*~ May, 2008 -- Page 1 ~*
Crime in Boca Raton
increases 15.3 percent from 2006 to 2007 (5/4/08)
By Jerome Burdi |South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Boca Raton had the highest percent crime increase in south county cities last year, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's annual statistics released in April.
The city of 85,296 people had a 15.3 percent overall increase in crime from its 2006 statistics, records show. The only category where crime dropped was aggravated assaults, down to 132 from 150 in 2006. Delray Beach and Boynton Beach, which have smaller populations, had crime increases of 6.5 and 5.8 percent, respectively.
Boca Raton had five homicides, 16 rapes and 83 robberies.
"Overall violent crime remained the same," Boca Raton Police Chief Dan Alexander said. "When your volumes are low, any increases you have will appear significant in percentage."
He said the greater area of concern is property crimes. Larcenies, characterized mostly by fraud, rose more than 300 from the previous year and burglaries more than 100, according to the FDLE. Alexander attributed these increases to an increase in the population, carefree citizens and criminals from out of town.
He said police are mapping out a strategy to bring property crimes down, including camera surveillance and better communication with other police agencies. The initiative is called Visibility, Intelligence, Partnerships, Education and Resources, called VIPER for short.
"We're seeing more mobility," Alexander said. "People are willing to travel greater distances" to commit crime.
He said property crimes also have gone up with the proliferation of cell phones, laptops, and global positioning systems. Victims leave those devices, along with purses, in plain sight in their sometimes unlocked cars, reports show.
"The challenge in Boca is we have had low crime rates and it's a safe community," Alexander said. "We need to do a better job in engaging people in their own personal safety and the safety of their property."
Though Alexander said violence did not drastically increase, Boca Raton made national news in 2007 for violent crime cases at the Town Center mall, spurring the perception that there may be a serial killer on the loose.
Shortly before midnight Dec. 12, the bodies of Nancy Bochicchio, 47, and her daughter, Joey Bochicchio-Hauser, 7, were discovered at a Town Center mall parking lot in their SUV. Before they were killed, the two were bound at the hands and feet. Goggles covered their eyes.
On Aug. 7, a woman, 30, was getting into her SUV in Nordstrom department store's parking lot when she saw a man in the back seat, pointing a gun at her son. He told her to go to an ATM and made her withdraw money. He then forced her to drive to a parking lot near Glades Road and Florida's Turnpike where he handcuffed her and covered her eyes with sunglasses and goggles. The man brought them back to the mall parking garage unharmed.
In another case that may be unrelated to the previous two, a 19-year-old was headed to her car Aug. 10 in the Mizner Park parking garage when a man approached her with a gun. He demanded money and she handed over $200. He then demanded that she take him to an ATM. She escaped, saying she would get money while he waited in the garage.
A joint task force between the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office and Boca Raton police is investigating these crimes.
"We are going to put as much resources and as much effort into this as we possibly can," Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said upon announcing the task force in January.
Jerome Burdi can be reached at email@example.com
6.5% Increase in Delray Beach's crime rate during the same period
5.8% Crime rate increase in Boynton Beach
The two cases are strikingly similar.
The victims were abducted in their own vehicles from the parking lot of Boca Raton's Town Center Mall, near Nordstrom.
Both were women who drove black SUVs. Both were forced to drive to ATMs and withdraw money.
And they were bound in a peculiar way: handcuffed, their feet and neck bound with plastic zip ties.
Each had swim goggles, blacked out with duct tape, placed over her eyes.
The similarities end there.
In the first case, a 30-year-old woman and her 2-year-old son were left bound and gagged in her SUV about 4 p.m. Aug. 7, 2007. The woman managed to free herself and call for help.
Four months later, on Dec. 12, Nancy Bochicchio, 47, and her daughter Joey, 7, were shot in the head at point-blank range. Mall security personnel found their bound bodies in the SUV with the motor running about midnight.
Since then, a team of investigators has been sifting through hundreds of leads, in a makeshift war room at the Boca Raton Police Department.
The city of Boca Raton is offering a reward of up to $350,000.
And investigators have marshaled the power of the Internet, launching a MySpace page. At one point, they posted a video on YouTube in the hope that someone will give them the clue they need to catch a killer.
They have a composite sketch of a possible suspect.
No one has been arrested.
TAKEN AT GUNPOINT
In the first incident, the assailant was waiting.
The woman, who has since asked not to be identified, was strapping her 2-year-old son into his car seat that August afternoon when the man appeared and fixed a gun to her child's head.
''Get in,'' he said.
He turned the gun at her, and told her to drive her black Lincoln Navigator from the Nordstrom parking lot to an ATM machine, where $600 was withdrawn from her account.
He was about five feet six inches tall. His hair was pulled back in a ponytail, and he wore dark sunglasses and gloves. His face was covered with a floppy hat.
''Please don't kill us,'' the woman begged as they drove around. ....Take whatever you want.''
At one point, he forced her to pull over in a deserted parking lot of a Boca Raton restaurant.
He bound her ankles with zip ties, handcuffed her and fastened her neck to the headrest. He drove back to the mall, near the Sears entrance, and placed swim goggles on her, blacked out with duct tape.
Before leaving, he reminded her of what he took: ....I have your license. I know where you live. I'll come after the both of you.''
He disappeared. She wriggled free of her restraints and went to the Neiman Marcus valet, where someone called the police.
The memories of that terrifying afternoon are never far from her mind.
'There were times I thought to myself, ..I'm going to die. He is going to kill us,' '' the woman said. ....As soon as I started to cry, I knew I had to hold it in for the sake of my son.''
In the second incident, on Dec. 12, a surveillance video captured Nancy Bochicchio and her 7-year-old daughter entering the mall at 2:19 p.m. They were shopping for Christmas presents. They left less than an hour later, at 3:11 p.m.
Eight hours later, a security guard on patrol found Bochicchio and her daughter, Joey Bochicchio-Hauser, dead in their black 2007 Chrysler Aspen. It was parked near Nordstrom and Sears with its engine running.
Mother and daughter were shot in the head. The killer had handcuffed them, bound their ankles and neck with plastic ties, and covered their eyes with goggles blacked out with duct tape.
Bochicchio's purse with wallet and cellphone were gone.
Police are not sure what happened after Bochicchio left the mall. They did say she made a 911 call from her cellphone, but it was quickly disconnected. An operator called back, but no one answered.
Investigators say $500 was withdrawn from her account at a Bank of America ATM machine, but they won't say where or when those events occurred.
Days after the murders, two homeless men found Bochicchio's purse with her wallet, credit card and cellphone in downtown Miami.
The bindings on Bochicchio's wrists were broken. Police are unsure whether the killer broke them or Bochicchio resisted.
Friends and family members say they believe she put up a fight to protect her daughter.
''She had New York in her blood,'' her sister JoAnn Bruno said. ....She always did whatever she could to protect her little girl.''
TASK FORCE AT WORK
At the Boca Raton Police Department's training facility, the walls of a converted meeting room are covered with pictures of the victims and aerial snapshots of the crime scene at the mall.
Nine full-time members of a task force -- six from the Palm Beach County sheriff's office and three from Boca Raton police -- spend every workday combing through evidence.
They are also looking at a third unsolved case -- a murder -- as a possible link to the abductions and Bochicchio killings, even though the circumstances are different.
On March 23, 2007, Randi Gorenberg, 52, was abducted from the Town Center Mall in her black Mercedes SUV.
Surveillance tape shows her leaving the mall. An hour later, according to police, she was shot in the head and her body was pushed out of her car in a county park.
''We're told in the police academy not to take this stuff personal, to leave it behind . . . when you go home at the end of the shift,'' said investigator Matt Duggan. ....There is no way you work a case like this and not take it personal.''
Nancy Bochicchio was a financial analyst on Wall Street, living with her family in the Bronx. She later moved to Long Island, where she met her future husband, Philip Hauser.
In 1999, the couple moved to a two-story home in Boca Raton. They liked the area, and family members were already there.
Bochicchio had wanted to have a child, but was devastated when doctors told her that she couldn't conceive.
But she learned she was pregnant as they were moving south. She insisted on having the baby despite doctors' warnings that she might have complications.
''Being a mother changed her life,'' said Bruno, her sister. ....That's all she lived for.''
Joey Noel, named after her grandfather, was born Dec. 20, 1999.
''She was a perfect Christmas angel,'' Bruno said. ....Nine pounds six ounces.''
Joey called Bruno Aunt Mame.
''I can still hear her calling me,'' she said. ....Aunt Mame.''
Bochicchio and Hauser divorced in 2006. He now lives in New York.
In Boca Raton, the white and beige house on the corner lot is dark and empty. Neighbors say they miss the way it was elaborately decorated depending on the season.
Joey played golf, acted in school plays and loved dancing. ''She could play dolls with a 2-year-old and then talk about politics with an adult,'' Bruno said.
Joey was looking forward to celebrating her eighth birthday and seeing her father, who was planning to visit for the Christmas holidays. The father and daughter spoke a few times, but had not seen each other in several years because of the divorce.
Bruno and other family members sent balloons to heaven to say goodbye to the inseparable mother and daughter.
''Mostly, I feel like I'm in a cloud,'' Bruno said. ....I can't close my eyes without dreaming about them.''
Interview with JoAnn Bruno: http://www.miamiherald.com/519/story/521266-a521527-t4.html
Possible break in Town Center
Police say they received a tip from an anonymous caller who was at the Aventura Mall, on Wednesday, April 30, and saw a suspicious male who matched the sketch previously released by Crime Stoppers.
The caller reported seeing the man follow a woman and her child.
Authorities are asking the public to call 561-416-3331 with any information on this case.
By MICHAEL LaFORGIA and KEVIN DEUTSCH
Palm Beach Post Staff Writers
Thursday, May 08, 2008
BOCA RATON — He looks like the killer.
Visible on security camera footage taken at the Aventura Mall on April 30, the man's resemblance to the robber suspected of killing Nancy Bochicchio, 47, and her 7-year-old daughter, Joey Bochicchio-Hauser, is hard to ignore.
He matches a composite sketch down to the closest, haunting detail: the floppy beige hat, the dark complexion, the dark hair pulled back in a ponytail.
An anonymous caller told a Palm Beach County Crime Stoppers operator that the man followed a woman and her child in to the Aventura Mall through the Nordstrom entrance, police said in a statement released Thursday.
Detectives drove to the Aventura Mall at 19501 Biscayne Blvd. and found security camera footage that shows the man walking in to Nordstrom's.
Police now are searching for the man, and the caller, with hopes of building on their investigation. So far detectives have met with little success despite the January formation of a special task force staffed by city police and Palm Beach County Sheriff's investigators.
The crime they're faced with solving reverberated across South Florida and, held up beside two other incidents tied to the Town Center mall, prompted some observers to speculate a serial killer was moving in their midst.
On March 23, 2007, Randi Gorenberg, 52, was taken in her 2007 black Mercedes Benz sport utility vehicle to a park west of Delray Beach and shot to death after shopping at the Town Center mall. Security cameras recorded Gorenberg leaving the mall through an exit between Neiman Marcus and Sears - the same exit the Bochicchios would use nine months later.
On Aug. 7, a 30-year-old woman and her 2-year-old son were kidnapped from the Town Center Nordstrom parking garage by a calm and highly organized gunman, an attack that foreshadowed the Bochicchios' murders, authorities suspect.
During an hours-long ordeal, the gunman, clad in a floppy hat and sunglasses, directed the woman to drive her 2007 black Lincoln Navigator to a Bank of America at 21060 St. Andrews Blvd. He made her withdraw $600 in $200 increments from an ATM. He bound her with plastic ties and inexpensive handcuffs and drove her north on Florida's Turnpike to West Atlantic Avenue before returning her to the Town Center mall. He left her wearing swimming goggles, the lenses of which were covered with black cloth.
On the night of Dec. 12, a mall security guard discovered Nancy and Joey Bochicchio shot to death in a black 2007 Chrysler Aspen SUV idling near the Sears loading dock. The killer had pulled a pair of swimming goggles, the lenses of which were covered with black cloth, over Nancy Bochicchio's eyes and bound her ankles, wrists and neck with plastic ties. A broken pair of inexpensive metal handcuffs dangled from her wrists.
In the months after the Bochicchios were murdered, family members of Gorenberg, the Aug. 7 victim, and the Bochicchios each sued Town Center mall and its corporate parent, Simon Property Group, alleging negligence.
Detectives have quietly sorted through leads.
Sightings such as the April 30 instance haven't been rare in the five months since the Bochicchio murders: Investigators so far have gotten more than 850 tips in the case, said Officer Sandra Boonenberg, Boca Raton police spokeswoman.
Boonenberg said eight days passed between the sighting and the video's release because investigators needed time to locate, sift through and format the security camera footage.
Aventura Mall security guards now are working closely with Boca Raton police, said Skip Washa, spokesman for Aventura police. Fliers also were circulated among Aventura police officers.
"Our officers are now more aware that this person may be in the area," Washa said, adding: "It might give Boca some leads. It may be something, and it may be nothing."
Anyone with information about the murders can call Boca Raton police at (561) 416-3331 or Palm Beach County Crime Stoppers at (800) 458-TIPS (8477).
On Monday, May 5, 2008, Palm Beach County Crime Stoppers received a tip from an anonymous caller who was at the Aventura Mall and saw a suspicious male, matching the sketch previously released by Crime Stoppers in the August 7th robbery at Town Center Mall.
The caller reported that, while at the Aventura Mall on Wednesday, April 30, at 2:41 PM, a female and her child entering the mall via the first floor west entrance/exit of Nordstroms and appeared to be followed by a suspicious male.
Detectives of the Boca Raton Police Services Department/Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office Task Force responded to the Aventura Mall and were able to obtain surveillance video which shows the male walking inside of Nordstroms.
Detectives wish to speak with the caller and the male
shown in the video. We are asking anyone having information to call
our tips line at (561) 416-3331, callers can remain anonymous.
In the grainy video, it is difficult to pick out the details; but the floppy hat, dark sunglasses, and ponytail are a dead giveaway.
"It's hard to tell, to compare, kind of a grainy video to the sketch. It's very possible it's the same person," said shopper Maureen Hagen, after viewing the video.
The surveillance video was released by the Boca Police Department Thursday after the man in the floppy hat was spotted at the Aventura Mall on April 30th. The man resembles a composite sketch released in connection with a series of attacks at the Boca Town Center Mall, including the unsolved murders of a mother and child.
An anonymous person called Crime Stoppers after seeing what police call a "suspicious man" follow a woman and child into the Nordstrom's store at the Aventura Mall.
"I know at Town Center they've beefed up security a lot, so he wasn't dumb enough to come Town Center Mall again," said shopper Kathy Herbert. "Sure, I think he'd try it again if he thought he could get away with it."
Nancy Bochicchio and her 7-year-old daughter, Joey, were found shot to death in their black SUV at the Town Center Mall on December 12th, 2007. Authorities found Nancy with blacked-out swimming goggles around her eyes. Her arms and neck were zip-tied to a car seat.
A second woman and her son were carjacked and kidnapped from the Town Center Mall in August 2007. The carjacker had a gun and also used plastic ties and goggles in the attack.
The woman escaped. After the Bochicchio killing, authorities drew comparisons between the two cases. The survivor helped police create a composite sketch that has been circulated across the globe.
It is that sketch, authorities say, that likely led to the anonymous tip about the man at the Aventura Mall last week.
Detectives are looking for the person seen in the video and the person who called the tip in. Anyone with information can call the Boca Police at (561) 416-3331 or Palm Beach County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-458-TIPS.
"They need to catch him if this is the same person," said Hagen. "Its very concerning if he's still out there, walking the streets."
Boca Raton Police have released new video of a possible suspect in the August 7 robbery of a woman and her child at the Town Center Mall. Surveillance camera video from the Aventura Mall in Miami-Dade County from April 30 about 2:40pm shows a suspicious man in a floppy hat walking inside Nordstroms. An anonymous caller to Crime Stoppers said the man appeared to be following a female and a child as they left the first-floor exit at Nordstroms.
Police say the video is significant because the man in the floppy hat matches a sketch that was previously released by Crime Stoppers in the August 7 robbery of a woman and child at Town Center Mall. In that case, a woman with a small child was approached in the parking lot and forced to drive to an ATM and withdraw money and she was later released. Police say the guy seen in the Aventura Mall video may be the same one who did the August 7 robbery at Town Center Mall and could also be tied to the slayings of Nancy Bochicchio and her 7 year old daughter Joey at Town Center December 12.
Boca Raton Police ask if anyone has information on the man seen in the surveillance video at the Aventura Mall on April 30 please call their tips line at (561) 416-3331. Callers can remain anonymous.
The recent sighting and photos of an individual in the Aventura Mall who resembles the Town Center Mall killer is a welcome breakthrough. It has been over one year since the death of Randi Gorenberg and almost five months since the deaths of the Bochicchios. This appears to be the first real lead that the police have.
The tip was called in to Crime Stoppers by someone who must have seen the reward posters, which highlights the importance of maintaining publicity about the case. Now that the matter is back in the news, the police need to step up their efforts to identify this possible perpetrator. Hopefully the public and police can use the new photographs to find this individual.
The best possible Mother's Day gift the woman of South Florida could receive would be to know that the party responsible for the murder of the Bochicchios has been apprehended.
By John Holland, Peter Franceschina and Dianna Cahn
AVENTURA - Police say they are questioning a man arrested for disorderly conduct at the Aventura Mall to see if he has possible links to the murders of a mother and daughter at the Town Center mall in Boca Raton.
An Apple store clerk at the Aventura Mall in northeast Miami-Dade County tipped police this morning that she saw a man fitting the description of a sketch of the Boca Town Center suspect.
Police identified the man as Robert Bodek, 27, of Miami.
"He became very belligerent with the officers, saying things like, 'I don't have to talk to you. Leave me alone,'" said Aventura police Capt. Skip Washa.
According to an arrest affidavit, Bodek told officers: "I was at the Aventura Mall one week ago and was following my mother. I didn't do anything wrong."
Washa said Bodek, who does not have a criminal record, was arrested for disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor.
Police said they found a hat and sunglasses on him that matched those in a composite sketch made of the man suspected in the December murders of Nancy Bochicchio and her 7-year-old daughter, Joey.
Their bodies were found in their car outside the Town Center mall. They had been shot in the head.
Bodek's arrest follows Thursday's release by Boca Raton police of surveillance video of a suspicious man following a woman and child on April 30 at Aventura Mall.
The man in the video looked like the sketch of the Boca killer, police said.
Bodek had a U.S. passport with him and a photocopy of a driver's license.
He told officers he had no ID because he had lost his wallet, Washa said.
Boca Raton police have taken Bodek into custody for questioning. So far he is cooperating.
"We're talking about a possible link to a terrible crime that took place a couple months ago. We want to be very careful not to do anything to jeopardize that case," Washa said.
Boca Raton police examined the Aventura Mall's surveillance tape after an anonymous caller told Crime Stoppers a suspicious man appeared to be following a woman and her child into Nordstrom.
The man was wearing a floppy hat and had a ponytail, just like the suspect in an Aug. 7 Town Center attack on a woman and her young son.
The victims survived that attack, but police are looking at the possibility that the same man was responsible for killing Bochicchio and her daughter.
They've been looking for him ever since.
The Aug. 7 victim has remained anonymous.
But she came forward to police and later to the media to help identify the man who attacked her and her 2-year-old at the Town Center parking lot.
He used zip ties to bind her during the 1½-hour ordeal, put blackened goggles over her eyes and forced them to drive to two ATMs to get cash before he released them back at the mall, she said.
Four months later, Bochicchio and her daughter were carjacked and killed after leaving the same mall.
Zip ties and black goggles were also used in that attack and they were forced to stop at an ATM, police said.
It was after those murders that police went back to the August victim and got a description of the attacker with the ponytail and floppy hat for a sketch that was widely publicized.
Police are also looking at whether the same suspect could be behind the March 2007 killing of Randi Gorenberg shortly after she left the mall. Gorenberg was also shot in the head.
Boca Raton police said they released the video to the public in the hopes that people would come forward with information.
The video was taken at 2:41 p.m. on April 30 at the first floor, west entrance of Nordstrom.
Boca Raton police are asking anyone with information to call them at 561-416-3331. Callers can remain anonymous.
Palm Beach Post Staff Writers
Friday, May 09, 2008
AVENTURA — The Miami man who closely resembles the robber suspected of murdering a woman and her 7-year-old daughter at the Boca Raton Town Center mall is "like a shadow," his neighbors said this afternoon.
Robert Bodek, 27, was arrested in a shopping mall here this afternoon after raising a shopper's suspicions, police said. Although it was 87 degrees, Bodek wore a coat through which Officer Sean Bergert could see a suspicious bulge, according to Bodek's arrest affidavit.
Bodek looks like the man pictured in a floppy hat and sunglasses in a composite sketch circulated around South Florida after the Dec. 12 murders of Nancy Bochicchio, 47, and her daughter, Joey Bochicchio-Hauser. The pair was found bound and shot to death in an idling sport utility vehicle outside the Town Center mall in Boca Raton, near Glades Road and Interstate 95.
"He's strange," said Bodek's neighbor, Susan Brodsky, who has lived four doors down from Bodek on San Simeon Way for the past few years. "One of those ones that you always hear, 'Oh, after the fact, very quiet, kept to himself.' That kind."
About 11 a.m., a shopper at the Aventura Mall, at 19501 Biscayne Blvd., noticed Bodek and reported him to security guards, who called Aventura police. Officer Sean Bergert approached Bodek near an Apple store and pulled him aside.
Do you have sunglasses? Bergert asked.
Bodek, whose complexion was dark and whose dark hair was pulled back in a ponytail, pulled a pair of sunglasses from his pocket.
Do you have a hat?
Bodek produced a floppy hat.
Bergert asked him for identification. Bodek said he had lost his wallet.
Bodek became belligerent. He said he was shopping and demanded to know why police had detained him at the mall, the walls of which were dotted with copies of the composite sketch of the Bochicchios' killer.
"The officer said, 'Look around, you see these photos? They look like you,'" Washa said.
Bodek started swearing.
"He refused to calm down," Washa said.
People gathered round in the mall as backup arrived. Bodek started yelling.
"I was at the Aventura mall one week ago and was following my mother," he yelled, according to his arrest affidavit. "I didn't do anything wrong."
Bergert arrested him on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Under his coat Bodek was wearing a backpack, in which he carried a Xeroxed copy of his driver's license, a U.S. passport and some electronics, which he might have bought at the mall, said Capt. Skip Washa, head of investigative services at Aventura police.
"He had no handcuffs, he had no flex cuffs, he had no tape. He had no weapon as far as I know," Washa said.
The robber suspected of killing the Bochicchios carried a black fanny pack and a bulging plastic shopping sack from Traffic, a shoestore popular in malls across Florida, according to a woman whose Aug. 7 kidnapping at Town Center might have foreshadowed the murders, police said.
Bodek, whose occupation was listed as "student" on his arrest affidavit, had never before been arrested in Florida, state records show.
Brodsky, the neighbor, described as Bodek "strange" and "very quiet."
"He doesn't come out often, and when he lives there he's kind of in and out," Brodsky said. "Won't say hi."
She often sees him riding a bicycle around the condominium complex, she said. She's never seen him drive a car.
Brodsky remembered one exchange with him not long ago. She asked him if his mother was home and he seemed to answer strangely.
"I felt very weird afterwards. I got a very weird feeling," she said. "Kind of like a shadow."
Bodek now is being held in the police department's temporary holding cell in northeast Miami-Dade County. Boca Raton detectives were examining the things he carried before he was to be fingerprinted and photographed, Washa said. Eventually he'll be turned over to a Miami-Dade County jail.
His arrest comes a day after Boca Raton Police circulated security camera footage of a man entering the Aventura Mall on April 30.
Whether the man in custody is the same man shown on the video tape wasn't immediately clear, police said.
Visible on footage taken at the entrance to Nordtrom on April 30, the man's resemblance to the robber suspected of killing the Bochicchios is hard to ignore.
He matched a composite sketch down to the closest detail: the floppy beige hat, the dark complexion, the dark hair pulled back in a ponytail.
An anonymous caller told a Palm Beach County Crime Stoppers operator that the man followed a woman and her child into the Aventura Mall, said a Boca Raton police statement released Thursday.
Boca Raton detectives drove to the Aventura Mall and found security camera footage that shows the man walking into Nordstrom.
Police were searching for the man, and the caller, in hopes of building on their investigation.
So far, detectives have met with little success despite the January formation of a task force staffed by city police and Palm Beach County sheriff's investigators. The City of Boca Raton has offered an unprecedented $350,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer.
The crime detectives are faced with solving reverberated across South Florida and, along with two other incidents tied to the Town Center mall in Boca Raton, prompted some observers to speculate a serial killer was moving around in their midst.
On March 23, 2007, Randi Gorenberg, 52, was taken in her 2007 black Mercedes-Benz sport utility vehicle to a park west of Delray Beach and shot to death after shopping at Town Center. Security cameras recorded Gorenberg leaving the mall through an exit between Neiman Marcus and Sears - the same exit the Bochicchios would use nine months later.
On Aug. 7, a 30-year-old woman and her 2-year-old son were kidnapped from the Nordstrom parking garage at Town Center by a calm and highly organized gunman, an attack that foreshadowed the Bochicchios' murders, authorities suspect.
During an hours-long ordeal, the gunman, clad in a floppy hat and sunglasses, directed the woman to drive her 2007 black Lincoln Navigator to a Bank of America at 21060 St. Andrews Blvd. He made her withdraw $600 in $200 increments from an ATM.
He bound her with plastic ties and inexpensive handcuffs and drove her north on Florida's Turnpike to West Atlantic Avenue before returning her to the Town Center mall. He left her wearing swimming goggles, the lenses of which were covered with black cloth.
On the night of Dec. 12, a mall security guard discovered Nancy and Joey Bochicchio shot to death in a black 2007 Chrysler Aspen SUV idling near the Sears loading dock. The killer had pulled a pair of swimming goggles, lenses covered with black cloth, over Nancy Bochicchio's eyes and bound her ankles, wrists and neck with plastic ties. A broken pair of inexpensive metal handcuffs dangled from her wrists.
In the months after the Bochicchios were murdered, family members of Gorenberg, the Aug. 7 victims and the Bochicchios each sued Town Center and its corporate parent, Simon Property Group, alleging negligence.
Detectives have quietly sorted through leads.
Sightings such as the April 30 one have not been rare in the five months since the Bochicchio murders. Investigators so far have gotten more than 850 tips in the case, said officer Sandra Boonenberg, Boca Raton police spokeswoman.
Anyone with information about the murders can call Boca Raton police at (561) 368-6201 or Palm Beach County Crime Stoppers at (800) 458-TIPS (8477).