December 29, 2015

Two arrested in connection with stabbing

Two men were arrested late Monday after a stabbing incident on Stock Island.

Deputies responded to reports of a fight and possible stabbing at Roy’s Trailer Park, 6500 Maloney Avenue on Stock Island at 8:30 p.m. When they arrived, they found the victim bleeding from several injuries, including a stab wound in his abdomen. 29 year old Victor Schenider  of Stock Island was taken to Lower Keys Hospital and then airlifted to the Ryder Trauma Center in Miami, where he is currently reported to be in stable condition.

Investigation revealed Schenider was taking his brother in law home to the trailer park when he got into a confrontation with 28 year old Jean Joseph and 27 year old Steven Theogen. The two suspects were parked in a truck, blocking the street and obstructing traffic. Schenider asked them to move and a fight ensued. As the victim was fighting with Theogen, Joseph came up behind him and stabbed him with an unknown metal object.

The two suspects fled the scene in a truck which was later found abandoned. Joseph was seen a short time later getting in to a gray Toyota Camry. A notice to be on the lookout for the car was issued. It was spotted by Sgt. Trevor Wirth at the Circle K convenience store on Big Coppitt Key. The two suspects were inside.

Joseph was arrested and charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon with serious bodily injury; Theogen was charged with being a principal to the crime. They were both booked into jail.

During the investigation Monday night, Maloney Avenue on Stock Island was closed to traffic for several hours as deputies searched for the suspects, after finding their truck abandoned in the area. Key West Police officers assisted in the investigation of the case and the search for the suspects involved.

Human remains found on Summerland Key

The skeletal remains of a human body were found in a vacant lot on Summerland Key Monday afternoon.

Two men and a woman visiting the Florida Keys told Deputy Freddy Rodriguez they stopped at about 3 p.m. to explore a fenced empty lot at 23801 Overseas Highway. They said as they were looking around, they discovered the skeleton of a human. There was a stainless steel .38 caliber revolver next to the body. Some items found at the scene appeared to be male clothing.

The remains were turned over to the Medical Examiner’s Office for further investigation. Major Crimes detectives will be working with the ME’s office in an attempt to identify who the deceased is and how he/she may have died.

December 28, 2015

Sheriff’s employee arrested

A Sheriff’s Office Airport Security Technician was arrested today, charged with domestic battery.

William Stabenow was reportedly at Coconut’s Bar on Big Pine Key in the early morning hours. His wife and son told Deputy Matthew Dowling they went to the bar in an effort to get him to come home. As they were attempting to put him into the car to go home, he attacked his wife, throwing her to the ground. He reportedly pounded her head on the concrete and, during the fight, her hand and her wrist were injured.

Stabenow was arrested at his home on Little Torch Key. He was charged with domestic battery and was booked into jail.

Stabenow is a probationary employee with the Sheriff’s Office and so will be terminated from his employment effective immediately.

December 26, 2015

Stock Island man arrested for burglary

A Stock Island man was arrested for burglarizing another man’s apartment Thursday morning.

The victim told Deputy Freddy Rodriguez he came home from work around 11 a.m. and found a white truck in front of his residence loaded with his belongings. He also found two men carrying his belongings to the truck from inside the residence. When he confronted the man, they fled in the truck. Further investigation revealed the suspects had damaged the door to the residence to gain entry.

Several witnesses identified one of the men as 42 year old Jorge Garmas. Garmas was located later in the day and was arrested. He was charged with burglary, grand theft and criminal mischief. A prescription pill bottle was found in his possession with three types of medication inside. Garmas did not have a prescription for the medications. He was further charged with illegal possession of a controlled substance.

The investigation is continuing with another arrest expected.

Marathon man arrested for gun threats

A Marathon man was arrested early today for threating to shoot two people and firing a rifle in public.

Deputies responded to a call of a domestic in progress and shots fired on 11th Street in Marathon at 1:30 a.m. When they arrived, they spoke with four people involved in the incident. After speaking with those involved, they arrested 24 year old Joseph Iannacco.

Investigations revealed Iannacco had been in a domestic argument with his girlfriend. While arguing with her, two others were present. Iannocco had a handgun in his residence that had been disassembled for cleaning. The two people grabbed the slide from the gun because they said they were afraid he would shoot them with the gun. They fled from the residence, went to their own nearby residence and called 911.

In the meantime, Iannacco chased after them with a rifle, threatening to shoot them. He discharged the rifle, firing what he called a “warning shot” with it.

Iannocco was booked into jail for two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and discharging a firearm in public.

December 24, 2015

Islamorada man charged with attempted murder

An Islamorada man is in jail, charged with attempting to murder his neighbor shortly after midnight on Christmas Eve.

Deputies Michael Onsgard, Garrett Test and Titus Hodges responded to 82207 Overseas Highway in Islamorada just before 1 a.m. after the victim called to report being stabbed with a knife. When the deputies arrived, they initially located the victim, 36 year old Hector Vasquez, and two witnesses. The suspect, 38 year old Juan Ocampo Medina was found nearby.

The victim and two witnesses all said Medina came to their house and asked them to come across the street to his residence to drink with him. They said when they walked into his back yard, Medina attacked Vasquez with a knife.

During the attack, Vasquez sustained a cut from the knife from his neck to his abdomen, about a quarter inch deep. One of the witnesses took the knife away from Medina, who then grabbed a shovel and hit Vasquez in the back of the head. Vasquez had a large cut on his head which required staples to close.

Both the knife and the shovel were recovered at the scene. None of the men gave a reason for the attack.

Vasquez was treated by Paramedics and then at Mariner’s Hospital. Medina was arrested and charged with attempted murder and he was booked into jail.

December 21, 2015

Traffic expected to be heavy on Big Pine Key

With the Christmas and New Year’s holidays coming up, traffic is expected to be heavy as people travel to holiday events, do last minute shopping and take care of holiday errands. This is especially true for those who live on and travel through the Big Pine Key area.

Traffic becomes particularly congested during the holiday season on Big Pine Key. Sheriff Rick Ramsay would like to remind everyone to be patient. Expect delays and try to get out early in the day before traffic is at its heaviest.

Most of all, drive safely. Don’t pass in no passing zones or center turn lanes; pay attention to the speed limit and don’t drink and drive.

The Sheriff’s Office will be monitoring traffic on Big Pine Key closely, particularly at the traffic light. We will do our best to keep traffic moving in that area.

Have safe and happy holidays from the Sheriff’s Office.

Make this a happy holiday season – don’t drink and drive

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office will be out in force watching out for drunk and unsafe drivers during this last week before Christmas and during the rest of the month of December with the goal of making sure holiday travel is as safe as possible here in the Florida Keys.

Deputies will be concentrating their efforts on drunk drivers, improper passing and other unsafe driving practices throughout the upcoming season in an effort to save lives and make this holiday season a safe and enjoyable one for everyone.

So, as you attend special holiday events, designate a sober driver or take a cab home if you decide to drink alcoholic beverages. Whatever you choose to do, don't drink and drive. Remember: if you drink and drive and get caught, you will be spending the night in jail.

Our deputies spend their holidays working in order to keep our community safe. Have a safe and happy holiday season, from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.

December 19, 2015

Reckless Driver arrested

A man driving recklessly who passed three separate law enforcement officers, two in marked patrol cars,  was stopped and arrested for his dangerous driving Friday.

50 year old Ayman Nekhaila of Key Largo first passed Key Colony Beach Police Chief Kris DiGiovanni at 9:30 a.m. Friday. The chief was southbound in his personal vehicle at the 68 mile marker. Chief DiGiovanni saw the silver colored vehicle pass a vehicle in back of him on the left hand side in a turn lane for Long Key State Park.  The vehicle then followed the chief too closely, making hand gestures indicating frustration. He then passed the chief and two other vehicles at the 66 mile marker. The chief recorded the car’s tag number and called it in to the Sheriff’s Office.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Officer J. Pino was in his marked vehicle pulling a FWC vessel on the Long Key Bridge when the same vehicle passed him in a double yellow no passing zone. He also called the Sheriff’s Office to report the dangerous driver.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Joel Slough was at the 54 mile marker when he saw the same vehicle traveling 65 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone. As he attempted to stop the vehicle he saw it weaving in and out of traffic and driving erratically. When the driver spotted Sgt. Slough behind him, Sgt. Slough saw him throwing something out of the window. The vehicle was finally stopped at 55th street in Marathon.

Sgt. Slough could smell the odor of marijuana as he approached the driver’s side window. The driver, Nekhaila, denied driving recklessly. Both the FWC Officer and Chief DiGiovanni stopped and identified the vehicle as the same one they saw driving dangerously.

Nekhaila was arrested and charged with reckless driving. He was also charged with possession of a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia found in the car. Citations were also issued to him for passing in a turn lane, following too closely, passing on a double yellow line and speeding.

Tavernier man charged with vehicle burglary

A 36 year old Tavernier man was arrested early today, charged with burglarizing a truck parked on Harry Davis Circle in Key Largo.

The owner of the truck told Deputy Cody Kerns he walked outside his home at 5:20 a.m. today and saw a man later identified as 36 year old Frank Guevara in the back of his truck. When he confronted Guevara, Guevara jumped out of the truck with the victim’s toolbox and ran to a waiting vehicle – a dark colored Mustang. The Mustang then fled the scene.

Deputy Kerns and other deputies searched the surrounding area for the vehicle and found it parked on Hibiscus Lane. A man fitting the suspect’s description was walking around near the car, which had two people waiting inside of it.

The victim was brought to the Hibiscus Lane and positively identified Guevara as the man who stole his toolbox from his truck. Guevara was arrested and charged with vehicle burglary and grand theft. The toolbox has not yet been located. A search of Guevara’s pockets turned up five Xanax pills, so he was further charged with five counts possession  of a controlled substance. He was booked into jail.

December 18, 2015

Man caught burglarizing vehicles on Little Torch Key

A Portland, Connecticut man was arrested after a resident who lives on Channel View Drive, Little Torch Key saw him attempting to burglarize vehicles around his house.

Deputy Donald Stulken was dispatched to Channel View Drive at 2:20 a.m. When he arrived he began searching for the suspect. As Deputy Stulken was searching, the witness called Sheriff’s communications officers back and said he saw the suspect walking underneath his house.

Deputy Juan Martin-Reyes arrived as a backup officer and spotted 38 year old Christopher Radman. Radman  was identified by the witness as the man he saw trying to enter multiple cars in the neighborhood.

Radman’s pockets were full of small items, including an expensive designer watch and a diamond engagement ring, as well as lots of small change, an Iphone, and a disposable camera.

After speaking to people who live in the area, as well as the witness who saw Radman committing the crimes, Radman was charged with one count of vehicle burglary and five counts of attempted vehicle burglary.  Detectives are following up today and more charges are expected.

December 14, 2015

Bomb Threat at Marathon High School turns out to be false

At 8:19 a.m. this morning, Marathon School Resource Officer Deputy Derick Velez notified the Sheriff’s Office a bomb threat had been called in directly to the school. Just a minute later, the school began evacuating students and staff from school buildings.

Traffic was stopped on Sombrero Beach Road and Sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene. A room by room search of the school failed to turn up any threat.

At 10:30 a.m., students and staff were allowed to return to their classes and traffic was allowed to resume on Sombrero Beach Road.

The Sheriff’s Office will be investigating the circumstances of the bomb threat. Investigating detectives will also work with Key West Police to determine if a bomb threat at Key West High School this morning is related to the call at Marathon High School.

Calling in a false bomb threat is a second degree felony. See statute below:

790.163 False report about planting bomb, explosive, or weapon of mass destruction; penalty.—
(1) It is unlawful for any person to make a false report, with intent to deceive, mislead, or otherwise misinform any person, concerning the placing or planting of any bomb, dynamite, other deadly explosive, or weapon of mass destruction as defined in s. 790.166; and any person convicted thereof commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(2) Notwithstanding any other law, adjudication of guilt or imposition of sentence for a violation of this section may not be suspended, deferred, or withheld. However, the state attorney may move the sentencing court to reduce or suspend the sentence of any person who is convicted of a violation of this section and who provides substantial assistance in the identification, arrest, or conviction of any of his or her accomplices, accessories, coconspirators, or principals.
(3) Proof that a person accused of violating this section knowingly made a false report is prima facie evidence of the accused person’s intent to deceive, mislead, or otherwise misinform any person.
(4) In addition to any other penalty provided by law with respect to any person who is convicted of a violation of this section that resulted in the mobilization or action of any law enforcement officer or any state or local agency, a person convicted of a violation of this section may be required by the court to pay restitution for all of the costs and damages arising from the criminal conduct.

History.—s. 3, ch. 59-29; s. 749, ch. 71-136; s. 1, ch. 2002-28.

December 13, 2015

Boat fire shuts down Tom Thumb store

A boat caught fire after its owner mistakenly pumped gas into the bilge instead of the gas tank. Neighboring homes were evacuated for a short time and the store is closed for an undetermined amount of time.

The 25 foot Seapro was parked at the gas pumps at the Tom Thumb store at the 102.6 mm at 10 a.m. The boat’s owner was fueling it when he realized gas was pouring from the drains at the back of the boat. He quickly plugged the drains to keep more gas from spilling out.

Key Largo Fire responded along with Sheriff’s deputies.
The store was evacuated and Tow Boat U.S. was called to respond and empty the approximately 100 gallons of fuel from the boat. The job was about 90% finished when the remaining gas ignited.

As the fire department worked to contain the fire and keep it from escalating, deputies evacuated surrounding homes and businesses. The fire was contained a short time later. The Fire Marshal responded and will be investigating.

The Tom Thumb store remains closed due to damage from the fire.

December 11, 2015

Ringing a bell for the needy

Sheriff's Office Finance Executive Director Lisa Knowles and Detention Sergeant Beverly Harper ringing the bell for the Salvation Army.

Sheriff's Explorers are busy

Sheriff’s Office Explorers have been busy. Here are photos from a couple of events.

On December 4 -6, 2015, the Monroe County Sheriff Explorers attended the FSEA Winter 2015 Delegates located in Lake County, Florida.

On December 9th Post 904 and Post 906 had combined training in building searches with Sgt. Test as instructor.

December 8, 2015

Sheriff's Office Community Cleanups

Take a look at our new video about the Monroe County Sheriff's Office Community Cleanup efforts.

Man airlifted after Stock Island crash

Sheriff’s deputies and Florida Highway Patrol Troopers responded to the scene of a crash on Stock Island Sunday. A man injured when a vehicle hit his bicycle was airlifted to a Miami hospital. FHP is investigating the crash.

Deputies Lazaro Valdes and Freddy Rodriguez were at Bernstein Park at 11:30 a.m. when a citizen told them about the crash between a yellow Hummer and a bicyclist on 5th Street. When they responded, the found the victim, 42 year old Pedro Parrado Marquez of Stock Island, on the side of the road, injured. Witnesses said they saw a yellow Hummer leave the scene rapidly. They were able to tell deputies who the driver of the Hummer was – 59 year old Eduardo Acevedo of Stock Island. Witnesses said the Hummer also hit a truck and a road sign.

Deputy Valdes found the Hummer parked at 2nd Street and 3rd Avenue. The victim was taken to Lower Keys Hospital and then airlifted to the Ryder Trauma Center in Miami.

During the initial investigation, Acevedo told deputies “he had a gun and was going to kill me,” referring to the victim. Major Crimes detectives responded and investigated the possibility that guns threats might be involved and that the crash and injury to the victim might be intentional. After investigation, and consultation with the State Attorney’s Office, evidence was not sufficient to support the allegation. The case was turned over to FHP.

Sheriff’s Office remembers Deputy Robin Tanner, killed December 13, 2007

 This week, the Sheriff’s Office is remembering Deputy Robin Tanner who was killed in the line of duty on December 13th, 2007.

Deputy Tanner was killed at 7 a.m. in a single vehicle automobile accident as she was on her way to a medical call. She was responding to a report of a woman not breathing in the vicinity of 119th Street in Marathon. The accident took place near 90th Street.

Deputy Tanner was assigned to the Marathon area as a patrol officer. She was 47 years old at the time of her death.

She first came to work for the Sheriff’s Office in January of 1987 as a records clerk. She attended the law enforcement academy at Florida Keys Community College Institute of Criminal Justice in 1988 and shortly thereafter became a patrol officer. She worked in the Lower Keys until she resigned in June of 1991. She returned to work for the Sheriff’s Office in June of 2004 and worked in the Middle Keys as a patrol officer until her death.

Reminder: Animal Farm Christmas on Sunday

 Mark your calendars and join the Sheriff’s Office and the Sheriff’s Animal Farm this Sunday, December 13th for the Annual Christmas on the Farm celebration!

Bring the family and join the fun at the farm; the event is free of charge and offers something for everyone. There will be Christmas music by local musicians, a visit and photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus; face painting, arts and crafts and, of course, plenty of time to see all the animals at the farm.

Come to the farm between 1 and 3 p.m. on December 13th. The farm is located just off of College Road, at the Sheriff’s Office on Stock Island.

Note: This will be the only time the animal farm is open for the month of December.

Seven Mile Bridge Traffic Delays Possible Today Due to Television Commercial:

Motorists traveling on the Florida Keys Overseas Highway today may experience traffic delays on the Seven Mile Bridge between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and again that afternoon between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. An automobile commercial is being filmed at that location.

Monroe County Sheriff deputies are to assist with traffic control.

December 7, 2015

MARC trees

 The Sheriff's Office is still helping out with MARC Christmas tree sales. Don't forget - they have great trees for sale from now until Christmas at their nursery in Key West!!! They also have great ornaments, wreaths and poinsettias.....

Christmas trees to needy families

 Thanks to Sgt. Marc Maison’s road patrol squad and Home Depot, five needy families will have Christmas trees this year. They delivered the trees, along with lights and ornaments. A tree was also delivered free of charge to Grace Jones Community School.

Explorers and cadets feeding the needy

Sheriff’s SRO Deputies Larry O’Neill and Dave Stark took a group of explorers and cadets to Island Community School where they helped to pack and deliver Thanksgiving meals to needy families. Left to right, Deputy Stark, Explorer David Williams, Cadet Jayden Gattorno, Deputy O’Neill, Pastor Tony Hammon and Explorer Javier Exposito.

Coral Shores High School all clear

The Sheriff’s Office has finished checking Coral Shores High School room by room as of 10 a.m. and has found no sign of any suspicious person or suspicious activity. The incident at the school started when a report was received at 7:48 a.m. of a possible armed subject seen at the school. The School Resource Officer assigned to the school worked with school administrators to initiate a lock down of students and teachers and then immediately began searching, beginning with the media room where the armed subject was reportedly seen. More law enforcement arrived and a room-by-room search took place to make sure there was no danger. No sign of any armed suspect was found. The lock down at the school has been lifted. School administrators have said the school will remain open, but parents can pick up their kids if they wish to.

The Sheriff’s Office trains at area schools for just such a situation and this response was accomplished quickly, safely and completely due in large part to that training. While the Sheriff’s Office is aware of how frightening such an incident is to the community at large – especially parents of children in school – everyone should be aware of how all the agencies involved in this response worked together to ensure the safety of our kids. The Sheriff’s Office, Fire/ Rescue, paramedics and school district personnel were in constant contact and communication to ensure we were all doing what we could do to expedite the situation.

“We are, of course, relieved that this turned out to be a false alarm but it is important we all treat any report seriously,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “The safety of children in our schools and our community remains the highest priority to all of us here at the Sheriff’s Office.”

Update: Coral Shores High School

Update: No sign of any suspicious person or activity so far at Coral Shores High School as deputies continue to clear the building. All students and teachers are on lock-down status for security reasons. If you are a parent, or other concerned individual, please be patient as we make sure everyone at the school is safe.

Coral Shores High School

At 7:48 a.m., the Sheriff’s Office received a single unconfirmed report of a white male possibly carrying something resembling a gun entering Coral Shores High School. Deputies who were already on campus initiated a school lock-down with the cooperation of school administrators and began clearing the school. More law enforcement officers have since arrived on scene and all are continuing to check the school. No signs of an armed individual have been found so far.

Parents are urged not to rush to the school – you will not be allowed on the school grounds at this time and will only add to difficulties of handling this situation. We will release further information when it becomes available.

December 6, 2015

Marathon men charged with vehicle burglaries

Two Marathon men are in jail, charged with burglarizing a car and subsequently using credit cards stolen in the burglary. They also burglarized a boat with someone sleeping on it.

Deputy Rosa DiGiovanni met with the victim of the car burglary Saturday. The woman said her 2015 Ford Mustang was parked in front of her house on Gulf Stream Boulevard when it was burglarized. She said she always leaves it unlocked. She said when she got into her car Saturday morning, she found her cigarettes and wallet missing from inside, including her debit card.

She said later in the day, her bank told her the debit card had been used at Walgreen’s at 10870 Overseas Highway and at the Circle K store at 11100 Overseas Highway, both in Marathon. That is when she contacted the Sheriff’s Office.

Deputy DiGiovanni went to Walgreens to investigate. She and Deputy Leon Bourcier watched video of the purchases made with the stolen card. Both deputies recognized 20 year old Eli Hager using the card. He was accompanied by 23 year old Gerry Pinson.

The deputies then went to the Circle K store in Marathon. While there, they saw Hager and Pinson walk in the store and make some purchases using the card.

During subsequent interviews with Detective Scott Ward, Hager told him he’d burglarized a number of vehicles “over the past couple of days.” He said he “just likes to get quick hits for cash.” One of the burglaries he said he and Pinson committed was to a vessel located at 11699 Overseas Highway. This burglary had already been reported to the Sheriff’s Office and was under investigation at the time Hager told Detective Ward about it.

The owner of the vessel was sleeping on board when the burglary took place. He called the Sheriff’s Office at 5:30 a.m. Saturday to report Pinson entered his boat where it was docked. He said he woke because he heard a noise, and could see Pinson clearly, recognized him from previous contacts and, when he confronted him, Pinson ran from the boat and jumped into a waiting truck. Hager told Detective Ward he was the one driving the truck Pinson jumped into.

Both men were arrested. They were both charged with burglary and theft. Hager was also charged with fraudulent use of a credit card. Pinson was additionally charged with burglary of the occupied vessel. Detective Ward is continuing to investigate and more charges are expected.

Inmate charged with aggravated battery

An inmate at the Monroe County Detention Center on Stock Island was charged with aggravated battery on his cellmate on Saturday afternoon.

The corrections deputy working in the cell block told Deputy Seth Hopp he heard cries for help coming from one of the cells at about 3 p.m. Saturday. When he approached the cell, he saw 30 year old Darvin Cano Murillo sitting on top of 61 year old David Reedy. Murillo had a mesh laundry bag wrapped around Reedy’s neck and was strangling him.

The deputy intervened in the attack and called for someone from the medical unit to respond to assist Reedy. Murillo told the officer he attacked his cellmate because he snored too loudly.

The victim said he was sleeping and woke to find the bag around his neck. He said he struggled with Murillo for several minutes before being able to call out for help.

Murillo was charged with aggravated battery. He has been in jail since May, when he was arrested for burglary of an occupied dwelling and criminal mischief. He broke into a Marathon home while a couple and their child were sleeping inside.

Reedy was arrested in January and is being held on a charge of violation of sex offender registration requirements. He was treated for his injuries at the medical unit of the detention center.

Don’t drink and drive this holiday season – or you will go to jail

A Key West man was arrested in the early morning hours today after he was involved in a single vehicle crash. He charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. This is his sixth DUI arrest.

Deputy Juan Martin-Reyes responded to a report of a car in the mangroves near Bahia Honda at 11:45 p.m. Saturday. The callers who reported the crash said the driver was out of his car and did not appear to be injured.

When Deputy Martin-Reyes arrived, he found the driver leaning on his car. 45 year old William Pritchett, who smelled of alcohol, appeared to be impaired and had urinated on himself, said he’d hit a wet patch on the road and lost control of his 1997 Chevrolet Cavalier. He said he was on his way home after spending time with friends in Marathon.

Deputy Josh Gordon arrived as a backup officer. While Deputy Martin-Reyes administered field sobriety exercises, Deputy Gordon walked around the area to determine what happened. He said it appeared Pritchett was southbound when he lost control. He crossed the northbound lane onto the northbound shoulder and traveled for about 150 feet before crossing back over both lanes and crashing, trunk first, into the mangroves.

Pritchett failed sobriety exercises and refused to take a breathalyzer test. He showed deputies a Texas driver’s license, although he said he’d lived in Key West for about six months. The car was his, but he’d failed to register it after purchasing it. A further check of his name revealed six arrests for DUI.

He was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol – fourth or subsequent offense, a felony crime. He was also cited for careless driving resulting in a crash, failing to obtain a driver’s license in Florida, attaching a tag not assigned, operating an unregistered vehicle, refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test after a driver’s license suspension. He refused to sign the citations, so he was further charged with five counts of resisting an officer by failing to sign criminal citations.

Inside his car, Deputy Gordon found a cooler in the trunk with ice in it; he also found two green bottle caps with “Heineken” on them.

Both deputies want to remind everyone not to drink and drive. Deputy Gordon said it is fortunate no one got hurt in this accident. He reminds everyone: “It is the holiday season but hopefully we can get the word out once again how dangerous drinking and driving is. We are on the lookout for drunk drivers to keep the roadways safe.”

December 4, 2015

Traffic delays possible Tuesday on the Seven Mile Bridge

Motorists traveling on the Florida Keys Overseas Highway Tuesday, Dec. 8, may experience traffic delays on the Seven Mile Bridge between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and again that afternoon between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. An automobile commercial is being filmed at that location.

Monroe County Sheriff deputies are to assist with traffic control.

Walking safety

Walking – it is something most of us take for granted and don’t really think much about. And this time of year, with the cooler weather, many of us take walks for exercise, to walk dogs, or just to stroll the neighborhood and talk with our neighbors.

With all of the cars traveling Keys roadways, there are a few things you should do to stay safe while walking. First and most important, if there is a walking path available, or a sidewalk, use it! Florida law requires a pedestrian to use the sidewalk, walking path or the right of way when walking along a roadway. And pedestrians walking alongside a roadway should ALWAYS walk facing traffic. This way, you can see the cars coming and see if you need to move to avoid being hit. When you come to an intersection, obey all signs and signals. Cross in designated cross walks when possible. If you are crossing in a cross walk that spans two lanes in the same direction, make sure cars in BOTH lanes are stopping for you before you walk across. They are required to stop for a pedestrian in the cross walk, but that doesn’t mean they will.

Prior to stepping into a roadway to cross, make sure you look carefully both ways and don’t cross if it is not safe to do so. When walking, wear light colored clothing, especially at night; and if you are walking after dark, consider carrying a flashlight. Remember, just because you can see a car coming does not mean the driver of the car sees you.

A reminder about sidewalks: pedestrians have the right of way on sidewalks. Bicycles using the sidewalk, walking path or right of way must yield to pedestrians and must give an audible warning before overtaking and passing the pedestrian.

December 3, 2015

Sheriff's Office at Silverliner's Christmas event

 The Sheriff's Office and many other agencies attended the Silverliner's Christmas event at the Key West Airport today. Close to 600 children were scheduled to attend the event. The Sheriff's Office had their SWAT team and Bomb Squad there, the Sheriff's Animal Farm was on hand as well as McGruff and the MCSO contingent of airport deputies and security technicians. Photos were taken by Lt. Donald Catala.

Woman arrested for defrauding adoption agencies

Sheriff’s detectives say a Key West woman took money from two separate adoption agencies after promising to place her unborn child into their care for adoption. She then arranged to give the child to an adoptive family in exchange for money.

In February of 2014, one of the agencies – American Adoption Services – reported to the Sheriff’s Office that 38 year old Crystal Dinklocker had taken money from their agency and from another agency at the same time – Adoption Angels. The money paid to her was for her support while pregnant. She told both agencies they were the only company she was dealing with in relation to her pregnancy.

Detective Bob Dosh was assigned to the case. It turns out Dinklocker was in the Monroe County Detention Center on Stock Island from April to November of 2013 on fraud and drug related charges. She was pregnant and, while in jail,  she was making arrangements for the adoption. Investigations showed both adoption agencies made payments into Dinklocker’s inmate account during the time she was in jail.

Detective Dosh also contacted the family which finally adopted Dinklocker’s baby. The woman who dealt with Dinklocker said she had a conversation with Dinklocker, who told her she was not dealing with any other adoption agencies. She said if she were dealing with other agencies she would be committing fraud.

The investigation showed Dinklocker took money from both agencies and from the adoptive family as well. A warrant was obtained for her for two counts of fraud.

In August of this year, Dinklocker was located in prison, in Marion County. When she was released from prison she was returned to Monroe County to face the charges. She was booked into the Monroe County jail on December 2nd.

Closures announced for Long Key Bridge

Florida Department of Transportation has announced two hour long closures of the Long Key Bridge, located between mile markers 65.5--71, between Fiesta Key and Conch Key. The bridge will be closed December 7th from 8 - 9 p.m. and on December 9th from 1 a.m. to 2 a.m. Mark your calendars if you are a person who travels through that area at night.

Christmas at the Farm is coming up!

Don't miss this upcoming event at the Sheriff's Office Animal Farm. Bring the kids to see Santa and all the animals!!!

Kemp Channel Bridge to be closed

Florida Department of Transportation sent out a notice that the Kemp Channel Bridge at the south end of Summerland Key will be closed completely for an hour on December 15th between 11 p.m. and midnight. For several hours prior to that and after that, there will only be one lane operational on the bridge. Mark your calendars if you are a person who travels over that bridge at night. There will be delays.

December 1, 2015

Sheriff’s Office employee arrested, terminated

Key West Police arrested a Sheriff’s Office employee today, charging him with lewd and lascivious activity on a 15 year old girl.

21 year old Deonte Stemage was arrested today while working as a Records Assistant at the Monroe County Detention Center. He was booked into that same Detention Center on the felony charges.

Sheriff Rick Ramsay immediately terminated him from his employment. Stemage has worked for the Sheriff’s Office since December 18th, 2014.

Help prevent vehicle burglary - lock up!

With the heaviest part of the tourist season approaching, the Sheriff’s Office would like to remind everyone to lock car doors and don’t leave valuables in sight. Car burglaries are usually crimes of opportunity. Typically, criminals will walk through a parking area or a neighborhood and try car doors, looking for one that is unlocked. Sometimes, they will break a locked window to get to valuable items visible inside.

The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind everyone this type of crime is easy to prevent. When you park your car, either remove your valuables from the car, or at the very least, hide them from plain sight. Put them in a glove compartment, under the seat or in the trunk.  Then, make sure to lock the car doors.

It only takes a minute, and will discourage most criminals from choosing to burglarize the car.

In the Keys, parking areas located at the many bridges in our county and the many parks in the Keys are particularly appealing to criminals. Many tourists stop to look at the beautiful views and either don’t lock their cars; or leave luggage, purses, cameras and other valuables inside. This year, in an attempt to prevent these crimes, the Sheriff’s Office has purchased some special signs to post in areas particularly vulnerable to these types of crimes. The signs remind drivers to lock up and secure valuables.

In the attached photo, Captain Don Fanelli, on the left, and Lieutenant Al Ramirez stand beside one of the new signs, posted at Old Settler’s Park in Tavernier.

Three Marathon men further charged with aggravated battery

Three Marathon men who were arrested last Wednesday night after a fight with deputies were further charged Monday with aggravated battery.

Deputies responded to reports of a fight on 15th Street at 11:30 p.m. on November 25th. When they arrived, they found a man – 48 year old Ignacio Echeverria Aguila – lying in the street with severe injuries to his face and head. He was airlifted to the Ryder Trauma Center for treatment of his injuries.

As deputies began to investigate, they followed a blood trail to a nearby trailer. There were two women in front of the trailer. They both said they did not know what happened to the victim. One of the women,  46 year old Tania Espinosa Guevara, got up and began to walk away. At that point, Deputy Matthew Pitcher saw she had blood on both of her forearms. He told her to stop, so he could speak to her. Instead she began to walk away, faster.

Deputy Pitcher followed her and detained her, so he could determine if she had anything to do with the injuries to the victim. He asked Deputy Titus Hodges to go get his patrol car so they could place her in the back seat until they could determine what happened.

There were a number of other people in the area who had already been warned to stay back and to stay away from the incident scene so they would not damage evidence of what happened. The crowd included three men  identified as 23 year old Asniel Ferrer Espinosa, the son of the woman who was detained; 27 year old Yacel Maza Hernandez, and 24 year old Yordany Rodriguez Marmol. The three disregarded deputy’s instructions and were walking around  in the area which had been clearly delineated with crime scene tape.

Deputy Pitcher continued to hold Guevara, and continued to order the men out of the crime scene. Deputy Titus Hodges arrived and also began to order the men to back up and to get out of the crime scene. As pthe men continued to come closer to the officers, they had to physically push them away. They called for backup officers to respond.

Marmol physically confronted Deputy Pitcher, and took a swing at him with his fist. Deputy Pitcher, who still had Guevara detained with one hand, swung at Marmol with his baton, hitting him in the right leg. Marmol started to run away and was detained by Deputy Hodges. Espinosa kicked Deputy Pitcher twice and Deputy Pitcher used his baton to strike Espinosa. As back up officers arrived, Hernandez also began to act aggressively, refusing to stand back and stay out of the way of the situation.

Deputy Garrett Bragg attempted to detain Hernandez, who struggled with him. Deputy Bragg deployed his Taser to subdue Hernandez until another deputy could assist him with taking him into custody.