March 31, 2016

Clean up next week!

Help us clean up next week between the 29 and the 31 mile marker of the highway on Big Pine Key!

Sheriff’s Office introduces new Crime Prevention Specialists

Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay says he is happy to announce a new phase in his program to make the county a better, cleaner and safer place for our residents and visitors. Six of his officers have been formally trained as Crime Prevention Specialists and, over coming months, they will be implementing a number of programs aimed at both residential and business crime prevention.

During the first phase of the new crime prevention initiative, there will be town meetings held in each Sheriff’s Office “district” – in the Lower Keys, the Marathon area, Islamorada and in the Tavernier / Key Largo area. The first meeting will be held in Islamorada on Wednesday, April 6th at the community center at Founders Park in Islamorada from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Residents who attend will meet their new Crime Prevention Specialists, who will discuss strategies for making the community safer, including offering hands-on security surveys of businesses and residences.

In coming months, these trained specialists will be offering security surveys county-wide to anyone who requests one. They will also be pro-actively visiting specific businesses and making suggestions about how to make each property safer.

Some crime prevention strategies might include removing large signs or displays from front windows so the interior of the business is more visible; making sure surveillance cameras and alarm systems are in good operating condition; installing secure locks on doors and windows and checking lighting outside after dark.

The trained specialists will also be concentrating on the prevention of certain types of crimes which are of particular concern in Monroe County. They will be tackling the prevention of vehicle burglaries, marine related thefts, bicycle safety, fraud and identity theft.

“We all need to work together as a community to tackle these issues,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “We would much rather spend time with a business owner or resident helping them to prevent a crime from taking place than to respond to a crime after the fact. This is a very safe place to live, work and play but together we can make it even safer.”

Anyone who wishes to request a security survey of their home or business can call their local Sheriff’s Office substation and request one. Someone will do an on-site visit and make suggestions for improving safety and security. Another aim of this program is to encourage neighborhoods to get together and organize Crime Watches in the county. If you are interested in organizing such a group in your neighborhood, contact your local Sheriff’s Office substation.

Lower Keys: Freeman Substation on Cudjoe Key, 305-745-3184
Middle Keys: Marathon Sheriff’s Substation, 305-289-2430
Islamorada: Islamorada Sheriff’s Substation, 305-664-6480

Tavernier / Key Largo: Roth Building on Plantation Key, 305-853-3211

Miami man charged with two business burglaries

A Miami man has been charged with two burglaries that took place in Islamorada in December of 2013.

Detective Bob Dosh was lead investigator on the case. He responded to the two business burglaries on December 8th, 2013 just after noon. Both Innovative Technology Solutions and Blue Water Weddings in Islamorada had been broken into. Surveillance video at one of the businesses caught 57 year old Orlando Mora as he used some sort of prying tool to force his way in the front doors of the businesses. The video shows him entering the businesses and then leaving with a laptop stolen from one business and two televisions stolen from the other. The video showed Mora leaving the area in a white Ford pickup truck with the two stolen TVs in the back of the truck.

Detective Dosh was able to identify the truck, which led to Mora’s identification. Warrants were issued for his arrest. On Wednesday, Mora was booked into jail, charged with two counts each of burglary, possession of burglary tools, grand theft, and criminal mischief. 

Key West man charged with Tavernier robbery

A Key West man was charged with a robbery at  Tavernier convenience store earlier this month.

Detective Jaques Rozek is the lead investigator of a robbery March 7th at the Circle K convenience store at the 92.7 mm of Highway U.S. One. The clerk at the store called the Sheriff’s Office after a man wearing a mask over his face entered the store and demanded money. The suspect – 48 year old Gregory Wellet – told the clerk he had a weapon. He demanded money and, as the clerk was taking money from the register, Wellet reached over the counter and took money himself then left the store. Surveillance video showed him riding a bike and wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans and tennis shoes.

Detective Rozek received a call from the Homestead Police Department. A detective with that agency had received a call from a confidential source who identified a man named “Greg” as the robber. The source said “Greg” drives a Jeep and gave the vehicle’s tag number. “Greg” was then identified as Wellet. Wellet also had an outstanding warrant for Grand Theft. Homestead Police located Wellet in Homestead, driving the Jeep. He was stopped and, since his driver’s license was suspended and he had the outstanding warrant, he was arrested. In the Jeep, detectives located a bike and clothing which matched that worn by the suspect in the  surveillance video of the robbery.

A warrant was obtained for his arrest for robbery. On Wednesday, he was returned to Monroe County to face the robbery and the grand theft charges.

March 30, 2016

Job Opportunities with the Monroe County Sheriff's Office!

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office has current job openings for Finance Assistant 1 - Receptionist and for Detention Deputy Trainees. You can find out more about these opportunities and you can fill out our preliminary job application on our web site:

Air show may cause traffic delays

This weekend is the NAS Key West Southernmost Air Spectacular. The event is expected to attract lots of people and may cause periodic traffic slow-downs in the area of the Boca Chica four-lane on Highway U.S. One.

Everyone attending, and those traveling through the area on Saturday and Sunday should be aware of the potential for traffic back-ups due to this event and should plan accordingly. There may be traffic congestion both days, particularly between the hours of 8 – 10 a.m. and 3 – 5 p.m.

Also, a reminder from the Sheriff's Office there will be no stopping or parking allowed on the highway during this event. Sheriff’s Office Traffic Enforcement deputies will be continuously patrolling the area between Stock Island and Big Coppitt Key.

For more information,

March 29, 2016

Arrests made in Tavernier double murder

The murder of a Tavernier couple in their home on Cuba Road in October was drug related, according to investigations by the Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit.

 Detective Vince Weiner, working closely with Chief Assistant State Attorney Manny Madruga, arrested two Upper Keys men Monday night in connection with the shooting deaths of 26 year old Tara Rosado and her boyfriend 30 year old Carlos Ortiz. The two were shot to death the night of October 15th 2015 by 33 year old Jeremey Macauley of Tavernier. Macauley was assisted in the crime by 34 year old Adrian Demblans of Key Largo.

“This case involved meticulous investigation and tremendous teamwork by a large number of people,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “In particular, we worked closely on this with our partners at the State Attorney’s Office. This case was a tough one and our thoughts are with the families of the victims – especially Tara Rosado’s children who have been deprived of their mother. We are just glad we were able to bring closure to this case with the arrest of these two men.”
Jeremey Macauley

Investigations by Detective Weiner revealed in the summer of 2015, Ortiz was in the process of opening a tattoo business. Macauley was a financial partner in the business with Ortiz.

Adrian Demblans
Also in the summer of 2015, Macauley came into possession of a large amount of cocaine while fishing offshore of the Upper Keys. He distributed portions of the cocaine to Demblans and Ortiz.

At some point, Ortiz and Macauley had a disagreement concerning the tattoo business. Ortiz subsequently attempted to extort money from Macauley by threatening to expose his drug activities to authorities. Macauley told Demblans about the extortion attempts by Ortiz.

On October 15th, Macauley and Demblans drove to the home on Cuba Road. Macauley, who was the passenger in the vehicle, exited the vehicle and met with Ortiz. He followed Ortiz into the residence, where he stayed for several minutes. Demblans, who was driving, remained outside. Macauley then exited the residence alone, got into the vehicle with Demblans and they left the area.

The following day, Rosado’s three small children woke and found the bodies of their mother and Ortiz shot to death in their bedroom. The children left the residence and told a neighbor, who called 911.

Detectives working on the case put together many pieces of information during the course of investigation, eventually leading to the identification of Macauley and Demblans as the men responsible for the murders. They found text messages and video on cell phones used by Ortiz which revealed his attempts to extort Macauley; they acquired video from surveillance cameras near the Cuba Road residence that showed Macauley and Demblans arrive at the home on Cuba Road the night of the murders. The gun used to shoot Rosado and Ortiz was recovered from the water near Ocean Bay Drive Bridge. A witness later identified the firearm as belonging to Macauley. An IPhone belonging to Ortiz was also recovered from the water in the same vicinity.

Macauley was charged Monday night with two counts of first degree murder; Demblans was charged with being an accessory to murder. Both men were booked into the Monroe County Detention Center. 

March 28, 2016

Cuban refugees

Sheriff’s Office helped out this morning around 6:30 a.m. after a group of Cuban refugees were found by a passing boater on Cook Island, offshore of Big Pine Key. The group of 24 men and one woman were ferried from the offshore island to Dolphin Marina on Little Torch Key where they were turned over to Customs and Border Protection. They were all in good condition.

In the picture is Deputy Jon Riggs taking small groups ashore in his Sheriff’s Office vessel.

Man arrested for spear gun threats

A Marathon man was arrested Sunday night in Boot Key Harbor for threatening to shoot people with a spear gun.

Deputies Joshua Baer and Garrett Bragg responded to the area of Boot Key Harbor at 9:15 p.m. to reports a man was threatening several people with a spear gun. When they arrived at Fisherman’s Point, they could hear yelling and screaming from vessels in the harbor.

The U.S. Coast Guard assisted the deputies in reaching the altercation on the water. They found a woman, a man and a child on a boat. They said 53 year old Randy Sharp had been circling their boat in his kayak, threatening to shoot them with a spear gun.

Sharp was found on his nearby vessel. He was taken into custody. As deputies were handcuffing him, he attempted several times to pull away from them. The spear gun was found in the cabin of his vessel. Sharp was charged with three counts aggravated assault, disturbing the peace, resisting arrest and, after a metal pipe was found in his pocked with marijuana residue inside, he was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.

March 24, 2016

Road rage incident involving firearm

A Sugarloaf man was arrested Wednesday evening after he pointed a gun at a Big Pine couple on a motorcycle.

The incident began at about 6:15 p.m. when 75 year old Matthew Ferro, in his cream colored Cadillac pickup truck, reportedly passed Christy and Robert Velasquez who were traveling southbound on a motorcycle on the Seven Mile Bridge.

When the two vehicles reached the Bahia Honda Bridge, the motorcycle reportedly passed the truck followed by the truck passing the motorcycle. Rude gestures were exchanged. The victims say when the truck passed them, they were forced off the road onto the shoulder, almost crashing their motorcycle.

Both vehicle continued south. At the intersection of Key Deer Boulevard and U.S. One, Ferro pulled up beside the couple on the motorcycle and another verbal confrontation took place. At that point, Ferro allegedly pulled out a gun and pointed it at them. At that point, the couple on the motorcycle called 911 for assistance.

Deputies Jorge Prince and David Lariz were northbound on their way to the call when they spotted the cream colored truck southbound at the 23 mile marker. They pulled it over, holding Ferro while they investigated the report. A fully loaded Ruger revolver was located on the floorboards of the truck. Deputy Prince then met with the victims, getting their account of events. After speaking with all parties involved, the deputies arrested Ferro. He was charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and he was taken to jail.

March 22, 2016

Cleaning graffiti on Stock Island

Deputies Freddy Rodriguez and Lazaro Valdes, cleaning up some graffiti on this dumpster on Stock Island.

Keeping the community clean of graffiti

Dep. James Hager recently cleaned up graffiti on a historical structure at the south end of the Bahia Honda Bridge.
It only takes a minute - continuing to follow Sheriff Rick Ramsay's philosophy - keeping our streets clean and safe!

Traffic alert - Thursday, 7 Mile Bridge

Traffic Alert!

There will be delays on the Seven Mile Bridge on Thursday between the hours of 3 and 4 p.m. while a commercial is being filmed.

March 20, 2016

Deputy asks for help identifying shoplifter

A Sheriff’s deputy investigating a shoplifting complaint wants the public’s assistance identifying her from a
surveillance photo.

The woman took a large amount of meat - $200 worth – from the Publix grocery store in Marathon on March 8th  at 1:15 p.m. The store manager spotted her taking the items and called the Sheriff’s Office. When he confronted her in the parking lot, she gave back the stolen items and left the scene.

Anyone who knows who recognizes her from the photo is asked to call Deputy Leon Bourcier at the Marathon Sheriff’s Substation at 305-289-2430.

Sheriff stops reckless motorcycle

Sheriff Rick Ramsay stopped a man driving a motorcycle recklessly on Big Coppitt Key Saturday afternoon. The driver said he was trying to get ahead of his friends so he could video them with his Go-Pro Camera.

The sheriff spotted the motorcycle traveling at a high rate of speed – 72 mph in a 45 mph zone southbound on Big Coppitt Key. The motorcycle was passing a number of vehicles illegally on the right hand side. He said after the motorcycle passed his unmarked Sheriff’s Office vehicle, he turned on his lights and siren, but the motorcycle refused to stop and, in fact, accelerated away from him. Sheriff Ramsay called for backup units in the area. The motorcycle finally pulled over at the 9 mm of the highway. Deputy Joshua Gordon arrived after the stop was made.

The driver, 32 year old Julio Mendoza of Miami, said he was trying to get far enough ahead of his friends to video them with his Go-Pro video camera. Mendoza was arrested and his motorcycle was towed. He was charged with reckless driving, improper passing and failure to obey a traffic control device. He was taken to jail.

March 18, 2016

Cleaning up on Stock Island

Deputy Lazaro Valdes continues his clean up efforts on Stock Island. Here he is shown removing abandoned vehicles on Front Street.

Cleaning up on Big Pine Key

After receiving a citizen complaint, Deputy Freddy Rodriguez organized a clean up of this state owned lot on Big Pine Key. He utilized state road prison inmates and had two abandoned boats on trailers removed by Anchor Towing.

Explorers compete at Delegates conference

Our three Explorer posts traveled to Brevard County this past weekend to compete with other explorers from around the state in law enforcement related skills, including shooting and in a physical agility test. All three posts did very well, with Caileigh Lutz from Post 904 taking first place in semi-auto Tyro shooting competition and in the PAT test for women; David Williams from Post 905 taking first place in Proficiency Reloading drills; and Angel Muino from post 906 taking first place in the PAT test for males. SRO Deputies Derick Velez and Will Schlegelmilch went along as advisors to the group.

March 17, 2016

Marathon man arrested for theft of fishing gear

A Marathon man is under arrest, charged with stealing fishing gear from friends of his who live in a Marathon trailer park.

The victims called the Sheriff’s Office on March 11th. They said they’d been gone for two weeks and had returned to their home at Galway Bay RV Park to find all their rods and reels stolen from their living room, along with two fishing belts and three fishing lures. Deputy Jamie Hughes Buxton responded to take a report.

The victims had cameras installed on their property. The video showed a friend of theirs, 30 year old Michael Tiziani of Marathon, breaking into the home through the front door and taking all the equipment from inside.

Sgt. Nick Whiteman and Deputy Seth Hopp went to Tizani’s home the following day. They confronted Tiziani with the information they had. He admitted to taking the fishing equipment. He handed over all the stolen items, which were returned to the owners.

A warrant was issued for Tiziani’s arrest. On Wednesday, he was charged with burglary and grand theft and he was booked into jail.

Now is a good time to make sure all of your fishing and diving equipment and electronics are stored in a secure location; don’t leave items out in the open and don’t leave them overnight on your vessel. It is also a good idea to catalogue your equipment. Write down serial numbers and take photos of each item so we are able to identify anything that is stolen and recovered. Video surveillance equipment can be very effective in catching criminals that prey on you or your home. Make sure the equipment is functional, is pointed in the most effective direction to catch usable video and that you know how to use the equipment.

Detectives say man wanted for attempted murder

Photos are of Yordan Alvarez...

A man who stabbed another man with a broken bottle on Big Coppitt Key in February is wanted for attempted murder. Detectives say they need people’s help locating him.

On February 7th at 11:30 p.m., Deputies Alexandra Davis and Wendy Negron were dispatched to a medical emergency on Avenue D, Big Coppitt Key. When they arrived, they found 39 year old Oleimys Clemente bleeding from a large cut on his neck. Two women – his sister and his ex-girlfriend – were attempting to help him. He was taken to Lower Keys Hospital and then transported to Ryder Trauma Center due to the extent and severity of his injury.

After he was able to talk, he told Major Crimes Detective Patricia O’Keefe he’d been visiting his sister when he was attacked by two men who live on the same property as her. The two men, 26 year old Yordan and 44 year old Amaury Alvarez, are related to his sister’s husband.

The victim said he’d left his sister’s house to visit somewhere else. He was on his way back because he’d left his cell phone there. When he got close, he saw the two men. They were angry with him and accused him of “snitching” about something regarding Yordan’s girlfriend. Clemente told the detective he did not understand what they were talking about. He said Yordan Alvarez had a beer bottle in his hand and hit him on the head with it, breaking the bottle and causing a deep cut on his forehead. He then stabbed the victim in the neck with the broken bottle.

When the victim fell to the ground, both men began to hit and kick him. The victim’s sister saw what happened and went downstairs to check on her brother. She saw the two suspects clearly and was able to identify them. When she arrived on the scene, the two suspects ran away.

A warrant was obtained for the arrest of Yordan Alvarez for attempted murder. Amaury Alvarez is also wanted for battery.

Anyone with information about the location of Yordan or Amaury Alvarez should contact the Sheriff's Office at 305-481-8060. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a Crimestoppers tip leads to an arrest, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crimestoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may be made anonymously on line at

March 16, 2016

Job opening with the Sheriff's Office

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office currently has a job opening in our office of Professional Standards for an Accreditation Specialist. If you are interested, visit our web site for a more detailed description of the position and to begin the on-line application process.

Man who fled from deputies turns himself in

A man wanted for leaving a small child in a car as he fled from pursuing deputies turned himself in Monday.

38 year old Robb Moore was booked into jail on charges of fleeing and eluding police, driving with a suspended license and cruelty toward a child.

On March 9th, sheriff’s deputies were looking for Moore after his wife reported to Key West Police she was concerned because he’d picked their child up at daycare hours earlier and she’d not heard from him since. Deputies located him on Shrimp Road, but he fled in his truck. They chased him north on the highway. He turned off at NAS Boca Chica and drove to the bayside of the base, hear the firing range. He continued to the end of a dirt road and jumped from the vehicle, leaving the small child in the truck. The child was recovered safe and uninjured.

Deputies who searched the area failed to find Moore, but a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was booked at the jail Monday.

Inmate charged with attack on corrections deputy

An inmate at the Monroe County Detention Center on Stock Island has been charged with attacking a corrections deputy.

The attack took place March 10th as Deputy Leonard Alonzo was working in one of the jail’s housing units. Inmates are supposed to wear identification tags and when Deputy Alonzo noticed 31 year old Darvin Cano-Murillo was not wearing his, he told him to go get it. Murillo refused to comply and refused the deputy’s order to return to his bunk. Deputy Alonzo called for assistance. As he was waiting for other officers to arrive, Murillo attacked him. He wrapped the cord from Deputy Alonzo’s microphone around his neck in an attempt to choke the deputy. Two other inmates who are in the housing unit came to Deputy Alonzo’s assistance until backup officers arrived.

Murillo was charged with aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer. Deputy Alonzo escaped serious injury because his uniform shirt partially protected his neck.

Get your car washed, support our Explorers!

This weekend sounds like a great time for a carwash! If your car needs a good cleaning, take it to Iberia Bank in Marathon Saturday between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Our Explorers Post 905 will be washing cars and all donations for the car wash will benefit that wonderful group of young people.

Support our Explorer Program and get a clean car in return. It doesn’t get any better than that!!! Iberia Bank is located at 5601 Overseas Highway in Marathon. If you have questions, contact School Resource Deputy Derick Velez at 772-215-6265 or email him at

March 14, 2016

Woman beaten, raped in Tavernier

A 39 year old Tavernier woman was dragged into the bushes, beaten and raped Sunday night as she walked from her home to a nearby bar to meet a friend.

She told deputies and detectives she was walking to Dillon’s Irish Pub and Grille at the 91 mile marker of the highway just after 9 p.m. She said a black male came out of the bushes, grabbing her and dragging her into the wooded area behind the Tavernier Towne Shopping Center.

The victim said he beat her and raped her. She suffered a broken bone in her face, multiple broken ribs and other injuries to her face, head, neck and back. She was taken to Mariner’s Hospital for treatment.

The victim could give little description except the fact that her attacker was a black male with afro style hair and spoke with no noticeable accent.

Major Crimes Detective Manny Cuervo responded to the scene and will be the lead investigator in the case.

March 11, 2016

Cleaning up!

Deputy Lazaro Valdes organized a clean up of the area underneath the Cow Key Channel bridge. The crew from Infrastructure Corporation of America (ICA) removed three bicycles, numerous tires, broken lawn chairs and a truck load of trash. ICA is contracted by FDOT to assist with cleanups of state roadways.

Helping out!

Sgt. Jason Madnick, helping out a stranded motorist on the 18 mile stretch who ran out of gas.

March 10, 2016

Robot a hit at school

The Bomb Squad visited with Mrs. McKenzie’s robotics class at Sugarloaf School. In the photo,  Lt. Mike DiGiovanni shows kids in the class the bomb robot and how it works.

Explorers practice building searches

Post 905 Explorers practice building searches in preparation for a state competition later in the year. Instructors included SRO Deputies Larry O’Neill, Dave Stark and Will Schlegelmilch.

Tackling graffiti - again

 The Sheriff's Office continues to paint out graffiti county-wide. Here are some pictures of deputies in the Lower Keys and in the Upper Keys as they tackle the unsightly vandalism including a large amount on a building in Key Largo, with photos before and after. Thanks to deputies Spencer Curry, Boyd Williams, Daren Jensen, Jorge Prince, Todd Jones, Freddy Rodriguez and Bryan Cross.

Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run coming up

The annual Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run is set for Friday, April 8th at 9 a.m. It will start at the Florida Keys Community College Public Safety Building on Stock Island at 9 a.m.

Local law enforcement agencies and members of the community will run in a group through the streets of Key West carrying the Special Olympics torch in a kick off to the Florida State Special Olympics games.

Runners will meet at the FKCC campus that morning, with the run kicking off at 9 a.m. The group of runners will be stopping to meet and greet Monroe County School children and Special Olympics athletes. Stops will include:

                 Gerald Adams Elementary School
                 Sheriff’s Office Headquarters Building, Stock Island
                 Publix Supermarket in Key Plaza (Publix is a major contributor to Special Olympics)
                 Poinciana Elementary School
                 Key Wet High School
                 HOB School
                 Glenn Archer School
                 MARC House

There will be a ceremonial “hand-off” of the torch from the Sheriff’s Office to Key West Police at the Southernmost Point, and the run will then continue to Mallory Square where it ends.

There will be water stops at all the schools and the pace will be slow – no faster than 10 minute miles. Runners can choose to run the entire time, or just select legs of the journey. Support vehicles will accompany the runners.

Anyone can register to participate in the run by contacting Jim Painter at or 305-292-7027 or Jo Socha or 305-292-7042. Jo also has T-shirts for purchase before the run or on the day of the run.

Thanks to Publix for being a major sponsor of the Torch Run and of Special Olympics.

Charges mount against Key West man in multiple cases

A Key West man faces numerous charges on numerous separate cases including operating a chop shop, burglary, grand theft, fleeing and eluding police and assaulting law enforcement officers.

The cases began to mount against 18 year old Adrian Diaz on February 8th, when a Key West Police detective asked the Sheriff’s Office to help transport Diaz to jail. He was being arrested by that agency at his residence on Verde Drive, Big Coppitt Key, on charges of burglary, criminal mischief and possession of burglary tools. During the arrest, he resisted being handcuffed, fighting with officers and making threats toward them. He was additionally charged at that time with assault on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest. He spent three days in jail and was released on February 11th.

While at that residence, officers saw numerous scooters and scooter parts in the yard. Investigations revealed a number of the scooters to be stolen. Warrants were obtained and Diaz was arrested on February 16th and charged with two counts of vehicle theft and operating a chop shop. He was released from jail the following day.

While at the Diaz residence on February 8th, officers saw other property at the residence including two hover boards. Later that day, a woman who lives on Rockland Key reported two hover boards, seven spear guns and a charger for a go cart stolen from under her home. Officers who took the report remembered seeing the hover boards at Diaz’ residence when they arrested him. They returned to the Diaz residence and found the hover boards still there, along with the charger. The stolen spear guns were also found, in a shed on the Diaz property. A warrant was obtained for Diaz for grand theft.

On March 3rd, Key West Police asked for assistance. They were following a silver Nissan Versa being driven by Diaz. Diaz was a possible suspect in two reports of shots fired on March 2nd, on Seidenberg Avenue in Key West and on Big Coppitt Key. In both instances, a car fitting the description of the Versa was described by witnesses. Police had followed him to the triangle and Diaz was headed out of the city of Key West. They wanted assistance continuing to follow Diaz.

Deputy Austin Hopp responded. He began to follow Diaz, who was traveling at a high rate of speed northbound on the highway. Diaz turned onto Cross Street on Stock Island. He then made a number of evasive maneuvers around the Stock Island area, running stop signs and speeding in an effort to lose Deputy Hopp. Hopp turned on his lights and siren in an attempt to stop Diaz, who did not stop. Diaz turned north onto Highway U.S. One, fleeing from the deputy.

Deputy Hopp followed Diaz, who traveled north to the exit for NAS Boca Chica. He exited the highway and then re-emerged onto the highway traveling southbound, followed by the deputy. Diaz continued at a very high rate of speed; Deputy Hopp lost sight of him near the neighborhood of Key Haven. The Versa was later found in Key Haven, abandoned, with the key broken off in the ignition. Six grams of cocaine were found inside the car. Diaz was not found. A warrant was obtained for his arrest in the incident. Charges included reckless driving, fleeing and eluding police, driving with his license suspended, driving with no headlights, running numerous stop signs, driving the wrong way on the on-ramp for the naval air station and driving too fast for conditions. Possession of cocaine charges are pending.

On the night of March 6th, Diaz was found at his home on Verde Drive on Big Coppitt Key. He was arrested and charged with all of the outstanding warrants. He is currently being held at the Stock Island Detention Center. His bond is set at $25,000.00.

Man flees from deputies, abandons child

A man fled on foot from deputies, abandoning a small child in his car Wednesday night.

Key West Police got a call around 10 p.m. from a woman asking them to check on her husband and small child. She said her husband picked up their one year old son from the Lighthouse Academy that afternoon. She said she hadn’t heard from him since between 5 and 5:30 p.m. She said he’d never done that before and she was worried.

Deputy David Lariz met with Key West Police officer Alexandre Gaufillet and they went to the Sea Lobster company on Fifth Avenue to look for 38 year old Rob Moore . As they were looking for him there, he pulled into the property in his black Chevy S-10 truck. The officers attempted to make contact with Moore but he drove around their patrol cars, refusing to stop for them. They followed him with lights and siren activated in an attempt to stop him, but Moore continued to flee from them.

He turned onto Highway U.S. One northbound with officers following. When he reached the exit for NAS Boca Chica, Moore exited the highway. He drove toward the bayside of the NAS property, finally abandoning the truck at the dead end of a dirt road and running into the bushes.

The child was found in the car and was reunited with his mother. Officers searched for the Moore, but did not find him. They will be seeking an arrest warrant for him with possible charges to include driving with a suspended license, fleeing and eluding law enforcement officers and child endangerment.

March 9, 2016

Corrections Deputy arrested

A Sheriff’s Corrections deputy was arrested today. He is accused of arranging a deal to take money from an inmate in exchange for favors.

26 year old Zachary Reams is accused of offering favors, including offers of “a cell phone or other commodities” to inmate Robert Pearl, who is incarcerated at the Stock Island Detention Center. Pearl is in jail for multiple counts of fraud and possession of child pornography. Pearl reported the information about Reams to his attorney, Bernadette Restivo, who in turn called the Sheriff’s Office Internal Affairs Unit on March 8th.

Special Investigations Sergeant Juan Llera met with Pearl and Restivo. Pearl told the sergeant Reams had approached him on several occasions while Reams was working in the jail. He said Reams asked to borrow $5,000 from him a number of times. According to the arrest report, Pearl said on March 3rd Reams approached him again and offered to “get him whatever he needs” including “a cell phone or other commodities”. He also reportedly told Pearl if there was ever a cell search at the jail he would make sure Pearl ended up “on the right side of things.”

Reams reportedly believed that Pearl’s attorney was Julio Margalli. He told Pearl he knew who Margalli was and said he could pick up the money from Margalli at his law office. On March7th, Reams gave Pearl a note, telling him he would be at Margalli’s Office to pick up the money on Wednesday “around 11:30 – 12”.

Detectives spoke with Margalli, who agreed to cooperate. He agreed to allow a detective working undercover to wait for Reams in his office; he also agreed to give Reams a sealed envelope with blank paper inside if Reams came to the office and asked for the money from Pearl. At 1:30 p.m. today Reams arrived at Margalli’s office. He met with Margalli and asked for the money from Pearl. Margalli handed over the sealed envelope. When Reams emerged from Margalli’s office, he was stopped by detectives.

Reams was charged with unlawful compensation for official behavior (Florida Statute 838.016), a second degree felony. He was also charged with smuggling contraband into a detention facillity, a third degree felony.He was booked into the Stock Island jail.

Reams was hired in June of 2014 as a detention deputy, assigned to the Stock Island jail. He has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of investigations.

Kitchen worker charged with introducing contraband to jail facility

A contract worker at the Stock Island Detention Center has been arrested. She is charged with sending letters to an inmate being held in the facility, which constitutes introducing contraband to the facility, a third degree felony crime.

A sergeant at the jail received information in early March that a male inmate, 34 year old Daniel Rodriguez, was receiving letters and photos from the Aramark Food Service Director, 43 year old Donna Launer. The two had reportedly developed a relationship while he was working as an inmate trusty in the kitchen at the jail. He said they “expressed feelings” for each other and “kissed and rubbed” each other but never had sexual relations. After Rodriguez was removed from kitchen duty, Launer began writing him letters and sending the photos. The letters and photos were delivered to Rodriguez by another inmate, 20 year old Kristofer Jovany Lluis. According to reports on the case, the letters included sexually explicit content, but the photos did not.

Both Launder and Lluis were charged with introduction of contraband to a jail facility. Both of them were booked on the charges.

Lluis was in jail after being arrested in April of 2014 for multiple counts of burglary, grand theft and criminal mischief including many marine related thefts in the Upper Keys. Rodriguez was arrested in July of 2015 and is in jail for burglary, grand theft and multiple fraud charges.

Scam alert – Marathon area

A company that calls itself “Sports Media” is reportedly attempting to sell advertisements to businesses in the Marathon area for a “Marathon High School 2016 Spring Sports Poster”. This is a scam and this company is not affiliated in any way with our local schools.

The internet lists many complaints about this company in various areas of the country. The Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that Marathon High School has not hired this company to perform any services, nor do they support this effort in any way. 

Easter on the Animal Farm this Sunday

Join the Sheriff’s Office this Sunday, March 13th, annual Easter on the Animal Farm celebration!

Bring the family and join the fun at the farm; the event is free of charge and offers something for everyone. The Easter Bunny will be there and will be available for photos. A giant Easter egg hunt starts at 1 p.m. with a separate egg hunting area set up for very young children. Make sure to bring an Easter basket to hold all the goodies! There will also be music, face painting, Home Depot will be there with their arts and crafts booth and, of course, you can visit with all the animals at the farm.

The event will take place from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m., so come on out and join the fun!

Traffic alert for the weekend

An event in Key Largo is expected to disrupt traffic in the area of the 104 mile marker on Saturday.

The Key Largo Saint Patrick’s Day parade will be taking place at 1 p.m. on Saturday. It will travel through the Largo Sound Village subdivision and then cross Highway U.S. One at the 104 mm to the Caribbean Club where there will be an event held afterward. The parade, and the subsequent traffic disruption, is expected to last approximately 40 minutes. Sheriff’s deputies will be on hand to ensure safety of those participating and to ensure the traffic interruption is kept to a minimum.

Robbery at Upper Keys Convenience Store

Sheriff’s detectives are investigating a robbery at an Upper Keys convenience store.

Detective Jacques Rozek has been assigned as lead investigator in the case. He says he has identified the man who robbed the Circle K store at the 92.7 mm of the highway in Tavernier early Monday. The clerk told deputies and detectives he was working inside the store at about 4:15 a.m. when a man wearing a sweater, blue jeans, tennis shoes and a mask entered the store. He demanded money from the register. As the victim walked toward the front counter, the suspect pushed him, telling him to hurry and indicating he had a weapon hidden under his sweater. The victim went to the register and began to take money out; at that point, the suspect jumped up onto the counter and also began grabbing money from the register.

The suspect left the store and the victim notified the Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff’s detectives are currently working to obtain a warrant for the suspect’s arrest in the case.

Three promoted to sergeant

Three members of the Sheriff’s Office were promoted to sergeant recently. Sgt. Bobby Burkett is assigned to the Islamorada Sheriff’s district; Sgt.s Scott Ward and Sheila Seago are assigned to the Upper Keys District Seven, which includes the area from Tavernier to Key Largo. In the photo, left to right, Bobby Burkett, Sheila Seago, Sheriff Rick Ramsay and Scott Ward.

March 8, 2016

Group works together to save dog's life

Dr. Gerry Diethelm of Marathon Veterinary Hospital presented a commendation to Sheriff’s Sgt. Spenser Bryan, Communications Officer Amanda Robinson and Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Christine Gracy. The group was responsible for saving a dog’s life. The owners of the dog were rushing the dog to the Vet hos-pital because it was dying. They became stuck in a lengthy traffic delay due to a serious accident on the Seven Mile Bridge. Working together these three got the dog through traffic and to the hospital in time to save the dog’s life. In the photo, left to right, Diethelm, Bryan, Robinson, Gracy and Sheriff Rick Ramsay.

Sheriff honors employees of the year

Last week, the Sheriff’s Office held its Employee of the Year award ceremony in Marathon. The five award winners are from all areas of the Sheriff’s Office – law enforcement, corrections, support, reserves and the explorer program.

“The people chosen to be Employees of the Year are truly the best of the best – they have proven themselves to be outstanding employees, as well as outstanding contributors to the community they serve,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay.

The Employees of the Year are chosen from all of those who received one of the Sheriff’s Employee of the Quarter awards throughout the past year. 
The yearly award winners received a special plaque from the sheriff in recognition of their exemplary work, and a badge to wear on their uniforms with the designation “Officer [or Employee] of the Year.” In addition, they each receive a check for $500 which, this year, was donated by Centennial Bank, and $1,000 from the Sheriff’s Office. The Explorer of the Year receives $100 donated by Centennial Bank, with a matching amount from the Sheriff’s Office. 

The Cormier Memorial Award, given to the Sheriff’s Office Sworn Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, is named for Deputy David Cormier, a Sheriff’s Reserve Officer killed in the line of duty in a traffic accident in November of 1989. Members of the Cormier family attend the ceremony each year in memory of their loved one who gave his life in service to the community.

In the photo are the award winners, left to right: Reserve Deputy Harrold Knowles, Deputy Sheriff Spencer Curry, Support Member Michael Grattan, Explorer David Williams, Detention Deputy Robert Salter with Sheriff Rick Ramsay.

March 7, 2016

Basketball game is cancelled

Cleanup is canceled

Man airlifted after being jumped, beaten in Key West

A Big Pine Key man was airlifted to Miami for treatment of head injuries after he was jumped by someone in the city of Key West and beaten.

Deputy Tyler Blanton responded to Fisherman’s Hospital in Marathon early Sunday morning. The 26 year old victim told the deputy he and his friend were on Duval Street in the early morning hours. They were walking back to their car around 4 a.m. when they got separated. As the victim reached the car, which was parked in a parking lot off of Fleming Street on Babcock Lane, he was jumped by a white male who began beating him. The victim’s friend arrived as he was being beaten and a second suspect hit the friend several times in the face as well.

The suspects then left the scene and the two men began to drive back home to Big Pine Key. During the drive, they realized the victim needed medical treatment so they went to Fishermen’s Hospital.

The victim told Deputy Blanton the name of the suspect who jumped him is “Ryan”. He described him as a white male, possibly in his early 20s with curly brown hair, 5’7” tall, approximately 120-130 pounds. He was wearing a white tank top and blue jeans. The second suspect is a white male in his mid 20s with a crew cut, approximately 5’7” tall, 160 pounds wearing a dark colored t-shirt.

The Key West Police Department was notified of the incident.

March 4, 2016

Stolen truck recovered on Big Pine Key

A truck reported stolen from the parking lot of a Marathon bar early today was recovered, crashed into a utility pole on Big Pine Key.

The 30 year old man who owns the 2006 black Chevy Silverado called the Sheriff’s Office at 2 a.m. to report the truck gone from the parking lot of the Brass Monkey bar. He said he left the truck unlocked and the keys inside.

At 4 a.m., deputies responded to reports of a black truck crashed into a utility pole on Bay Shore Drive, Big Pine Key. There was no one in the truck. According to reports, the truck ran over a mailbox, several large coral boulders and then ran into the pole which toppled over onto a water pipe; the pipe broke, and water was pouring into the street.

No one who lives in the area saw or heard what happened; one man said he thought he might have heard a loud noise around 3 a.m.

Detectives will be investigating both the theft of the truck and the crash itself.

March 3, 2016

Traffic alert for Key Largo this weekend:

Just a reminder that the 2016 National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s “Bike MS Breakaway to Key Largo” bike ride is this weekend. Riders will be in the Keys on both days, first riding southbound on Saturday, then returning northbound on Sunday.

On Saturday, bikes will be on Card Sound Road beginning at about 8:45 a.m. They will travel south and cross the highway in groups at the 106 mile marker with the help of a Sheriff’s deputy to ensure their safety and that traffic is disrupted the least amount possible. The crossings are scheduled to take place between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. The riders will then proceed south on the bike path, crossing the highway in groups again at Ocean Bay Drive / Atlantic Blvd (between 10:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.) and ending at Key Largo Resorts at the 99.3mm on the Oceanside of the highway. There will be approximately 825 bike riders participating in the Florida Keys portion of the ride.

On Sunday, riders will start north at 7 a.m. crossing in groups at the same two locations with the assistance of Sheriff’s deputies. They should be back in Miami-Dade County by noon on Sunday.

Deputies have been hired by the ride organizers to work at various locations along the route, to ensure bike riders are safe and that traffic disruptions are kept to a minimum. Those planning to travel through the Key Largo area should plan extra time, however, as some slowdowns are unavoidable.

March 2, 2016

Car wash to benefit Explorers!

On March 19th, help us raise money for our Sheriff's Office Explorer program by stopping by our Easter Bunny Car Wash in Marathon. Spread the word and help support this worthwhile cause!!!!

Clean up at the 29mm!

Mark your calendars and come help us clean up one of our mile's of highway next Thursday!