordstrom department store about 5:30 p.m. He pointed a gun at her son who was strapped into a child seat, and told her to drive to a nearby bank, where she withdrew money.
The woman drove several miles to an empty parking lot and was forced into the back seat, relatives said. The robber put darkened goggles over her eyes, put handcuffs around her wrists, secured her feet with a plastic tie and wrapped another around her neck, tying her to the head rest, relatives said.
The robber told her he was going to take her back to the mall. But when he got behind the wheel, he accidentally turned north on Florida's Turnpike at Glades Road. He turned around at Atlantic Avenue and drove back to the mall. Since her cell phone kept ringing, the robber ordered her to call a family member to say that her car broke down and she needed help getting home.
Then he stepped out of the SUV and disappeared in the garage. She eventually broke free, drove to a mall valet parking area and asked for police.
Through it all, "I just kept talking to him," she told her friend.
Her 2-year-old stayed remarkably calm as well, never realizing their lives were in danger.
A two-page police report of the incident confirmed the woman was blindfolded, tied up, handcuffed and forced to another location. The report also said the suspect carjacked and kidnapped the woman at gunpoint from the parking garage. She told police the robber took $600. Police declined to release the narrative portion, citing an open investigation.
Morley, the assistant chief, would not confirm the account from her friend and family.
The woman's family said investigators didn't believe her after she failed a polygraph test, couldn't initially prove that her SUV was on the turnpike and had trouble convincing detectives that she could get out of her restraints.
She didn't hear from detectives for months until Bochicchio and her daughter were killed. The next day, police asked her to provide a sketch of the robber.
By MICHAEL LaFORGIA and KEVIN DEUTSCH
Palm Beach Post Staff Writers
Thursday, December 20, 2007
BOCA RATON - Hours after a woman and her 7-year-old daughter were discovered bound and shot to death in an idling SUV outside the Town Center mall, a homeless man in Overtown found the woman's cellphone in a lot near the Miami Arena and gave it to a Miami police officer, according to a source familiar with the investigation.
Unaware that it was a key piece of evidence in a double-homicide investigation, the officer drove around with the cellphone in her car for several hours, until Boca Raton and Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office detectives caught up with her Thursday night.
When detectives retraced the officer's steps in a search for the homeless man, known only as Charles, he was nowhere to be found, the source said.
On Tuesday, Boca Raton police circulated a composite sketch of Charles and another man, 40-year-old David Goodman, saying both were wanted for questioning in the killings of Nancy Bochicchio, 47, and her daughter, Joey Bochicchio-Hauser.
They were found last Thursday, bound and shot in the head at point-blank range, sources said, though Boca Raton police would not confirm the distance. Their bodies were sprawled in Bochicchio's 2007 Chrysler Aspen SUV outside the Sears loading dock at 6000 W. Glades Road.
On Tuesday night, Boca Raton detectives tracked Goodman to a Burger King at 1700 Biscayne Blvd. in Miami and questioned him about the case. Afterward, Miami-Dade authorities arrested him on a grand theft auto warrant and took him to a Miami-Dade jail.
Goodman found Bochicchio's credit card Tuesday night in the Omni area north of downtown Miami, police say.
"He agreed to speak with our investigators," said Sgt. Jeff Kelly, Boca Raton police spokesman. "Hopefully, this case moves forward."
The search for Charles, however, continued Wednesday night. Authorities said he frequents Miami-Dade County and urged anyone who sees him to call 911.
How Bochicchio's cellphone got from her SUV in Boca Raton to the lot in Overtown remains unclear, though the Town Center mall is barely a mile from southbound Interstate 95 on Glades Road.
Bochicchio's friend, David Stewart, said a strange man answered in Spanish when he called Bochicchio's cellphone Thursday. The man hung up when he heard Stewart's voice.
When police released names and pictures of Goodman and Charles, they described the development as a potential break in the case, which has become a priority for every officer at the Boca Raton Police Department, officials said.
Besides Charles, police are looking for a third man they suspect of ambushing a 30-year-old woman and her 2-year-old son in an Aug. 7 attack at the Town Center mall.
Detectives think the same man killed Bochicchio and her daughter and cited similarities in the cases. Victims in both attacks were bound in a particular way and held at gunpoint, a source said.
Although the woman in the August attack was forced to withdraw $600 from an ATM before she and her son were left at the mall, police won't say whether Bochicchio was forced to do the same. They have said they are poring over video recorded at the mall and other businesses.
After the Dec. 12 killings, investigators re-interviewed the earlier victim and drafted a composite sketch of the gunman based on her months-old recollections.
Another unusual circumstance in the double-homicide investigation: Nancy Bochicchio was bound at the neck, a source said.
Detectives suspect her killer was involved in crimes in other areas.
To catch him, investigators have enlisted the help of the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit, which is profiling the killer from Quantico, Va. Police also are working closely with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office and have reached out to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and U.S. Marshals Service, among other agencies.
Meanwhile, Goodman eventually will be moved from Miami-Dade to the Broward County jail, Broward authorities said.
Oakland Park Detective James Ramirez said that an Oakland Park woman met Goodman on May 24 at a Chevron gas station at Northwest 31st Avenue and Oakland Park Boulevard and he later stole her Blue 2006 Toyota Scion, jewelry, purse and cellphone.
"He told her that he was homeless and she felt sorry for him and took him to her home for the night," Ramirez said. "When she woke up, she found he had taken some personal belongings and her car."
Miami-Dade police recovered the Toyota in June and found a religious organization photo ID in it. Ramirez learned Goodman's name through the organization and eventually located his girlfriend, who worked at an Oakland Park restaurant.
On Wednesday, a wake for the Bochicchios took place at Babione Funeral Home west of Boca Raton. The funeral will be at 10 a.m. today at St. Jude Catholic Church, 21689 Toledo Road, in suburban Boca Raton.
City officials are offering a
$350,000 reward for tips leading to the killer. Anyone with information
should call Boca Raton police at (561) 338-1352 or Crime Stoppers at