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

October 31, 2014

Two arrested for drugs

Two men were arrested in Marathon Thursday afternoon after they were found to have marijuana and cocaine.

Deputy Kendall Bailey was on patrol at 4:20 p.m. As he was patrolling, he was keeping an eye out for suspects that might be involved in committing an earlier crime. A notice to be on the lookout for a male and a female had been issued, with a description and the possibility they might be heading for a local hotel.

Deputy Bailey spotted a truck with a male and female sitting in the bed of the truck. They fit the BOLO description so he stopped behind the truck when it pulled in to a gas station. The deputy began asking questions of the couple in the back. The male told him they were headed for the Holiday Inn. When Deputy Bailey looked into the back of the truck, he saw a zip lock bag. Inside the bag were smaller bags with a white powder inside.

Other officers arrived as back up. Further investigation turned up marijuana, more cocaine and a large amount of cash in several different areas – in the truck, in the bed of the truck and in the pocket of the male suspect, who was identified as 26 year old Christopher Cepero of Marathon.

The driver of the vehicle said he did not know who the couple was. He said his passenger, 27 year old Jonathan Guzman of Marathon, asked him to give the couple a ride. He said Guzman also asked him to hold a large amount of cash for him. The drive handed the cash over to Deputy Bailey. A duffel bag belonging to Guzman was found to contain more marijuana and cocaine.

Cepero was charged with possession with intent to sell 18 bags of cocaine weighing 11.3 grams. He was also charged with possessing 54.8 grams of marijuana. Guzman was charged with possession with intent to sell 18.9 grams of cocaine and possession of 89.2 grams of marijuana. Two rolls of cash – a total of $5,220 – were seized as the possible proceeds of drug sales.

Marathon man charged with pawning stolen jewelry

A Marathon man was arrested Thursday, charged with pawning stolen jewelry.

The victim lives on Big Pine Key. She called the Sheriff’s Office after she found jewelry that belonged to her at a Marathon pawn shop. She told Deputy Nick Whiteman she let 28 year old Adam Blanco and his family stay at her house because they did not have a place to live. She said while they were staying with her, a large amount of her jewelry went missing.

She checked the pawnshop and found five of the items in the shop. The items had been pawned by Blanco. A warrant was issued for Blanco’s arrest and on Thursday he was booked into jail on charges of dealing in stolen property. And fraud for providing false information to the pawn shop.

Vehicle burglar arrested

A Palm City man was arrested Thursday, charged with two vehicle burglaries in Key Colony Beach.

The owner of a sport utility vehicle parked on Coral Lane called to report it had been burglarized between Wednesday night and Thursday morning. He said a bag was taken from inside his unlocked vehicle. Nearby surveillance video captured 23 year old Joseph Gunn in the area at the time of the vehicle burglary. The video shows Gunn taking two plastic bottles of water out of the back of a truck on Coral Lane. He is then shown walking away from the area where the SUV is parked. He is carrying a bag similar to the one reported stolen.

Deputy Nick Whiteman was able to identify Gunn from the video and when Gunn was confronted, he admitted taking the bag and the two bottles of water. He was booked into jail Thursday on two counts each of burglary and theft.

Marathon man charged with beating child

A Marathon man was arrested today, charged with beating a 10 year old boy.

The incident took place in early October. The victim told investigators he was in the car with 51 year old Daniel Rodriguez when Rodriguez hit him numerous times causing multiple injuries on his face. A teacher at the boy’s school reported the injuries.

After an investigation, a warrant was issued for Rodriguez and today he was charged with cruelty toward a child. He was booked into jail.

 

October 30, 2014

Drug arrest on Stock Island

A search warrant was served on Wednesday afternoon on a Stock Island residence.  Detectives from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Unit, along with Detectives from the Key West Police Department Special Operations Unit, Key West HIDTA, and Agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration and Homeland Security served the warrant at 6500 Maloney Avenue, Lot-105.  Inside the residence Detectives found 33 year old Keyonbie Humphrey with four other men.

The search turned up 35 grams of Marijuana, drug paraphernalia, 43 grams of crack cocaine and twelve hundred dollars in cash, suspected proceeds from drug sales.  Keyonbie Humphrey was charged with possession of Marijuana with the intent to sell, possession of drug paraphernalia, trafficking in cocaine and resisting arrest without violence.  Additionally, Keyonbie Humphrey was arrested on a warrant for violation of probation reference possession of cocaine with intent to sell.  Keyonbie Humphrey was booked into the Key West jail. None of the others who were present at the residence were charged.

October 29, 2014

Drug arrest at Key Largo hotel

An alert hotel maid was instrumental in the arrest of a man on drug charges Saturday.

The maid entered the hotel room to clean it Saturday afternoon and found a bag of what she believed to be marijuana in the television cabinet. She notified the hotel office and they called the Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies Ben Elmore, James Jenkins and Jacques Rozek responded. They found the occupant of the room, who at first said the marijuana was in the room when he checked in, then changed his story and admitted it was his. The marijuana was vacuum sealed in 20 separate bags of 9 grams each. 35 year old Gilbert Velilla of Miami was arrested, he was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell and with possessing drug paraphernalia after an electronic scale was found in Velilla’s bag.

Velilla was booked into jail on the charges.

October 27, 2014

Detectives investigate death of baby

Major Crimes Detective Manny Cuervo has been assigned to investigate the death of a two month old baby over the weekend.

Although an autopsy has not yet been done to determine the cause of the child’s death, Detective Cuervo says he sees no obvious signs of foul play involved. The 24 year old mother, Shacoya Blackman, said she woke just after 9 a.m. on Sunday at her home on Miriam Street, Stock Island to find her daughter, Lyric Blackman, not breathing. Deputy Matt Dowling and Sgt. Ken Fricke responded first to the scene and Sgt. Fricke began performing CPR on the child. Paramedics arrived and the child was rushed to the hospital, but could not be revived.

An autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow and the investigation into the circumstances is ongoing.

October 26,2014

Vehicle burglar caught

Thanks to an observant deputy working at Fantasy Fest, a man is in custody for vehicle burglaries in Key Haven and on Lower Sugarloaf Key.

Deputy David Lariz had seen video of the burglary suspect and the suspect’s vehicle, circulated in a notice to be on the lookout to all deputies county-wide. Detectives working on the case had identified the vehicle in the video as an Infiniti with a vanity plate of some sort on the front and a sunroof. In the video the general size, build and appearance of the suspect could also be seen clearly.

Deputy Lariz was working at Fantasy Fest Saturday afternoon at the corner of Greene and Simonton Streets when he spotted a car matching the suspect vehicle. The driver was also similar in appearance and build to the suspect in the video. He stopped the car and asked the driver for his identification.

The driver, 23 year old Kenneth Hathaway is from Virginia and a check on his record showed he is wanted in that state for burglary and grand theft. He gave Deputy Lariz a military dependent identification and claimed to be staying on base at the Fly Navy building. A check with Navy authorities revealed he was not staying there. He gave other inconsistent information as he was being questioned.

Detectives David Brummer and Diane Mimosa responded and Hathaway was confronted with the existence of video showing him and his car at several burglary scenes. He told detectives he had burglarized cars in Key Haven and on Lower Sugarloaf Key. He said he was looking mainly for cash, but took other items as well.

He said he got caught breaking into one vehicle on Sugarloaf. He said after that he was afraid he’d get caught so he threw all the items he stole into the mangroves.

Hathaway was arrested. He was charged with a total of 5 counts of burglary of a vehicle and two counts of theft. Detectives are continuing to investigate and he may face more charges in the future.

October 24, 2014

Detectives investigate vehicle burglaries

Sheriff’s detectives are investigating at least 21 vehicle burglaries that have taken place over the past two days in the neighborhood of Key Haven – in the vicinity of Stock Island - and on Lower Sugarloaf Key.

Detectives have two videos which indicate the crimes may have been committed by the same suspect.  At least three vehicles were entered on Bougainvillea Avenue in Key Haven, with a purse and credit cards taken from one of the cars and nothing taken from the other two. Those crimes were reported to the Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday morning. Three more vehicles were entered on Tamarind Road on Sugarloaf Key and were also reported Wednesday morning.

This morning, the Sheriff’s Office received reports of vehicles on Labrisa Lane, Marlin Drive, Jamaica Lane and Sugarloaf Boulevard entered overnight. Detectives say at least 15 vehicles were entered and the suspect took loose change, a radar detector and sunglasses from those vehicles.

In all of these cases, the vehicles were left unlocked. In two cases, video surveillance captured the suspect committing the crimes. The video can be found on our blog at floridakeyssheriff.blogspot.com. If you recognize the suspect and/or his vehicle 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.

Remember to always lock your car doors. Most vehicle burglaries are crimes of opportunity and suspects will generally only enter those vehicles that are left unlocked. Also remove valuables from your vehicle – many times suspects choose vehicles based on items they can see visible inside.

Stock Island man arrested for cocaine

A Stock Island man was arrested and charged with possessing a large amount of cocaine after a search warrant was served at his home Thursday afternoon.

Detectives served the warrant at 3:30 p.m. at F3 Cross Street, at the rear apartment. They found 51 year old Renan Viart Sotolongo at home. Inside, the search turned up 141 grams of cocaine in various locations. They also found $8,021 in cash. Sotolongo was arrested and charged with trafficking in cocaine.

Working together on the service of the search warrant were Sheriff’s Office / Monroe HIDTA, Key West HIDTA/Special Investigations, agents from Homeland Security Investigations, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

October 22, 2014

Two charged with grand theft from construction project

Two men were arrested as they headed out of the county with three rolls of fencing material stolen from a construction project on Card Sound Road.

A passing motorist saw a van parked on the shoulder of the roadway on State Road 905 in a construction zone at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday. The motorist noticed three large rolls of construction fencing material in the back of the van and thought it was suspicious, so he stopped at Ocean Reef to report it to Ocean Reef Public Safety. Ocean Reef Public Safety in turn reported it to the Sheriff’s Office.

Deputy Kyle Page and Sgt. Jason Madnick stopped the van northbound on Card Sound Road. They were backed up by Deputy Greg LaRochelle. The men inside the van were identified as 39 year old Darwin Velasquez of Homestead and 22 year old Romnel Zelaya of Palm Springs, Florida.

The two suspects were separated. Deputies spoke to both of them. They both claimed to have been coming to the Keys to go fishing. They both said once they reached the Keys they realized they had forgotten their fishing equipment. Each man blamed the theft of the fencing material on the other man.

Tags found on the rolls of fencing matched those on fencing material found at the construction site. Both men were arrested and charged with grand theft. They were booked into jail.

October 21, 2014

Miami man repeatedly arrested for lobster violations, faces high bond

A Miami man was arrested Saturday, charged with having undersized wrung lobster tails. The man has been arrested multiple times over the past few years on the same type of violations.

Deputy Wilfredo Guerra was on patrol at 4 a.m. near Fiesta Key Marina on the bayside when he spotted a white Carolina skiff with one male occupant. The man appeared to be pulling traps, then wringing lobster tails and placing them into a mesh bag. As the deputy watched, the man threw two bags full of wrung tails onto the shoreline from his boat, then returned to the bay where he continued pulling traps.

At 6 a.m., Deputy Guerra watched the man repeat the process of pulling up to shore, wringing tails and throwing bags of tails onto the shore.

The man – identified as 59 year old Jorge Vargas of Miami – then drove his vessel to the marina and docked it. He got into a black Ford Ranger truck and drove to the shoreline to pick up the bags of lobster. At that point, Deputy Guerra confronted him.

Vargas was caught with 267 wrung tails. Out of those, 246 were undersized. He was cited for possession of undersized lobster, possession of over the limit lobster and possession of wrung lobster tails. Vargas was booked into jail on the charges.

A records check revealed Vargas had been cited two times before during the past three years in the Florida Keys; those previous cases also involved possession of over 300 wrung tails and with possessing stone crab out of season.

While Vargas was being held in jail, a warrant was issued for him Monday for failure to appear in court for one of the previous cases from 2011. The judge set bond on the warrant at $1.4 million.

Two men charged with strong armed robbery

Two men, drinking with a third man were arrested after they attacked him, beat him and robbed him.

The three men were at a trailer on Maloney Avenue drinking together. The victim said 23 year old Robert Morejon and 28 year old William Meeks objected to the tone of voice with which the victim was talking to them. Morejon reportedly got up and began to hit the victim in the head, then choked him. Meeks joined in the beating. The two then took cash from the victim’s pockets before he said he was able to escape from the residence.

The victim said he walked down Maloney Avenue to an apartment complex where he began knocking on doors for help. Residents of the apartment complex called the Sheriff’s Office to report him as a suspicious person. Deputies Ian Cooper and Josh Gordon responded and found the victim covered in blood with cuts and bruises all over his face and head.

Morejon and Meeks were found still at the trailer where the attack took place. They were arrested, charged with strong armed robbery and battery. Meeks resisted deputy’s attempts to place him into custody so he was also charged with resisting arrest.

October 17, 2014

Marathon woman falls victim to scam

A Marathon woman is out $2,000 after falling victim to a scam.

The victim told Deputy Matthew O’Neill she received a call from someone who said he was her grandson. He said he’d been in an accident and his car had been impounded. He told her he needed $2,000  to get his vehicle back. He instructed her to obtain four green dot cash cards and to call him back.

She purchased the cards and then received a second call from someone identifying themselves as a “Officer Foley” from the Arcadia Police Department. He asked her for the green dot card numbers to cash the cards. After she gave him the numbers, he told her to go get an additional $2,000 worth of cards.

At that point she became suspicious and called the Arcadia Police Department. They told her they had no “Officer Foley” working for them. She then called her grandson who told her he’d not been involved in an accident. She checked the card balances and they had been emptied of their value.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind everyone that there are many similar scams being used by criminals. If you receive a phone call from anyone asking you to pay them using gift cards, cash cards, or demanding that you wire money somewhere you should immediately suspect a scam and call the Sheriff’s Office. If a person is claiming a relative is in trouble, is being held in lieu of money, or has been in an accident, we can help you to check into the claim. There is always time to make phone calls and verify information before you make such an expensive mistake.

Search warrants lead to drug arrests

A search warrant on Stock Island led to an arrest on drug charges Thursday.

Detectives from the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Unit and from Lower Keys Criminal Investigations served the warrant Thursday morning at 50 12th Avenue. 23 year old Michael McIntosh was arrested after detectives found Alprazolam pills in his bedroom for which he did not have a prescription. He was charged with possession of a controlled substance and he was booked into jail.

A second search warrant was served at 28177 Julia Avenue on Little Torch Key Thursday evening by Special Investigations detectives and the Sheriff’s Office SWAT team.

In the pocket of one resident, 23 year old Max Sanchez, detectives found 7.9 grams of heroin. They also found seven plastic bags of cocaine  and another 7.4 grams of heroin in a bedroom. All the Heroin found was in pill form – a total of 158 pills of the illegal substance were recovered. Numerous items of drug paraphernalia were also found in the house, along with a small amount of marijuana, $739 in cash and 26 rounds of 12 gauge shotgun ammunition.

A check on Sanchez revealed he is a convicted felon who had failed to register as required by state law. He was arrested. He was charged with trafficking in heroin, possession of  cocaine with intent to sell, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of ammunition by a convicted felon and failing to register as a convicted felon. He was booked into jail.

October 16, 2014

Tip from Monroe County leads to chop shop bust in Hendry County

Sheriff’s detectives from Monroe County Sheriff’s Office were instrumental in providing information which led to the bust of a chop shop in Hendry County. The chop shop was found to have stolen property from at least five different Florida jurisdictions including a stolen truck and possibly a stolen vessel and trailer from Monroe County.

Detectives Francisco Gaete and Ian Barnett were assigned to investigate the stolen vehicle cases. During the course of their investigation, they received a tip the property could be found at a location on Pioneer 16th Street in Hendry County. The tip came from one of the Monroe County victims, who spotted a distinctive custom made aluminum fuel tank on Craig’s list. The fuel tank was installed in the bed of his truck, which had been stolen from his home in Key Largo between the night of October 5th and the morning of the 6th. The victim had a friend call the contact number on Craig’s list and the friend was told where the tank was being stored, at the Pioneer 16th Street location. The detectives called Hendry County Sheriff’s Office and relayed the information to them.

Investigators from Hendry County went to that location on Tuesday and contacted two men who allowed them onto the property. Investigators found tools, vehicle parts and other property. Numerous stolen ATVs, boats, trailers and automobiles were recovered during the investigation. The property had been stolen from various jurisdictions including Monroe County, Miami Dade, Broward County, Pembroke Pines and Hillsborough County.

The two men were arrested. 49 year old Mitchell Wayne Everett of Hendry County and 49 year old Ernesto Gutierrez Garcia of Hialeah were both charged in connection with the case. Charges from Monroe County and the other jurisdictions will likely follow.

For more details about this case, contact the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office.

Here are a couple of links to stories in the media about this case:

http://www.abc-7.com/story/26797009/vehicles-from-miami-and-tampa-turn-up-in-hendry-county-chop-shop#.VD_LymctCpp

http://swflorida.blogspot.com/2014/10/two-arrested-in-chop-shop-operation.html

October 13, 2014

Woman charged with burglary

A Marathon woman was arrested for burglarizing her ex-boyfriend’s residence.

The victim called the Sheriff’s Office at 7:30 p.m. Friday after he returned home Friday to discover his gold chain gone. When he called his ex-girlfriend, 49 year old Sherry Thilmont about it, she told him she had been in his residence earlier in the day. She said she took a nap in his bed and took his gold chain.

Two neighbors told Deputy Deanna Torres they saw Thilmont’s car at the residence for about an hour earlier in the day.

Thilmont was arrested by Sgt. Chuck Kellenberger at a Marathon bar. She still had the stolen chain, which was returned to the owner. She was charged with burglary and grand theft and she was booked into jail.

Scammers strike again

The Sheriff’s Office took a report of a local business owner who lost money to a scammer.

It is a scam which the Sheriff’s Office and Keys Energy Services have talked about many times in the recent past. The victim owns a business on Ramrod Key. She received a call Friday afternoon from someone claiming to be from Keys Energy Services. The caller said she hadn’t paid her electric bill and  there was a crew on the way to turn off her power. He told her the only way to keep the power on was to pay the balance of the bill with a cash card.

The victim bought a cash card for the balance he said she owed. She then called him and gave him the confirmation number from the card so he would be able to access the money. After she got off the phone with the scammer, she called Keys Energy Services to check with them. They told her she’d been the victim of a scam.

Nude man arrested in Marathon

A man dancing nude on the side of the highway in Marathon was arrested Sunday evening.

The reporting person said he saw 60 year old Marino Sanchez at the entrance to the Marathon Government Center just before 6 p.m. Sunday. Sanchez was nude, and was dancing around. When Deputies Danielle Malone and Anthony Anderson arrived, Sanchez was no longer in that location. He was found in a nearby wooded area, still unclothed.

Sanchez was arrested. He was charged with indecent exposure and he was taken to jail where he received inmate clothing compliments of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Corrections.

Search warrant leads to drug arrest

A Stock Island man was arrested Friday after a search warrant at his Roberta Street home turned up cocaine, marijuana and alprazolam.

The search warrant was served Friday at 1:30 p.m. at 15 Roberta Street. 67 year old Pedro Torres was at home at the time the warrant was served. Inside the home, officers found marijuana and cocaine in several different areas. They also found many items of drug paraphernalia. In an unlabeled pill bottle they found 38 alprazolam pills which Torres did not have a prescription for.

Torres was arrested. He was charged with possession of cocaine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia. He was also charged with trafficking in a controlled substance.

The warrant was served by Monroe County Sheriff’s Office HIDTA detectives, Homeland Security Investigations, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Key West Police Special Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

Man arrested for stealing car

A Key West man was charged with stealing a car from a Sugarloaf Key man on Thursday.

The victim called the Sheriff’s Office on Thursday to report his 2006 BMW had been stolen along with the keys to his residence on Sugarloaf Key. He told Deputy Kim Trullender 20 year old Kristaps Klipe of Key West had stayed at his house the night of the 8th. He said he knows Klipe because they work together at a Key West guest house. He said when he woke up, his car and his keys were both gone.

A notice to be on the lookout for the car was issued. At 9 a.m. Thursday, Detective Dave Chavka was notified by Key West Police that the suspect was arrested in Key West for stealing another car – also a BMW. Klipe was in KWPD custody at the Publix Supermarket and had the Sugarloaf Key victim’s keys in his pocket, minus the car key.

The stolen 2006 BMW was found in the parking lot of the Circle K convenience store on North Roosevelt Boulevard and Kennedy Drive. The key was in it and the gas tank was empty.

Klipe was booked into jail on charges relating to the Key West Police case. He was also charged with grand theft of the vehicle from Sugarloaf Key.

October 10, 2014

Detectives release identity of man found dead near sailboat

Detectives are releasing the identity of the man found dead last Friday near his boat at the Marathon City Marina. They say an autopsy indicates there was no foul play involved in his death and that the death appears to be natural.

Major Crimes Detective Manny Cuervo said he has exhausted all leads in finding the next of kin for the dead man, 64 year old Bruce Stuart. He is hoping someone has information which might help him notify Stuart’s family of his death. Detective Cuervo can be reached at 305-293-7475 or mcuervo@keysso.net.

Stuart’s friends called the Sheriff’s Office after they pulled him from the water and began performing CPR at 11:20 p.m. Friday. They told Deputy Rosary Ponce the victim had been drinking with them since the afternoon. One friend said she took him back to his boat at 10:30 p.m. and left him sitting on board. She said she and another friend went back to check on him about half an hour later and he wasn’t on the boat. That is when she saw him in the water. She pulled him onto the boat and started CPR and called for help. Stuart was pronounced dead by paramedics who responded to the scene.

October 8, 2014

Man charged with beach thefts

A homeless man who told detectives he’d just arrived on the bus from Fort Lauderdale days earlier, was arrested for stealing property from people who were on Higg’s Beach in Key West.

Deputy Vicki Fleck was working at Higg’s Beach Tuesday shortly after noon when a man reported his bag with his phone inside had been taken from the beach. He was tracking the phone using another phone, and showed Deputy Fleck where the tracking application said his phone was.

The tracking application showed the phone moving down Reynolds Street, then down Johnson Street, then onto White Street towards Indigenous Park. It showed the phone’s final destination as Rest Beach, next to the White Street Pier. Deputy Fleck called for assistance and Sheriff’s detectives responded to help her investigate.

As Deputy Fleck was tracking the phone’s path, a second and third victim came forward. They were traveling together and both reported a bags stolen. One had a Canon Camera inside; the other reported $340 in cash in very specific denominations.

Detectives Sheila Seago, Dave Chavka and Dave Cruz met Deputy Fleck at Rest Beach. As they approached the area they spotted a man – later identified as 45 year old Michael Soraghan – with a large camera around his neck. As the officers approached, Soraghan threw something to the ground. The item was recovered. It was a phone case with identification cards and credit cards inside belonging to the man whose phone had been stolen.

In Soraghan’s pocket they found the stolen phone. The camera around his neck belonged to the second victim.  Cash was found in his pocket as well – the exact amount and exact denominations reported as stolen from the third victim.

The bags were not found at Rest Beach, so the detectives backtracked the path Soraghan took from Higgs Beach to Rest Beach. The bags were found at a location on Johnson Street. All the victim’s belongings that were recovered were returned to them.

Soraghan was arrested. He was charged with three counts of grand theft and he was booked into jail.

October 7, 2014

Two arrested, one wanted for conspiracy to commit insurance fraud

Detective Francisco Gaete investigated the case along with Detective Laura Migala with the State of Florida Division of Insurance Fraud. They say two men and a woman conspired together to sell a vehicle – a grey colored 2013 Infinity G35 - for between $2,500 and $3,500 in cash to someone who would “make it disappear”. The car is valued at $36,000. They then planned to report it stolen to collect on insurance.

The two men were acquainted with each other, but met again while in the Plantation Key jail. One of them – 40 year old Amaury Medero of Miami – was arrested in December of 2013 after he was caught stealing customer information from a computer at an auto parts store in Key Largo. The other man – 48 year old Ricardo Jimenez of Cape Coral, Florida – was arrested in May for stealing a boat, motor and trailer from Islamorada and then attempting to flee from deputies.

According to Detective Gaete, while in jail Medero made contact with an outside source and arranged for the sale of the vehicle for Jimenez. The girlfriend of Jimenez, 33 year old Carolina Madruga of Cape Coral, Florida was the owner of the vehicle and was also involved in discussions related to the fraud case. She was not in jail and had control of the vehicle.

Jimenez gave Madruga contact information for the outside source and she arranged for the sale of the car to take place. On July 22nd, Medero was released from jail. He picked up the car from Madruga. As of this date, the car is still missing and the location of Medero is unknown.

On August 28th, Madruga reported the vehicle stolen to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office. The following day she filed an insurance claim on the car with 21st Century Centennial Insurance Company.

Warrants were issued for all three suspects. Jimenez, who was still in jail when the warrants were issued, was charged Monday with conspiracy to commit insurance fraud; Madruga was arrested on the same charges today (Tuesday) as she left the Plantation Key Jail after visiting Jimenez. Medero is still wanted on the outstanding warrant. He is also wanted on an outstanding warrant out of Lee County for failure to appear in court.

Anyone who knows where Medero is, or where the missing vehicle is should contact Detective Francisco Gaete at 305-853-3211. Callers may also call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a Crime Stoppers tip leads to an arrest, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crime Stoppers number is 1-800-346-TIPS and tips may also be submitted on line at www.tipsubmit.com.

Man charged with business burglary

A Marathon man is in jail, charged with stealing an entire prime rib roast from his former employer, Tarpon Creek Bar and Grill in Marathon.

The crime was reported September 12th. Deputy Rosary Ponce responded to the restaurant and spoke with the manager. The manager said another employee told her a prime rib roast had disappeared from where it was stored, in a walk in cooler. A surveillance video of the outside of the cooler showed 54 year old Frederick Jones taking the roast. She recognized him as an employee who used to work for the business.

A warrant was issued for Jones arrest on charges of burglary and theft. Today Sgt. Chuck Kellenberger found Jones at the Marathon Post Office and placed him under arrest. He was booked into jail.

October 6, 2014

Marijuana deal gone bad leads to battery

Sheriff’s deputies arrested a man who hit another man because he gave him money for marijuana, but never received the drugs.

Deputy Tyler Blanton responded to the parking lot of the Brass Monkey just before 1 a.m. today where he met with the suspect and the victim in the case. The victim had a laceration underneath his eye. He said 49 year old Richard Michalski of Marathon hit him after an argument over money. He said Michalski gave him $300 for a quarter pound of marijuana two weeks ago. He said he never delivered the marijuana to Michalski who now wanted his money back.

The victim said he was in his car when Michalski confronted him about the money. He said after the confrontation, Michalski went into the Brass Monkey for about an hour. He said Michalski then came out of the bar and confronted him again, this time hitting him through the open window of the car.

Because Michalski’s fist entered the victim’s vehicle during the confrontation, Michalski was charged with burglary with battery on the occupant and with battery. He was booked into jail.

October 4, 2014

Marathon man found dead in the water near his boat

A Marathon man who lived on board a boat offshore of the City Marina in Marathon was found by friends, dead in the water near his boat Friday night.

His friends called the Sheriff’s Office after they pulled him from the water and began performing CPR at 11:20 p.m. They told Deputy Rosary Ponce the 64 year old victim had been drinking with them since the afternoon. One friend said she took him back to his boat at 10:30 p.m. and left him sitting on board, highly intoxicated. She said she and another friend went back to check on him about half an hour later and he wasn’t on the boat. That is when she saw him in the water. She pulled him onto the boat and started CPR and called for help.

Detective Manuel Cuervo from the Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit responded and will be investigating the death. There were no obvious signs of foul play discovered. An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of the victim’s death. The victim’s name is not being released because Detective Cuervo has not yet notified his family of his death.

October 3, 201 4

Islamorada man arrested for stealing rods and reels

An Islamorada man was arrested Thursday, charged with entering a storage room at the Snake Creek Marina and stealing rods and reels valued at $7,000.

The owner of the rods and reels and a witness to the crime called the Sheriff’s Office shortly after 26 year old David Pothier stole them. Pothier walked into the marina and entered a storage area where he went through a number of rods and reels stored there, taking the three belonging to the victim. He then left and, as he was walking away from the marina the witness saw him carrying the stolen rods and reels.

The witness was acquainted with the suspect and knew he used to work at the marina but no longer worked there. He saw Potheir get into a dark green car and he was able to get a partial license plate number. He notified the marina manager and told him what he saw. The manager checked the store room and realized the rods and reels were missing and called the Sheriff’s Office.

A notice to be on the lookout for the car was put out over police radios. Detectives Yunior Galvez and Barney Sajdak spotted the car minutes later and found the suspect at Sea Breeze Trailer Park.

The witness positively identified Pothier as the one he saw with the stolen items. After being confronted with the positive identification, Pothier agreed to return the stolen items. He claimed to have stolen them because the victim owed him money. He was arrested and charged with burglary and grand theft.

October 1, 2014

Key Largo man charged with stolen kayaks

A Key Largo man is in jail charged with stealing two kayaks from a neighbor and then selling them to someone else.

The victim reported his two kayaks stolen from his home on Bahama Avenue sometime between September 18th and the 20th. Deputy Jean Gonzalez took the initial incident report.

Subsequent investigations by Sgt. Jason Madnick revealed 32 year old Joshua Davis, a neighbor of the victim, stole the kayaks – valued at $450 each - and sold them to another man for a total of $150.

The person who purchased the kayaks agreed to return them, saying he thought the deal was probably “too good to be true”.

Davis was arrested Tuesday and was booked into jail on charges of burglary, grand theft and dealing in stolen property.