October 8, 2014

Man charged with beach thefts

A homeless man who told detectives he’d just arrived on the bus from Fort Lauderdale days earlier, was arrested for stealing property from people who were on Higg’s Beach in Key West.

Deputy Vicki Fleck was working at Higg’s Beach Tuesday shortly after noon when a man reported his bag with his phone inside had been taken from the beach. He was tracking the phone using another phone, and showed Deputy Fleck where the tracking application said his phone was.

The tracking application showed the phone moving down Reynolds Street, then down Johnson Street, then onto White Street towards Indigenous Park. It showed the phone’s final destination as Rest Beach, next to the White Street Pier. Deputy Fleck called for assistance and Sheriff’s detectives responded to help her investigate.

As Deputy Fleck was tracking the phone’s path, a second and third victim came forward. They were traveling together and both reported a bags stolen. One had a Canon Camera inside; the other reported $340 in cash in very specific denominations.

Detectives Sheila Seago, Dave Chavka and Dave Cruz met Deputy Fleck at Rest Beach. As they approached the area they spotted a man – later identified as 45 year old Michael Soraghan – with a large camera around his neck. As the officers approached, Soraghan threw something to the ground. The item was recovered. It was a phone case with identification cards and credit cards inside belonging to the man whose phone had been stolen.

In Soraghan’s pocket they found the stolen phone. The camera around his neck belonged to the second victim.  Cash was found in his pocket as well – the exact amount and exact denominations reported as stolen from the third victim.

The bags were not found at Rest Beach, so the detectives backtracked the path Soraghan took from Higgs Beach to Rest Beach. The bags were found at a location on Johnson Street. All the victim’s belongings that were recovered were returned to them.

Soraghan was arrested. He was charged with three counts of grand theft and he was booked into jail.


  1. Hopefully judge imposes max sentence to discourage this! Not probation like a ex school board superintendent