April 30, 2015

Communications Division video

MarathonFlorida.com recently put together this great video showing our Communications Division in action. Take a look!

This week marks anniversary of officer’s death

Monroe County – This week marks the anniversary of the line-of-duty death of Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Alexander. Deputy Alexander died in a traffic accident May 3rd, 1998 while working road patrol for the Sheriff's Office in the Key Largo district.

He had just left roll call at the Plantation Key Substation and was on the way to his duty station at the Ocean Reef Resort. For some reason, he pulled off of the highway and onto Val Jean Way, in Tavernier. He was stopped at a stop sign at Val Jean Way and Highway U.S. One when he pulled out into the path on an oncoming semi-tractor trailer truck, and was broadsided on the driver’s side of his vehicle by the truck.

Deputy Alexander had worked for the Monroe County Sheriff's Office for just less than a year. He’d previously worked for the Miami-Dade Police Department for 16 years, leaving that department as a lieutenant. He worked for the Sheriff’s Office on the midnight shift as a deputy at the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo. He was also on the Monroe County Sheriff's Office Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team.

April 29, 2015

Accident with road block

Update: 10:10 a.m. - Northbound traffic is now moving at the 78 mile marker.

Road block at the 78mm. Dump truck collided with another vehicle. truck is on its side and debris is in the road.

Man arrested for giving false information

A 19 year old man from Summerland Key was arrested Tuesday, charged with giving false information to law enforcement during the course of a home invasion robbery investigation.

The crime took place on May 27th of last year on Grassy Key. During the robbery, shots were fired and one man was hit. A lengthy investigation took place and a number of people were arrested in connection with the crime, which turned out to be drug related.

During the investigation, 19 year old Jacob Paquette gave false information to deputies and detectives. He later admitted to the falsehoods.

On Tuesday, he was charged with making a false report to a law enforcement officer. He was booked into jail on the charges.

Vehicle hits bicyclist, Islamorada

A vehicle struck a pedestrian this morning in Islamorada. The bicyclist was airlifted by Trauma Star to the Ryder Trauma Center in Miami to be treated for his injuries. The crash took place at midnight at the 84.5mm of the highway. The roadway was closed for approximately an hour and a half, but traffic was diverted onto the old highway. Florida Highway Patrol is the investigating agency in this case.

April 28, 2015

Lower Keys - Alcohol Coalition Checks

On April 23, 2015, The Special Investigations Division conducted an operation checking businesses that sell alcohol in the Lower Keys.  Twelve businesses were checked including restaurants, convenience stores and bars.  Two of the businesses served alcohol to a minor during the checks.  The two clerks who sold the alcohol were issued Notices to Appear before a Monroe County Judge. 

The following are a list of the Businesses, and attendants who sold the alcohol:

Dion’s Quickmart –  30989 Avenue A, Big Pine Key, FL. Attendant: Mary E. Whylie, 53 years of age.  Notice to appear issued (NTA).

Murray’s Market –  24550 Overseas Highway, Summerland Key, FL.  Attendant: Tracy L. Bryson, 51 years of age.  Notice to appear issued (NTA).

The Sale Clerk violations are:

Up to 60 days in jail, a $500.00 fine, $235.00 in court cost, $75.00 in cost of prosecution, and $40.00 in 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.

April 27, 2015

Motorcycle event may impact weekend traffic

A semi-annual motorcycle event may impact traffic in the Upper Keys Sunday morning.

The Miami-Dade Police Officer Assistance Trust (POAT) will be riding Sunday, May 3rd, starting from Miami at 9 a.m. The ride will continue southbound into the Keys on Highway U.S. One, ending at the Postcard Inn in Islamorada.

All proceeds from the event benefit the surviving children of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.

In the past, this event has caused traffic slow-downs in the upper Keys as the hundreds of riders progress southbound.

For more information, contact Rudy Gonzalez at copsrideforkids@aol.com.

Man arrested for burglary of sailboat

A 30 year old Marathon man was arrested Sunday for entering an elderly man’s live-aboard sailboat while the owner was at home and refusing to leave when asked to.

The 93 year old victim told Deputy Kendall Baily he was sleeping in his boat docked at the City Marina in Marathon at 4 a.m. when he heard Brandon Funkhouser enter his sailboat. The victim told Funkhouser to leave but instead, Funkhouser sat down, went through his belongings and then went to sleep.

The victim went to a neighbor’s boat and asked the neighbor to call the Sheriff’s Office for help. When deputies arrived, Funkhouser was asleep on the couch in the sailboat, with a gift bag on his head. They were at first unable to wake him, but he finally woke up and was escorted off the vessel.

Funkhouser was charged with burglary of an occupied dwelling. He was also charged with criminal mischief because he damaged the entrance to the sailboat.

April 26, 2015

More info about apprehension of escaped inmate

Here is the press release about the apprehension of our escaped inmate by Florida City Police.

Update: Escaped Inmate apprehended

Florida City Police just took our escaped inmate – Sean Michael Stacey – into custody. He will be returned to Monroe County to face escape charges.

For details of the apprehension please contact Florida City Police.

Escaped inmate still missing; cash reward offered for information.

An inmate from the Plantation Key jail facility who escaped from custody Friday is still at large. A Crime Stoppers reward is being offered for information leading to his arrest on escape charges.

Detectives are asking for the public’s assistance in locating escapee Sean Michael Stacey who is 37 years old and is from the Florida City area. Stacey was working outside the jail facility as a maintenance trusty for Monroe County Public Works when he went missing. He was last seen in the area of High Point Road on Plantation Key at 4 p.m. Friday. His orange jail jumpsuit was recovered nearby.

Stacey is 6 feet tall, 200 pounds with blue eyes and short red hair. He has been in jail since September 2014 on charges of burglary, grand theft and criminal mischief.

There is a Crime Stoppers reward of up to $1,000 for information which helps to locate and recover Stacey. Tipsters can remain completely anonymous. 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.

Trailer fire in Marathon

Fire damaged a trailer on 105th Street in Marathon Saturday. (photo taken by Deputy Nick Whiteman).

When Deputy Nick Whiteman arrived just after noon he found the trailer partially engulfed in flames. He ensured no one was inside and that surrounding structures were evacuated. Firefighters arrived and extinguished the blaze.

There were several people living on the property, outside. One in a tent next to the trailer. There were numerous extension cords both inside and outside the trailer, which appeared to be providing electricity to those outside living areas.

The Fire Marshal’s Office will be investigating the cause of the blaze.

April 24, 2015

Inmate escapes while working as trusty

An inmate from the Plantation Key jail facility escaped from custody today while working as a trusty.

37 year old Sean Michael Stacey was working outside the jail facility as a maintenance trusty for Monroe County Public Works when he went missing. He was last seen in the area of High Point Road on Plantation Key at 4 p.m. His orange jail jumpsuit was recovered nearby.

Stacey is 6 feet tall, 200 pounds with blue eyes and short red hair. He has been in jail since September 2014 on charges of burglary, grand theft and criminal mischief.

Stacey is from the Florida City area and law enforcement in that area has been notified and is helping to look for him. Anyone who sees Stacey or has any information which might help locate him should call the Sheriff’s Office immediately.

DJJ Youth Success Luncheon

The Sheriff’s Juvenile Programs Unit and Farmer Jeanne Selander were on hand at the DJJ Youth Success luncheon last Friday to celebrate our community’s youth and all the successes they have had over the past year in the various programs overseen by the Department of Juvenile Justice. Many members of the criminal justice system were there to recognize how crucial these programs are to the young people of our community who many times just need a little help to succeed in life.

Relay for Life - Key West

 Sheriff's Office Relay for Life team was out having fun last Friday at the Key West Relay for Life event.

Jail cleans up the roadway

Jail road crews out of Marathon have been hard at work keeping our roadsides clean. Here is this week’s truckload of debris.

Mess cleaned up in the Upper Keys

Deputies and detectives tackled this unsightly mess at Steamboat Creek in the Upper Keys by land and by water. Thanks to Sgt. Tom Kiffney, Lt. Patrick Major and his inmates, Sgt. Mark Coleman, Deputy David Minor and Detectives Bob Dosh, Yunier Galvez and Ian Barnett for their hard work cleaning up some else’s trash. It is too bad some people are so disrespectful of our environment.

Graffiti eradicated

Sgt. Mike DiGiovanni continues his personal mission against graffiti in Islamorada this week with these two spots at the 78 mile marker and the 82 mile marker of the highway.

Veterans honored

Victim Advocate Sever Hustad, Detective Sgt. Juan Llera, Lt. Al Ramirez and Deputy Nick Whiteman at a state sponsored ceremony honoring military veterans.

Torch Run a success!!!

 Some photos from the Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run today in Key West. For more photos, visit our web site: click here!

Thanks to Publix for being a major sponsor of Special Olympics and a great supporter of the torch run!

Inmate charged with trying to escape

An inmate being held in the Plantation Key jail has been charged with trying to escape from that facility.

On April 15th, 33 year old Justin Jacobs jumped up on a table in the recreation yard at the jail and tried to unwind parts of a metal fence near the ceiling.  He jumped off the table when a corrections deputy walked into the room, but a check of the fence revealed he had managed to create an opening in the fence which was later repaired.

Jacobs, whose address is listed as “streets of Key West” was charged with escape for his efforts. He is now being housed at the Stock Island Detention Facility.

His most recent arrests include:

02/25/15 – by KWPD for two counts of burglary and one of grand theft

03/03/2015 – by KWPD for one count of grand theft

April 22, 2015

Note of Thanks from American Legion

Received this nice note from the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 168 in Key West, along with some photos:
The American Legion 168 would like to thank the dedicated employees of the Monroe County Sheriff's Office Detention Center for their outstanding help with the clean up of our historic building on April 11, 2015.

Burglary suspect apprehended on Stock Island

The suspect in a burglary in Key West was apprehended Tuesday on Stock Island, where he’d committed another home burglary as he was fleeing from law enforcement.

At 11:30 a.m., Deputy Freddy Rodriguez was assisting Key West Police as they searched for the suspect who allegedly committed a burglary in the city. The man was believed to have fled to Stock Island.

While the two agencies were searching for the suspect, identified as 22 year old Zelvion Thomas of Miami – a woman called Sheriff’s dispatchers. She said she had just returned to her Bolito Street home to find a man inside who did not belong there. She said he was wearing only a white towel. When she confronted him, he told her he’d not stolen anything. He told her he’d just showered in her bathroom.

As he fled from her residence clad in her white towel, deputies and police officers apprehended him. Thomas was taken into custody. He was charged with burglary, theft and criminal mischief for the Stock Island crime. He also faces charges from Key West Police.

Juvenile arrested for boat burglary

A 17 year old Stock Island boy was arrested Saturday, charged with stealing rods and reels from a boat stored at Hurricane Hole Marina.

Deputies took a report Saturday morning from the victim who said his vessel had been burglarized and a number of rods and reels had been stolen. Later in the day, just before 3 p.m., Deputy Lazaro Valdes was on patrol on Stock Island and was flagged down by a citizen who reported a red Volkswagen was parked on 3rd Avenue blocking traffic. Deputy Valdes responded to see what was going on.

When he arrived on 3rd Avenue, he found the vehicle parked in the roadway with two white male juveniles inside. There were several fishing rods and reels in the back seat. One of the boys – the 17 year old suspect - said he got the rods from a friend, but he could not give Deputy Valdes his friend’s name.

The owner of the stolen rods responded to the location and identified them as his.

More of the stolen rods were found at the juvenile suspect’s residence. The suspect was placed under arrest. He was booked on charges of burglary and grand theft.

April 21, 2015

Three arrested for drugs, contributing to delinquency

Three Stock Island men were arrested Monday afternoon on drug charges and for contributing to the delinquency of two 17 year old girls.

Deputy Lazaro Valdes was on patrol inside the property of the Meridian West public housing complex on Shrimp Road, Stock Island at 10 a.m. He smelled the odor of marijuana and, when he investigated, he saw three men and two women smoking suspected marijuana on the balcony of apartment 245.

He knocked on the door of the apartment and resident 18 year old Ivan Darce Jr. answered the door. Deputy Valdes asked permission to enter and search the premises and he was given permission. Inside the apartment he found Xanax, cocaine and marijuana in various locations throughout the dwelling, along with several Styrofoam cups with an alcoholic beverage inside.

The three men in the apartment were identified as Darce, 21 year old Antonia German and 18 year old Emmanuel Lordmendez. The girls were found to be juveniles - both 17 years of age.

All three men were arrested. They were all charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and with possession of marijuana with intent to sell within 1000 feet of public housing.  Darce was further charged with possession of cocaine, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. They were booked into jail. The girls were turned over to the custody of their parents.

April 19, 2015

Marine related crimes continue throughout the Keys

Deputies and detectives continue to take reports and investigate marine related crimes throughout the Keys.

Boat burglary, reported Friday. Location: 6000 Peninsular Avenue, Stock Island. Reported Friday. Custom fishing rods taken from a vessel in the water at the Key West Harbor marina.

Boat burglary, reported Saturday. Location: 303 Sombrero Boulevard in Marathon. Garmin GPS taken from a boat docked behind a condominium.

Two boat burglaries at Hurricane Hole Marina on Stock Island, reported Saturday. Rods and reels stolen from both vessels.

Boat burglary at the 83 mile marker of the highway, Islamorada, reported Saturday. Lower unit taken from the vessel’s motor, a 150 HP Yamaha. Vessel was kept on a trailer in front of a building at this location.

The Sheriff’s Office continues to urge all boat owners to take valuable property off their vessels when they are not in use. Detectives are investigating these crimes. Anyone with information about them should contact the Sheriff’s Office.

Family disturbance leads to burglary arrest

A family disturbance call resulted in the arrest of a 19 year old who was in possession of stolen property from an early vehicle burglary.

Deputy Andrew Hudson responded to the disturbance on Little Torch Key Friday at 4 p.m. The mother of 19 year old Jesse Bergami said he had taken her car without permission in the early morning hours. She said when he returned home he had property with him that did not belong to him, including a glass container with money inside and a child’s backpack. She said when his sister confronted him about the items, they got into an altercation.

Deputy Hudson recalled a case he investigated earlier in the day. A woman who lives on Little Torch reported someone entered her vehicle and stole a glass container with money inside. The container in Bergami’s possession was identified by that victim as belonging to her.

Bergami was found at his place of work. He was arrested and charged with burglary and theft. Deputy Hudson is still trying to locate the owner of the backpack, which may have come from another vehicle whose owner does not realize it is missing.

Teens charged with burglaries

Three teenage boys were arrested after they were caught in the act of burglarizing a car on Big Coppitt Key late Friday.

The victim returned home to her residence on Avenue D at 11:15 p.m. to find the three 15 year old boys standing around her white SUV. She challenged the boys who then fled, two riding bikes and the third on foot, leaving a bike behind.

The victim called the Sheriff’s Office after realizing a lock box containing a loaded Glock pistol had been stolen from her vehicle, along with a silver Ipod.

Deputy Aaron Coller, Sgt. Evan Calhoun and an FHP trooper responded and began searching the area for possible suspects. As the officers were searching for the boys, the victim’s friend found the stolen lock box, with the gun still inside. It had been discarded on the right-of-way nearby. A fishing pole belonging to a neighbor of the victim was also found near the lockbox.

The suspects were located and identified after the mother of one boy identified the bike abandoned at the crime scene as belonging to her husband.  She said her 15 year old son had been out riding it.

The boys all admitted to being involved in the vehicle burglary, two as lookouts while the third entered the vehicle and took the lockbox and Ipod. They also admitted to stealing the fishing rod from the neighbor’s house.

All three boys were charged with two counts of burglary, grand theft of a firearm and theft. They were booked at the Monroe County Detention Center.