Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Daily Crime and Information Report

Issued by the Media Relations Office,
Public Information Officer Deputy Becky Herrin

Follow us on Twitter @mcsonews and on Facebook at MCSO – Florida Keys. All of our press releases can be found on our blog at floridakeyssheriff.blogspot.com

November 30, 2014

Key Largo man charged with gun threat

Key Largo – A Key Largo man was arrested Friday evening after he pointed a gun at another man during a confrontation.

The incident took place at 8 p.m. at Denny’s Latin Café at the 99.5 mile marker of the highway. Two brothers from Tavernier, Alexis and Alan Murgas, were sitting at an outside table using a laptop computer when 33 year old Kristian Demblans pulled up in his pickup truck with his girlfriend.

Witnesses say Demblans tussled with Alexis Murgas over the computer. Demblans later told deputies he sold the computer to Murgas and was still owed money for it. During  the confrontation, Demblans allegedly pulled out a handgun and pointed it at the victim.

He and his girlfriend then got back into the pickup truck and headed southbound. The victim called the Sheriff’s Office to report being threatened with a gun.

Deputy Pedro Garcia spotted Demblans  in his pickup truck as he headed southbound at the 99 mile marker. Deputy Garcia followed Demblans waiting for back up to arrive. As he followed the truck, he saw Demblans do several U-turns, turning northbound and then turning southbound again. Deputy Garcia and Detective Barney Sajdak finally stopped the truck at the 99 mile marker southbound. Inside the truck they found a loaded Glock handgun on the driver’s side floorboard. They also found a rifle in the vehicle.

Demblans was arrested. He was charged with battery and aggravated assault with a firearm. He was booked into jail.

November 27, 2014

Man steals from church while performing community service

A Big Pine Key man was arrested for stealing items from a church while he was serving community service there.

On November 24th, the pastor of the Vineyard Community Church on Big Pine Key noticed a number of items missing from his church, including computer equipment, an air compressor, Nintendo controllers and two recurve bows. The pastor’s son went to a local pawn shop and found the items at the shop. They called the Sheriff’s Office to report the theft.

Detective Dave Brummer was assigned to investigate. He found out from the pawn shop the items had been brought in by 22 year old Brian Sheppard. During an interview with the detective, Sheppard admitted he was on probation and working community service at the church between August and October of this year. He said he took the  items from the church and pawned them at Molly’s Pawn and More on Big Pine Key.

A warrant was obtained for Sheppard and on Wednesday, Sheppard was arrested. He was charged with grand theft, dealing in stolen property and fraud. He was booked into jail.

Two arrested on drug charges

Two men from the Upper Keys were arrested Tuesday night after a traffic stop revealed the presence of drugs.

FHP Trooper and K-9 Officer M. Jordan initially stopped the 1998 Mercury sedan for speeding at the 104 mile marker of the highway at 9:40 p.m. Deputy Pedro Garcia backed him up on the traffic stop.

Two men were in the vehicle. The driver, 21 year old Erdel Yanes of Islamorada and the passenger, 29 year old Jesiah Macshane of Tavernier.

Subsequent investigations revealed a plastic bag in Macshane’s pocket with Ecstasy pills inside. Macshane also had a plastic bag with Marijuana in his shoe and a large amount of cash in his possession as well. Macshane told Deputy Garcia the pills had been in the center console of the car prior to the traffic stop. He said Yanes told him to put them in his pocket when they were stopped.

Yanes said the pills belonged to a friend from Homestead who had left them in his car the night before. He said he was on his way to Homestead to return the pills when he was stopped.

A total of 36 pills, or 11.5 grams of Ecstasy were seized along with 6.5 grams of Marijuana and $4,000 in cash.

Both men were arrested. They were both charged with trafficking and possession of illegal narcotics and possession of drug paraphernalia. Macshane was also charged with possession of Marijuana. They were both booked into jail.

November 22, 2014

Man arrested for burglarizing neighbor’s shed

A Sugarloaf Key man was arrested Friday for burglarizing his neighbor’s shed.

The victim said he went to his tool shed at around 5:30 p.m. Friday and caught the suspect, 42 year old Lester Farias, inside. Farias fled and the victim followed him, calling 911 as he walked behind Farias. He told Deputy Spencer Curry he saw Farias dropping items as he fled.

Detective Dave Chavka responded followed by Deputy Curry, Deputy Ian Cooper and Sgt. Ken Fricke. A search of the area turned up a number of items taken from the shed and subsequently dropped by the suspect as he fled. The recovered items included a knife, a pair of gloves and a plastic storage container full of tools. The victim identified all of the items as coming from his shed.

Farias was taken into custody. He was armed burglary and grand theft and he was booked into jail.

November 20, 2014

Two reports of frightening email scam

The Sheriff’s Office has had two reports of a frightening email scam sent to local residents. We would just like to make people aware of this scam and warn people not to reply to it.

The email purports to be from a professional “hit man” hired by a “friend” to kill the person receiving the communication. The scammer cautions against contacting the police and wants a return email: “Contact my email if you want to live”.

The email warns “Your life is going to end as soon as you don’t comply”, says “I have sent my men to track you down in location and have carried out the necessary investigation needed for the operation on you”. It says that the victim is being watched and ends with “Warning: do not think of contacting the police or even telling anyone, or else I will extend it to your family, in case I notice something funny. Good luck as I await your reply.”

While this is obviously a scam, it is certainly a frightening one. The next step in the scam is most likely to extort money from the people who choose to reply to it.

Wanted felon may be armed and dangerous

A man who is facing a prison sentence failed to show up after he was granted a furlough from jail. Detectives say since he will be heading for prison he may feel he has nothing to lose.

When 36 year old Horkene Cade was arrested in July by the Florida Highway Patrol, he was charged with being a felon in possession of a weapon. At the time of the arrest, he was already facing felony charges of possession of a weapon and possession of cocaine.

On November 12th, he was furloughed by a judge prior to going to prison on his charges. He was due to return to custody on November 17th and he didn’t show up. On November 18th, new warrants were issued for his arrest. He is now wanted for additional charges of failure to appear in court for the following charges: failing to register as a career offender, two counts of possession of a weapon by a convicted felon and possession of cocaine. There is no bond allowed on the warrants.

Due to the weapon related charges, and the fact that he is facing prison time, Detectives are warning people to be careful not to confront him and to call 911 if he is spotted.

Cade is from Marathon. He is described as a black male, six foot eight inches tall, 260 pounds. He may be in the Florida City area. He may be driving a 1999 Lincoln Continental, white and tan in color. The vehicle has a Miami Dolphin fan Florida license plate D4ACG.

Anyone with information about Cade’s whereabouts should contact law enforcement. Callers may also contact Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Tipsters can remain anonymous and, if a tip leads to an arrest in the case, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may also be submitted on line at www.tipsubmit.com or via a text message to 274637 using the keyword TIP136.

November 19, 2014

Deputy asks for help identifying suspect

A deputy investigating a credit card fraud case is asking for help identifying the woman believed to have committed the crime.

The victim, a Marathon resident, reported someone used her Mastercard credit card on October 9th at 11:30 a.m. to make a purchase at the Marathon Home Depot for $996.44.  She reported the purchase to the credit card company and her card was canceled. Deputy Leon Bourcier was assigned to the case. The credit card company said the item purchased was a Makita saw.

Deputy Bourcier worked with management at Home Depot to obtain more information about the purchase. He was able to obtain still photos from their video surveillance system of the purchase. The photos showed a woman with dark hair buying a saw at a self-checkout counter at the store.

Deputy Bourcier would like the public’s assistance identifying the suspect. Anyone with information or anyone who thinks they recognize the woman in the photos should contact the Sheriff’s Office. Callers may also contact Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Tipsters can remain anonymous and, if a tip leads to an arrest in the case, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may also be submitted on line at www.tipsubmit.com or via a text message to 274637 using the keyword TIP136.

November 17, 2014

Detectives investigating lower unit, GPS thefts

Sheriff’s detectives in Marathon are investigating a rash of boat related thefts.

A number of the thefts were reported to the Sheriff’s Office; others were discovered as deputies began canvassing the areas of the reported thefts.

On Gulfstream Boulevard, two lower units from 250 Yamaha four stroke engines were taken from one house; two lower units from 300 HP Yamaha engines were taken from a second house. The cover on the boat was also cut and a GPS was stolen from the boat.  At a third residence, two propellers were stolen and someone attempted to remove the lower unit. At a fourth residence, two lower units were stolen from 250 HP Mercury engines.

On 75th Street Ocean West: two lower units from 225 HP Yamaha four stroke engines stolen.

On Tingler Lane: A GPS was stolen from one boat; a second GPS was removed from a boat, but was still attached by wires and was not taken.

Anyone with information about these crimes should contact the Sheriff’s Office at 305-289-2430. Callers may also contact Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Crime Stoppers tipsters can remain anonymous and, if a tip leads to an arrest in the case, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may also be submitted on line at www.tipsubmit.com or via a text message to 274637 using the keyword TIP136.

November 14, 2014

Two arrested for burglaries, attempting to pawn property

Two men are under arrest in Marathon after they tried to pawn coins that belonged to an employee of the pawn shop. Investigations also revealed a connection to several vehicle burglaries and a residential burglary in the Marathon area.

The employee of Joe’s Pawn shop, Roger Hall, told Deputy Nick Whiteman he noticed his truck had been entered before going to work Thursday morning. He said cash and some old foreign coins were missing from the truck, but he didn’t report the incident to the Sheriff’s Office.

But when 23 year old Jesus Barreto of Marathon and 23 year old Shean Palmer of Miami entered the pawn shop at noon Thursday with some old coins, he recognized the coins as his. He confronted the two men about it, and then called the Sheriff’s Office.

Barreto and Palmer left the shop and were found a short time later at McDonald’s restaurant. Barreto chose not to speak to officers, but Palmer agreed to talk. He said he and Barreto were together in the early morning hours. He said Barreto told him he was going to do some “hits and licks”, which Palmer said meant that Barreto was going to do some vehicle and residential burglaries. Palmer produced a phone and a tablet computer from his backpack which he said Barreto later gave to him to hold.

At about the same time, Detective Michael Sielicki was investigating a residential burglary at 751 63rd Street West in Marathon. Items taken from the home included a phone and tablet computer. A photo of the victim of the burglary was found on the home screen of the phone in Palmer’s backpack.

At the residential burglary scene, Detective Sielicki found an envelope with a car registration in it. On the registration was a name and address from a neighbor down the street. Detective Sielicki left his card for the neighbor and the neighbor called him a short time later. The neighbor confirmed both his cars had been entered during the night. The victim said he has video surveillance. He allowed detectives to view it. On the video, they saw a man enter one of the cars at the home and rummage through it. The clothing worn by the man on the video matched that worn by Barreto when he was found at McDonald’s.

Barreto was charged with burglary of an occupied structure, burglary of a conveyance, grand theft, dealing in stolen property and theft. Palmer was charged with grand theft, theft and dealing in stolen property.

Detectives are still investigating several more burglaries in Marathon overnight. There may be further charges against the two men.

November 12, 2014

Woman charged with stealing purse, using credit cards

A Stock Island woman was arrested Tuesday for stealing another woman’s purse and using the credit cards at several local businesses.

21 year old Erica Palomino and the victim both work at the Key West International Airport for separate airlines. On Sunday, the victim left her purse on top of employee lockers at the airport. When she discovered the purse was gone later in the day, she began to cancel her credit cards and discovered someone had used them at several locations, including Banana Republic, Express and the Chevron on Stock Island.

Detective Dave Chavka was assigned to investigate. They responded to the locations where the cards were used. They obtained video from Banana Republic and the Chevron station. Both videos showed Palomino using the stolen credit cards. Airport Sgt. David Smith and Deputy Sonya Morgan recognized and identified her as someone who also works at the airport.

Detectives confronted Palomino and she admitted to stealing the purse and using the cards. She was arrested Tuesday and charged with grand theft, fraud - illegal use of credit cards and three counts of fraud - using the identification of another person. She was booked into jail.

November 11, 2014

Annual “SMART Ride” may cause traffic slow downs

The Annual “SMART Ride” bicycle fundraising event will be taking place this coming weekend. Approximately 450 bike riders will travel southbound from Miami to Key West beginning on November 14th at 6:30 a.m. They will travel as far as Hawk’s Cay the first day. They will then travel on November 15th from Hawk’s Cay to Key West, starting out at 7:30 a.m.

The riders will not be riding in a large group, but will be spread out over the planned route. They will be accompanied by support vehicles and will have “pit stops” set up every 13 – 20 miles along the route. The Sheriff’s Office has worked with event coordinators to keep the ride from disrupting traffic, however some slowdowns may occur. The ride coordinators have been instructed that support vehicles are NOT to slow down or block traffic at any time during the event.

The Sheriff’s Office recommends anyone planning to travel over the weekend plan a little extra time to make sure they get to their destination on time. Also, make sure if you do plan to drive on the highway to keep an eye out for the participating bike riders and to be careful while passing them.

November 10, 2014

Pembroke Pines man stabbed at Islamorada bar

A 28 year old Pembroke Pines man was stabbed Sunday night at a bar in Islamorada.

Shane Arscott told Deputy Garrett Test he was at the back bar at Hog Heaven just before midnight. He said he was saving a seat for a woman when a man sat down in it. The two men reportedly began to argue and suddenly Arscott said it felt like someone hit him in the back. He then realized he’d been stabbed.

A friend of his drove him to Mariner’s Hospital where the Sheriff’s Office was notified of the incident. Arscott was later transported to Kendall Regional Medical Center in Homestead for treatment of the stab wound.

Detectives will be investigating the incident.

November 9, 2014

Woman found dead; no signs of foul play

A Marathon woman was found dead near her live aboard vessel Saturday morning.

Detectives say 46 year old Marlene Day was found at 7:30 a.m. near her boat slip at 35 Sombrero Boulevard. The upper portion of her body was in the water and the lower portion was on the dock.

Friends told detectives they were with Day at the Dockside Bar Friday night. She left the bar at approximately 9:30 p.m. One friend said she saw Day walking toward her boat at 10:30 p.m.

There were no obvious signs of foul play at the scene or visible on the body. An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of her death.

November 6, 2014

Investigation reveals credit card fraud scheme

Employees of a Key Largo hotel who have since been terminated from employment are suspects in a conspiracy to steal credit card numbers from customers for their own personal gain.

Detective Bob Dosh was assigned to investigate the case in July after the manager of the Post Card Inn reported the crime to the Sheriff’s Office. The manager said their “operation team” discovered employees had been involved in a scheme to steal credit card information from the hotel’s computer system, then had used that information for their own gain. He turned a large amount of records over to Detective Dosh for further investigation.

During the course of his investigation, Detective Dosh discovered one employee, 38 year old Anthony Burley of Homestead, would use his own and other employee’s passwords to access the computer system in an attempt to misdirect any possible investigations into the activity. He would take credit card information from the computer system and ask other employees who were in on this scheme to hold the information for him and then to give it back to him when he asked for it.

The investigation revealed employees would ask Burley to use the stolen credit card information to purchase items for them. In return, they would pay him half the price of the items purchased.

Detective Dosh’s investigation resulted in warrants being issued for Burley and three other suspects. All of them said they knew Burley was stealing customer credit card information and did not report it. Three of the suspects said they helped Burley conceal the credit card information and helped Burley hide his actions from hotel management.

One suspect, 26 year old Ashley Collier of Homestead, admitted knowing Burley was using employee passwords to access the computer system and knew he was collecting stolen credit card information using those passwords.

Two other suspects, 39 year old Consuela Morris of Florida City and 23 year old William Lewis of Homestead, admitted accepting stolen credit card information and keeping it for Burley.

All four suspects were charged with five counts of committing a criminal conspiracy, one count of participating in a scheme to defraud using communications technology and five counts of fraud - using the identification of another person without their consent. The victims who were uncovered during the course of the investigation reported fraudulent activity on their credit cards totaling $4,186.97.

Lewis was arrested and charged in Miami-Dade County on October 27th. He is currently out of jail after posting bond on the warrant, which was set at $88,000.

Burley was arrested on November 3rd in Miami-Dade County. He was returned to Monroe County to face charges on Wednesday. His bond is set at $110,000.

Morris and Collier have not yet been arrested. Bond set on their warrants is set at $88,000 each.

November 4, 2014

Boat thefts in the Keys

The Sheriff’s Office is investigating four boat thefts in the Keys over the past month.

Anyone with information about these crimes should contact the Sheriff’s Office at 305-289-2351. Callers may also contact Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Tipsters can remain anonymous and, if a tip leads to an arrest in the case, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may also be submitted on line at www.tipsubmit.com or via a text message to 274637 using the keyword TIP136.

November 3, 2014

Orlando man missing after dive trip

One man is missing after a dive trip which went wrong over the weekend.

The missing man, 32 year old Matthew Milton of Orlando was in the Florida Keys with his brother-in-law, 35 year old Jeffrey Stewart. The two rented a boat Saturday morning, planning several dives for the day. Stewart told Deputy Nelson Sanchez they were a mile south of Crocker Reef and were planning their last dive of the day in that location around 11 a.m. because they knew the weather was supposed to turn rough. They both entered the water for the dive and they took the anchor to the bottom to set it securely. At the end of the dive they looked for the anchor line so they could follow it to the surface. They could not find the line.

Stewart said they surfaced and could see the boat drifting away from them. They began to swim after it. After swimming for at least an hour, the two men had not caught up with the boat and they became separated from each other as well.

Stewart said he could no longer see Milton, but he saw a dive boat on what he thought was the wreck of the Eagle so he began swimming toward it, yelling in an attempt to get their attention. It appears no one on the boat heard him, however and the dive boat left before he could reach it. He finally did reach the wreck and was able to hang on to a mooring buoy. At 7 p.m., the company that rented the boat to the men called the Coast Guard to report them overdue. The rental company told the Coast Guard the wreck of the Eagle was one of the destinations the two men had discussed. At 10 p.m. the Coast Guard reportedly reached the wreck of the Eagle and found Stewart still clinging to the buoy. He was treated for a mild case of hypothermia.

The Coast Guard continued searching for Milton throughout Saturday night and all day on Sunday. They are still reportedly searching for Milton today.