Guardian Angels Offer To Help
At Boca Raton Mall Where Bodies Were Found (1/26/08)
By Erika Pesantes |South Florida
The Guardian Angels were given a lukewarm reception Friday after offering to help make the parking lots safer at the Town Center mall, where a mother and daughter were found murdered in December in a case that has drawn national media attention.
Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa said he met with mall security and representatives and a Boca Raton police captain Friday but was not welcomed to patrol the mall's parking lots and offer customers escorts to cars.
Nancy Bochicchio, 47, and her daughter, Joey Bochicchio-Hauser, 7, were found bound and shot in their black SUV about midnight Dec. 13 in the mall parking lot. Police said they were forced to withdraw money from an ATM. Their killer is still at large.
Mall spokeswoman Billie Scott confirmed the meeting and said the Angels' offer may be considered.
"All the information that was gleaned from the meeting will be put on the table for discussion by the task force that is being formed," she said.
That group was started two weeks ago and would focus on public safety and crime prevention, Scott said. There is no timetable for when the group will come together or when they might reach out to the Guardian Angels, she said.
Boca Raton police did not comment on the Guardian Angels' visit to the mall. Instead, an officer focused on the extra security already there.
"There's all kinds of additional security measures in place there," said Sgt. Mike McCutcheon. "Not only police, but private security, plainclothes officers. That's all I can comment on that."
The Angels plan to patrol the parking lot and assist shoppers as soon as they can form a Boca Raton unit.
Sliwa said he was "disappointed" that the mall did not immediately embrace his volunteers, who offer their services free. On Friday, Sliwa said mall employees and customers thanked and greeted the red-beret-clad members, "many of them with fond memories from what we've done in New York."
"Boca might as well be the sixth borough of New York, with all the former New York residents who have settled here permanently" and those who visit seasonally, Sliwa said. "What people have to realize is the malls or the streets, for the community, is where everyone mixes, the good and the bad. I don't care what security system [is in place], you need all the visual presence you can get."
At the meeting, management seemed to be interested, but Boca Raton police gave the impression that Guardian Angels were ineffective, Sliwa said. "That made no sense whatsoever," he said.
Shortly after the Christmas Eve 2006 shooting of a suspected gang member at the Boynton Beach Mall, the Guardian Angels also offered to help. The mall refused their services, Sliwa said. Simon Property Group manages both the Boynton Beach and Town Center malls. Scott was unable to confirm Friday whether the Angels were rejected during that time.
Erika Pesantes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 561-243-6602.
By Leon Fooksman |Sun-Sentinel.com
BOCA RATON - A new law enforcement task force is being formed to study the links between the killing of a mother and daughter at the Town Center mall last month with another unsolved homicide.
Boca Raton Police Services Department is teaming up with Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office to investigate what characteristics link the robbery and fatal shootings of Nancy Bochicchio and her daughter Joey Bochicchio-Hauser on Dec. 12 with the slaying of Randi Gorenberg, the wife of a wealthy chiropractor, shot dead in a park west of Delray Beach last March 23.
Like the Bochicchios, Gorenberg was seen shopping at the mall shortly before her death.
Police believe the same man who killed the Bochicchios also abducted and robbed a 30-year-old woman and her 2-year-old at the mall on Aug. 7. Police are also investigating whether an Aug. 10 robbery at Mizner Park in Boca Raton was committed by the same person.
The heads of the two agencies are holding a 3:30 p.m. news conference today in Boca Raton to announce an "opportunity to improve communication and coordination into solving these cases," according to Boca Raton Sgt. Michael McCutcheon.
By Kevin Deutsch
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
BOCA RATON — Detectives from the sheriff's office and Boca Raton police have formed a task force to study the murders of two mothers and a seven year old girl who were abducted and shot after leaving the Town Center mall.
In a joint press conference with Police Chief Dan Alexander Tuesday, Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said similarities exist between the March and December cases: Each originated at the mall and the victims suffered injuries to the same parts of their bodies.
Randi Gorenberg and Nancy Bochicchio and her daughter, Joey Bochicchio-Hauser, were all shot in the head. In each case, the victims were last seen leaving the mall entrance between Sears and Neiman Marcus. Both Nancy Bochicchio and Randi Gorenberg drove brand new black SUVs.
Alexander, whose department has released few details about the Dec. 12 killings of the Bochicchios, said investigators are not locked into "any one theory or individual," and that it's not yet clear whether the Bochicchio and Gorenberg cases are connected.
"We don't want to make any assumptions about how they're tied in until we see something that's very direct that tells us that there's a tie, but we're also not going to sit back and say there isn't a connection." Seven sheriff's office detectives and three Boca Raton detectives will meet daily in Boca Raton to discuss those two cases and others, compare their findings, analyze evidence, and answer innumerable questions whose answers have so far eluded investigators.
In response to a reporter's question about possible links between as many as four cases, and whether a serial killer may be involved, Bradshaw said, "That's why all of these people are going to be in one room, to start answering all these questions. These are questions we have. Until these people get into this as far as they're going to get into it, we won't have the answers to those questions.
"There's an MO here. We see some similarities, so we need to take those similarities into consideration here so we have a larger scope of investigation." On March 23, Gorenberg, 52, was shot in the head and pushed from her Mercedes SUV in a park west of Delray Beach. The last recorded images of Gorenberg show her carrying shopping bags and holding a cell phone to her ear as she left the Town Center mall 39 minutes before she was killed. Her Puma sneakers, packages and cell phone were not in her car, which was found abandoned behind a store about two miles from where her body was thrown. Video images also show Nancy Bochicchio, 47, and Joey, 7, leaving the mall after they had been shopping on Dec. 12. A gunman confronted Bochicchio and her daughter, forced the woman to withdraw money from an ATM and then bound and shot the pair. A source with knowledge of the investigation said Nancy Bochicchio's neck was bound with a plastic tie strip and goggles were pulled over her face. Their bodies were found in Nancy Bochicchio's idling Chrysler Aspen SUV shortly after midnight Dec. 13. A homeless man found her cell phone in the Overtown section of Miami hours after their bodies were found.
Other cases being looked at are an Aug. 7 kidnapping of a mother and her 2-year-old son from a Town Center parking garage and an Aug. 10 armed robbery of a woman in a Mizner Park parking garage. In the Aug. 7 case, the victim was robbed of $600, tied up at gunpoint and blindfolded. A relative of the woman said goggles were used. Police believe the man who perpetrated the Aug. 7 carjacking also killed the Bochicchios, but have not linked the Aug. 10 robber to the killings.
Boca Raton police have released little information about the Aug. 10 armed robbery, but the woman was unharmed.
Alexander said other cases may be scrutinized for possible links as well.
"We've not made any assumptions about the links between any of these cases," said Alexander. "Until we can bring you and everyone else direct physical and or forensic evidence that can indicate otherwise, we're not going to make any assumptions about the relatedness between these cases." The chief said his investigators have generated more than 500 leads, 375 of which have already been checked out. Detectives are still awaiting subpoenaed documents, as well as lab results for DNA evidence that has been submitted for analysis. There is still trace evidence to be sent be sent to Quantico, VA, where FBI agents are creating a psychological profile of the killer, Alexander said. "We still have a very hot case that we're working," Alexander said.
Bradshaw, who will run for reelection in November, was credited by Alexander for coming up with the concept of a task force.
"We're going to gather all the information, not throughout only the state but the country, to find out if this MO has occurred somewhere else," said Bradshaw. "Perhaps this individual or individuals are operating in another area of the country." Lawyers for Nancy Bochicchio's grieving sister, JoAnn Bruno of suburban Boca Raton, were also on hand for the news conference. "We want to catch this individual," said Bradshaw. "I think at the end of the day, we will." Staff writer Michael LaForgia contributed to this story.
By Jerome Burdi | South Florida
Boca Raton - The mother and daughter found dead at the Town Center mall were both shot in the head, and the similarities between their deaths and an earlier murder were enough to make city and sheriff's detectives create a new task force, authorities announced Tuesday.
Police Chief Dan Alexander and Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said 10 detectives -- seven from the Sheriff's Office and three from Boca Raton police -- would work together on the unsolved homicides of Randi Gorenberg, 52, in March and Nancy Bochicchio, 47, and her 7-year-old daughter Joey Bochicchio-Hauser in December.
"We are going to put as much resources and as much effort into this as we possibly can. That's the biggest message today," Bradshaw said.
Gorenberg, 52, last seen on surveillance cameras leaving the Town Center mall, was killed March 23 in her SUV. About 2 p.m. a witness heard gunshots and saw Gorenberg pushed from her Mercedes at Gov. Lawton Chiles Memorial Park, on Morikami Park Road and Jog Road west of Delray Beach, about five miles from the mall.
The bodies of Bochicchio and Joey were found around midnight Dec. 13 in a Town Center parking lot tied up and shot in their black SUV. They apparently were forced to withdraw money from an ATM, police said. Surveillance video showed them walking in and out of the mall hours earlier.
"We're going to gather all the information not only in the state but in the country to find out if this MO has occurred somewhere else," Bradshaw said. Both cases were profiled on the TV's America's Most Wanted.
Alexander said it is still too early to tell if the cases are connected. There is evidence being tested but it is better to have the detectives from both agencies in a central place, he said. The task force will be based in Boca Raton.
Police believe the man who killed the Bochicchios also abducted and robbed a 30-year-old woman and her 2-year-old at the mall on Aug. 7. And police are investigating whether that same man committed an Aug. 10 robbery at Mizner Park, in Boca Raton.
David Shiner, a lawyer who filed a wrongful-death lawsuit on behalf of Bochicchio's sister, JoAnn Bruno, against the mall owner, attended Tuesday's news conference.
"I know the family is pleased and the community is going to be pleased by the joint effort," Shiner said. "The priority is that this person is apprehended and brought to justice."
Staff Writer Leon Fooksman contributed to this report. Jerome Burdi can be reached at email@example.com or 561-243-6531.
Last Update: 1:08 am
Reported by: Marci Gonzalez
A new task force aims to solve two high profile cases in Boca Raton. The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office and Boca Raton Police Department are pooling their resources.
Detectives from both departments who are focusing on the murders of Randi Gorenberg and Nancy and Joey Bocchiccio will work together on the cases from one office.
Although similar cases, investigators say they don't know if they're connected.
They feel focusing on the cases together could help detectives find the killer...or killers.
"We can put a lot more resources together than we can apart, so the main emphasis is, we want to catch this individual, and i think that at the end of the day we will."
Anyone with information in either case can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-458-TIPS.