February 28, 2013

Two deputies issued NTAs by FHP for traffic incident

Two Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies have been issued notices to appear in court on traffic related charges. Today, Florida Highway Patrol arrested Darnell Durham and Kyle Page, issuing them notices to appear in court. Durham is charged with reckless driving, criminal mischief and giving false information during a law enforcement investigation; Page is charged with reckless driving.

The charges stem from an incident described by FHP as “road rage” that took place February 19th on the 18 mile stretch in Miami-Dade County, while the two deputies were off duty.

“We are extremely disappointed that our officers would be involved in an incident like this,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “We are also conducting our own investigation into this incident. We feel strongly that officers who break the law should be held accountable for their actions,” he said.

“We also feel it is important to be open and honest with the public about incidents such as this one, which is why we are issuing this press release,” said Sheriff Ramsay. “As Sheriff, I will always strive to be transparent in my actions, and the actions and activities of this agency.”

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is conducting an internal review of the incident. The two officers have been told they are not allowed to carry a gun or their law enforcement credentials except while they are on duty for the duration of the investigation.

Durham has been with the Sheriff’s Office since August of 2005. Page has been with the Sheriff’s Office since January of 2007. Both men work as road patrol deputies for District 7 in the Upper Keys.

Detective hopes photo, video will help identify suspect

Marathon – Monroe County Sheriff’s Detective Nicholis Whiteman hopes releasing the photo and video of a suspect believed to have fraudulently used a credit card will help him to identify who it is.

The victim, a Marathon resident, called the Sheriff’s Office on January 28th to report someone had used his credit card eight times  without his knowledge. He told deputy Garrett Bragg he tried to use the card at a gas station and it was declined. When he checked the card on line, he noticed the charges which totaled $666.46. Many of them were at Winn Dixie and Publix grocery stores in the South Florida area.

videoDetective Whiteman was assigned to investigate and contacted the grocery stores in an effort to get photos or videos of the dates and times the credit card was used.

In the videos he received, the detective saw one person who he believes to be the suspect. The videos depict him using the cards at a Publix grocery store on Le Chalet Blvd in Boynton Beach on January 25th at 5:30 p.m., followed by using it at the Publix liquor store at the same location.

video He is described as a white or Hispanic male, average height with a medium muscular build. He is wearing a gold bracelet on his right wrist, and a watch in his left wrist. He is wearing an “Affliction” brand shirt, blue jeans and a baseball hat. He appears to be right handed.

Anyone with information about the case or who recognizes the suspect in the video should contact Detective Whiteman at 305-289-2430.  Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a tip leads to an arrest, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may be submitted on line at www.tipsubmit.com.

Sheriff rides mechanical pig


On Sunday, Sheriff Ramsay attended the Pig Days Rodeo, an event to raise money for the Grace Jones School in Marathon. A group of employees raised $1,000 for the school and, in return, the Sheriff agreed to ride a mechanical pig featured at the rode. Here is the video of the 19 seconds he managed to stay on......

February 27, 2013

Crime Prevention Tip: Calling 911

What to Expect when you call 911

911 is an emergency response service provided by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office to assist the citizens of our county with receiving law enforcement, fire, and ambulance assistance during crisis times. Sheriff’s Office Communications Officers man special emergency phone lines 24 hours a day so that the citizens of Monroe County may receive help as expeditiously as possible. The Sheriff's Office answers these emergency phone lines for the Key Colony Beach Police as well as Firefighters and ambulances county wide.

At the same time as they answer 911 calls, Sheriff' s Office Communications Officers also answer non- emergency calls on regular phone lines. Obviously, someone in a crisis situation will get assistance prior to someone calling with a non-emergency situation.

When Should You call 911?

911 Emergency calls should be made only in cases such as a crime in progress, a fire, a medical emergency, or a similar immediately threatening case. A possible 911 situation can involve something you see - a burglar breaking in to a neighbors house, a fire, an automobile accident. It can also involve what you hear - a woman screaming or yelling "Don’t hit me again," gunfire, an explosion or glass breaking. Also, a suspected drunk driver is always a 911 call. They’re potential killers not only of themselves, but of innocent bystanders as well.

Before you call, gather as many facts as you can under the circumstances and write them down so you won’t forget them. Take a second look - a minute gathering more complete information may be worth the delay. If you are describing a person, important points include the race of the person, whether it is a male or a female, what the person is wearing, the color of his or her hair and any other outstanding characteristics. With a car description, a tag number is great if you can get it, and a report that the vehicle had a ladder on top or a dented left front fender is more useful than simply describing the vehicle as a "white van".

The job of the communications officer is to gather as much pertinent information relative to the situation as possible and to keep you on the phone if at all possible. This action better prepares deputies coming to your aid.

What to expect when you call 911

When you call 911 emergency lines, one of the first things you will be asked is "Is this an emergency? This question is a necessary one because unfortunately, some people do call 911 for non-emergencies. Communications Officers must often deal with 911 calls for directions, weather conditions or traffic information. This misuse of 911 is unacceptable, and has the potential of delaying true emergency calls.

Once it is established that you do have an emergency situation, the Communications Officer will ask you a series of questions in an effort to get enough information so he/she can send the proper assistance to you as soon as possible. Try to answer the questions as calmly and clearly as possible. Help will be sent to you right away, and the more cooperative you are over the phone, the faster that help will arrive.

When you call 911 from a hard wired phone, a computerized system will automatically tell the Communications Officer your address and phone number. If you call from a cell phone, you will have to provide them with your location.The officer will continue to talk with you after help has been dispatched to you. The longer he/she can keep you on the phone and the more information that can be relayed to the responding deputy, ambulance or fire truck, the better and safer the situation is.

Communications officers in Monroe County are trained in Emergency Medical Dispatching. This means if you have a medical emergency, the Communications Officer will be able to assist you with initial treatment steps, such as performing CPR, the Heimlich Maneuver for choking victims, or other common medical emergencies.

Misuse of the 911 Emergency system

Unfortunately a substantial number of 911 calls received by MCSO Communications Officers are not of an emergency nature. If you are reporting a non-emergency situation such as a suspicious person, a previously stolen bike or a dog continually barking, 911 is not the proper number to call. The Sheriff’s Office offers non-emergency phone numbers for the reporting of such calls. Your call will still be handled appropriately, but this will allow true emergencies to be handled first.

Let me re-emphasize: 911 is for emergency calls only and is not equipped to answer questions, give directions, weather forecasts or road conditions. How would you like it if you had a real emergency and someone else was tying up the Communications Officer asking where the closest post office is?

The Sheriff's Office non-emergency phone numbers are:
305-289-2351 for dispatch
305-745-3184, Freeman Substation, Cudjoe Key
305-289-2430 - Marathon Substation
305-664-6480 - Islamorada Substation
305-853-3211 - Roth Building, Plantation Key

February 26, 2013

Three men caught trying to steal boat trailer

Three Key West men are in jail, charged with trying to steal a boat trailer from a home on Big Coppitt Key.

Deputy Chris Fraser received a report at 12:45 a.m. today  from dispatchers that a man called reporting someone just tried to steal his boat trailer. The trailer was parked on the right of way at #7 Cormorant Lane. The man said he saw several men in a yellow truck hook the trailer up and drive away with it. The trailer was later found abandoned about a block away.

Deputy Fraser spotted the truck southbound near the 5 mile marker of Highway U.S. One. There were three men inside. Sgt. Evan Calhoun arrived as back up. The two officers questioned the three men about the trailer theft.

All three men gave different stories about what they were doing. All three had different explanations for why they had hooked the trailer up to the truck and driven away with it.

45 year old John Liddy, 35 year old Richard Rice and 19 year old Kyle Barbosa were all arrested. They were charged with grand theft and they were booked into jail.

Vehicle burglaries reported in Marathon

Deputies took reports Monday morning of six vehicle burglaries in Marathon.

The six vehicles were all parked overnight in the vicinity of 88th and 89th Street Ocean. All the vehicle owners told the deputies their cars were unlocked.

Someone entered the vehicles, taking loose change, a camera, a laptop computer, an Apple IPod, credit cards, gift cards and other miscellaneous items.

Detectives will be investigating. Anyone with information about these thefts should call the Sheriff’s Office at 305-289-2430. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can contact Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a tip leads to an arrest, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may be submitted on line at www.tipsubmit.com.

Man arrested for threats with a stun gun

A Little Torch Key man was arrested Monday, charged with threatening his son with a stun gun.

During an argument with his son, 58 year old John Arnold allegedly held the stun gun to the son’s head and threatened to shoot him with it. According to Arnold’s wife, he woke up from a nap agitated and angry and eventually confronted the son with the weapon. At one point during the confrontation, Arnold reportedly told the son, “You have to sleep some time.”

After speaking with Arnold, his wife and his son, Arnold was placed under arrest. He was charged with assault and improper exhibition of a weapon. He was taken to jail. The stun gun was seized as evidence in the case.

February 22, 2013

Sergeant and kids clean up

Sheriff's Sgt. Linda Mixon and a group of kids from Treasure Village Montessori spent the weekend camping and did a clean up at Pennekamp State Park using canoes and kayaks to reach remote areas of the mangroves.

Inmates unloading cardboard for recycling.

The Sheriff’s Office has recycling bins and receptacles in every office and recycles hundreds of pounds of paper, cardboard, cans, bottles and plastic, saving the taxpayers thousands of dollars each year.

Electronics recycling

The Sheriff's Office Information Systems Division helped load up hundreds of pounds of electronic equipment for recycling this week. The equipment was taken by a company called STS Electronic Recycling. It costs nothing and the company has a “no landfill” policy.

February 20, 2013

Tavernier man arrested for attempting to steal money from local bank

Tavernier – A Tavernier man was arrested Tuesday after he attempted to deposit three fraudulent checks into his bank account at Community Bank. The bank discovered the crime after finding out the Citibank account the checks were written on was not a real account.

21 year old Cole Peacock attempted to defraud Community bank by depositing the three checks for a total of $22,000.00. When Deputy Mike Sielicki arrived, Peacock was still at the bank. He claimed the checks were from a company called Data Point Systems, located at 234 Azalea Street in Tavernier. That address is also Peacock’s home address. He then later admitted to ordering the checks on line, but said he didn’t know they were written on a counterfeit account.

During the course of an investigation by Sheriff’s Detective Francisco Gaete, Peacock claimed to have accessed the Sheriff’s Office secure network. He also claimed to have accessed the DAVID system, a secure vehicle identification system belonging to the State of Florida.

Information Systems specialists at the Sheriff’s Office say they have no evidence Peacock did access the secure part of the Sheriff’s Office network. When detectives asked Peacock to show them how he did it, he was unable to access the Sheriff’s Office computer network at that time and, in fact, was only able to access portions of the Sheriff’s Office web site which is publicly accessible and could not penetrate the network farther than that.

His computer and computer equipment was seized for further investigation.

Detectives did gain information which indicates he may have had access to a Sheriff’s Office laptop computer several years ago. At that time, a Sheriff’s Office employee who has since retired asked Peacock to help him copy two non-work related files off the computer. There is no indication he gained access at that time to the MCSO secure network, however while Peacock was helping to copy the files, he had access to the computer’s hard drive and may have gained access to an authentication certificate for the DAVID system. Investigations are underway to see if he was able to use that certificate to gain access to the secure DAVID network using the stolen certificate.

Peacock was arrested. He was charged with grand theft, fraud, three counts uttering a forged instrument and accessing a computer  without the authority to do so.

Investigations are continuing.

Key Largo man arrested on drug charges

Key Largo – A Key Largo man was arrested on drug charges after a traffic stop by Sheriff’s deputies Tuesday night.

Deputy Pedro Garcia was on patrol at 10 p.m. when he spotted the white Lincoln swerving multiple times over the white line of the highway between the 104 and the 105 mile marker of Highway U.S. One. The deputy pulled the vehicle over. The driver was 26 year old Eddy Diaz.

As the deputy spoke with Diaz, he saw clearly visible in the car a prescription pill bottle on the driver’s side floor board. Sgt. Jason Madnick arrived as back up. Diaz gave consent for the officers to search his car. In the pull bottle was Xanax and Oxycodone. A second bottle was found which contained Acetaminophen with Hydrocodone. A third bottle, found behind the passenger seat, contained miscellaneous pills and a plastic bag with marijuana inside.

In the trunk of the car, the officers found a “Shark Bites” snack box with two more plastic bags of marijuana inside. Over $500 in cash was found in Diaz’ pocket. Total weight of all the marijuana was 65 grams.

Diaz was arrested. He was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell, two counts possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and four counts possession of drug paraphernalia. He was booked into jail.

Man arrested for vehicle burglaries

Ramrod Key – Sheriff’s deputies arrested a man Tuesday for burglarizing two vehicles in the parking lot of Boondock’s Restaurant on Ramrod Key.

The owner of the restaurant called the Sheriff’s Office at 6 p.m. after he saw 24 year old Keitel Romero inside one of the vehicles in the employee parking lot of the business. Deputy Spenser Bryan responded to the call. Romero was still there when the deputy arrived.

Investigations revealed Romero had entered two different vehicles. He’d used a permanent marker to “tag” the glove box of one vehicle, and had ransacked another one and damaged the vehicle’s ignition in an apparent attempt to steal it. Loose change from the cars was found in Romero’s pockets, along with a spark plug which Romero told deputies could be used to break windows in order to get into cars.

The restaurant owner told deputies Romero had also purchased food inside earlier in the evening and had failed to pay for it.

Romero was charged with two counts of vehicle burglary, criminal mischief, theft, possession of burglary tools and defrauding an innkeeper. He was booked into jail.

February 19, 2013

Easter on the Animal Farm March 24th

Join the Sheriff’s Office and the Sheriff’s Animal Farm on Sunday, March 24th for the Annual Easter on the Farm celebration!

Bring the family and join the fun at the farm; the event is free of charge and offers something for everyone. The Easter bunny will be there to hide eggs for the kids and to take pictures with them as well. The Easter egg hunt starts at 1 p.m. so don’t be late or you will miss it! Bring your own Easter basket. There will also be face painting, arts and crafts and, of course, visits with all the animals at the farm.

Mark your calendars and come to the farm between 1 and 3 p.m. on March 24th. The farm is located just off of College Road, at the Sheriff’s Office on Stock Island.

Sheriff’s Office continues checking underage alcohol sales

On February 15, 2013 the Special Investigations Division conducted an operation checking businesses that sell alcohol in the Upper Keys. Seventeen businesses were checked including restaurants, convenience stores and bars. Two of the businesses served alcohol to minors during the investigation. The two people were given notices to appear before a Monroe County Judge.

The following are a list of the businesses and suspects who sold the alcohol:

·         Walgreens 99501 Overseas highway Key Largo, Fl  – 66 year old Carlos Ruiz Hernandez was issued a notice to appear in court.
·         Bill’s Liquor store 91400 Overseas Hwy Islamorada, Fl  – 48 year oldKim Pravata was issued a notice to appear in court.

The Sales Clerk violations are punishable with up to 60 days in jail, a $500 fine, $235 in court costs, $75 in the cost of prosecution, and $40 in the cost of investigation.

The Licensee Violations are:
·         1st offense $1000 fine and 7 day suspension
·         2nd offense $3000 fine and 30 day suspension
·         3rd offense Revocation of license.
The remaining businesses checked, were in compliance with the law.

This operation was conducted in cooperation with the Monroe County Coalition for a Safe and Drug Free Community.

Sheriff’s Office continues with DUI Saturation patrols

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is continuing its efforts to combat drunk driving under a grant funded by the Monroe County Coalition for a Safe and Drug Free Community. Under the grant, Deputies perform extra patrols on the streets and highways of the county watching out for drivers who are impaired and driving dangerously.

On Saturday, February 16th, Deputies Danielle Malone, Andrew Hudson, Jaime Miranda, Juan Martin-Reyes, and Greg Korzen participated in the DUI Saturation Patrol.  Deputies actively patrolled the Lower Keys from Key West to Big Pine Key with the emphases on impaired drivers.

The saturation patrol resulted in the following activity:
·         1 DUI arrest
·         1 Felony Possession of 27 Grams of Marijuana arrest
·         1 Driving with suspended driver's license arrest
·         1 Driver without a driver's license arrest
·         28 vehicles were stopped
·         25 traffic citations were written
·         7 written warnings were issued

February 17, 2013

Man fights with deputies, is arrested on drug charges

Key Largo – A New Jersey man stopped for riding his bike erratically in Key Largo early today was arrested after he ran from deputies, fought them and was found to possess drugs.

Deputy Matthew O’Neill was on patrol at the 100 mile marker at 1:20 a.m. when he spotted 23 year old Richard Scrivani riding his bike in the middle of the highway. As the deputy watched, Scrivani rode southbound in the northbound lanes, swerving back and forth, and he had no lights on his bicycle.

Using his overhead lights, the deputy stopped Scrivani and asked what he was doing. Scrivani was vague in his responses. He said he had been “hanging out” at Publix with friends. He could not explain why he would be handing out at a closed business, nor could he give any of his friend’s names. He told Deputy O’Neill his own name was Russell Coopper and said he was from New York. He said he had no identification with him.

When Deputy O’Neill told him he was going to do a pat down search for officer safety reasons, Scrivani fled on foot with the deputy running after him.  The deputy called on the radio for back up. At one point Scrivani tripped and fell. Deputy O’Neill ordered him at Taser point to stay on the ground. When Scrivani got up , Deputy O’Neill deployed the taser. Unfortunately, because he was wearing a jacket the taser was not effective. Scrivani again began running, but Deputy O’Neill tackled him and they fought. Sgt. E.B. Askins arrived on the scene as back up and the two deputies were able to subdue Scrivani.

A driver’s license with his real name was found in his possession. A check on the name revealed a warrant out of New Jersey for drug related charges. A cigarette pack in his pocket was found to contain Oxycodone, Xanax, crack cocaine and a small metal pipe.

Scrivani later admitted to smoking crack cocaine just 10 minutes before his encounter with the deputy.

He was charged with battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest with violence, giving a false name to a law enforcement officer, possession of cocaine, drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance. He was also charged with the outstanding New Jersey warrant. He was booked into jail.

February 14, 2013

Deputies receive recognition for life saving

Deputies Chris Duncan, Jaime Miranda and Spenser Bryan received Sheriff’s Medals for life saving efforts at a ceremony held Friday in Marathon.

Deputies Jaime Miranda and Spenser Bryan
with Sheriff Rick Ramsay.
Deputy Duncan received his medal after repeatedly diving into the water in an attempt to save a child who he’d been told was trapped in a submerged car. The mother, who was injured and confused, thought her child was in the car at the time; it was later discovered the child was, thankfully, not in the car and was safe at home.

Deputies Bryan and Miranda stopped a man armed with a knife from killing himself; the tense and distraught man was disarmed without injury to himself or to the officers on the scene. 
Sheriff Rick Ramsay and Captain Penny Phelps congratulate
Deputy Chris Duncan.

Officer receives recognition for distinguished service

Detective Sgt. Linda Mixon received a Distinguished Service medal from Sheriff Rick Ramsay for her continuous dedication and hard work serving the Florida Keys Community.

Employee of the Year Ceremony

The Sheriff’s Office honored its Employees of the Year  on February 8th in a ceremony held in Marathon. Left to right, Sheriff Rick Ramsay, Reserve Captain Bob Smith, Explorer Amberlyn Casas, Internal Affairs Executive Assistant Jo Socha, Detention Deputy Victor Arguello and Detective Sgt. Linda Mixon. The award ceremony was sponsored by Centennial Bank.

Stock Island businessman operating illegally

Stock Island – A Stock Island man was arrested Wednesday after detectives found he was not complying with the law when it comes to his secondhand dealer’s license.

50 year old Paul Ollariu is the owner of a business called We Buy Gold We Pay More, located on Front Street, Stock Island. On Friday, Sheriff’s Detective Dave Chavka, along with two Key West Police detectives, went to the business to inspect his records and to ensure he was complying with state law.

Their inspection showed Ollariu was only keeping a hand written log of transactions, instead of the computerized records he is required to keep. It appears he was also not in compliance with the requirement to obtain identification and fingerprints of people selling items to him. The scale he used to weigh the items being sold was also not calibrated as required, nor was he holding the items he purchased for the required 15 days.

Ollariu admitted to being trained on the computerized pawn program called RAPID in June of 2012, so he was aware of the requirement that transactions be recorded in that system. His handwritten log showed a total of 24 transactions between November and February which were not in compliance with the law.

Ollariu was arrested and charged with 24 counts of violation of Florida State Statute 538.04, regarding second hand dealer’s licenses.

The Sheriff’s Office wants to remind all businesses holding a second hand dealer’s license that detectives will be periodically inspecting to make sure the businesses are complying with all record keeping requirements. Anyone with questions regarding this issue can call the Sheriff’s Office in their area and ask to speak with the detective sergeant assigned to that area.

Two arrested for false Florida drivers licenses

Key Largo – A couple who work at Gilbert’s Resort in Key Largo were arrested Wednesday and charged with possessing counterfeit Florida drivers licenses.

The owner of the resort called the Sheriff’s Office to report he thought two of his employees were stealing from him. Detective Francisco Gaete was assigned to investigate. He obtained identification the two employees had given to Gilbert’s Resort when they applied for work.

When Detective Gaete checked the drivers licenses for Robert and Tamara Trotter, both of them returned a report of “no record found” indicating they were false IDs. He obtained arrest warrants for both of them for possessing counterfeit drivers licenses. When he served the arrest warrants and took them both into custody, Tamara Trotter admitted  her real name is Tamara Asada, 40 years old and Robert Trotter admitted his real name is Robert Pearl, 39 years of age.

Both Asada and Pearl have outstanding arrest warrants in California. In addition, detectives are continuing their investigation into where they may have obtained the false IDs and into the alleged theft from the resort.

February 12, 2013

Michigan woman dies while diving

Key Largo – A Michigan woman died while diving offshore of Key Largo today.

64 year old Donna Hartson of Sterling Heights, Michigan was on board the commercial dive vessel Silent World 4 with her husband, Leroy Hartson, and six other divers. They were diving on the Benwood Reef, offshore of Key Largo between 2 and 3 p.m.

According to the vessel’s captain, the diver’s had been in the water for about 40 minutes. They were getting ready to leave the area and go to another location. He said when Hartson surfaced, he saw her signaling for help. When the vessel reached her, she was not responsive. They pulled her on to the boat, began CPR, and called the Coast Guard to notify them of the trouble.

When they reached Port Largo Subdivision, they were met by deputies and paramedics. Hartson was transported to Mariner’s Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of her death.

February 11, 2013

Two women wanted for dealing in stolen property

Tavernier – Sheriff’s Detective Robert Dosh says he needs the public’s assistance tracking down two women wanted for dealing in stolen property.

The victim, who owns a home on Oleander Drive in Tavernier, called the Sheriff’s Office on February 6th to report his son, 34 year old Heriberto Tejeda Jr., had broken glass doors to enter the home and had stolen fishing rods and reels from inside. He said he’d heard his son might be staying there without his permission. He said he drove to the Keys to check the house. When he arrived, his son was walking out with the rods and reels in his hand. When he confronted his son, he fled.

Detective Dosh was assigned to investigate. The rods and reels were found at a local pawn shop. The pawn shop’s owner told Detective Dosh that Tejeda Jr. had come into the shop with two women and had pawned them.

Detective Dosh was able to identify the two women as 25 year old Sandy Vazquez and 23 year old Cindy Perezdealderete,.

Warrants were issued for the arrest of all three suspects. On February 8th, Tejeda, Jr. was arrested in Broward County on Monroe County warrants for burglary, grand theft and seven counts of dealing in stolen property. He will be returned to the Keys to face the charges. The two women are still at large and are believed to be in the Miami area. They are each wanted for seven counts of dealing in stolen property.

Anyone with information about them and where they might be should contact the Sheriff’s Office at 305-853-3211. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a Crime Stoppers tip leads to an arrest, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may be submitted anonymously on line at www.tipsubmit.com.

Two arrested for car burglary

Stock Island – A man and woman were arrested Sunday after they were caught on video tape burglarizing a car on Stock Island.

The owner of the car told Deputy Matt Dowling she was unloading items from her car to her apartment on 5th Avenue at about 12:45 p.m. Sunday. She said someone took her medication from the car while she was inside her residence. She told Deputy Dowling there was a video camera on the apartment building.

She and Deputy Dowling found the landlord and asked to view the tape. On the tape, they could clearly see a man removing the medication from the center console of the car while a woman acted as a lookout.

Deputy Dowling recognized the couple as two people he encountered earlier who were witnesses to an automobile accident he investigated. Further investigation revealed their identity – 19 year old Charles Robinson and a 16 year old girl. The two were reportedly staying in Ocean Spray Trailer park at the home of Robinson’s mother.

Deputy Dowling went to the trailer and found Robinson and the girl inside. They were both taken into custody, charged with burglary and theft. The girl was identified as a runaway from Miami and was turned over to the custody of her mother after booking. Robinson was booked into jail.

February 10, 2013

Accident on Grassy Key with airlift

(Photo courtesy of Sheriff’s Sgt. Evan Calhoun)
Deputies and FHP troopers responded to the 57.6 mile marker on Grassy Key to an accident with injuries at 11:30 p.m. A sport utility vehicle rolled over after having been struck by another vehicle. There were six people inside the SUV; initial reports from dispatchers say they were three children and three adults. One small child was seriously injured and was airlifted by Trauma Star to Miami Children’s Hospital. Two other people were taken to Fishermen’s Hospital for treatment of relatively minor injuries. The roadway was obstructed until about 3 a.m. Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the case.

February 9, 2013

Sheriff’s Relay for Life team holds a Dance-a-thon

The Sheriff’s Office Relay for Life Lower Keys team will be holding its second annual Dance-a-thon to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

The event will take place March 2nd, 2013 at the White Street Pier from 8 a.m. until 12 p.m. There will be instructors on hand throughout the event teaching both dance and Zumba. There is no charge for the event, but the team will be collecting donations from participants to raise money for the cause.

Come on out and have some fun and raise money for the fight against cancer!

“Whisper” app causes disturbances at Marathon High School

A social media application caused several disturbances at Marathon High School Thursday as students used the app to post anonymous comments about one another, about relationships and about school.

The application – called “Whisper” – purports to be a platform allowing young people to express themselves and their feelings without fear of having others know who they are. Developers say they are targeting college students who feel the need to talk about how they are feeling without judgment.

Users do not have to identify themselves and, indeed, can change their user names at will and even use other peoples user names when posting photos and text. On Thursday, student postings in Marathon resulted in School Resource Sergeant Glenn Test having to investigate two battery reports, a disorderly conduct and a possible “cyber-stalking”.

In one battery report, two girls pushed each other after one thought the other’s boyfriend posted negative photos and text about her on Whisper.

In another incident, one boy went after another boy over derogatory postings on Whisper. The boy’s confrontation was stopped by teachers before it could get physical.

The reports did not result in any arrests to date, although the “cyber-stalking” report is still under investigation. The school, however,  did hand out administrative sanctions to some students. One of the main concerns for everyone is the disruption the app caused and the potential for teens – already going through an emotionally turbulent time of their lives – to engage in bullying behavior, or to be bullied.

“Parents should be aware of this particular application and whether their child is using it. The potential for anonymous bullying is concerning to all of us who care about our kids and want them to be healthy and happy,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay.

“We are working closely with our schools to monitor this situation. We have sent out notices to all of our School Resource Officers and detectives who investigate juvenile crimes so they will be aware of it. We just want to make sure the public – and in particular parents – know about it as well,” he said. 

“Party Patrol” detail nets two juvenile drug arrests

Marathon - An extra duty detail targeted at underage drinking and drug use resulted in the arrest of two juveniles and the seizure of 33 bags filled with marijuana Friday night.

The special county-wide patrol details are funded by the Monroe County Coalition for a Safe and Drug Free Community. Deputies who sign up for the detail work as an additional law enforcement presence at and around after-school activities as well as patrolling for house parties.

On Friday night, officers were working in Marathon at a baseball tournament at the High School. They made contact with a group of four teenage males in the parking lot. The teens ranged in age from 16 to 19. One of the males – 17 years old - had a plastic bag in his pocket with marijuana inside. A car in the parking lot belonged to one of them who is 16 years old; when Deputy Chuck Kellenberger approached it, he could smell the odor of marijuana. The boy who owned the car gave the deputy permission to search it. Deputy Kellenberger then called for Deputy Danielle Malone to respond with her dog, Tracer.

Tracer first alerted on the car, and once inside the car, alerted on a back pack on the back seat. Inside the back pack, deputies found 32 plastic bags of marijuana, packaged as if for sale. The bags contained 34 grams of marijuana.

Inside the glove compartment of the car was a digital scale with marijuana residue on it and an empty plastic bag. In the trunk was found a bottle of Captain Morgan rum that was partially empty.

One of the teens, the 16 year old owner of the car, claimed responsibility for all the marijuana in the car. He was charged with possession of marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to sell, possession of alcohol by a minor and possession of drug paraphernalia. The 17 year old who had marijuana in his pocket was also arrested and charged with possession of marijuana.

The other two claimed to know nothing about the illegal substances; they were not charged.

Three of the teens were from Marathon, including the two who were arrested. The 19 year old who was with them is from Clewiston, Florida.

February 8, 2013

Do you remember the coneheads?

Any of you old enough to remember the Coneheads from Saturday Night Live? Well, they are alive and well and working in the Lower Keys. Here are Deputy John Gabay, Detective David Cruz and Deputy Lazaro Valdes trying on new PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) suits.

Promotion to sergeant

Congratulations to Lakesha Grant who was recently promoted to sergeant at the Stock Island Detention Center. Here she is pictured with Sheriff Rick Ramsay and Major Tommy Taylor at a recent Sheriff's staff meeting.

Sheriff's Office helps with park clean up

 A group of Sheriff’s Office employees turned out Saturday to help with the Rotary Park clean up in Marathon. This was a Marathon Rotary Club sponsored project. A woman with a small child there to help with the clean up wound up with a flat tire. Sheriff Rick Ramsay helped her change it so she could be on her way.

Search warrant leads to drug arrests

Marathon - Sheriff's Special Investigations detectives served a search warrant at a Marathon residence Wednesday afternoon, arresting two people on drug charges.

The warrant was served at 19 Sombrero Boulevard, Apt 202 at 3:30 p.m.  Inside, detectives found 37 year old Donald Franks and 39 year old Melissa Koopman.  A search of the residence turned up 54 grams of powdered cocaine in the same vicinity where Franks was found when detectives entered. Detectives also located 6 grams of cocaine in Koopman’s purse.

In addition to the drugs, detectives found glass beakers for cooking crack cocaine, scales, several baggies for packaging narcotics and $3,282 in suspected drug proceeds.

Franks  was charged with trafficking in cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia. Koopman was charged with trafficking in cocaine, possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia. They were both booked into jail.

February 6, 2013

Islamorada event expected to create extremely heavy traffic

The Annual Nautical Flea Market in Islamorada is coming up and is expected to cause extremely heavy traffic and significant delays for drivers.

Sheriff’s deputies will be on hand directing traffic, but the large number of cars associated with this event will be an issue. Anyone traveling through the Islamorada area during this time should be aware of it and plan extra time for the trip. Those people needing to make flights in Miami should plan up to an extra two hours in order to make it in time.

The Nautical Flea Market will take place at Founder’s Park Saturday, February 23rd from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sunday, February 24th from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Delays will most likely take place for up to an hour after the event closes each day.

Those planning to attend the event: there will be free parking at Coral Shores High School with a free shuttle to take people to and from the flea market.

February 5, 2013

Detectives investigate death

Update: 5:45 p.m. - Next of kin has now been notified. The man whose body was found floating offshore of Grassy Key is identified as 49 year old Fritznel Alexis of Homestead.

Grassy Key – Detectives are investigating the death of a man whose body was found floating offshore of Grassy key today.

Passing boaters spotted the man’s body in about two feet of water, within sight of the shore near Grassy Key RV Resort.  Deputies responded at 10:45 a.m., along with a marine officer from Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The body was removed from the water and brought to shore. Positive identification of the 49 year old  man was made from information found in a wallet in his pocket. His name is being withheld pending notification of his next of kin.

Detectives say a preliminary examination of the body revealed no obvious signs of foul play. They will continue to investigate the circumstances of his death and the Medical Examiner will perform an autopsy to determine the cause of his death.

Detective Deborah Ryan has been assigned to investigate. She says she has not yet found anyone who saw the man prior to his death. She says his body does not appear to have been in the water very long. He is described as a black dark skinned male, five feet six inches tall and heavy – perhaps 250 pounds. He had short hair and was clean shaven. He was wearing dark colored blue jeans and a dark blue short sleeved polo shirt.

Anyone who has information about the man’s death or who may have seen him before he died should call the Sheriff’s Office at 305-289-2351. 

February 4, 2013

Fatal accident overnight

An accident at the intersection of Card Sound Road and State Road 905 which was discovered at 12:20 a.m. closed those roads on and off for several hours overnight as the Florida Highway Patrol investigated. Two people died in the single vehicle which apparently crashed and rolled over.

February 2, 2013

Dispatchers rescue injured bird

Sheriff's Office Communications Officers Debbi Johnson and Ben Elmore rescued this pelican on their way to work Friday. They learned that there are drop boxes for injured birds at Crane Point if no one is there! Useful information.

Teen charged with burglary

Marathon – A 14 year old boy was arrested for burglarizing a home on Treasure Road in Marathon after alert witnesses called the Sheriff’s Office.

Two men driving by a home on Treasure Road in Marathon Friday morning saw a broken window screen and two suspicious people near it. They confronted the two, and called the Sheriff’s Office. When Deputy Sydney Whitehouse arrived on the scene just before 11 a.m., he spotted a boy fitting the description of one of the suspects. He stopped the boy for questioning.

The boy admitted to breaking the window screen and pulling the window open, breaking the window away from the frame. He said after breaking the window, he stuck his head and hands inside the window. That is when he was interrupted by the witnesses who confronted him and called the Sheriff’s Office.

The resident of the home was contacted. He checked his home and found nothing had been stolen. The 14 year old was charged with criminal mischief and burglary. He was booked and turned over to the custody of his mother. A search of the area around the house failed to turn up the second suspect.

“Because these two witnesses called the Sheriff’s Office when they saw something suspicious, a more serious crime was most likely prevented,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “I commend them for being so observant and for taking the time to report this.”

February 1, 2013

Teen Court

 Teen Court was in session on January 29th at the Key West Courthouse with Attorney Manny Garcia acting as Judge and Lower Keys Explorers acting as jury. Juvenile programs Case Manager Lisa Bauer, SRO Deputy Sonya Morgan and Corrections Deputy Karl Markowski were all there as well. Thanks to the crew from Court Security who stayed after hours to help out and to Lt. Donnie Elomina and Juvenile Programs Supervisor Woody Hanford who turned out to watch the proceedings.

Human Trafficking event

Major crimes partnered with Zonta of marathon assisting with a human and sex trafficking awareness event held in Key West. Those participating were Elaine Woodson. Det Geni Hernandez. Det. Rosa Digiovanni. Detective Manny Cuervo and Linda Mixon.

Major Crimes participates in event

Major crimes joined with the domestic abuse shelter “A call to men” program supporting communities ending violence against women. Left to right, Det. Rosa Digiovanni, Det. Sgt. Linda Mixon, Victim Advocate Elaine Woodson, Det. Geni Hernandez.

Islamorada Formal Inspection

 The Islamorada Patrol District recently held it's yearly Formal Inspection.

Marathon Formal Inspection

 The Marathon Patrol District recently underwent its yearly formal inspection, held at the Marathon Sheriff's Aviation hanger. For more photos of this event, go to http://www.keysso.net/photogallery/current/people_events/2013/01242013-marathon_inspection/marathon_inspection/index.html