June 29, 2011

Teen dies after diving accident

Sugarloaf Key – A teen who was diving offshore of the Lower keys Sunday  became ill following the dive and has reportedly died in a hospital in Miami.

Deputies responded to Sugarloaf KOA Campground just before noon Sunday. A private vessel, a 25 foot center console Whitewater, was en route to shore with a possible dive accident victim on board.

When the vessel arrived at the dock, it was met by deputies and paramedics from Monroe County Fire/Rescue. The victim, 16 year old Kevin Piper, Jr. was breathing, but unconscious; he was transported to Lower Keys hospital along with his father, who was also on the boat. Piper was  later airlifted to Miami where he reportedly died on Tuesday.

Others on board told Deputy Linda Kohout they were diving off the oceanside, near Maryland Shoal. It was reportedly their second dive. Piper was diving by himself at approximately 120 feet with his friend, 17 year old Zane Osborn, free diving above him. According to Osborn, Piper suddenly began to surface quickly; Osborn said he tried to tell Piper to slow down, but Piper motioned to him that he was out of air.

Once Piper surfaced, he told Osborn he felt “really weird”. Another friend, 28 year old Robert Pippin Jr., says at that point he jumped into the water and brought Piper on board the boat. He said Piper was breathing, but would not respond to anyone. That is when they called for help and headed for shore.

Deputies took custody of Piper’s gear at the scene; the gauge on his dive tanks showed it to be empty.

Detectives will be investigating the incident.

Miami men charged with fighting roosters, theft

Marathon – Three Miami men were arrested in Marathon Tuesday after an alert neighbor saw them stealing a pump jack from a home on 91st Street.

The neighbor called the Sheriff’s Office at 2 p.m. to report seeing the three men picking coconuts. He saw them move a pump jack, and then, when they drove away, he noticed the pump jack was gone. He described them as three Hispanic men, and told dispatchers they were traveling in a large van with an unusual small window in the rear.

A couple of hours later, the van, a 1999 Dodge Ram2500, was spotted at Dion’s Quick Mart on 63rd Street in Marathon. Deputy Joshua Brady and Sgt. Ken Fricke responded and asked the men if they’d taken anything besides coconuts during the course of the day. They denied taking anything and gave the deputy permission to search the van.

In the back of the van, Deputy Brady found a large number of coconuts. Sgt. Fricke estimated 4,000 coconuts were in the van weighing several tons. Underneath the coconuts, he found two milk crates. In the milk crates he found two roosters, with combs, waddles and spurs cut off, as if they’d been prepared for fighting. There was no food, and no water in the van for the birds.

The jack was not found, however due to the eyewitness account of what happened, the three men were arrested. The were positively identified by the witness as them men he saw at his neighbor’s house earlier in the day.

56 year old Martin DeDelgado, 58 year old Angel Aportela and 56 year old Adalberto Martin, all of Miami, were charged with grand theft and possession of an animal to use for fighting or baiting. Aportela was also charged with an outstanding warrant out of Miami-Dade County for three counts of Sexual Battery. All three were booked into jail.

Crocodile spotted in Key Largo

Sheriff’s deputies responded to reports of an 8 – 10 foot long Crocodile underneath a boat in a yard off of Upper Matecumbe Road in the Lake Surprise Subdivision of Key Largo Tuesday night at 10:15 p.m.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was notified of the reptile’s location and will be responding this morning to relocate it to a less populated area.

Deputies notified all residents in the area to stay away from the Crocodile, and to keep small children and animals away as well.

Deputy Brian Cross snapped these photos.

June 28, 2011

Sheriff’s Colonel receives top award

In the photo – left to right: American Legion Department of Florida Adjutant
Mike McDaniel, Voce-Commander Fletcher Williams Jr, Sheriff’s Office
Colonel Rick Ramsay and Law and Order Chairman Bob Meyer.

Sheriff’s Colonel Rick Ramsay traveled to Orlando this past weekend to accept an award from the American Legion as their Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.

He received the award during the American Legion Department of Florida 93rd Annual Department Convention in Orlando. Colonel Ramsay was sponsored for this award by Keys Memorial Post 145 in Islamorada for his outstanding career with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, but also for his dedication to the community in which he lives and the donation of his time to various non-profit organizations at community events.

The criteria considered by the American Legion for this award includes someone who is well-rounded, has exceeded the duty requirements of his/her position, exemplifies the virtues of professionalism and dedication, demonstrates a distinct pattern of community service and has proven his or her personal dedication to societal security and protection.

Based on this award, Colonel Ramsay’s name will now be submitted for consideration for the American Legion National Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.

June 22, 2011

Missing elderly man found in Monroe County

June 22, 2011

A 77 year old Edgewater, Florida man who’d been reported missing and was the subject of a Silver Alert was found in the Lower Keys Tuesday.

Sheriff’s dispatchers received a call about a possible reckless driver at 5:30 p.m. Deputy Lissette Zuelch found the 2009 silver Mercury Milan near the 12 mile marker of the highway. The car was listed on the Silver Alert, which had been issued Tuesday by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office. The driver was 77 year old William Truax.

When Deputy Zuelch and Sgt. Ronnie Roberts spoke with him, he was disoriented and agitated, unaware of his location and he told them he was on the way to a doctor’s appointment near his home.

Truax was transported to Lower Keys Hospital and his family was notified of his location so they could come pick him up.

June 18, 2011

Teen stabbed on Big Pine Key

Big Pine Key – A 17 year old from Big Pine Key was airlifted to Miami after another teen stabbed him in the back Friday afternoon on Big Pine Key.

The incident took place in the parking lot of Walgreen’s drugstore at 4:40 p.m. Friday. Witnesses say the suspect, 19 year old Shane Richard, got off the bus from Marathon with a friend. The victim, 17 year old Craig Veitinger, was there and the two got into an altercation.

During the altercation, Richard pulled a knife from his pocket and stabbed Veitinger in the back. Richard then got into a yellow colored Ford Mustang with several other people and left the scene.

It was later determined the fight was over a woman Veitinger had been “messing around with”. A witness who was on the bus with the suspect said he and a friend had been talking on the bus about fighting Veitinger. She said the whole time he was talking about it, Richard had a knife in his hands, with the blade open.

Richard was located at a home on Rose Drive a short time later. He was taken into custody and charged with aggravated battery. Veitinger was transported to Fishermen’s Hospital where it was determined he had a punctured lung. He was airlifted to the Ryder Trauma Center in Miami for treatment of his injuries.

June 17, 2011

Sheriff's deputies and detectives receive annual re-training

The Sheriff's Office Annual retraining module is going on for the next couple of weeks in Marathon. It consists of training on the new driving simulator, a trial run on a new firearms simulator, refreshers in intermediate weapons, defensive tactics and CPR. It is a busy, but productive four hours that ensures all officers will be properly certified in those areas, and will accumulate enough required re-training hours as well. 
Sgt. Dennis Coleman demonstrates the new Sheriff's Office
driving simulator.

Officers get a refresher in cardio pulmonary resusitation from
CPR instructor Deputy Beverly Brazil.

Officers get a refresher in defensive tactics in this week's
annual retraining module in Marathon.

Sheriff's Office at Key Largo neighborhood event

 The Sheriff’s Office participated in "Kids Day" for residents of Tradewind Hammocks in Key Largo last week. Victim Advocates Debbie Shepherd, Sally Ann Crawford and Carol Albury Johnson fingerprinted; Mark Coleman was there from the Dive Team and Jason Madnick represented the Bomb Squad; Jacek Szymanski was there from traffic; Lt. Nancy Alvarez participated, along with Key Largo Fire Department.

Officer Survival Skills training

Fourteen detectives, two patrol deputies and a corrections deputy from the Sheriff’s Office participated in a 3-day Officer Survival Skills course held recently in Marathon.  The participants learned tactical handgun techniques, close quarter combat skills, weapon retention skills, building search techniques, officer rescues, and functional fitness exercises.  The participants engaged in 1 1/2 days of reality-based training using Simunitions. 

Sheriff's Office helps with clean up in Islamorada

The Sheriff's Office clean up crew did exemplary work in Islamorada recently.  Lt. Mitch Horn, Captain Corey Bryan and Lt. Patrick Major pitched in with the Islamorada Foundation and trusty inmates from the jail to pick up bags of trash along the highway.

June 16, 2011

Big Pine woman arrested after breaking in to mother’s home, assaulting her

Big Pine Key – A Big Pine Key woman is in jail, charged with forcing her way into her mother’s house and attacking her.

 for help at about 9;20 p.m. Wednesday. When they stepped outside to look, they saw 25 year old Jessica Calitri violently slamming and kicking the door of her mother’s house trying to get in. Calitri’s step-father was trying to get her to stop, and to leave the property. They called 911 for help.

When Deputy Chris Fraser arrived, he separated all the parties involved in the dispute, then spoke to each of them about what happened. The victim told him she is taking care of Calitri’s two children. She said Calitri showed up demanding to see them and became enraged when her mother told her one of them was not home.

Calitri began arguing with her, then the argument became physical with Calitri forcing her way into the house and attacking her mother. The step-father attempted to intervene and finally managed to get Calitri out of the house.

Calitri was arrested. She was charged with burglary with battery on the occupant, and with a separate count of battery. She was taken to jail.

Man charged with attempted burglary of tow yard

A man whose car had been towed was arrested Wednesday morning after he tried to take it from the tow yard it was stored in.

The silver Toyota Scion was towed from the Searstown Parking lot at 1:15 a.m. The company notified the owner, 26 year old Matthew Foulkrod and arranged to meet him at the two yardon Fifth Avenue, Stock Island to turn over the vehicle.

When the owner of the two yard showed up at 4:45 a.m. to meet Foulkrod, however, he found Foulkrod already inside the fenced in area of the tow yard. He’d started his car and pulled it up to the tow yard gate, as if he were going to drive it through the locked gate.

. He placed Foulkrod under arrest, charging him with burglary and theft. He was taken to jail.

June 12, 2011

Gator in Eden Pines Subdivision

Photo courtesy of Deputy Richard Wang

This eight foot alligator was spotted in Eden Pines Subdivision, on Cypress Drive, Big Pine Key this morning, just before 9 a.m. Sheriff’s dispatchers notified the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission so they could send someone to the area to trap and relocate it. In the meantime, deputies assigned to the area are keeping an eye on it to make sure people and animals are aware of its presence and stay a safe distance away.

June 10, 2011

Boy Scouts learn about the Sheriff's Office

Boy Scout Troop 583 enjoyed two recent visits to the Sheriff’s Office. They learned about the Bomb Squad from Det. Sgt. Bobby Randolph (top) and about Crime Scene investigation from CSI Det. John Underwood (bottom).

SWAT, Bomb visit elementary school

The Sheriff’s SWAT and Bomb teams recently visited Gerald Adams
Elementary School for their Safety Day. Here is SWAT team member
Chris Duncan talking to kids about what the team does, and showing
them his equipment.

Long-time employee retires

The Sheriff’s Office Juvenile Programs Unit, and members of the
Department of Juvenile Justice said goodbye to long-time Teen
Court Coordinator Karol Cotton, who retired from the Sheriff’s Office
at the end of May. Good luck in your retirement, Karol, and we will
miss you. Left to right, Juvenile Programs Supervisor Woody Hanford,
Director Becky Herrin, Karol Cotton and Juvenile Counselor Lisa Bauer in front.

June 9, 2011

Break in, vandalism reported to Coral Shores High School

Desks were painted

Employees at Coral Shores High School showed up to work Wednesday morning to find a mess, including orange spray paint on walls and desks, toilet paper in the rooms and outside the school, trash cans knocked over and graffiti saying “We rule this” and “seniors” among other things.

School Resource Officer Deputy Beverly Brazil and Detective Mike Wilkinson worked with school officials to identify suspects in the case. The Principal, Dr. Alberto Rodriguez, determined that he would be handling the incident “in-house” and did not wish to press criminal charges at this time. At this point, the Sheriff’s Office case is closed and any further developments will be handled by the school.
graffiti on the walls

Hallways littered with trash and painted

June 8, 2011

New recruitment video for the Sheriff's Office

New Monroe County Sheriff's Office recruitment video.

Thanks to Key West High School and Conch 5 Productions we have this new, high definition recruitment video.

June 4, 2011

Men arrested in Craig’s List sting

Detectives, acting undercover as buyers, arrested a man selling a stolen concrete saw on Craig’s List. A man who was with him was arrested on drug charges.

The owner of Island Touch Construction called the Sheriff’s Office Thursday to report a former employee had stolen his Makita concrete saw. He told Detective Patrick Crozier 23 year old David Gilliland borrowed the saw and then didn’t return it. He said he tried repeatedly over several months to get it back, but Gilliland always put him off. He said he was on Craig’s List and saw the tool for sale, being sold by a man called “David” who lives around the 95 mile marker in the Florida Keys. He said he knew it was his because he’d made a few obvious modifications to the saw.

Detective Francisco Gaete found the saw on Craig’s List as well, being sold by “David” for $500.00, much lower than its actual value. Posing as a potential buyer for the saw, he began negotiating for it, eventually settling on a price of $450.00. He arranged to meet “David” on Friday, at a gas station at the 106 mile marker at 9 p.m. When Gilliland showed up, he had the saw with him. It was positively identified as the one belonging to the victim.

Gilliland was arrested and charged with grand theft and dealing in stolen property. He was also charged with an outstanding warrant for failure to appear in court. He was taken to jail.

When he showed up on the scene to meet with Detective Gaete, another man was in the vehicle with him. During the course of the encounter, detectives searched both men’s pockets for officer safety reasons. In 21 year old Kyle Gross’ pocket, they found 22.75 grams of Marijuana, packaged in eight plastic bags, as if for individual sale. Gross was also arrested, charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. He also was taken to jail.

June 3, 2011

Man arrested for causing severe injury to child

Marathon – A Marathon man has been arrested, accused of causing severe injury to an infant who was hospitalized following repeated abuse.

The child, who was born in December, was brought in to Mariner’s Hospital on March 8th; he was subsequently airlifted to Miami Children’s Hospital, where he underwent treatment for what the Child Protection Team medical examination report called “horrific physical child abuse, recurrent and was at a level of potential lethality.” That assessment was reportedly confirmed by doctors who treated him at Miami Children’s Hospital. He had a head injury, numerous broken ribs, and had human sized bite marks on both of his knees, to the point where the bites lacerated the skin. Doctors also found evidence of possible previous abuse.

The child’s identity cannot be released; Florida law prohibits the release of the identity of a victim of possible child abuse, or any information which might identify the victim of child abuse.

Detectives with the Sheriff’s Office Crimes Against Women and Children’s Unit were assigned to investigate the case. On March 15th, 23 year old Dominic Davis admitted to Detective Deborah Ryan he was the one who caused the bite marks. He claimed to not know how the child’s other injuries happened.

Subsequently, a witness told the detective she saw Davis on several occasions treating the child “roughly”, to the point where the child would cry and she thought the child was in pain. In the detectives words, Davis on several occasions, held the child tightly around the torso, “violently extending and retracting his own arms without making any attempt to support the infant’s arms and legs. This repeated action most likely caused multiple fractured ribs…”

Detective Ryan’s investigation into the circumstances of the injuries determined Davis was responsible for abusing the child. Today, he was charged with aggravated child abuse, a first degree felony, and he was booked into jail. His bond is set at $500,000.00. The child has been released from the hospital and is currently being cared for under the auspices of the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Bomb Squad visits school

Monroe County Sheriff’s Bomb Squad members
Det. Sgt. Bobby Randolph and Detective Juan Llera
visited St. Mary’s School in Key West recently. The kids,
aged 3 and 4, all loved seeing the truck and the robot
during the visit.

Captain receives plaque for his service to Islamorada

Islamorada Mayor Michael Reckwerdt gave Monroe County Sheriff’s
Captain Donnie Fanelli a plaque recently, recognizing him for his service to
the Village of Islamorada while he served as Commander there. Captain
Fanelli recently transferred to Captain of District Seven, which covers
the area from Tavernier to Key Largo. Left to right, Mayor Reckwerdt,
Captain Fanelli, Lt. Mitch Horn and Sheriff Bob Peryam.

Deputy rides in memorial bike event

Deputy David Minor recently participated in the Police Unity Tour,
riding in the name of fallen Monroe County Sheriff’s
Deputies Melissa Powers, Robin Tanner and Nick Pham.
On May 12th, Deputy David Minor completed a 250 mile charity bicycle ride as part of the Police Unity Tour. The Police Unity Tour is an annual 250 mile bicycle ride from Portsmouth Virginia to the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington D.C. This year the Police Unity Tour raised over 1.5 million dollars and had over 1600 riders from law enforcement agencies all over the United States. David personally raised over $2,400 for the tour.
David rode in the names of Monroe County fallen Deputies Melissa Powers, Robin Tanner and Nick Pham. After the bicycle tour was completed, a candlelight vigil was held to honor all of the fallen officers from each state. David was honored to present a memorial bracelet to Melissa Powers’ children, husband, sister and parents. The motto of the Police Unity Tour is “We Ride for Those Who Died” and their primary purpose is raise awareness of fallen officers and raise money for the National Law Enforcement Memorial, including engraving the names of fallen officers on the memorial wall.

June 1, 2011

Canadian man dies while snorkeling

Key Largo – A man from Whitehorse in Yukon, Canada died Tuesday afternoon while snorkeling offshore of Key Largo.

69 year old John Hobus was visiting the Keys on vacation, with his wife and another couple from Canada. They were all out snorkeling on board the Reef Roamer Catamaran, at Cannon Patch Reef offshore of Key Largo. While snorkeling, Hobus began to have trouble as he was swimming back to the boat. Crew on board the boat pulled him on board. He’d stopped breathing, so CPR was administered until he was brought back to shore, at the Port Largo Subdivision. Paramedics responded, but he was pronounced dead at 3:30 p.m.

His wife told Detective Jason Madnick Hobus had a triple heart bypass operation in 1995 and was taking lots of medication related to that operation. His snorkeling equipment and medications were taken as evidence. The Medical Examiner’s Office will be doing an autopsy to determine the cause of his death.