April 30, 2016

Man scammed out of thousands

A Key Largo man was scammed out of $2,500 because he believed his wife was kidnapped.

The 30 year old man told Deputy Gil Gonzalez he received a call Friday at 10 a.m. from a man – “Mike” -  who claimed to have his wife; Mike said the victim’s wife was involved in a car crash and had killed Mike’s son in the crash. Mike said after the crash he kidnapped her. He claimed to be a drug dealer and said he did not want to involve law enforcement. Mike said he was keeping the victim’s wife in the trunk of a car and would kill her if the victim did not pay him $2,500.00. Mike repeatedly played the victim an audio tape over the phone that sounded like his wife screaming. The caller instructed him to wire money to two different people in Puerto Rico.

The scammer kept the victim on the phone, insisting if he hung up he would kill his wife. The victim walked to a nearby grocery store and withdrew money from his bank account and did what he was instructed to do.

After the money was paid, the scammer hung up the phone. At that point, the victim received text messages from family members and from his wife letting him know she was fine and he realized he had been scammed.

Deputy Gonzalez spoke to the victim’s wife and she said she received similar calls that same day from a man claiming to have kidnapped her husband. She said she told him she didn’t believe him and hung up the phone.

This scam is a common one and a number of other people in the Keys have also been victimized in a similar fashion. The scammers always claim they have a family member and usually threaten to kill or injure that family member in order to get compliance. They also always insist the victim stay on the phone the entire time because they do not want to allow the victim to talk to anyone who might realize it is a scam. They ask that money be wired to a location outside the United States; sometimes they also ask the victims to purchase green dot or other types of cash cards as payment.

April 29, 2016

Cleaning up in Key Largo

 Deputies Jason Keith and Debbi Johnson say there is no job too big or too small - if it needs to be done they do it. On the left, they noticed an obscured stop sign at Atlantic Boulevard and Caribbean Drive in Key Largo and took time to cut back bushes so it could be seen. On the right, Deputy Johnson noticed a broken bottle while handling a hit and run accident at Tradewind’s Plaza in Key Largo. She took the time to stop and pick it up so no one would be injured stepping on it.

Town hall meetings went well

Crime Prevention town hall meetings in the Lower Keys, Marathon and in Key Largo were successful; newly trained Crime Prevention Specialists talked to members of the public about how to prevent crime and ow to make their homes and businesses safer and more secure. Here are pictures of the Lower Keys event, on the left, and the Key Largo event.

Two migrant landings in the Keys

Sheriff’s deputies were at the scene of two Cuban migrant landings today.

This morning, at about 5 a.m. Sheriff’s dispatchers received a report from Harry Harris Park in Tavernier of a group of Cuban migrants by the boat ramp in the subdivision. When deputies arrived, they found 12 Cuban males in good condition, slightly dehydrated. Customs and Border Protection officers responded, taking custody of the men. The 15 foot long boat they arrived in was near the dock by the boat ramp.

At 11 a.m. Sheriff’s dispatchers received a call reporting a group of Cuban migrants on a small island offshore of Geiger Key. Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission responded and transported a deputy to the island; the group of 7 men on the island were brought to shore. They were in good condition and were held until CBP could respond to take custody of them.

In the pictures: Deputy Luis Sanchez stands with the group of 12 migrants who arrived in Tavernier in a 15 foot boat. Deputy Aaron Roddy is shown on a Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission vessel bringing 7 Cuban migrants to shore on Geiger Key at 11 a.m. Thanks to Deputy Deanna Torres and Deputy Josh Gordon for sharing the pictures with us.

April 28, 2016

Next week is National Correctional Officers and Employees Week

Next week – May 1st to the 7th - our agency and others across the nation will take time out to recognize the employees working in our detention facilities in Monroe County. Next week is National Correctional Officers and Employees Week.

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation creating this special week. Employees working in detention facilities have a difficult job. They are charged with working in a truly stressful environment and at the same time, ensuring the custody, safety and well-being of those under their care.

Please join the Sheriff’s Office in thanking all of our Corrections deputies and employees for their hard work and dedication.

Learn about Crime Prevention in Key Largo!

Don't forget, if you are in the Upper Keys, we are having a crime prevention town hall meeting at the Murray Nelson Building tonight at 6 p.m. Stop by, meet your local deputies and learn something about crime prevention!

April 26, 2016

List of found / abandoned property

Here is a list list of found or abandoned property. The Sheriff's Office has exhausted all other avenues for finding the owners, so thank you to all of you for taking a look at this current list to see if you know who these items might belong to. If you know, please contact one of our Property offices and refer to the Offense # associated with the item.

April 25, 2016

Detectives look for help identifying theft suspects

Sheriff’s detectives are releasing surveillance photos and video of suspects who stole a large number of expensive razor blades from Walgreens on Big Pine Key. The same suspects are believed to have stolen razor blades from a CVS Pharmacy in Key Largo earlier in the day.

Deputy Donald Stullken responded to the Walgreens on Big Pine Key the morning of April 21st. He met with the manager who confirmed there had been a theft from her store on April 18th – the same day as the theft in the Upper Keys. Surveillance photos showed two adult males, an adult female and a male child enter the store. The female reportedly distracted the clerk in the cosmetics section of the store; the clerk said every time she tried to leave to continue working, the female would ask another question, apparently to keep her busy. In the surveillance footage, one of the adult males appears to be keeping watch on the section of the store that has the razor blades. He also engages two employees in conversation, perhaps to distract them. The other adult male and the boy go to the razor .

Employees later found the suspects had accessed the locked plastic box which holds all the razor blade packages; this container requires a magnetic key to open. They removed packages of razors and then opened the packages. They left behind the empty plastic packaging. One adult male is seen leaving the store with the boy in front of him; it appears he is walking stiffly and is using the boy to hide behind as if he placed the stolen razors in his pants.

The group stole over $1,100 worth of Gillette Fusion razor blades from the Big Pine store. Almost $500 worth of razors were taken from a CVS store at the 99 mile marker  of the highway.

The video and pictures depict the three suspects and the young boy. In the video you will see:

One male suspect walks in the store with the boy. The male suspect is wearing a light colored short sleeved t-shirt, dark pants, dark shoes with a Nike logo and no hat. You will notice he has no problem walking, does not appear to limp or have stiffness in his legs.

He is followed by the female suspect with her hair pulled back and a headband, possibly pink in color. She has on a shirt with dark colored arms, mid length, and a white colored body. She is followed by another male suspect who is wearing a yellow collared shirt, a baseball style hat, long pants and black and white colored shoes.

The male suspect with the boy disappear from video for a while. When they reappear, the male suspect is hugging the boy from the back and walking stiffly, as if he has something stuffed into his pants. They walk around a bit, join up with the female suspect where they appear to look at merchandise, eventually leaving the store.

Anyone with information about this crime should contact the Sheriff's Office at 305-745-3184 and ask for Detective Diane Mimosa. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a Crimestoppers tip leads to an arrest, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crimestoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may be made anonymously on line at www.tipsubmit.com.

Explorers say thanks to dispatchers

Explorer Post 906 paid a visit to our Marathon Communications Center and delivered cupcakes and roses in appreciation for all those valuable members do for the agency.

Bomb threat joint exercise

This group, from the Sheriff’s Office, Navy and Coast Guard, trained together last week in a full scale bomb threat assessment and response exercise. The name says it all. Great work and thanks for keeping us safe with your hard work!

Donations to Seacamp

The folks at Seacamp on Big Pine Key were very grateful that Sgt. David Smith thought of them when he heard about all this fishing equipment from Director Diane O’Dell in our Property Division. Also among the items donated from our property division was a telescope found abandoned on the side of the road. All the items will be used for their various educational programs for kids.

Cleaning up in Marathon

Middle Keys Deputy Aaron Coller has been busy painting out graffiti and cleaning up trash in the Marathon area. Great job, Deputy Coller!

Reminder: Crime Prevention Town Hall meetings, Lower Keys, Marathon and Key Largo

The Sheriff’s Office is holding a series of town hall meetings in various areas of the Florida Keys to discuss with the public tactics for preventing crime.

At these meetings, trained Crime Prevention Specialists will talk about simple strategies for preventing crime and keeping yourself from becoming a victim.

Upcoming meetings:

·       Lower Keys, Sugarloaf Fire Station, Monday April 25th at 6:30 p.m.
·       Middle Keys, Marathon Airport – Sheriff’s Office Hanger classroom, Tuesday April 26th at 6:30 p.m.
·       Upper Keys, Murray Nelson Building, Thursday April 28th at 6 p.m.

Anyone with questions can contact their local Sheriff’s Office substation:

Lower Keys: Freeman Substation on Cudjoe Key, 305-745-3184
Middle Keys: Marathon Sheriff’s Substation, 305-289-2430

Tavernier / Key Largo: Roth Building on Plantation Key, 305-853-3211

April 21, 2016

Two charged with drugs after search warrant

A search warrant was served Wednesday evening at a Marathon resort. Detectives from the Sheriff’s Special Operations Unit served the warrant at the Blackfin Resort and Marina, located at 4650 Overseas Highway, Room-16, in Marathon. Inside the room Detectives found several occupants including 42 year old Shayon Bryant of Marathon, 30 year-old Jessica L. Frederick of Miami and two young children. 

The search of the room turned up approximately eleven grams of Crack Cocaine, eleven grams of Heroin, five grams of Marijuana, over a dozen Alprazolam (Xanax) pills, drug paraphernalia and over eight hundred dollars of possible drug proceeds. Bryant was charged with possession of Cocaine with the intent to sell, Heroin Trafficking, possession of Heroin with the intent to sell, possession of drug paraphernalia, tampering with evidence, and child neglect. Bryant was also arrested on an active arrest warrant for Violation of Probation with an underlying charge of sale of ecstasy.

Frederick was charged with possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and child neglect. Both were booked into the Marathon jail.

Bird Rescue

This gull was apparently not feeling well this morning. It was found sitting in the middle of the highway at the 12 mile marker by Deputy Josh Gordon. He picked it up and drove it to the Key West Wildlife Rescue operation at Indigenous Park on White Street. You've done your good deed for the day, Josh!

April 20, 2016

Crime Prevention Town Hall meeting, Marathon

The Sheriff’s Office will hold a town hall meeting in Marathon to talk about crime prevention. The meeting will take place at the Sheriff’s Office Hanger classroom at the Marathon Airport on Tuesday, April 26th at 6:30 p.m.

Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay says he is happy to announce a new phase in his program to make the county a better, cleaner and safer place for our residents and visitors. Six of his officers have been formally trained as Crime Prevention Specialists and, over coming months, they will be implementing a number of programs aimed at both residential and business crime prevention.

During the first phase of the new crime prevention initiative, there will be town meetings held in various areas of the Keys.

Residents who attend will meet the new Crime Prevention Specialists in their area, who will discuss strategies for making the community safer, including offering hands-on security surveys of businesses and residences.

In coming months, these trained specialists will be offering security surveys county-wide to anyone who requests one. They will also be pro-actively visiting specific businesses and making suggestions about how to make each property safer.

Some crime prevention strategies might include removing large signs or displays from front windows so the interior of the business is more visible; making sure surveillance cameras and alarm systems are in good operating condition; installing secure locks on doors and windows and checking lighting outside after dark.

The trained specialists will also be concentrating on the prevention of certain types of crimes which are of particular concern in Monroe County. They will be tackling the prevention of vehicle burglaries, marine related thefts, bicycle safety, fraud and identity theft.

“We all need to work together as a community to tackle these issues,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “We would much rather spend time with a business owner or resident helping them to prevent a crime from taking place than to respond to a crime after the fact. This is a very safe place to live, work and play but together we can make it even safer.”

Anyone who wishes to request a security survey of their home or business can call their local Sheriff’s Office substation and request one. Someone will do an on-site visit and make suggestions for improving safety and security. Another aim of this program is to encourage neighborhoods to get together and organize Crime Watches in the county. If you are interested in organizing such a group in your neighborhood, contact your local Sheriff’s Office substation.

Lower Keys: Freeman Substation on Cudjoe Key, 305-745-3184
Middle Keys: Marathon Sheriff’s Substation, 305-289-2430
Islamorada: Islamorada Sheriff’s Substation, 305-664-6480

Tavernier / Key Largo: Roth Building on Plantation Key, 305-853-3211