September 29, 2014

Four charged with aggravated stalking

Four Marathon – three men and a teen - were arrested early today, charged with harassing and stalking a Marathon couple.

The two victims told Deputy Deanna Torres they were at Walgreen’s in Marathon at 1:40 a.m.  She said four males in a car began yelling at her and her boyfriend, swearing at them about the New Jersey license tags on her car.

She said when they left Walgreen’s, the males followed them. They were reportedly driving aggressively, pulling alongside of the victims and yelling out the window. She said she was afraid they would follow her home and didn’t know what they would do.

She said she slammed on her brakes and did a U-turn in an effort to lose them. She and her boyfriend then went home to a boat they live on. She said she hid her car so they wouldn’t see it, and went into the boat and called 911 for help. She gave a description of the vehicle the males were traveling in – an older model silver Lexus with blue headlights.

Deputy Torres spotted the vehicle and stopped it in the parking lot of the Publix grocery store. The vehicle and the males inside were identified by the victims as the ones who harassed her and her boyfriend.

Deputy Torres, assisted by Deputies John Shinkunas, Danielle Malone and Anthony Anderson arrested all four males.

20 year old Miguel Herrera, 20 year old Gabriel Herrada and 20 year old Shadow Franco were all charged with aggravated stalking and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The juvenile with them – a 17 year old Marathon resident – was charged with aggravated stalking.

September 28, 2014

Two men charged with beating, kicking another man

A Big Pine man was airlifted to a Miami hospital with severe injuries and two others were arrested for inflicting them during a fight Friday evening on Big Pine Key.

The victim and one of the suspects – 48 year old Richard Steepy – are neighbors. Steepy and the other suspect, 28 year old Romis Rodriguez, were working on a boat in a canal behind Steepy’s home at 6:30 p.m.

According to a witness who saw the whole incident, the 52 year old victim began to yell at the two men then picked up a handful of small rocks and threw them at Steepy and Rodriguez. As the victim turned and began walking away, STeepy and Rodriguez attacked him. They punched him numerous times, continuing to do so as the victim fell to the ground. The victim became unconscious and the two suspects began to walk away from him. Rodriguez turned around and walked back toward the victim, kicking him with the steel toed shoes he was wearing.

The victim suffered fractures in his face and was airlifted to a Miami hospital due to bleeding on his brain. Rodriguez and Steepy were charged with aggravated assault and were taken to jail.

Man arrested for leaving children in a hot car alone

A Marathon man was arrested Friday after he left two small children in his car as he shopped for groceries.

A woman noticed the small children – aged 2 and 4 – in the car alone in the parking lot of the Marathon Winn Dixie and she called the Sheriff’s Office. When Deputies John Shinkunas and Deanna Torres arrived at 7:20 p.m. they found 36 year old Claude Nix loading groceries in the trunk of the car. The two small children were in the car and appeared to be fine.

Nix told the deputies he did not understand what the problem was. He said he only left them for a short time while he bought groceries. Deputy Torres viewed store video which showed Nix had been in the store for 20 minutes.

The two children were turned over to their mother. Nix was arrested and charged with child neglect.

September 26, 2014

Detectives investigate armed robbery

Sheriff’s detectives are investigating the armed robbery of a Key Largo convenience store Thursday night. They need the public’s help to identify the two suspects in this case.

The clerk working at the Tom Thumb convenience store at the 102.6 mile marker of Highway U.S. One said the suspects, a young man and woman, entered the store just before 8 p.m. The male asked for two cartons of cigarettes.

The clerk asked to see the male’s identification to make sure he was old enough to purchase the cigarettes. At that point, the male suspect showed him a gun – he said it looked like a black semi-automatic Glock pistol. He pushed the clerk backwards, threw a black colored backpack at the clerk’s feet and demanded he put all the money from the cash register into the backpack.

At the same time, the young woman also revealed a gun – which looked like a small black colored revolver.

The two suspects took the backpack with the money and the two cartons of cigarettes and fled the store on foot.

The male suspect was approximately 18-20 years old, 5’7” to 5’9” tall with a thin build. He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with a red “Punisher” symbol on the front and black pants and was carrying a black backpack. The female suspect was 17 – 18 years old, 5’3” to 5’5” tall, thin and was wearing a black shirt and red shorts.

Anyone with information about this crime or who can help identify the suspects should contact the Sheriff’s Office or Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Detective Francisco Gaete is the lead detective and can be reached at 305-853-3211.  Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and, if a tip leads to an arrest in the case, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may also be submitted on line at

First Responder softball game

This fun event was postponed due to rain and has been rescheduled. Here is the new information:

Cleanup in Marathon

Cleanup coming up in the Marathon area....join us and help improve your community!

Fundraiser for Special Olympics

This event should be a lot of fun and will raise much needed money for Special Olympics. Join us!

Sheriff's Office talks to kids

 Captain Don Fanelli, Lt. Al Ramirez and Deputy Edward Askins talked to kids at Burton Memorial Church recently about law enforcement this past week.

Ice Cream Social for MARC

Members of the Sheriff’s Office got together at the Roth Building in the Upper Keys this week to hold an Ice Cream Social to raise money for the MARC House. They raised over $300 for the group. Thanks to Winn Dixie, Publix and Dairy Queen for donating supplies for the event.

Clean up on Stock Island

 Deputy Lazaro Valdes continues his efforts to clean up Stock Island with this pile, collected from the Second Street area.

Wild Bird Center receives some attention

The Wild Bird Center in Marathon needed some help around the grounds so the Sheriff’s Office pitched in to help.

Islamorada landmark cleaned up

 Deputy Ben Elmore organized a sprucing up of this neglected landmark in Islamorada this week. He has plans in the near future to apply a fresh coat of paint as well. Thanks to all who turned out to cut brush, mow grass and clean up trash and debris around the area. They even discovered a pleasant grotto that had been covered in brush.

September 24, 2014

Fugitive’s truck found abandoned on Big Pine Key

A truck registered to a man wanted for sexually abusing minor children in the state of Missouri was found abandoned on Big Pine Key. Detectives say they want everyone to be on the lookout for him and to call 911 if he is spotted.

43 year old Christopher Clay Smith (DOB 10/16/1970)  is wanted for statutory rape, sodomy and furnishing pornography to a minor out of Warrensburg, Missouri. On September 13th, his white Ford F150 truck was found abandoned on Cadwell Lane on Big Pine Key. Neighbors in the area said it may have been there for as long as a month.

On the floorboard of the truck, deputies recovered a page from a notebook with a note which might indicate suicidal tendencies. A copy of a life insurance policy was also found in the truck.

A thorough search of the area was completed, and photos of Smith were shown to people living in the area and to businesses in the area but no one could recall seeing him. Smith is a truck driver by trade. He is five foot eight inches tall, 180 – 200 pounds with brown hair or possibly bald.

Anyone with information about Smith should contact the Sheriff’s Office at 305-289-2351. Detective Manuel Cuervo is assigned to the case.

September 23, 2014

Download the Sheriff's Office Mobile App

If you like following the Sheriff's Office, consider downloading our Mobile App! You can view arrests and mug shots, see live calls and get traffic information, view a complete list of sexual offenders and predators living in our county complete with their photos and even send emails directly to many of our command staff if you have a question or concern.

Download the app on Google Play or from the Apple Store at now. Just search for "Monroe County Sheriff"!

Another tailgate stolen

Owners of trucks still need to be alert and make sure they lock or otherwise secure their tailgates.

The tailgate from an 2010 Ford F250 was taken from in front of a home on Third Avenue Gulf in Marathon sometime between Sunday night and Monday morning.

If your tailgate has a lock, use it. Otherwise try to park in an area which makes the tailgate difficult to access such as backed up to a wall or in a locked garage. There are locking devices that can be added as well.

Stock Island man reports being robbed at knife point

A Stock Island man told Sheriff’s deputies he was robbed at knifepoint on Front Street, Stock Island Monday night.

The 29 year old victim lives on board a boat docked near Front Street. He told Deputy Spencer Curry he was in a parking area across from Safe Harbor Marina talking on his phone at 11:15 p.m. He said a man on a bike pulled up to him, shoved him to the ground and pulled a knife, demanding money.

The victim said he emptied his pockets, but had no money. He said the suspect grabbed his phone from him and left on his bicycle, riding down Front Street toward Fourth Avenue.

Other deputies were in the area and looked for someone fitting the suspect’s description, but were unable to locate him. He is described as a white male wearing a dark colored hat and a black shirt. He was riding a light blue or green bicycle.

September 21, 2014

Woman says she was attacked

A Marathon woman, out walking her dog Friday just before 7 a.m. says she was attacked.

The victim said she was walking from her home on Stirrup Key Road toward Aviation Boulevard when she saw someone standing near a stop sign, near woods on Aviation and Stirrup Key Road. She said the person looked at her, then stepped back into the woods as if hiding.

She became nervous and started walking back home, but was confronted by the person who grabbed her arm and pulled her into the bushes. She began screaming for help and the person took off running toward Aviation Boulevard.

The subject, whom she believes was a black male, was wearing a red colored short sleeved shirt with dark pants or possibly long shorts. He was wearing some type of mask or bandana – possibly white – wrapped around his face.

Deputies responded to the area and searched for anyone matching the description. No one was found.

September 19, 2014

Sheriff’s detectives arrest man who tortured, beat dog

 Sheriff’s detectives arrest man who tortured, beat dog

Sheriff’s detectives arrested a Key Largo man. They say between July 19th and the 21st he tortured and beat his eight year old pit bull, named Diamond, eventually dumping the dog, still alive, alongside the road in a black garbage bag.

36 year old Todd Alexander is told a witness he was going to “get rid” of the dog because he was tired of the dog’s snoring. The witness said Alexander used grey duct tape to tape the dog’s mouth and nose. Alexander then allegedly left the dog that way for two days, without being able to drink water or eat food.

After two days of no food or water, according to the witness, Alexander used a metal pipe and began hitting the dog with it. He repeatedly struck the dog on the head and body as the dog yelped and cried.

Alexander then put the dog in a black garbage bag, while  still alive, and dumped her alongside Gun Club Road in Key Largo.

A passerby spotted the black bag with something moving inside. When he cut the bag open, he found the suffering dog, still alive.

Animal Control officers responded and took the dog in to the shelter; they treated the suffering animal, but the injuries were too severe. The dog reportedly suffered from internal injuries and head wounds consistent with being beaten with a metal pipe. The dog also suffered from having no food or water for over two days. Due to the severity of the injuries and the suffering being experienced by the dog, the dog had to be euthanized.

Detectives obtained a warrant for the arrest of Alexander today and he was booked into jail, charged with cruelty to animals and use of a weapon during the commission of a felony.

Cleanup on Gun Club Road, Key Largo

Last Friday, the Sheriff's Office and Community partners joined together to clean up Gun Club Road in Key Largo. Here are a few pictures of the hard work they did. Thanks to Sgt. Tom Kiffney for taking the photos.

Islamorada Community project

Deputy Ben Elmore has organized a project to spruce up the caboose belonging to the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce at the 82 mile marker bayside. He is looking for anyone who wants to help on Thursday, September 25th at 8:30 a.m. Contact him with any questions.

Zontian of the month

Sgt. Linda Mixon is the Marathon Zontian of the Month. Here she is with President Erica Rodriguez. Great job, Linda!

Girl Scouts bring treats to deputies

Girl Scouts from Troops 17 and 30 in the Upper Keys brought goodies to the Islamorada Sheriff's Substation and the Sheriff's Office Roth Building to thank them on 9/11. 

Upcoming quarterly clean up

Islamorada has “adopted” the highway mile from 88 - 89 on U.S. One and on Friday, September 26th they will be holding their quarterly cleanup of that area. Meeting time will be 8:30 at San Pedro Church. Bring gloves if you have them.

Corrections Academy class

What a good looking group! This is our current Corrections Academy class. They are in their fourth week of the academy and are working hard to get to their November 21st graduation date!

September 18, 2014

Man arrested for exposing himself to detective

A Stock Island man was arrested Wednesday after he walked up to a plain clothes detective and exposed himself.

Detective Mark Jones was parked at the intersection of 5th Avenue and Cross Street at 11:45 a.m. in an unmarked Sheriff’s Office car. 42 year old Osneil Bello Machin, who lives on 5th Avenue, reportedly walked up to the front of the vehicle, looking at the detective through the windshield.

Machin then said something the detective could not understand, unzipped his pants and pulled out his penis, shaking it at the detective while yelling something to others who were in the vicinity. He then zipped his pants back up and walked away, throwing his hands into the air.

Detective Jones placed Machin under arrest, charging him with exposure of sexual organs. He was booked into jail.

Key Largo man dies in accident

A Key Largo man who  reportedly fell into the water while stepping from his dock to his boat died yesterday.

Deputies and paramedics responded to 400 Ocean Drive at 1:10 p.m. They found the victim, 67 year old Michael Filipowich, lying on the dock with two other men trying to help him. He was breathing and vomiting up frothy water. A witness said he fell while stepping from the dock onto his boat, a 34 foot sailboat named Steel Crazy.

Filipowich was transported to Mariner’s Hospital where he was later pronounced dead. An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of his death.

September 17, 2014

Sheriff is volunteer of the year for MARC

Sheriff Rick Ramsay was named the MARC Volunteer of the Year last night. Here he is with Executive Director Diana Flenard accepting his award.

Health Department event next week

September 16, 2014

Man wanted for questioning in Miami dies after stabbing himself

A man wanted for questioning by Miami Police stabbed himself in the abdomen right after Sheriff’s deputies located him today on Big Coppitt Key.

33 year old Roy Blanco was with a woman believed to be his mother at the time of the incident, just before 3 p.m. She took an unknown number of pills and was taken to Lower Keys Hospital. He was going to be airlifted for his injuries to a Miami hospital but lost consciousness and stopped breathing  just prior to being loaded on to a trauma helicopter. He was rushed to Lower Keys Hospital where he died.

The Sheriff’s Office has notified Miami Police and they are on their way to the Keys.

Stock Island man charged with business burglary

A Stock Island man was arrested Monday, charged with burglarizing a Stock Island business Sunday night.

Video surveillance cameras at A Plus Roofing caught 43 year old Felipe Fonseca in the act of burglarizing the business. The victim, who works there, called to report his cell phone and tools stolen. He said he left them in the vicinity of the loading dock Sunday night after work. When he returned Monday morning, they were gone.

The owner of the business showed Deputy David Lariz the video and Deputy Lariz was able to identify Fonseca as the suspect. Fonseca is depicted in the video between 10 and 10:15 p.m. entering a truck and a storage area before entering the area of the loading dock. He is seen leaving the loading dock carrying several items.

As Deputy Lariz was leaving the business Monday afternoon at 2 p.m., after taking a report of the crime, he spotted Fonseca and recognized him from the video and from previous law enforcement contacts with him. Fonseca was still wearing the same clothing he had on in the video. The deputy confronted Fonseca, who eventually admitted stealing the items in question.

Fonseca was arrested. He was charged with burglary, grand theft, trespassing in a conveyance and he was taken to jail.

September 15, 2014

Detectives investigating parking lot beating

Detective Vince Weiner  from the Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit is looking for more information which might help him understand how a Marathon man wound up with severe injuries after a fight this weekend.

28 year old Michael Pietsch is  being treated at the Ryder Trauma Center in Miami for injuries he suffered during the fight in the parking lot of the Brass Monkey bar early on Saturday.

Witnesses say they saw Pietsch in a confrontation with another man outside the  bar in Marathon. The other man then reportedly left in a white colored vehicle, possibly a sport utility vehicle, southbound on the highway leaving Pietsch lying in the parking lot, unconscious.

When deputies arrived shortly after 2 a.m., they found Pietsch still unresponsive. Paramedics transported him to Fishermen’s Hospital. He was reportedly suffering from multiple brain bleeds, broken bones in his face and a spine fracture. He was taken by ambulance to the Ryder Trauma Center in Miami where he was reported to be in critical but stable condition as of Sunday.

Anyone with information about this case should call Detective Weiner at 305-289-2410. Callers may also contact Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Tipsters can remain anonymous and, if a tip leads to an arrest in the case, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may also be submitted on line at