At a press conference this morning, the Wilton Manors Police Department announced it arrested four suspects in connection with the Feb. 14 armed robbery that took place near Wilton Drive.
At 3:30 a.m. on Feb. 14, Wilton Manors resident Denis Kladchihin was walking home from Wilton Drive. When he got to the corner of Northeast 21 Court and Northeast 1 Avenue, he saw two men, who had hidden behind the bushes of a nearby home, start to chase him.
Related: Police Looking for Mugging Suspects; $3,000 reward offered
Initially, Kladchihin outran the suspects but, using a 2015 Honda CRV, they caught up to him, pistol-whipped him and stole his credit card, cell phone, driver’s license, and $20 in cash. After seeing the robbery reported by the media, police say the suspects wiped the phone of fingerprints and tossed it into the Everglades.
The charges include robbery with a firearm, grand theft of less than $5,000, attempt to commit conspiracy, destruction of evidence, and criminal mischief.
The suspects are Darrion Vankleeck, 18, a white male; Corey Dukes, 18, a black male; Adolfo Vela, 18, a white male; and a fourth person (see note at bottom of story).
Operations Commander Gary Blocker said that “detectives made this case their top priority” and that the department “will not tolerate acts of this nature.” He added that there was no evidence that this was a hate crime.
According to Blocker, the video recording of the incident played a key role in the investigation and that the four suspects were caught because of anonymous tipster.
“We want to thank that individual,” Blocker said. He said that police were still looking into the backgrounds of the four suspects for a history of similar crimes.
Despite the armed robbery, Chief Paul O’Connell said crime is down overall in the city.
He noted that the number of Part One crimes – aggravated assault, rape, murder, and robbery – were down in 2015. O’Connell added that preliminary numbers show Part One crimes are also down in 2016 but the numbers won’t be official until the end of April. “It’s the lowest in 20 years.”
The total number of Part One crimes, which is reported to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement by the Wilton Manors Police Department, dropped from 353 in 2014 to 277 in 2015, but the rape and murder rate increased – from 0 to 1 murder and 2 to 4 rapes. The only murder in the city that year was Henry Vidal, a popular local bartender who was found dead in his home by a co-worker on May 29, 2015.
Editor’s Note Dec. 8, 2022: The fourth suspect was charged with accessory after the fact, Those charges were later dropped.