October 31, 2014

Vehicle burglar arrested

A Palm City man was arrested Thursday, charged with two vehicle burglaries in Key Colony Beach.

The owner of a sport utility vehicle parked on Coral Lane called to report it had been burglarized between Wednesday night and Thursday morning. He said a bag was taken from inside his unlocked vehicle. Nearby surveillance video captured 23 year old Joseph Gunn in the area at the time of the vehicle burglary. The video shows Gunn taking two plastic bottles of water out of the back of a truck on Coral Lane. He is then shown walking away from the area where the SUV is parked. He is carrying a bag similar to the one reported stolen.


Deputy Nick Whiteman was able to identify Gunn from the video and when Gunn was confronted, he admitted taking the bag and the two bottles of water. He was booked into jail Thursday on two counts each of burglary and theft.

Marathon man charged with pawning stolen jewelry

A Marathon man was arrested Thursday, charged with pawning stolen jewelry.

The victim lives on Big Pine Key. She called the Sheriff’s Office after she found jewelry that belonged to her at a Marathon pawn shop. She told Deputy Nick Whiteman she let 28 year old Adam Blanco and his family stay at her house because they did not have a place to live. She said while they were staying with her, a large amount of her jewelry went missing.


She checked the pawnshop and found five of the items in the shop. The items had been pawned by Blanco. A warrant was issued for Blanco’s arrest and on Thursday he was booked into jail on charges of dealing in stolen property and fraud for providing false information to the pawn shop.

Two arrested for drugs

Two men were arrested in Marathon Thursday afternoon after they were found to have marijuana and cocaine.

Deputy Kendall Bailey was on patrol at 4:20 p.m. As he was patrolling, he was keeping an eye out for suspects that might be involved in committing an earlier crime. A notice to be on the lookout for a male and a female had been issued, with a description and the possibility they might be heading for a local hotel.

Deputy Bailey spotted a truck with a male and female sitting in the bed of the truck. They fit the BOLO description so he stopped behind the truck when it pulled in to a gas station. The deputy began asking questions of the couple in the back. The male told him they were headed for the Holiday Inn. When Deputy Bailey looked into the back of the truck, he saw a zip lock bag. Inside the bag were smaller bags with a white powder inside.

Other officers arrived as back up. Further investigation turned up marijuana, more cocaine and a large amount of cash in several different areas – in the truck, in the bed of the truck and in the pocket of the male suspect, who was identified as 26 year old Christopher Cepero of Marathon.

The driver of the vehicle said he did not know who the couple was. He said his passenger, 27 year old Jonathan Guzman of Marathon, asked him to give the couple a ride. He said Guzman also asked him to hold a large amount of cash for him. The drive handed the cash over to Deputy Bailey. A duffel bag belonging to Guzman was found to contain more marijuana and cocaine.

Cepero was charged with possession with intent to sell 18 bags of cocaine weighing 11.3 grams. He was also charged with possessing 54.8 grams of marijuana. Guzman was charged with possession with intent to sell 18.9 grams of cocaine and possession of 89.2 grams of marijuana. Two rolls of cash – a total of $5,220 – were seized as the possible proceeds of drug sales.

Bees swarm patrol car

 Deputy Dave Campbell got quite a surprise this morning. He responded to a call at the 101.5 mile marker and was out of his car for about three minutes. When he returned, he found these bees swarming his car and on the rescue vehicle that also responded. In order to get back in the vehicles, they had to call for Key Largo Fire Department to wash them down. Maybe Dave is just too sweet for his own good, but it was probably a new colony of bees looking for a new home. We would prefer they not choose to live in one of our patrol cars!

Enjoy the day - Happy Halloween!

The Sheriff's Office Administrative Offices and the Central Records office got into the spirit of Halloween today! We hope you are enjoying Halloween as much as we are!

Happy Halloween!

Traffic Enforcement Deputy John McGee is spending Halloween training this new recruit on his motorcycle skills. Happy Halloween from the Sheriff's Office!

October 30, 2014

Halloween: be careful

With Halloween coming up tomorrow, the Sheriff’s Office would like to remind people to be extra careful while driving in the evening and nighttime hours. Also, if you plan to attend any parties or other activities, make sure you plan ahead to have a sober driver available if you plan to drink alcohol.

Deputies will be out county-wide to make sure kids who are trick-or-treating are safe. Parents should ensure that small children are accompanied by either older children or responsible adults, that they carry a flashlight if possible and that their costumes have some sort of reflective material to make them visible to drivers.

In the Lower Keys, Halloween coincides with the homecoming Key West High School football game. Because of this, there may be even more teens out and about than is usual for this holiday.

The Sheriff’s Office would like to caution parents and teens alike: serving alcohol to those under the age of 21 is illegal and you will be arrested if caught doing so. Possessing alcohol when you are under 21 is also illegal and is also an offense you can and will be arrested for.

Many teens think it is fun to throw eggs, shaving cream, toilet paper and other items at cars, homes and other people. Some also like to use spray paint to “tag” property. Our officers will be out on Halloween night performing extra patrols for such activity. This type of activity is criminal mischief and, as such, is against the law. If we catch you, you will be arrested. The only time any of this type of behavior is legal would be as part of an organized, adult supervised activity with everyone involved a willing participant.

Merchants in the Florida Keys are asked to refrain from selling large amounts of shaving cream, spray paint and/or eggs to young people to help us to curtail this destructive behavior.

In Marathon, there will be a few road closures on Halloween night to increase the safety of pedestrians and children. Between sunset and 10 p.m., the intersections of Aviation Boulevard and Dolphin, Marlin and Harbor Drives will be closed. Residents with identification showing them live on these streets will be allowed to pass.

Halloween Safety tips

Halloween is a special time for children, but children don’t always know what is and is not safe. If your children are going  trick or treating on Halloween, there are several tips to follow for their safety.

·         Make sure they wear light colored costumes with plenty of reflective tape so they are visible to cars and trucks. Take a flashlight along for added visibility.
·         Look left, right and left again when crossing the street.
·         Put electronic devices away so there are no distractions.
·         If possible, have them go while it is still light outside.
·         They should be accompanied by an adult, or an older brother or sister.
·         Enter homes only if you're with a trusted adult. Only visit well-lit houses. Don't stop at dark houses. Never accept rides from strangers.
·         They should not sample candy given to them until it has been checked by an adult for possible tampering.
·         Notify a deputy if suspicious or harmful items are found in your child’s collection of treats.
·         They should stay away from homes with dogs loose in the yard.
·         Having a Halloween party is a good alternative to the tradition of trick or treating. It gives kids an opportunity to have a good time in a supervised and safe atmosphere.

Tips for people driving on Halloween:

·         Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may dart in front of cars when crossing the street.
·         Take extra time and look carefully for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.
·         Enter and exit driveways slowly and carefully.
·         Eliminate any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
·         Drive slowly, anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances.
·         Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those hours

And a few tips for pet owners:
  • Don't leave your pet out in the yard on Halloween: There are plenty of pranksters who will go out of their way to tease pets and you don’t want your dog to bite a trick-or-treater who might venture too close.
  • Trick-or-treat candy is not for pets: Chocolate is poisonous to many animals, and tin foil and cellophane candy wrappers can be hazardous if swallowed by your pet.
  • Be careful your cat or dog doesn't dart out through the open door when you open it for trick or treaters.

Visit our web site at www.keysso.net for more fun information about Halloween Safety.

October 29, 2014

Drug arrest at Key Largo hotel

An alert hotel maid was instrumental in the arrest of a man on drug charges Saturday.

The maid entered the hotel room to clean it Saturday afternoon and found a bag of what she believed to be marijuana in the television cabinet. She notified the hotel office and they called the Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies Ben Elmore, James Jenkins and Jacques Rozek responded. They found the occupant of the room, who at first said the marijuana was in the room when he checked in, then changed his story and admitted it was his. The marijuana was vacuum sealed in 20 separate bags of 9 grams each. 35 year old Gilbert Velilla of Miami was arrested, he was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell and with possessing drug paraphernalia after an electronic scale was found in Velilla’s bag.


Velilla was booked into jail on the charges.

Children's Day, Key West

A crew from our Corrections Bureau set up a booth at Children's Day in Key West Sunday. They had a great time handing out goodies and talking to kids and their families about crime prevention.

Trunk or Treat!

Marathon Lt. Derek Paul attended the Stanley Switlik School Halloween Carnival this week participating in Trunk or Treat.

October 27, 2014

Helping Stanley Switlik School

A group of dedicated Sheriff’s Office members got together and helped to spread mulch on the playground at Stanley Switlik School in Marathon. The mulch will make the playground much safer (not to mention softer) for kids to play on at the school.
 

Walking for cancer cure

This wonderful group from the Sheriff's Office participated in the Cancer Walk held in Key West this past weekend. Way to go for a great cause!

Candy for kids

Sheriff’s Office dispatchers Ben Fox, Hailey Davis and Lt. Charlene Sprinkle-Huff with the candy packages they delivered to the Domestic Abuse Shelter this week. Also helping: Ted Sweet and Erika Cangemi and everyone who donated candy. The kids were very excited!!!

Sergeant notices danger to swimmers

Sgt. Mike DiGiovanni recently noticed the beach at Library Beach Park in Islamorada was located very near to an active boating canal. When he saw swimmers trying to cross the canal, he decided to take action and had warning signs put up to alert swimmers of the boat traffic. Great job at seeing a problem and fixing it, Mike!

Deputies visit with kids

Deputies James Hager and Gil Gonzalez spoke to kids in the Head Start program at Stanley Switlik School. The kids learned about Halloween Safety, Bicycle Safety and when and how to call 911. The kids also got a tour of a patrol car and had the opportunity to see Deputy Gonzalez’ SWAT equipment.

Long-time Detention Deputy retires

Detention Deputy Anthony Williams was honored recently for his service as he leaves the Sheriff’s Office for a well-deserved retirement. Here he is, pictured with his wife, Programs Asst. Sharee Williams, and others who worked with him at the Stock Island Detention Center. He will be missed.

Detective recognized for his work

The State Attorney’s Office recognized Major Crimes Detective Manny Cuervo at the Law Enforcement Luncheon this week for his work on a difficult aggravated child abuse case from earlier this year.

MARC House donation

Clients of the MARC House gratefully accepted a check for $2,010 raised during the recent softball game between the Sheriff’s Office and Key West Police. Here is Jo Socha, Sheriff Ramsay, Polly Deihl, Jennifer McGary, Amalia Sutton and Rosemary Skrobert.

Special Olympics donation

Sheriff Rick Ramsay, Jo Socha and Polly Deihl hand over a check for $3,700 raised at the recent Tip-a-Cop fund raiser at Boondock’s Restaurant. The money goes to Special Olympics. Athletes Amanda Kirkman and Linnea Edwards accepted the check.

Detectives investigate death of baby

Major Crimes Detective Manny Cuervo has been assigned to investigate the death of a two month old baby over the weekend.

Although an autopsy has not yet been done to determine the cause of the child’s death, Detective Cuervo says he sees no obvious signs of foul play involved. The 24 year old mother, Shacoya Blackman, said she woke just after 9 a.m. on Sunday at her home on Miriam Street, Stock Island to find her daughter, Lyric Blackman, not breathing. Deputy Matt Dowling and Sgt. Ken Fricke responded first to the scene and Sgt. Fricke began performing CPR on the child. Paramedics arrived and the child was rushed to the hospital, but could not be revived.

An autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow and the investigation into the circumstances is ongoing.

October 26, 2014

Vehicle burglar caught

Thanks to an observant deputy working at Fantasy Fest, a man is in custody for vehicle burglaries in Key Haven and on Lower Sugarloaf Key.

Deputy David Lariz had seen video of the burglary suspect and the suspect’s vehicle, circulated in a notice to be on the lookout to all deputies county-wide. Detectives working on the case had identified the vehicle in the video as an Infiniti with a vanity plate of some sort on the front and a sunroof. In the video the general size, build and appearance of the suspect could also be seen clearly.

Deputy Lariz was working at Fantasy Fest Saturday afternoon at the corner of Greene and Simonton Streets when he spotted a car matching the suspect vehicle. The driver was also similar in appearance and build to the suspect in the video. He stopped the car and asked the driver for his identification.

The driver, 23 year old Kenneth Hathaway is from Virginia and a check on his record showed he is wanted in that state for burglary and grand theft. He gave Deputy Lariz a military dependent identification and claimed to be staying on base at the Fly Navy building. A check with Navy authorities revealed he was not staying there. He gave other inconsistent information as he was being questioned.

Detectives David Brummer and Diane Mimosa responded and Hathaway was confronted with the existence of video showing him and his car at several burglary scenes. He told detectives he had burglarized cars in Key Haven and on Lower Sugarloaf Key. He said he was looking mainly for cash, but took other items as well.

He said he got caught breaking into one vehicle on Sugarloaf. He said after that he was afraid he’d get caught so he threw all the items he stole into the mangroves.


Hathaway was arrested. He was charged with a total of 5 counts of burglary of a vehicle and two counts of theft. Detectives are continuing to investigate and he may face more charges in the future.

October 24, 2014

Detectives investigate vehicle burglaries

video

 Sheriff’s detectives are investigating at least 21 vehicle burglaries that have taken place over the past two days in the neighborhood of Key Haven – in the vicinity of Stock Island - and on Lower Sugarloaf Key.

Detectives have two videos which indicate the crimes may have been committed by the same suspect.  At least three vehicles were entered on Bougainvillea Avenue in Key Haven, with a purse and credit cards taken from one of the cars and nothing taken from the other two. Those crimes were reported to the Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday morning. Three more vehicles were entered on Tamarind Road on Sugarloaf Key and were also reported Wednesday morning.

This morning, the Sheriff’s Office received reports of vehicles on Labrisa Lane, Marlin Drive, Jamaica Lane and Sugarloaf Boulevard entered overnight. Detectives say at least 15 vehicles were entered and the suspect took loose change, a radar detector and sunglasses from those vehicles.

In all of these cases, the vehicles were left unlocked. In two cases, video surveillance captured the suspect committing the crimes. If you recognize the suspect and/or his vehicle contact the Sheriff’s Office. 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
www.tipsubmit.com or via a text message to 274637 using the keyword TIP136.


Remember to always lock your car doors. Most vehicle burglaries are crimes of opportunity and suspects will generally only enter those vehicles that are left unlocked. Also remove valuables from your vehicle – many times suspects choose vehicles based on items they can see visible inside.

Stock Island man arrested for cocaine

A Stock Island man was arrested and charged with possessing a large amount of cocaine after a search warrant was served at his home Thursday afternoon.

Detectives served the warrant at 3:30 p.m. at F3 Cross Street, at the rear apartment. They found 51 year old Renan Viart Sotolongo at home. Inside, the search turned up 141 grams of cocaine in various locations. They also found $8,021 in cash. Sotolongo was arrested and charged with trafficking in cocaine.

Working together on the service of the search warrant were Sheriff's Office / Monroe HIDTA,Key West HIDTA/Special Investigations, agents from Homeland Security Investigations, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

October 22, 2014

Be careful: Fantasy Fest and Halloween coming up

With Fantasy Fest this week and Halloween coming up next week, the Sheriff’s Office would like to remind people to be extra careful while driving in heavy event traffic. Also, if you plan to attend any parties or other activities, make sure you plan ahead to have a sober driver available if you plan to drink alcohol.

Although most Fantasy Fest activities take place in the city of Key West, the Sheriff’s Office will be helping out with extra security at many city events and will also be performing extra patrols to make sure everyone is safe on our roadways.

Traffic is expected to be especially heavy southbound into the city of Key West Saturday in the late afternoon and then again late in the evening as people travel to and from the Fantasy Fest parade. Sheriff’s Office road patrol and traffic enforcement deputies will all be working to ensure traffic keeps moving, and that no one is driving dangerously.

The following week, Halloween falls on Friday and deputies will be out county-wide to make sure kids who are trick-or-treating are safe. Parents should ensure that small children are accompanied by either older children or responsible adults, that they carry a flashlight if possible and that their costumes have some sort of reflective material to make them visible to drivers.

In the Lower Keys, Halloween coincides with the homecoming Key West High School football game. Because of this, there may be even more teens out and about than is usual for this holiday.

The Sheriff’s Office would like to caution parents and teens alike: serving alcohol to those under the age of 21 is illegal and you will be arrested if caught doing so. Possessing alcohol when you are under 21 is also illegal and is also an offense you can and will be arrested for.

Many teens think it is fun to throw eggs, shaving cream, toilet paper and other items at cars, homes and other people. Some also like to use spray paint to “tag” property. Our officers will be out on Halloween night performing extra patrols for such activity. This type of activity is criminal mischief and, as such, is against the law. If we catch you, you will be arrested. The only time any of this type of behavior is legal would be as part of an organized, adult supervised activity with everyone involved a willing participant.

Merchants in the Florida Keys are asked to refrain from selling large amounts of shaving cream, spray paint and/or eggs to young people to help us to curtail this destructive behavior.


In Marathon, there will be a few road closures on Halloween night to increase the safety of pedestrians and children. Between sunset and 10 p.m., the intersections of Aviation Boulevard and Dolphin, Marlin and Harbor Drives will be closed. Residents with identification showing them live on these streets will be allowed to pass.

Two charged with grand theft from construction project

Two men were arrested as they headed out of the county with three rolls of fencing material stolen from a construction project on Card Sound Road.

A passing motorist saw a van parked on the shoulder of the roadway on State Road 905 in a construction zone at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday. The motorist noticed three large rolls of construction fencing material in the back of the van and thought it was suspicious, so he stopped at Ocean Reef to report it to Ocean Reef Public Safety. Ocean Reef Public Safety in turn reported it to the Sheriff’s Office.

Deputy Kyle Page and Sgt. Jason Madnick stopped the van northbound on Card Sound Road. They were backed up by Deputy Greg LaRochelle. The men inside the van were identified as 39 year old Darwin Velasquez of Homestead and 22 year old Romnel Zelaya of Palm Springs, Florida.

The two suspects were separated. Deputies spoke to both of them. They both claimed to have been coming to the Keys to go fishing. They both said once they reached the Keys they realized they had forgotten their fishing equipment. Each man blamed the theft of the fencing material on the other man.

Tags found on the rolls of fencing matched those on fencing material found at the construction site. Both men were arrested and charged with grand theft. They were booked into jail.

October 21, 2014

Two men charged with strong armed robbery

Two men, drinking with a third man were arrested after they attacked him, beat him and robbed him.

The three men were at a trailer on Maloney Avenue drinking together. The victim said 23 year old Robert Morejon and 28 year old William Meeks objected to the tone of voice with which the victim was talking to them. Morejon reportedly got up and began to hit the victim in the head, then choked him. Meeks joined in the beating. The two then took cash from the victim’s pockets before he said he was able to escape from the residence.

The victim said he walked down Maloney Avenue to an apartment complex where he began knocking on doors for help. Residents of the apartment complex called the Sheriff’s Office to report him as a suspicious person. Deputies Ian Cooper and Josh Gordon responded and found the victim covered in blood with cuts and bruises all over his face and head.

Morejon and Meeks were found still at the trailer where the attack took place. They were arrested, charged with strong armed robbery and battery. Meeks resisted deputy’s attempts to place him into custody so he was also charged with resisting arrest.


Miami man repeatedly arrested for lobster violations, faces high bond

Deputy Wilfredo Guerra with illegally caught tails


A Miami man was arrested Saturday, charged with having undersized wrung lobster tails. The man has been arrested multiple times over the past few years on the same type of violations.

Deputy Wilfredo Guerra was on patrol at 4 a.m. near Fiesta Key Marina on the bayside when he spotted a white Carolina skiff with one male occupant. The man appeared to be pulling traps, then wringing lobster tails and placing them into a mesh bag. As the deputy watched, the man threw two bags full of wrung tails onto the shoreline from his boat, then returned to the bay where he continued pulling traps.

At 6 a.m., Deputy Guerra watched the man repeat the process of pulling up to shore, wringing tails and throwing bags of tails onto the shore.

Deputy Guerra measures undersized lobster tails
The man – identified as 59 year old Jorge Vargas of Miami – then drove his vessel to the marina and docked it. He got into a black Ford Ranger truck and drove to the shoreline to pick up the bags of lobster. At that point, Deputy Guerra confronted him.

Vargas was caught with 267 wrung tails. Out of those, 246 were undersized. He was cited for possession of undersized lobster, possession of over the limit lobster and possession of wrung lobster tails. Vargas was booked into jail on the charges.

A records check revealed Vargas had been cited two times before during the past three years in the Florida Keys; those previous cases also involved possession of over 300 wrung tails and with possessing stone crab out of season.

While Vargas was being held in jail, a warrant was issued for him Monday for failure to appear in court for one of the previous cases from 2011. The judge set bond on the warrant at $1.4 million. 

October 17, 2014

Search warrants lead to drug arrests

A search warrant on Stock Island led to an arrest on drug charges Thursday.

Detectives from the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Unit and from Lower Keys Criminal Investigations served the warrant Thursday morning at 50 12th Avenue. 23 year old Michael McIntosh was arrested after detectives found Alprazolam pills in his bedroom for which he did not have a prescription. He was charged with possession of a controlled substance and he was booked into jail.

A second search warrant was served at 28177 Julia Avenue on Little Torch Key Thursday evening by Special Investigations detectives and the Sheriff’s Office SWAT team.

In the pocket of one resident, 23 year old Max Sanchez, detectives found 7.9 grams of heroin. They also found seven plastic bags of cocaine  and another 7.4 grams of heroin in a bedroom. All the Heroin found was in pill form – a total of 158 pills of the illegal substance were recovered. Numerous items of drug paraphernalia were also found in the house, along with a small amount of marijuana, $739 in cash and 26 rounds of 12 gauge shotgun ammunition.

A check on Sanchez revealed he is a convicted felon who had failed to register as required by state law. He was arrested. He was charged with trafficking in heroin, possession of  cocaine with intent to sell, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of ammunition by a convicted felon and failing to register as a convicted felon. He was booked into jail.

Marathon woman falls victim to scam

A Marathon woman is out $2,000 after falling victim to a scam.

The victim told Deputy Matthew O’Neill she received a call from someone who said he was her grandson. He said he’d been in an accident and his car had been impounded. He told her he needed $2,000  to get his vehicle back. He instructed her to obtain four green dot cash cards and to call him back.

She purchased the cards and then received a second call from someone identifying themselves as a “Officer Foley” from the Arcadia Police Department. He asked her for the green dot card numbers to cash the cards. After she gave him the numbers, he told her to go get an additional $2,000 worth of cards.

At that point she became suspicious and called the Arcadia Police Department. They told her they had no “Officer Foley” working for them. She then called her grandson who told her he’d not been involved in an accident. She checked the card balances and they had been emptied of their value.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind everyone that there are many similar scams being used by criminals. If you receive a phone call from anyone asking you to pay them using gift cards, cash cards, or demanding that you wire money somewhere you should immediately suspect a scam and call the Sheriff’s Office. If a person is claiming a relative is in trouble, is being held in lieu of money, or has been in an accident, we can help you to check into the claim. There is always time to make phone calls and verify information before you make such an expensive mistake.

October 16, 2014

Tip from Monroe County leads to chop shop bust in Hendry County

Sheriff’s detectives from Monroe County Sheriff’s Office were instrumental in providing information which led to the bust of a chop shop in Hendry County. The chop shop was found to have stolen property from at least five different Florida jurisdictions including a stolen truck and possibly a stolen vessel and trailer from Monroe County.

Detectives Francisco Gaete and Ian Barnett were assigned to investigate the stolen vehicle cases. During the course of their investigation, they received a tip the property could be found at a location on Pioneer 16th Street in Hendry County. The tip came from one of the Monroe County victims, who spotted a distinctive custom made aluminum fuel tank on Craig’s list. The fuel tank was installed in the bed of his truck, which had been stolen from his home in Key Largo between the night of October 5th and the morning of the 6th. The victim had a friend call the contact number on Craig’s list and the friend was told where the tank was being stored, at the Pioneer 16th Street location. The detectives called Hendry County Sheriff’s Office and relayed the information to them.

Investigators from Hendry County went to that location on Tuesday and contacted two men who allowed them onto the property. Investigators found tools, vehicle parts and other property. Numerous stolen ATVs, boats, trailers and automobiles were recovered during the investigation. The property had been stolen from various jurisdictions including Monroe County, Miami Dade, Broward County, Pembroke Pines and Hillsborough County.

The two men were arrested. 49 year old Mitchell Wayne Everett of Hendry County and 49 year old Ernesto Gutierrez Garcia of Hialeah were both charged in connection with the case. Charges from Monroe County and the other jurisdictions will likely follow.

For more details about this case, contact the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office.

Here are a couple of links to stories in the media about this case:






October 13, 2014

Power outage tomorrow morning Middle Keys

There will be a planned power outage Tuesday morning between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. in the Middle Keys between Vaca Cut and Conch Key. Please pass this information along to all your friends so no one will be surprised when it takes place. I'm sure there will be more information coming from Florida Keys Electric Coop. When I get any more info I will share it here on Facebook.

Woman charged with burglary

A Marathon woman was arrested for burglarizing her ex-boyfriend’s residence.

The victim called the Sheriff’s Office at 7:30 p.m. Friday after he returned home Friday to discover his gold chain gone. When he called his ex-girlfriend, 49 year old Sherry Thilmont about it, she told him she had been in his Layton residence earlier in the day. She said she took a nap in his bed and took his gold chain.

Two neighbors told Deputy Deanna Torres they saw Thilmont’s car at the residence for about an hour earlier in the day.

Thilmont was arrested by Sgt. Chuck Kellenberger at a Marathon bar. She still had the stolen chain, which was returned to the owner. She was charged with burglary and grand theft and she was booked into jail.

Scammers strike again

The Sheriff’s Office took a report of a local business owner who lost money to a scammer.

It is a scam which the Sheriff’s Office and Keys Energy Services have talked about many times in the recent past. The victim owns a business on Ramrod Key. She received a call Friday afternoon from someone claiming to be from Keys Energy Services. The caller said she hadn’t paid her electric bill and  there was a crew on the way to turn off her power. He told her the only way to keep the power on was to pay the balance of the bill with a cash card.

The victim bought a cash card for the balance he said she owed. She then called him and gave him the confirmation number from the card so he would be able to access the money. After she got off the phone with the scammer, she called Keys Energy Services to check with them. They told her she’d been the victim of a scam.

Nude man arrested in Marathon

A man dancing nude on the side of the highway in Marathon was arrested Sunday evening.

The reporting person said he saw 60 year old Marino Sanchez at the entrance to the Marathon Government Center just before 6 p.m. Sunday. Sanchez was nude, and was dancing around. When Deputies Danielle Malone and Anthony Anderson arrived, Sanchez was no longer in that location. He was found in a nearby wooded area, still unclothed.

Sanchez was arrested. He was charged with indecent exposure and he was taken to jail where he received inmate clothing compliments of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Corrections.

Search warrant leads to drug arrest

A Stock Island man was arrested Friday after a search warrant at his Roberta Street home turned up cocaine, marijuana and alprazolam.

The search warrant was served Friday at 1:30 p.m. at 15 Roberta Street. 67 year old Pedro Torres was at home at the time the warrant was served. Inside the home, officers found marijuana and cocaine in several different areas. They also found many items of drug paraphernalia. In an unlabeled pill bottle they found 38 alprazolam pills which Torres did not have a prescription for.

Torres was arrested. He was charged with possession of cocaine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia. He was also charged with trafficking in a controlled substance.

The warrant was served by Monroe County Sheriff’s Office HIDTA detectives, Homeland Security Investigations, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Key West Police Special Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

Man arrested for stealing car

A Key West man was charged with stealing a car from a Sugarloaf Key man on Thursday.

The victim called the Sheriff’s Office on Thursday to report his 2006 BMW had been stolen along with the keys to his residence on Sugarloaf Key. He told Deputy Kim Trullender 20 year old Kristaps Klipe of Key West had stayed at his house the night of the 8th. He said he knows Klipe because they work together at a Key West guest house. He said when he woke up, his car and his keys were both gone.

A notice to be on the lookout for the car was issued. At 9 a.m. Thursday, Detective Dave Chavka was notified by Key West Police that the suspect was arrested in Key West for stealing another car – also a BMW. Klipe was in KWPD custody at the Publix Supermarket and had the Sugarloaf Key victim’s keys in his pocket, minus the car key.

The stolen 2006 BMW was found in the parking lot of the Circle K convenience store on North Roosevelt Boulevard and Kennedy Drive. The key was in it and the gas tank was empty.

Klipe was booked into jail on charges relating to the Key West Police case. He was also charged with grand theft of the vehicle from Sugarloaf Key.

October 10, 2014

Detectives release identity of man found dead near sailboat

Detectives are releasing the identity of the man found dead last Friday near his boat at the Marathon City Marina. They say an autopsy indicates there was no foul play involved in his death and that the death appears to be natural.

Major Crimes Detective Manny Cuervo said he has exhausted all leads in finding the next of kin for the dead man, 64 year old Bruce Stuart. He is hoping someone has information which might help him notify Stuart’s family of his death. Detective Cuervo can be reached at 305-293-7475 or mcuervo@keysso.net.


Stuart’s friends called the Sheriff’s Office after they pulled him from the water and began performing CPR at 11:20 p.m. Friday. They told Deputy Rosary Ponce the victim had been drinking with them since the afternoon. One friend said she took him back to his boat at 10:30 p.m. and left him sitting on board. She said she and another friend went back to check on him about half an hour later and he wasn’t on the boat. That is when she saw him in the water. She pulled him onto the boat and started CPR and called for help. Stuart was pronounced dead by paramedics who responded to the scene.

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.

October 7, 2014

Sheriff's Office attends safety days

 The Sheriff's Office attended safety days this past weekend at Home Depot in Marathon and Key West, and at K-Mart in Key Largo and Marathon. Here are a few pictures.....





Sheriff's Animal Farm open Sunday October 12th

The Sheriff's Animal Farm will be open this Sunday October 12th, between 1 - 3 p.m. Bring the family and come visit the animals at the farm, including horses, a cow, pigs, goats, bunnies, alligators, tropical birds, Kinkajous, Sloths, a Lemur, Kramer the Emu, a family of Patagonian Cavys, a skunk, an opossum, tortoises and turtles, snakes and many more. It is free of charge, but donations are welcomed because that is how the farm is sustained.

The farm is located just off of College Road, on Stock Island, at the Sheriff’s Office Headquarters complex. Groups may schedule special tours at the farm by calling Farmer Jeanne Selander at 305-293-7300. Visits to the farm are free, and donations are welcome.


Two arrested, one wanted for conspiracy to commit insurance fraud

Detective Francisco Gaete investigated the case along with Detective Laura Migala with the State of Florida Division of Insurance Fraud.  They say two men and a woman conspired together to sell a vehicle – a grey colored 2013 Infinity G35 -  for between $2,500 and $3,500 in cash to someone who would “make it disappear”. The car is valued at $36,000. They then planned to report it stolen to collect on insurance.

The two men were acquainted with each other, but met again while in the Plantation Key jail. One of them – 40 year old Amaury Medero of Miami – was arrested in December of 2013 after he was caught stealing customer information from a computer at an auto parts store in Key Largo. The other man – 48 year old Ricardo Jimenez of Cape Coral, Florida – was arrested in May for stealing a boat, motor and trailer from Islamorada and then attempting to flee from deputies.

According to Detective Gaete, while in jail Medero made contact with an outside source and arranged for the sale of the vehicle for Jimenez. The girlfriend of Jimenez, 33 year old Carolina Madruga of Cape Coral, Florida was the owner of the vehicle and was also involved in discussions related to the  fraud case. She was not in jail and had control of the vehicle.

Jimenez gave Madruga contact information for the outside source and she arranged for the sale of the car to take place. On July 22nd, Medero was released from jail. He picked up the car from Madruga. As of this date, the car is still missing and the location of Medero is unknown.

On August 28th, Madruga reported the vehicle stolen to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office. The following day she filed an insurance claim on the car with 21st Century Centennial Insurance Company.

Warrants were issued for all three suspects. Jimenez, who was still in jail when the warrants were issued, was charged Monday with conspiracy to commit insurance fraud; Madruga was arrested on the same charges today (Tuesday) as she left the Plantation Key Jail after visiting Jimenez. Medero is still wanted on the outstanding warrant. He is also wanted on an outstanding warrant out of Lee County for failure to appear in court.


Anyone who knows where Medero is, or where the missing vehicle is should contact Detective Francisco Gaete at 305-853-3211. Callers may also 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 number is 1-800-346-TIPS and tips may also be submitted on line at www.tipsubmit.com.

Man charged with business burglary

A Marathon man is in jail, charged with stealing an entire prime rib roast from his former employer, Tarpon Creek Bar and Grill in Marathon.

The crime was reported September 12th. Deputy Rosary Ponce responded to the restaurant and spoke with the manager. The manager said another employee told her a prime rib roast had disappeared from where it was stored, in a walk in cooler. A surveillance video of the outside of the cooler showed 54 year old Frederick Jones taking the roast. She recognized him as an employee who used to work for the business.


A warrant was issued for Jones arrest on charges if burglary and theft. Today Sgt. Chuck Kellenberger found Jones at the Marathon Post Office and placed him under arrest. He was booked into jail.

Remembering Deputy Frank Adams, killed in the line of duty

 Today is the anniversary of the death of Deputy Frank Adams,  killed in the line of duty 113 years ago on October 7th, 1901.  Deputy Frank Adams was the first of seven Sheriff’s deputies killed in the line of duty in Monroe County.

Deputy Adams was shot and killed while making an arrest. Two drunken men started fighting near Jackson Square in Key West. They separated and one of the men began to use profane language as he walked up Thomas Street. Deputy Adams, who was sitting near the corner of Southard and Thomas Streets, arrested the man and attempted to take him to jail, but the man resisted and Deputy Adams called out for assistance.

Two men named Fleming and Gabriel took hold of the man to assist Adams. The suspect’s brother pushed some bystanders aside and said that he would not allow them to take his brother to jail. Deputy Adams released the first man he had arrested and grabbed the brother. They began to struggle, and a pistol shot rang out. When the first shot rang out all the bystanders with the exception of one, a mate on the steamer Laurel, ran away; the two men holding the arrested man let him go and fled also.

Adams was shot in the arm, and fell to the ground, with the man who shot him falling on top of him. Adams was shot several more times. One bullet hit him in the left chest, penetrating his heart and another wounded him in the face. After shooting Adams, the shooter got up and ran down Southard Street toward what was then the Government Reservation.

A large crowd soon gathered around the body of Deputy Adams and the mate from the Laurel - the only one to stay at the scene. The mate told the crowd how the murder had happened. Deputy Adam’s body was taken home.

The following day the shooter, Robert J. Frank, was caught and identified by the mate from the Laurel as the person who shot and killed Adams. He was arrested for murdering the deputy. At the preliminary hearing Robert Frank admitted to the shooting and said that he was sorry for it. He said, however, that he would have shot anyone who tried to arrest him.


October 6, 2014

Marijuana deal gone bad leads to battery

Sheriff’s deputies arrested a man who hit another man because he gave him money for marijuana, but never received the drugs.

Deputy Tyler Blanton responded to the parking lot of the Brass Monkey just before 1 a.m. today where he met with the suspect and the victim in the case. The victim had a laceration underneath his eye. He said 49 year old Richard Michalski of Marathon hit him after an argument over money. He said Michalski gave him $300 for a quarter pound of marijuana two weeks ago. He said he never delivered the marijuana to Michalski who now wanted his money back.

The victim said he was in his car when Michalski confronted him about the money. He said after the confrontation, Michalski went into the Brass Monkey for about an hour. He said Michalski then came out of the bar and confronted him again, this time hitting him through the open window of the car.

Because Michalski’s fist entered the victim’s vehicle during the confrontation, Michalski was charged with burglary with battery on the occupant and with battery. He was booked into jail.

October 4, 2014

Marathon man found dead in the water near his boat

A Marathon man who lived on board a boat offshore of the City Marina in Marathon was found by friends, dead in the water near his boat Friday night.

His friends called the Sheriff’s Office after they pulled him from the water and began performing CPR at 11:20 p.m. They told Deputy Rosary Ponce the 64 year old victim had been drinking with them since the afternoon. One friend said she took him back to his boat at 10:30 p.m. and left him sitting on board, highly intoxicated. She said she and another friend went back to check on him about half an hour later and he wasn’t on the boat. That is when she saw him in the water. She pulled him onto the boat and started CPR and called for help.


Detective Manuel Cuervo from the Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit responded and will be investigating the death. There were no obvious signs of foul play discovered. An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of the victim’s death. The victim’s name is not being released because Detective Cuervo has not yet notified his family of his death.