June 30, 2015

Pirate charged with disorderly conduct

Deputies responding to a “shots fired” call on the old Seven Mile Bridge Monday night arrested a man in a full pirate costume, complete with operational black powder pistols in holsters on each hip, a sword and two knives.

Dispatchers received a call at 8:20 p.m. The caller wanted to report a pirate firing a gun on the bridge. When Deputy Garrett Bragg arrived, he found 58 year old Jamie Spering, who said he is an entertainer. He said he was on the bridge with friends for sunset. He admitted shooting both of his black powder pistols. He said there was no projectile loaded in the pistols, just the powder. He said he shot the guns safely,  toward the water. Witnesses contradicted his story, saying he fired one shot toward the water and one toward cars traveling on the bridge.

Spering was taken into custody, charged with disorderly conduct and booked into jail.

Deputies investigate mailbox damage

Sheriff’s deputies took numerous reports in the early morning hours today of someone damaging mailboxes on Duck Key.

A witness saw a gold colored Dodge truck speeding away from the area just before 2 a.m. He said he believes the occupants of the truck are responsible for the damages to the damaged mailboxes. At least 17 mailboxes were found to have been damaged with an object – possibly a baseball bat. Most of the mailboxes were located on South Indies Drive, with others on Bimini Drive, Antigua Street and Bahama Drive.

Anyone with information should contact the Sheriff’s Office.

June 21, 2015

Update on the deadly house fire on Ramrod Key this morning:

The people who died in the house fire were 46 year old Robin Ferrer; her son, Roman, age 7 and her daughter Hazel, age 5. Robin Ferrer’s older son, 18 year old Jacob Shores, was burned attempting to save his family. He is at Ryder Trauma Center in Miami where he is expected to recover from his injuries. Robin Ferrer’s older daughter, 19 year old Courtney Shores, also attempted to save her family. She was not injured.

Neighbors, other family members and deputies who arrived minutes after the call was dispatched also attempted to rescue those inside the burning house, but the flames and smoke were spreading too quickly for them to be able to enter the building.

The State Fire Marshal and Sheriff’s Major Crimes detectives are investigating the cause of the fire.

House fire kills three

A mother and her two small children, ages 5 and 7, died in a house fire in the early morning hours this morning on Anguila Lane, Ramrod Key.

Sheriff’s Office dispatchers began receiving calls reporting the fire at 12:35 a.m. When deputies and firefighters arrived on scene, the home was fully engulfed. An older male sibling of the two children who were killed was airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center for severe burns he sustained from the fire. A female sibling escaped from the burning home without injury.


The State Fire Marshal and Sheriff’s detectives are working together to determine the cause of the deadly blaze. Detectives are also working to notify family members of those who died. Names will be released as soon as they are able to do that.

June 20, 2015

Marathon man faces gun charges

A Marathon man is in jail, charged with pointing a gun at another man in a confrontation over a woman.

Deputies responded to Trailerama Trailer Park at 8:15 a.m. to reports of a man with a gun. When they arrived, the 38 year old victim said he was walking through the trailer park when 37 year old Chris Cortes came out of a trailer at lot #57 and began yelling at him about a woman. Cortes then walked underneath a nearby trailer and came back out with a gun. He pointed it at the victim, who thought Cortes was going to shoot him.

The victim told Cortes he was calling the Sheriff’s Office. Cortes then fled toward the trap yard at the rear of the trailer park.

Deputy Rosa DiGiovanni spoke with a witness who said she saw Cortes take the gun from under a washing machine at a trailer at the trailer park. She said she saw him point the gun at the victim.

The gun was recovered from under a nearby trailer, where the suspect is believed to have discarded it. A check on the serial number revealed it was reported stolen in April from Stock Island.


A warrant was obtained for Cortes and he was found later that afternoon. He was charged with aggravated assault and grand theft of a firearm. He was also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm – he has over ten felony convictions in the state of Florida and is currently on active felony probation with the Florida Department of Corrections.

Tip leads to arrest on Miami murder warrant

A tip called in to the Sheriff’s Office led to the arrest of a Miami man on a warrant for second degree murder.

33 year old Steve Singleton of Homestead was apprehended Friday at 7 p.m. at 20 High Point Road in Tavernier. At the time of his arrest, he had a Smith and Wesson semi-automatic handgun in a backpack which turned out to be stolen in April of 2013 from Miramar, Florida.


Singleton, who is a convicted felon, was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and with the warrant for second degree murder from Miami-Dade County. Miramar police were notified of the recovered stolen weapon.

June 19, 2015

Cleaning up Stock Island

Deputy Sean Moran, cleaning up a camping area near the Lighthouse Christian Academy on Stock Island.

Cleaning up in Marathon

Lt. Derek Paul periodically walks 15th Street in Marathon to keep the area clean. He also talks with residents about assisting with his efforts.

June 18, 2015

Search warrant leads to drug arrests

Five people were arrested after a search warrant was served at a Big Pine residence this morning.

The search warrant was served at 31036 Avenue D, Big Pine Key at 6:15 a.m. by the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Unit with assistance of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security and Sheriff’s detectives. Five people were on the property at the time.

A search of the property turned up over 28 grams of cocaine, marijuana, various prescription pills and drug paraphernalia. All five people were arrested. They face charges stemming from the search warrant, and two of them face charges from outstanding warrants as well.

·        Jacob Sterling, 32, arrested for trafficking in cocaine, possession of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance, possession with intent to sell Oxycodone and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was also charged with a warrant for violation of probation and New Jersey warrant for failure to appear in court on drug charges.

·        Nicholas Donofrio, 61, was arrested for outstanding warrants for three counts sale of cocaine and three counts use of a two way communications device to facilitate a felony crime and one count possession of drug paraphernalia.

·        Naivis Meulener, 33, was arrested for possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia.

·        Michael Hendricks, 41 was arrested for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.


·        David Lamaster, 58, was arrested for possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Dive death, Upper Keys

A 65 year old Texas man died today just after surfacing from a dive on the wreck of the Spiegel Grove offshore of Key Largo.

According to witnesses, 65 year old Arne Berg of Dallas, Texas surfaced from a dive this morning and became unresponsive. He was brought on board the dive vessel, operated by Rainbow Reef Dive Center, and CPR was administered as the boat returned to shore. Paramedics met the boat at the Port Largo Subdivision and transported the victim to Mariner’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead just before noon.


An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of his death. 

Man arrested for stolen truck

Sheriff’s deputies arrested a Key West man Wednesday evening for stealing his girlfriend’s truck.

The clerk at the Tom Thumb Food Store at the 88 mile marker called the Sheriff’s Office at 4:50 p.m. to report two men who were intoxicated and were trying to leave the store in a Silverado truck. She provided the license number of the truck which, when checked through computers, turned out to have been reported stolen from Key West.

As Deputy Todd Wyatt arrived, he saw the two men standing by the truck. The suspect, 53 year old Stephen Heredia was in the driver’s seat. He told Deputy Wyatt the truck belonged to his girlfriend.


Heredia was arrested. He was charged with grand theft and he was booked into jail.

Man working on garbage truck is killed in accident

An employee of Key Sanitation was killed while working on a garbage truck yesterday in Key Largo.

59 year old Stanley Salatowski of Tavernier died from injuries he sustained while working on the truck. There were no witnesses to what happened, so the circumstances are unclear. The driver of the truck said they were at the Hampton Inn at the 102.4mm just before 10 a.m. He said he was in the driver’s seat and could not see his co-worker. He said when he didn’t hear anything from him, he exited the truck and found the victim on the ground, next to a dumpster, unresponsive. He said he does not know what happened.


Salatowski was transported to Mariner’s Hospital where he was pronounced deceased. An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of his death. Deputies responding indicated the victim may have sustained some sort of “crushing” injury.

Boat burglaries, Islamorada

Four boats were burglarized Tuesday night at Bud and Mary’s Marina in Islamorada.

Deputy Ray Jodlowski responded to the marina Wednesday just before noon. He spoke with the victims. One boat owner said a GPS was taken from his boat. The other three owners were missing large Yeti brand coolers from their boats.


Anyone with information about these crimes should 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.

June 17, 2015

Man arrested after offering Marijuana on Craigslist

A 23 year old Miami man who offered Marijuana for sale on Craigslist is in jail after he sold an ounce of the drug to Sheriff’s detectives.

Detectives saw the advertisement on Craigslist which offered “medicinal high grade top shelf” marijuana, along with a picture of a green leafy substance that appeared to be cannabis. They communicated with the email address provided in the ad, asking if the seller could come to Monroe County to make a sale.

The seller, later identified as Rhamses Silva of Miami, responded that he did have “fire” for sale, a common street name for high quality marijuana. He eventually agreed to sell an ounce of marijuana for $320.

On Tuesday just after noon, detectives met with Silva in the parking lot of a convenience store at the 106.5 mile marker of the highway. Silva handed over a bag containing two packages of marijuana. The detectives handed over cash.

Silva was arrested. More marijuana was found in his car, along with one Adderall pill and various items of drug paraphernalia.


Silva was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell, possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, use of a cell phone to facilitate a felony and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was booked into jail.

Dog rescued from owner who beat, starved and hung him by his leash

A small Chihuahua mix named “Batman” is in a better place today after being rescued from his abusive owner.

 At 6:10 p.m. Tuesday, Deputy Garrett Bragg responded to City Marina in Marathon to reports a drunk man was abusing his dog. Witnesses told Deputy Bragg that 51 year old David Gross picked his dog up by its leash and was hanging him, bouncing the dog up and down and hitting him. Gross was threatening to throw the dog into the water and threatening to kill him. The dog was reportedly crying and choking as he was being abused.

A check on Gross in computers revealed he is a convicted felon in both Michigan and that he failed to register in Monroe County as such.

Animal Control officers responded. They told deputy Bragg Batman is very thin, malnourished and that his right front leg appears to have been broken and not reset properly. They took custody of the dog. Gross was booked into jail on charges of Felony animal cruelty, causing an animal pain and suffering and failing to register as a convicted felon.


June 16, 2015

Sheriff’s Office remembers deputy killed in traffic accident

This week the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office remembers a Sheriff’s deputy killed in the line of duty five years ago in a traffic accident.


On June 22, 2010 Deputy Melissa “Missy” Powers was killed in a traffic accident in Key Largo as she was responding to assist a fellow officer. Deputy Powers was hired by the Sheriff’s Office in 2006  as a road patrol deputy. She previously worked for the Florida Department of Corrections. 

June 15, 2015

Body found offshore of Key West is identified

Detectives from the Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit say the Medical Examiner’s Office has tentatively identified the body found on a sailboat offshore of Key West.

The body is believed to be that of 39 year old Jason Atkins. Initial examination and autopsy did not turn up any obvious signs of foul play involved in the death.

Atkins was found dead on his sailboat Thursday by a friend who heard his dog barking continuously and went to check on him.

Norwegian man reported missing; detectives ask for help

A Norwegian man who is believed to have traveled to the Keys in May has been reported missing by his family.

The son of 56 year old Giuseppe Codiglia traveled to the Keys to report his father missing on June 8th. Mats Codiglia Weberg told deputies and detectives his father usually calls him and other family members a couple times a week, but they have not heard from him since May 25th.

Weberg said his father traveled to the U.S. in February to visit a friend in New Jersey. The friend told Weberg his father had purchased a beige 1992 Chevrolet motor home in Las Vegas. The motor home was registered in the friend’s name because Codiglia was not a U.S. Citizen. The friend told Weberg Codiglia was staying in his driveway in the motorhome, but left suddenly on May 22nd, without giving a reason.  

The motor home turned up in the Florida Keys, a few days later in the parking lot of Big Pine Boat Rental. The manager of the business had it towed because she said it was parked in the parking lot for two days. Deputy Richard Wang checked to see if Codiglia rented a boat from that business or any other boat rental business, but did not find anyone who’d seen him or rented a boat to him. The manager of Parmer’s Resort on Little Torch Key told Deputy Wang Codiglia stayed at the resort on May 24th, checking out on the 25th.

A search of the motorhome at the two company where it was being stored revealed Codiglia left many personal items inside, including a cell phone and his Apple laptop computer and many items of clothing. An empty gun case was found in the motorhome. Paperwork in the case indicated it contained a .38 caliber Charter Arms revolver. Also not found: his wallet, passport, keys or a second I-phone he was known to have.


Codiglia is described as a white male, six foot four inches tall, 240 pounds with short brown hair and brown eyes. He has fair skin and is usually clean shaven. He has surgical scars on both knees and may be wearing a small gold necklace. Major Crimes Detective Manny Cuervo has been assigned to the case and has registered Codiglia with FDLE’s Missing Persons Information Clearinghouse, as well as ensuring Codiglia is listed with FCIC / NCIC as a missing person. Anyone who has any information about Codiglia, or who has seen him should call Detective Cuervo at 305-797-0064.

Marine related thefts county-wide

Sheriff Rick Ramsay wants to remind everyone that marine related thefts happen frequently in the Keys. Everyone should remove fishing gear and electronics from their vessels when they are not in use and should take precautions to protect motors and lower units as well.

Deputies took reports of a number of marine related crimes over the weekend in various areas of the county:

A man with his boat docked at Buttonwood Bay Condominium complex in Key Largo reported Sunday afternoon that fishing rods had been taken from rod holders on the T-top of his vessel sometime overnight.

A couple who live on East Caribbean Drive, Summerland Key said they returned home Sunday afternoon and found a GPS and antenna missing from their boat. The boat was on a boat lift on a canal behind their home.

A man who lives on Patricia Lane in Marathon called Sunday to report his electronics and two lower units from his 250 HP Yamaha motors missing from the boat.

A couple who live on Seminole Drive, Cudjoe Key called Saturday afternoon to report electronics missing from their boat.

A man who lives on 4th Avenue West, Cudjoe Key called Saturday afternoon to report his two Garmin GPS units stolen from his boat, stored on a boat lift on the canal behind his home.

A man who lives on 8th Avenue West, Cudjoe Key called Saturday afternoon to report his GPS stolen from his boat, stored on a lift on a canal behind his home.

An employee of Cudjoe Marina on Drost Drive, Cudjoe Key reported Saturday two lower units were missing from a boat at the marina, along with a GPS unit on the same boat. He said three other vessels at the marina were also burglarized. One was missing a GPS; one was missing the port side engine lower unit and on one, a GPS cover was removed, but an alarm in the console was activated and nothing was stolen from the vessel.


June 11, 2015

Graffiti painted out in Key Largo

 Deputies Brian Cross and Gil Gonzalez were out this week painting out graffiti at Tradewind's Plaza in Key Largo.

Graffiti eradication, Lower Keys


Sheriff Rick Ramsay was out today with some inmates painting out unsightly graffiti in the Lower Keys. Here are pictures from underneath the Garrison Bight Bridge in Key West and from some spots of graffiti along the four lane stretch of highway between Stock Island and Big Coppitt Key.


Update on death investigation

Sheriff’s Major Crimes detectives are still investigating the death of a man offshore of Key West. His body was discovered on board a sailboat this morning by a nearby live-aboard boater.

The man who called to report the body said he’d heard a dog barking continuously from a nearby sailboat. He decided to go check on the dog and, when he did, he saw a hand on the deck of the boat. He took the dog – a one and a half year old Pit Bull - with him and called the Coast Guard to report the possible presence of a dead body.

The Coast Guard in turn called the Sheriff’s Office. Detectives responded to the sailboat with the help of the Coast Guard and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Their investigations on the scene revealed a white male, 39 years old, with no obvious signs of trauma that would indicate foul play. The body was badly decomposed. Detectives say their investigation indicated he was last seen alive on Saturday.

A syringe was found near his body with a liquid substance inside. His hand was missing, and was found outside on the deck where the dog was located. It appears from bite marks on the hand the dog may have pulled the hand off of the body after the man died.


The Medical Examiner responded to the scene and took custody of the body. He will be performing an autopsy to determine the cause of the  man’s death. The man’s name is being withheld until next of kin can be notified.

Two charged with marine violations

A Sheriff’s Office marine deputy, patrolling the Tom’s Harbor Cut Bridge Wednesday caught two Key Largo men spearing and wringing the tails of lobster.

Deputy Wilfredo Guerra was on the bridge at 1:45 p.m. looking directly down at the two men as they were spearing, wringing and placing the tails in a blue mesh bag. He followed them as they swam to shore. He inspected the bag and found a total of 60 wrung tails.

The man – identified as 49 year old Wayne Tuckus and his son, 20 year old Stuart Tuckus – were both arrested. The father told Deputy Guerra he is a commercial fisherman and has been arrested on the same charges in the past.


Both men were charged with having undersized lobster, out of season lobster, illegally speared lobster, over the limit lobster, having wrung tails in the water and with spearfishing within 100 yards of a fishing bridge. They were booked into jail.

Death investigation

Sheriff’s detectives responded to reports of a dead body on board a sailboat offshore of Key West near Wisteria Island this morning.

A man called the Coast Guard this morning to report seeing the body. The Coast Guard then notified the Sheriff’s Office.

Detectives from the Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit have confirmed the presence of a body and are currently investigating the circumstances of the death.

June 9, 2015

Attempted murder suspect turns himself in

A 26 year old wanted for the attempted murder of his mother’s boyfriend turned himself in to Monroe County detectives today.

Adrian Rodriguez is accused of hitting 47 year old Daniel Rivero twice in the head with a glass ashtray as he lay sleeping in bed on the night of May 12th. Rodriguez then allegedly broke two cell phones his step-father might have used to call for help and left the scene, northbound headed for Miami. As he was driving north, he called 911 and reached a Miami-Dade dispatcher, reporting that someone was bleeding from the head at 103100 Overseas Highway in Key Largo. He then hung up before the dispatcher could get more information. Information from the call was relayed to Monroe County Sheriff’s Office dispatchers, who sent deputies and paramedics to that address.

When they arrived, they found Rivero with a serious head injury. He was taken to Mariner’s Hospital and then airlifted to Kendall Regional Medical Center for treatment.

As detectives investigated at the scene the morning of May 13th, Rodriguez showed up. When investigators interviewed him, he admitted to making the 911 call but told them he’d found the victim on the floor of his bedroom bleeding from the head. He denied hitting the victim. During the course of the investigation, there were many inconsistencies found between the story the suspect told and the evidence found at the scene.

The victim told Detective Bob Dosh Rodriguez and he were the only ones home that night. He said he went to bed and woke up to pain in the back of his head. When he touched his head, he saw blood on his hand. He then tried to get up and fell to the ground, then saw a large amount of blood on the floor by the bed. When he was able to stagger into the kitchen, he found two cell phones – his and his girlfriend’s – broken. He said they were not broken when he left them there the night before.

He managed to make it outside and that is when deputies and paramedics showed up to help him. The victim had a fractured skull, a brain bleed and swelling on the brain. Medical personnel told Detective Dosh the injuries, if untreated, could have been fatal.

The victim told Deputy Dosh he believes Rodriguez hit him and left him to die over $550 rent Rodriguez and his mother owed him.


Rodriguez is in jail, charged with attempted murder and criminal mischief. His bond is set at $76,500.

June 8, 2015

Sheriff’s App: receive immediate notifications on your Smartphone

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office App, available for smartphone and tablet users, allows the Sheriff’s Office to send messages to app users when something important takes place. An example: during the accident and road closure at the 59 mile marker on Sunday, users received a number of notifications and updates about the traffic situation.

“We use this feature to reach out to people when something important takes place; perhaps a major accident which is expected to close the road for a significant period, or a brush fire in the everglades which might affect the highway, or even during hurricanes when we need to reach out with important updates. We can also use the notifications to warn people in certain areas of the Keys when a crime spree happens – recent marine related thefts are one example,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay.

The Sheriff’s App is available for both Android based phones and for IPhone. It works on both types of tablet computers as well. It includes the ability to view arrests and mug shots for the past seven days, to view the Sheriff’s WebCAD (live calls for service), to see sexual offenders and predators and allows people to browse the Sheriff’s Office Blog, Twitter feed and Facebook postings. People can send in a Crime Stoppers Tip on the app and it also features the ability to communicate by email with many of the Sheriff’s command staff.

It also has a list of sexual predators and offenders. Users can see their locations on a map as well as narrow their search by zip code.

“I think the app is a useful tool for those interested in keeping up with what we do and with what is happening in their community,” said the Sheriff.


So far, over 6,500 people have downloaded the app. To find it just visit the Google Play store or the Apple Store and search for “Monroe County Sheriff’s Office”. There are links on the Sheriff’s Office website as well: www.keysso.net. The app was created by TheSheriffApp.com.

Update on in-custody death: toxicology report indicates high level of cocaine in Clifford Greene’s blood

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement brought Sheriff Rick Ramsay up to date today in their ongoing investigation into the in-custody death of Clifford Greene. Greene died after being placed under arrest on April 8th after a traffic stop in Key Largo.

The preliminary toxicology report from the Medical Examiner’s office indicates a high level of cocaine present in Greene’s blood.

Greene was being transported to jail in the back of a Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicle when he had what appeared to be a seizure. Deputy Thomas Hill, who was driving the patrol car, immediately stopped and rendered aid to Greene, but Greene subsequently died at Mariner’s Hospital. Deputy Hill reported finding a cellophane bag in Greene’s mouth with a white powdery substance in it. The bag was recovered and is being tested at an FDLE lab in Fort Myers.

“All of the information I have is consistent with an accidental overdose of cocaine,” said Sheriff Ramsay. “I have reviewed the audio and video evidence and I have not seen or heard any indication there was a struggle of any kind in the apprehension, arrest, or transport of Mr. Greene. While we will have to wait until the conclusion of the independent FDLE investigation and subsequent review by the State Attorney’s Office, it does not appear there was any wrongdoing on the part of the deputies involved,” Sheriff Ramsay said.


The FDLE investigation into Greene’s death is continuing.

June 5, 2015

Road Patrol squad helps out

Sgt. Linda Mixon and her squad “adopted” Big Pine resident 91 year old Charlene Burris over a year ago, helping her out with various things she needs around her house. Recently they worked with a number of community partners to install air conditioning in her house and to clean her carpets. Thanks to the Key West Home Depot, Big Pine Rotary President Sheila Cantler and Keys Floor Cleaning Company owner Fran Senecke for their help with these projects.



Hurricane awareness

Sgt. Linda Mixon and Deputy Vicki Lockwood-Fleck spent time at a special event at Home Depot in Key West this past weekend to educate the public about Hurricane Awareness.

New SRO at Marathon

The Marathon High School graduating class presented new Marathon High SRO Derick Velez with a signed football for his involvement with graduation activities this year.

Alcohol compliance checks, Middle and Upper Keys

On Thursday, the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Unit conducted alcohol compliance operations in the Middle and Upper Keys. The purpose was to check businesses that sell alcohol to see if they are in compliance with the laws regarding sales of alcohol to minors.

In the Middle Keys, 15 businesses were checked and all businesses were in compliance with the law.

In the Upper Keys, nine businesses were checked and five of them served alcohol to a minor:

•  Crazy Billy’s Convenience Store - 74052 Overseas Highway, Islamorada.    Attendant: Matthew R. Greenwald, 31 years of age.  Notice to appear issued (NTA).
•  Dion’s Quik Mart - 81644 Overseas Highway, Islamorada.   Attendant: Rashads A. Richards, 22 years of age.  Notice to appear issued (NTA).
• Two Martinis Fine Wine Liquor Store - 81655 Overseas Highway, Islamorada.  Attendant: Hat Sidor, 53 years of age.  Notice to appear issued (NTA).
•  Tiny’s Bait & Gas Station - 82788 Overseas Highway, Islamorada.   Attendant: Susan B. McKee, 62 years of age.  Notice to appear issued (NTA).
•  Marlin Food Store - 88601 Overseas Highway, Islamorada.    Attendant: Linda Kelly, 66 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.

Body tentatively identified

A body recovered from the waters offshore of Big Coppitt Key on Wednesday has been tentatively identified as a man reported missing from his Big Coppitt Key home in April.

Major Crimes Detective Manny Cuervo says the body was badly decomposed, and so far there is no scientific evidence to confirm the identification, but items found with the body are consistent with missing man Paul Brackens. Brackens was reported missing by his roommate on April 30th.

She told investigators she last saw him on the evening of April 27th. He left behind all of his personal belongings, including his parrott, his medications, cell phone, wallet, bicycle and all of his clothing.


Detective Cuervo says there are no obvious signs of foul play, but an autopsy has not been performed yet. He says all of his investigations so far indicate Brackens may have committed suicide.

Man charged with stealing fishing gear

An employee of a charter company in Marathon was arrested Thursday and charged with stealing rods and reels from two boats and pawning them at a local pawn shop.

25 year old Christopher Purcell is accused of stealing rods and reels from two charter boats at Sea Dog Charters in Marathon. He stole the items on several different occasions, and also took fishing gear from the owner of the charter company. He then pawned a number of them at a local pawn shop. After the crimes were reported to the Sheriff’s Office, detectives checked the pawn shop database and discovered the items had been pawned by Purcell.

When detectives questioned Purcell, he admitted to stealing the rods and reels. He returned some of them but said he pawned some and traded others for drugs.


After further investigation, warrants were issued for his arrest. On Thursday, he was booked into jail charged with four counts each of burglary and grand theft and three counts of dealing in stolen property. He was also charged with two counts of giving false information at the pawn shop.

June 4, 2015

Key Largo man wanted for attempting to murder mother’s boyfriend

A 26 year old Key Largo man is wanted on an outstanding warrant for the attempted murder of his mother’s live-in boyfriend.

Detectives say their investigation revealed Adrian Rodriguez allegedly hit 47 year old Daniel Rivero twice in the head with a glass ashtray as he lay sleeping in bed on the night of May 12th. Rodriguez then allegedly broke two cell phones his step-father might have used to call for help and left the scene, northbound headed for Miami. As he was driving north, he called 911 and reached a Miami-Dade dispatcher, reporting that someone was bleeding from the head at 103100 Overseas Highway in Key Largo. He then hung up before the dispatcher could get more information. Information from the call was relayed to Monroe County Sheriff’s Office dispatchers, who sent deputies and paramedics to that address.

When they arrived, they found Rivero with a serious head injury. He was taken to Mariner’s Hospital and then airlifted to Kendall Regional Medical Center for treatment.

As detectives investigated at the scene the morning of May 13th, Rodriguez showed up. When investigators interviewed him, he admitted to making the 911 call but told them he’d found the victim on the floor of his bedroom bleeding from the head. He denied hitting the victim. During the course of the investigation, there were many inconsistencies found between the story the suspect told and the evidence found at the scene.

The victim told Detective Bob Dosh Rodriguez and he were the only ones home that night. He said he went to bed and woke up to pain in the back of his head. When he touched his head, he saw blood on his hand. He then tried to get up and fell to the ground, then saw a large amount of blood on the floor by the bed. When he was able to stagger into the kitchen, he found two cell phones – his and his girlfriend’s – broken. He said they were not broken when he left them there the night before.

He managed to make it outside and that is when deputies and paramedics showed up to help him. The victim had a fractured skull, a brain bleed and swelling on the brain. Medical personnel told Detective Dosh the injuries, if untreated, could have been fatal.

The victim told Deputy Dosh he believes Rodriguez hit him and left him to die over $550 rent Rodriguez and his mother owed him.


Rodriguez is wanted for attempted murder. Anyone with information about his location should 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 the apprehension of Rodriguez, 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.

Man arrested for entering aircraft with intent to stow away

A homeless man was arrested at the Key West Airport today after he broke into a plane and was found sleeping in the cargo area of the plane when airline employees got there  this morning.

32 year old Jamie Crabtree told Deputy Maureen Smith he arrived by Greyhound bus Wednesday night. He said he jumped the barbed wire fencing around the restricted part of the airport, walked over to a Delta plane parked on the tarmac. He was able to break the seal on the door to the aircraft and enter the plane. He fell asleep on the plane and was found still sleeping by Delta employees arriving at 6 a.m. today.

He told Deputy Smith he intended to stow away on the aircraft because he wanted to leave the country. Crabtree was charged with burglary and trespassing on posted airport property and he was taken to jail.

June 3, 2015

Detectives investigate body found offshore

Sheriff’s Major Crimes detectives are investigating a body found offshore of the bayside of Big Coppitt Key today.

The body was first found by a fisherman who reported it to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission just after 1 p.m. FWC assisted with recovery of the unidentified and badly decomposed body of a man.

The Medical Examiner also responded and will be examining the body and performing an autopsy in the hopes of both identifying who he is and discovering how he died.


Detective Patricia Garcia is assigned to investigate the case.

Woman jogger attacked in Marathon – more information available

There is additional descriptive information included in the below press release about the female jogger attacked in Marathon yesterday:

A 22 year old woman, jogging in Marathon, was attacked Tuesday morning.

The victim said she was on the bike path on Knight’s Key headed toward the old Seven Mile Bridge at 5:30 a.m. when a man grabbed her from behind. She said she yelled and screamed for help and fought him off. She was able to escape and hid in bushes nearby. When it became light, she came out of hiding and approached another jogger who helped her call the Sheriff’s Office.

She suffered minor injuries. Detectives say the description of her attacker is sketchy, but he may be a white male, approximately 5’9” tall with a thin build. He was wearing a gray long sleeve T-shirt and cargo shorts and his face was covered with a buff-type face mask over the lower part of his face, like those fishermen use to protect their faces from the sun. During the attack, the victim said she bit him on his hand, between the thumb and forefinger. Due to this, the attacker may have a visible bite mark in this area.  She also says after she broke away from him, he ran toward the parking lot of the bridge where she believes a white truck or SUV was waiting. A witness, who was parked on the bridge at the time of the attack, said he saw a white full sized Ford truck that quickly left the area.

“This is a very unusual crime for our county. Attacks like this one don’t happen often here,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “We want to urge anyone who knows anything about this crime to come forward as soon as possible. We have a safe community and we would like to keep it that way by catching this man and putting him in jail.”


The investigation into this incident is ongoing.  Anyone with information about this crime should 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.