July 30, 2015

National Night Out next Tuesday, August 4th!

Dispatcher helps injured dog

This past weekend, this dog was hit by a car in the Marathon area. Sheriff's Office Dispatcher Liz Steele saw the dog get hit and saw that no one was stopping. Fearing he would be hit again, she stopped to help. Animal control officers responded and took the dog to the veterinarian for treatment of injuries to a rear leg. Without her help, the dog might have been hit again and more seriously injured. Kudos to Liz for her quick action!!! In the picture, Sgt. Marc Maison and an employee of SHARK with the injured dog.

Man commits suicide in front of deputy

A man reported missing from Port St. Lucie, Florida shot himself in the head in front of a Sheriff’s deputy early today.

Deputy Jorge Prince was on patrol, checking the end of Old Boca Chica Road on Big Coppitt Key at 12:30 a.m. He saw a Ford F150 truck parked at the barricades, so he got out of his patrol car to check on it.

He spoke with the driver of the truck, telling him he was not allowed to park there at that time. The beach closes at 11 p.m. The man said he was just getting some sleep before heading north. Deputy Prince asked him for his identification and checked it through Sheriff’s Office computers. He discovered the man – 61 year old Terrence Haynes - was reported missing out of Port Saint Lucie, Florida.

He asked Haynes to step out of his truck so he could speak with him further. Haynes became agitated, put the truck in drive and sped away. Deputy Prince ran back to his patrol car, radioed for assistance, and then followed in an attempt to stop Haynes.

He found Haynes’ vehicle down the road, about a half mile from the intersection with highway U.S. One,  with Haynes standing in front of his vehicle, facing away from the deputy. Haynes was smoking a cigarette with one hand, but Deputy Prince could not see Haynes other hand. He ordered Haynes to show him his hands. At that point, Haynes raised a gun to the side of his own head and fired one shot, killing himself.

Deputy Prince called for medical assistance and performed CPR on Haynes until rescue units arrived, but he was declared dead by paramedics.

July 29, 2015

Two charged with counterfeit money

Two Miami men are in jail today charged with possessing several thousand dollars in counterfeit money.

Sgt. Jason Madnick and Deputy Cody Kerns responded to the Circle K gas station at the 99 mile marker at 9 p.m. Tuesday because the clerk discovered someone had passed a fake $20 bill when paying for a soft drink. The officers reviewed video and discovered the man who passed the fake bill was a passenger in a black Honda four door; he was wearing a sleeveless black shirt, black shorts with a green stripe on the side and black shoes.

About an hour later, Sgt. Madnick was southbound when he saw the same car in the parking lot of a pizza restaurant at the 98 mile marker. He pulled in to check it out. The passenger was wearing the same clothing as in the video.

Sgt. Madnick called for backup officers and then knocked on the window of the vehicle. The driver was identified as 19 year old Rafael Dominguez. There were two others in the car. The passenger was identified as 20 year old Rolando Rodriguez. A 16 year old girl was in the back seat. She said she was Dominguez’ girlfriend.

Upon questioning, Dominguez admitted to having counterfeit money in the center console of the vehicle, below the stereo. A total of $2,720 was found in that location. Further investigation revealed the group had been traveling throughout the Keys stopping at convenience stores and using the bills to buy small things. There were a number of small items in the car they purchased, including sodas, juice bottles, dog treats and chewing gum. There was also a separate rolled up bundle of real currency in the driver’s side door totaling $477 – presumably the change from the small transactions they had completed using the counterfeit money. A small amount of marijuana was found in the door as well.

Both men were arrested. They were charged with counterfeiting with intent to defraud, possession of more than 10 counterfeit bulls, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and possession of marijuana. The girl was not charged. Her parents were contacted and they made arrangements for her to be picked up.

July 28, 2015

Monroe County Resident Charged With Attempting To Use Weapon Of Mass Destruction

Breaking news:
This is just out from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

         A Monroe County resident was charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, an explosive device.
         Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, John P. Carlin, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and members of the South Florida Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), made the announcement.              
        Harlem Suarez, a/k/a “Almlak Benitez,” 23, of Key West, Florida, was charged by a criminal complaint with knowingly attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction against a person or property within the United States, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2332a(a)(2), punishable by up to life in prison.
         According to the allegations contained in the complaint, in April 2015, Suarez came to the attention of the FBI due to Facebook postings which contained extremist rhetoric and promoted the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization (FTO).
         The complaint further alleges that Suarez told an FBI confidential human source (CHS) that he wanted to make a “timer bomb.”  Suarez purchased components for this device, which was to contain galvanized nails, be concealed in a backpack, and be remotely detonated by a cellular telephone.  Suarez intended to bury the device at a public beach in Key West and then detonate it.
      On July 27, 2015, Suarez took possession of an inert explosive device and was arrested.
      “The top priority of the Department of Justice is to protect the security of the American people.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office, in collaboration with the FBI, works tirelessly to advance this mission by continuing to thwart home-grown acts of terrorism,” stated U.S. Attorney Ferrer.
       “According to the complaint, Harlem Suarez, a self-professed ISIL adherent, knowingly attempted to use a weapon of mass destruction - a backpack bomb - in the United States,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin.  “Stopping attacks on our homeland by those inspired or directed by designated foreign terrorist organizations is the highest priority of the National Security Division.”
       “There is no room for failure when it comes to investigating the potential use of a weapon of mass destruction,” said George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Miami.  “The FBI and our local, state and federal partners work around the clock to prevent such catastrophic weapons from being used against our citizens.  Even so, we ask the public to be vigilant and report suspicious activity to law enforcement.”
         Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI, JTTF, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Key West Police Department, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, and Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Marc S. Anton and Karen E. Gilbert and Trial Attorneys Clement McGovern and Michael Dittoe of the Counterterrorism Section of the U.S. Department of Justice.
         A complaint is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
         A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

Diver dead after separation from boat

One diver is dead; the second was rescued after search offshore of the Lower Keys.

The two men were reportedly diving offshore of Boca Chica in the Lower Keys Monday afternoon when they became separated from their boat and drifted away from it. A 17 year old male who stayed on board the boat lost sight of them and called to report them missing at approximately 3:15 p.m.

Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Coast Guard searched for the men. The Coast Guard found 70 year old Michael Currie of Key West alive and well and returned him to his boat at approximately 5 p.m. His dive partner, 63 year old Roger Arrowood of Edenton, North Carolina was found a short time later by a good Samaritan floating face down in the water. Arrowood was taken to Lower Keys Hospital, but was pronounced dead.

Sheriff’s Major Crimes detectives are investigating; there is no foul play suspected in the death. The Medical Examiner responded and will be performing an autopsy to determine the cause of Arrowood’s death.

July 27, 2015

Looking for the owners of found / abandoned property

I hope everyone takes a look at this list of found property. We have exhausted all other avenues for finding the owners, so thank you to all of you for taking a look at this current list to see if you know who these items might belong to. If you know, please contact them, or contact one of our Property offices.

Man arrested for misuse of 911

A Stock Island man was arrested Sunday night for repeatedly calling 911 after being warned not to do so. He also threatened to shoot police officers and caused a disturbance  at the trailer where he resides with a number of other people.

The problems with 42 year old Peter Hawxhurst started earlier in the day when he called the Sheriff’s Office angry with his ex-girlfriend. He said she took his keys and said he was going to do something that would cause him to go to jail. His ex-girlfriend then called the Sheriff’s Office to say he would not leave her alone and he was harassing her on the phone and with text messages.

Deputies Wendy Negron and Jorge Prince responded to Roy’s Trailer Park on Stock Island to the trailer where Hawxhurst lives. They warned him to leave her alone. He told the deputies she had his keys, then said she didn’t have them. He became irate and told the officers they would be returning to deal with him later.

His prediction came true when one of the men who lives in the same trailer called just before 10 p.m. to say Hawxhurst was pounding on the walls and yelling. When the deputies responded again and tried to talk to Hawxhurst, he closed his bedroom door in their faces and told them obscenely to leave the property. They tried several more times to talk to him but he refused to come out.

As the deputies were trying to talk with him, Hawxhurst began calling 911. He was advised not to call because he didn’t have an emergency. Sgt. Evan Calhoun then called Hawxhurst himself to tell him to stop calling 911 or he would be arrested. During the phone conversation, Hawxhurst threatened to kill law enforcement officers with guns.

Hawxhurst’s ex-girlfriend showed up on the scene and attempted to calm him. She went into his bedroom with him and the deputies could hear him yelling and screaming at her. Sgt. Calhoun responded to the mobile home. As he was standing outside Hawxhurst’s door, he overheard Hawxhurst say he was going to grab his gun and shoot law enforcement officers. At that point, fearing he might hurt his ex-girlfriend or hurt someone else, the officers forced their way in the door and placed him under arrest.

He began fighting with the deputies who were trying to handcuff him. As he was being transported to jail he made more threats to kill police. He was charged with misuse of the 911 system and resisting arrest.

Marathon man reports being robbed of his wallet

A Marathon man told Sheriff’s deputies he was robbed Sunday in the early morning hours.

The victim told deputies he left the Brass Monkey Bar shortly after 4 a.m. with two other men after they asked him to come home with them and have some beers. He said when they were in the parking lot of Eastwind Apartments, the men attacked him, hitting him in the face and taking his wallet.

The victim was visibly intoxicated and gave several differing descriptions of the men who attacked him. He was treated at Fishermen’s Hospital for bruising to his face. Detectives will be investigating.

Boat accident in Marathon

Sheriff’s deputies and rescue units responded to a boat accident Sunday night at 7:45 p.m.  in Marathon. According to dispatch notes, a boat hit a bridge piling on the Seven Mile Bridge. Preliminary reports indicate there were six people on board the boat, which was towed into Sunset Grille in Marathon. It appears three of those people were airlifted to Miami due to severe injuries; the other three were taken to Fishermen’s Hospital. The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating the accident.

July 24, 2015

Bike Safety

Deputy Ray Jodlowski and Sgt. Mike DiGiovanni from Islamorada held a bike safety day at St. James Preschool.

Sanchez talks about water safety

Deputy Nelson Sanchez spoke to these young ladies about the importance of staying safe on the water. Adorable!

Graffiti painted out

Deputy Kim Trullender and Sgt. Linda Mixon painted out some graffiti at the Big Pine CVS this week.

Risk Management award

At the Florida Sheriff’s Association conference Sheriff Rick Ramsay accepted the Excellence in Risk Management and Loss Control award from the Florida Sheriff’s Risk Management Fund. “In acknowledgement of your efforts to reduce and control losses on behalf of the members of your department and the Florida Sheriff’s Risk Management fund.”

Cleanup on Sugarloaf Boulevard

 Members of the Sheriff's Office and some inmates from the detention center were at the end of Sugarloaf Boulevard today picking up trash and painting out graffiti. If you see anyone who is painting graffiti, please call and report it. A small amount of unsightly graffiti soon multiplies and we would love to be able to arrest some of those who are responsible for this type of vandalism.

July 23, 2015

Warning: attempted scam at bars reported

Sheriff’s detectives want to warn bar owners and bartenders in particular about two men attempting to use Visa gift cards to scam cash.

Over the weekend, two men went into at least two bars in the Marathon area – and perhaps more if rumors turn out to be true. The men ordered a couple of drinks. When it came time to pay, they asked to pay with a gift card. Instead of just paying the amount owed, the men asked the bartenders to charge a larger amount to the card – almost two hundred dollars more. They offered some of the cash as a large tip to the bartender taking the rest of the cash for themselves.

One bar refused the deal and avoided any loss; a second bar accepted the deal. They are out several hundred dollars because the gift card turned out to be fraudulent.

Anyone with information about this should contact the Sheriff’s Office at 305-289-2351. 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.

Sheriff's Animal Farm open Sunday July 26th

Looking for a fun place to take the kids this Sunday? The Sheriff's Animal Farm will be open this Sunday July 26th, 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.

July 22, 2015

Sheriff releases list of unclaimed bond funds

The Sheriff's Office would like to return unclaimed bond money. Anyone who is owed such funds has until September 1st to claim them. A list of unclaimed funds is featured on the Sheriff’s Office web site, www.keysso.net. It is also posted on the Sheriff’s blog at floridakeyssheriff.blogspot.com and on their Facebook page at MCSO-Florida Keys.

The money is now in the custody of Sheriff Rick Ramsay and unless it is claimed on or before September 1, 2015, the funds shall be forfeited to Monroe County.

To make a claim, contact the Monroe County Sheriff's Office Finance Division via phone at 305-292-7015, by email at esheehy@keysso.net or send a written claim notice to:

Monroe County Sheriff's Office
Attn: Erin Sheehy, Finance Division
5525 College Road

Key West, FL 33040

National Night Out – Mark your calendars and have some fun!

On Tuesday, August 4th, the Sheriff's Office will sponsor National Night Out events in the Upper, Middle and Lower Keys. All of the events will feature food, refreshments, and a great chance to meet your neighbors, members of the Sheriff’s Office from a wide variety of divisions, departments and special teams and many others who are involved in the field of public safety here in the Florida Keys.

The goal of National Night Out is to bring the community together to discuss how we can all make our neighborhoods cleaner, safer and more secure. The Sheriff's Office will have crime prevention information to share at the event. Community members will learn how to heighten their crime and drug prevention awareness.

The Sheriff’s Office hopes to generate support for, and participation in, local anti-crime programs and strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships. Everyone participating will send a message to criminals letting them know that Monroe County neighborhoods are organized and fighting back against crime.

“This yearly event is an important one for our agency. We get the opportunity to meet the people we are charged with serving and protecting in a less formal, more fun setting,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “I hope everyone will take this opportunity to meet their neighbors, learn about crime prevention and meet the deputies who are out there patrolling our community and keeping it safe,” he said.

The Key Largo event will be Tuesday, August 4th from 6 – 8 p.m. at Key Largo Community Park. Captain Don Fanelli and Lieutenant Al Ramirez want to invite the entire community to attend their free event. Members of the Sheriff’s Office will be on hand, along with others from the public safety community; there will be food donated and prepared by Smoking Eddy’s BBQ, refreshments, a local band will play music and everyone will have lots of fun.

The Islamorada National Night Out event will be held at Founder’s Park in Islamorada Tuesday, August 4th from 6 to 8 p.m. Captain Corey Bryan and Lt. David Carey invite everyone to join them and have some fun. Visit with members of the Sheriff’s Office, Islamorada Fire/Rescue and other public safety and community groups. There will be free food – hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken - and refreshments as well as music by Alan Truesdell.

The Marathon event will be held on Tuesday, August 4th from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Stanley Switlik School. Captain Gene Thompson and Lt. Derek Paul invite everyone to join them and have some fun. There will be free food and refreshments, live music and residents will be able to visit many law enforcement, public safety and community groups at the event. 

The Stock Island event will be at Sheriffs Headquarters Building, 5525 College Road on Stock Island, Tuesday, August 4th  from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Captain Don Hiller and Lieutenant Donnie Elomina want to welcome the Lower Keys community to come on out for a great time. There will be free food and refreshments and a wide variety of law enforcement and other public safety agencies will be on hand to talk with community members.