Surfside Police Make An Arrest In Publix Assault
SURFSIDE (CBS4) â€• Surfside Police have arrested a senior citizen on charges of attacking a three-year-old girl and her mother in an elevator at a Publix supermarket. The child’s mother says her daughter was attacked because the suspect was angry that she was crying.
The child’s mother told CBS4′s Peter D’Oench that she is “amazed” that Police were able to make the arrest so quickly, just 10 days after their first safety alert. “I’m glad Police found him and now he is on their radar screen, even if the time he serves is not too long. I’m glad he is charged with child abuse.”
Police arrested 65-year-old Jeffrey Feld on Thursday and charged him with child abuse/battery on a child. As he was walked to a Police car, he gave a brief statement, saying, “They’re taking me home. This is going to be a simple case and I’m innocent.” He would not elaborate, saying, “That’s all I’m going to say.”
Feld was arrested after an extensive search and after Police released a sketch of him, based on a description from the mother following the May 18th incident at the Publix store on Harding Avenue at 94th Street.
“Information from Miami-Dade Police and from Miami Beach Police and Miami-Dade Crimestoppers helped Surfside Police respond to a location in the city of Miami Beach,” said Surfside Officer Jay Matelis. “We conducted an interview and received a full confession and charged him with child abuse. We’d like to give thanks to the media as well as Miami-Dade Police, Miami Beach Police and Miami-Dade Crimestoppers.”
“I would think anybody would be glad that someone like that would be off the street,” said Matelis.
A check of records shows Feld has an extensive history of arrests for petty theft, loitering, disorderly conduct and has been convicted of possessing marijuana.
At 6 feet tall and 65-years-old, Feld is shorter and older than first believed. Initially, Police said they were looking for a man who was 6’3″ tall, in his 50s, about 180 pounds, with wrinkled tan face and salt and pepper hair.
Police would not say where Feld was from. He was arrested in Miami Beach. His last known address was in North Miami Beach.
The child’s father did not want to speak and the mother asked that we not identify her. But she spoke out initially to CBS4 because she was wanted to ask for the Public’s help in finding the suspect. She told us the incident happened while she was taking her three-year-old daughter shopping.
The mother was seen on surveillance tape yelling at the suspect and pointing at him as she tried to alert other shoppers that something had happened.
She told D’Oench that shortly after entering the elevator at the two-story store, the suspect put his hand on her daughter’s face because he was angry that she was crying.
“He was yelling vulgarities,” the mother said. “He took his hand and shoved it in her face to quiet her. Then he latched on. I then went for his arm and that’s when he grabbed me. He came towards my face while grabbing me. I started screaming to get everyone’s attention when the elevator door opened. That’s when he fled.”
Police said he fled north on Harding Avenue and then west on 96th Street.
“It’s unbelievable,” said the mother. “This is not something at the time that you expect to happen. It’s very emotional for me, very emotional for my daughter. I mean I am the one who is supposed to protect the child. Just the fact that this happened is troublesome.”