June 1, 2015

Three charged with burglary

A phone call from an alert citizen resulted in the arrest of three people for burglary.

A man returning home at 1:30 a.m. spotted a suspicious vehicle towing a boat. The vehicle was leaving the Charley Toppino and Sons property on Rockland Key. He said it caught his eye because the vehicle was driving fast and was coming out of a gate that was usually locked. He followed the vehicle and called the Sheriff’s Office to report it.

He said the vehicle pulled in to the Circle K Store on Big Coppitt Key, but pulled out again onto the highway when the driver saw him. He continued to follow until Florida Highway Patrol Trooper McGlynn stopped it at the 20 mile marker, with the assistance of Deputy Jorge Prince. The witness then returned to Toppino’s property to give his information to Deputy Darren Jenson.

Evidence found at the scene of the burglary indicated someone had cut locks to the gate leading in, and to a tool shed. Locks were also cut to a separate part of the property, where the boat the vehicle was towing had been stored. The doors on the back of a large box truck had been forced open and a  vessel parked on the property appeared to have been entered as well. It looked like a radio had been removed from the boat.

The three people in the vehicle that was stopped were questioned. They gave inconsistent statements. The driver, 38 year old John Hayden of Bunnel, Florida, said the boat’s owner told him to take it because it had mechanical issues and needed to be worked on. In the vehicle deputies found tools and a marine radio all of which were possibly taken from the Toppino’s property.

Hayden, 26 year old Michelle Burrell of Key West and 35 year old Demetrius Randley of Summerland Key were all arrested. They were charged with burglary, possession of burglary tools, criminal mischief and loitering and they were booked into jail. They face additional charges once detectives can examine the scene and speak with victims in more detail.

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