October 31, 2016

Halloween Parade!

Deputy Deanna Torres having fun with kids at the Key Largo School Halloween Parade!

Children's Day, Key West

The Sheriff's Office crew working at Children's Day in Key West yesterday. They spent the day talking to kids about law enforcement and safety.

Happy Halloween, Everyone!!!

The Sheriff's Office Central Records Unit reminds everyone
to stay safe on Halloween!
Deputies will be out county-wide tonight to make sure kids who are trick-or-treating are safe. Parents should ensure that small children are accompanied by either older children or responsible adults, that they carry a flashlight if possible and that their costumes have some sort of reflective material to make them visible to drivers.
A Halloween party is always an alternative to trick-or-treating. If you plan to host a party, or attend one the Sheriff’s Office would like to caution: serving alcohol to those under the age of 21 is illegal and you will be arrested if caught doing so. Possessing alcohol when you are under 21 is also illegal and is also an offense you can and will be arrested for.
Many teens think it is fun to throw eggs, shaving cream, toilet paper and other items at cars, homes and other people. Some also like to use spray paint to “tag” property. Our officers will be out on Halloween night performing extra patrols for such activity. This type of activity is criminal mischief and, as such, is against the law. If we catch you, you will be arrested. The only time any of this type of behavior is legal would be as part of an organized, adult supervised activity with everyone involved a willing participant.
Merchants in the Florida Keys are asked to refrain from selling large amounts of shaving cream, spray paint and/or eggs to young people to help us to curtail this destructive behavior.
Special rules for some areas of Marathon:
In Marathon,as of 6 p.m., there will be a few road closures on Halloween night to increase the safety of pedestrians and children Parking will be prohibited on the shoulder of the road and on the bike path which runs parallel with the fence line along Aviation Boulevard in Marathon. Everyone will be asked to park in the designated parking area on airport property.
Those arriving in the area on Halloween evening/night will enter through the airport gate on Aviation Boulevard. Sheriff’s deputies will be located throughout the area to give directions and a deputy will be there directing traffic into the parking area itself.
Two county school buses will be used to shuttle all trick-or-treaters and other visitors from the parking area to the neighborhood where the Halloween event is taking place. Shuttles will run from 6 to 10:30 p.m. Those who choose to walk instead may do so on the bike path.
Traffic through the neighborhood will be limited to those who live in the area and who are able to produce identification showing their place of residence in that area.
Safety is a primary concern for both the Sheriff’s Office and the city of Marathon. Please follow these guidelines and help keep the event safe for everyone involved.

Having fun at Children's Day

Deputy David Lariz and Key West Police Officer Frank Betz having fun at the Children's Day event at Bayview Park yesterday.

Nicholas has dinner with deputies

Nicholas Roberts has a big smile on his face as he shares a dinner date with his heroes at the Sheriff's Office: Sgt. Evan Calhoun and Deputies Shawn Steele and Wendy Negron.

Deputy finds, returns lost dog

Deputy Josh Gordon found Buddy loose on Big Pine Key yesterday and enjoyed riding around in the patrol car with him for a while before finding Buddy's owner, who was worried about him and glad to find him safe. Great job, Josh!

October 28, 2016

Woman charged with dui, leaving the scene of a crash

A woman from Winter Park, Florida was arrested Thursday evening after she crashed into another vehicle, fled the scene of the crash and then lied to deputies about it.

32 year old Courtney Helms was intoxicated when she sideswiped another vehicle on the Rockland Key Bridge at the 9 mile marker of the highway at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. The driver told Deputy Greg Korzen he had to swerve to avoid being hit head on by the gray Chrysler 200. He was, fortunately, not injured in the accident but his black Mercedes sustained considerable damage.

Deputy Korzen found Helms with her vehicle on the side of the road at the 10 mile marker. There was considerable damage to the vehicle. A witness that had also pulled over told Deputy Korzen he’d followed Helm’s vehicle northbound from the city of Key West and she’d been swerving all over the road. He said he saw the crash on the bridge, which he said was caused by Helms.

Helms told Deputy Korzen she was parked on the side of the road at the 10 mm when an unknown car sideswiped her. There was no evidence on the scene to support her story. A passenger in the car with her told the deputy Helms had been involved in the crash on the Rockland Key Bridge. The driver of the other vehicle involved in the crash responded and identified her and her car as the ones who hit him.

Deputy Korzen saw clear signs Helms was impaired. She smelled of alcohol and there was a small amount of marijuana found in the car and indications she may have been smoking it.

A check on Helms through law enforcement computers showed a previous DUI arrest. Helms was arrested; she was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, DUI with property damage, leaving the scene of an crash, giving false information, failure to show proof of insurance and failure to drive within her designated lane and causing a crash.

Argument leads to knife threats

A Stock Island man is in jail charged with threating his friend with a knife after an argument.

The two men were downtown Key West Thursday night and were on their way home in the early morning hours when they got into an argument at about 2:30 a.m.  The suspect, 23 year old Alberto Hernandez, was driving and pulled up to his 11th Avenue home. The argument continued and became physical; Hernandez hit his friend in the face in the car. They both got out of the car and began to fight.

At some point, Hernandez ran into his house and got a knife. He came out and threatened the victim with it, chasing him down the street. They struggled again and this time, Hernandez held the knife to his friend’s throat and threatened to cut him if he didn’t “shut up or quit insulting him”.

The two finally separated, going different directions. The victim called the Sheriff’s Office after he realized he had a cut on his neck from the knife.

Deputies Boyd Williams and David Lariz responded and spoke to the two men, whose stories were in agreement. Hernandez said he got the knife from his house to defend himself from the victim.

Hernandez was arrested. He was booked into jail on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Talking about internet safety

Detective Patty O’Keefe speaking to parents at Island Christian School about Internet Safety.

Cleaning up in Islamorada

Islamorada Sgt. Barney Sajdak’s squad spent some time cleaning up under the Tavernier Creek Bridge, removing 40 pounds of trash.

Preparing for formal inspection

Sgt. Scott Ward in the Upper Keys held a practice session to get his squad ready for the upcoming yearly inspection by command staff and for an upcoming accreditation display.

Long-time sergeant retiring

Long time Traffic Enforcement Sgt. Kevin Mimosa is retiring and to recognize his dedicated service to the Sheriff's Office, he received a symbolic promotion to lieutenant prior to his departure. We will miss his hard work and great attitude when he leaves us!

Pumpkins still for sale at MARC

Captain Jon Crane and Lieutenants Todd Silvers and Joseph Linares want to remind everyone you can still get your Halloween pumpkins at the MARC Pumpkin Patch in Key West.

October 26, 2016

Video Visitation coming to Monroe County jails

Detention Centers in the Florida Keys will be offering video visitation beginning next week. Families and friends of inmates in the county jail facilities will be able to visit via video by coming into any of the three detention centers in the Keys. Even better, they will be able to visit with an inmate from home for a fee of $9.95 per 25 minute call.

Beginning November 1st, the video equipment will be available and people can begin visiting via computer. The visits must be scheduled at least 8 hours in advance and can be scheduled up to two weeks in advance. There will be no charge for this service for those who wish to come into one of the Sheriff’s Office detention centers. Anyone wishing to visit from home will be charged a fee.  Between November 1st and November 7th, there will still be in-person visits at the detention centers. As of November 7th, all visits will be virtual visits whether a person goes into the Detention Center, or visits from home.

“There are a number of really positive aspects to this change,” said Major Tim Age. “It will allow for more flexibility in visitation hours for all inmates; the visitation from home will help those who have children they don’t want to bring into our facilities and will also help with those who currently have to travel long distances to visit. From a law enforcement standpoint, it will mean less contraband coming into the jail and will mean less movement of inmates around the facility – always a good thing for security,” he said.

The Florida Keys is unique due to the driving distance sometimes required to visit inmates. An inmate whose family lives in Key Largo may currently have to drive to Key West to visit. Once video visitation is put in place, the family has more options. They can visit from home, or they can drive to the Plantation Key detention facility and visit for free from the video visitation terminal located there. And due to the large tourist population in the Keys, we have many inmates from other states. Now, their family members can utilize video visitation to see their loved ones as well.

Visitation days on site will be offered Sunday through Thursday and from home, every day of the week. Hours for on-site visiting will be from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 1 -4 p.m. Visitation hours from home will be 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., 1 – 4 p.m. and 7:30 – 11 p.m.

The Sheriff’s Office will receive a percentage of the fees paid for home visitation. That money will go into the Sheriff’s Office Inmate Welfare Fund. This fund is used to pay for jail programs that benefit inmates, such as educational programs, work release and drug treatment programs.

Information about the new video visitation can be found on the Sheriff’s Office web site at www.keysso.net. People can also visit the ICSolutions web site to set up an account or to schedule visits at www.ICSolutions.com. You can also call ICSolutions at 888-506-8407 to schedule appointments over the phone. You can go to the Key West Detention facility Sunday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. to book an appointment on the computer available for this purpose.  If you have any questions, you can call the main Detention Center number at 305-293-7300.

Key West man wanted for stealing truck, cement pumping machine

A Key West man is wanted on outstanding warrants accusing him of stealing a work truck and a cement pumping machine from a construction company on Big Coppitt Key.

On October 15th, Detective David Cruz responded to Bella Construction on Big Coppitt Key. The owner wanted to report a work truck stolen from the property. Attached to the hitch of the truck was a cement pumping machine. The truck had been recovered earlier in the morning by Key West Police, crashed at the entrance to the city with no one insie. The cement pumper was later located and recovered at Coconut Mallory on South Roosevelt Boulevard in Key West.

Surveillance video from the property showed a man placing a screwdriver and a hammer on the ground. He then removes a handgun from his waistband and walks out of camera view. A short time later he is seen stealing the truck with the pumper attached. The screwdriver and hammer were recovered at the scene. A man who lives in the neighborhood later identified the items as coming from his workbench under his house. He also reported two vehicles burglarized at the same time. A secondary video showed the same suspect getting out of the stolen truck at the Tom Thumb convenience store on Stock Island a short time later. The man was identified as 26 year old Anthony Diaz.

A warrant was obtained for Diaz on charges of two counts of burglary, theft and vehicle theft. Bond is set at $25,000.00.

Anyone with information about this suspect should contact the Sheriff's Office. 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 www.tipsubmit.com or via a text message to 274637 using the keyword TIP136.

Stock Island man wanted for stealing boat, altering ID numbers

A Stock Island man is wanted on an outstanding warrant for stealing a boat from a Stock Island marina and changing the Florida ID numbers on it.

The 13 foot Boston Whaler was stolen on October 7th from Hurricane Hole Marina. The boat, with two 50 hp engines on it, was on a trailer at the marina. Surveillance video of the theft shows a light blue Lincoln with a dark blue top towing the vehicle northbound on the highway.

Detective Spencer Curry located both the stolen vessel and the car that was seen towing it at 52 Key Haven Road on Stock Island just a few days later. It had been stripped of its engines and all other equipment. Further investigation by Detective David Chavka revealed 55 year old Marcos Diaz was living on the property in exchange for providing maintenance services for the home’s owner. The owner of the property also owned the car used to steal the boat. She said Diaz did not have permission to use her vehicle.

Witnesses told the detectives they saw Diaz working on the boat. Evidence was found indicating Diaz had changed out the Florida hull numbers; the victim’s engines, battery, bilge pump and other equipment from the stolen boat was found on the property.

A warrant has been issued for Diaz. He is wanted for altering the identification numbers on the boat’s hull, grand theft and vehicle theft. Bond on the warrant is set at $50,000.00.

Anyone with information about this suspect should contact the Sheriff's Office. 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 www.tipsubmit.com or via a text message to 274637 using the keyword TIP136.

Woman arrested for making false report

A Marathon woman was arrested Monday in the early morning hours, charged with making a false report about being attacked while at her boyfriend’s residence.

Deputy Deborah Johnson responded to Fisherman’s Hospital at 1 a.m. on Monday where she met with 30 year old Kristin Rutan Skivers. Skivers told Deputy Johnson she was at her boyfriend’s residence behind the trap yard on 20th Street that night. She said they went to bed at 7:45 p.m. Sunday. She said she woke up at 11 p.m. to find a man “dressed like an Arab”. She said he was  holding a gun to her head. She said he forced her to take a blue and white pill he called a “kill pill”. She said her boyfriend then fought with the male and chased him out of the residence. She said her boyfriend told her to drink milk and try to make herself throw up. After she threw up, she said she went to a neighbor’s house and asked the neighbor to take her to the hospital.

She described her attacker as dressed in a long, dark blue garment. She said he had dark hair, a full beard and was wearing a turban on his head. Deputies asked her repeatedly if she was sure this happened; they asked her if she was taking any medication that might cause her to have a vivid dream. She continued to insist the story was true and insisted on signing and swearing to a statement that her story was true.

Sgt. Nick Whiteman and Deputy Annette Simo went to the boyfriend’s residence and spoke to him. He said the two of them were sleeping when Skivers woke up and asked him to take her to the hospital. He said “no” and he went back to sleep. He said she does take prescription medication and goes to the hospital frequently. He said Skivers left the residence at that point. He said at no time did anyone enter the residence or attack Skivers or him.

Skivers was placed under arrest, charged with making a false report to law enforcement.

October 25, 2016

Two charged with false IDs, fraudulent credit cards

A Hialeah couple is in jail for having fake driver’s licenses and fraudulent credit cards.

Deputy Matthew Cory was on patrol in Marathon at 9:40 a.m. today when he saw a gray colored Mercedes SUV driving erratically. As he watched the vehicle, it turned off of the highway and he followed, finding it parked on the west side of a business in the vicinity of 76th Street. One of the doors was open and he saw a man in the driver’s seat. Deputy Cory approached the man, identifying him as 38 year old Michel Gonzales Suarez. With Suarez was 20 year old Beatriz Morales Saladriga. Deputy David Fernandez responded to the scene to assist.

Suarez told deputies they traveled to the Keys to get out of town together. He said Saladriga was his girlfriend and he did not want his wife to find out about their relationship.

Deputies obtained permission to search Suarez, Saladriga and the vehicle. In the vehicle and in the couple’s possession, the deputies found numerous credit cards that did not belong to them; they also located two driver’s licenses with Suarez’ picture on it, but with someone else’s name on them. A number of the credit cards had the same name as the false identification.

Inside the vehicle, deputies also found 12 plastic grocery bags with various types of cigarettes inside; receipts for the cigarettes were found in the vehicle. Detectives will be continuing to investigate the case to see if the cigarettes were purchased with the false credit cards, using the fake IDs.

Suarez and Saladriga were both charged with fraud – possession of a forged or stolen driver’s license and with trafficking in counterfeited credit cards.  More charges may be pending.