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 29, 2015

Husband and wife arrested for bad checks

A Marathon man and his wife are both in jail after they attempted to defraud Capital bank of over $4,000.

According to reports by Detective Scott Ward, 33 year old Dayna Rodriguez Alvarez wrote three checks to her husband 30 year old Raymond Martinez. Two of the checks were for $2,000 and one for $958. He then deposited the checks in his bank account and then made withdrawals from the same account for over $4,000. She admitted she knew the account she wrote the checks on did not have enough funds to cover the checks. He admitted knowing the checks were not covered by sufficient funds when he deposited them and subsequently withdrew the money.

They both said they needed money to pay bills, including paying rent and a bondsman. They both said they intended to repay the money once they received their tax refund from the IRS.

When Capital Bank discovered the scheme on October 14th, they contacted the Sheriff’s Office.

Detective Scott Ward obtained warrants for their arrest. On Wednesday, they were both charged with three counts each of grand theft and fraud. They were booked into jail.

Key Largo businessman arrested for credit card fraud

A Key Largo businessman is accused of stealing his customer’s credit card numbers and using them to commit credit card fraud.

27 year old Robin “Kiki” Bugallo is the co-owner of the Magic Salon in Key Largo. According to Detective Bob Dosh, Bugallo is accused of using his customer’s credit card numbers to make purchases at other businesses.

He was caught after a female victim noticed a charge on her credit card she did not make. She went to the business where her credit card was used – The Juice House - and spoke with the owner, explaining to him what happened. The owner of The Juice House was able to look at his records and determine who used her credit card. He identified that person as Bugallo. He also discovered Bugallo had used several other credit cards fraudulently at his business. He then called the  Sheriff’s Office to report the illegal activity.

After investigating the allegations, and interviewing victims, witnesses and the suspect in the case, Detective Dosh obtained a warrant for Bugallo’s arrest. On Wednesday, he was arrested and charged with one count each of using another person’s identification without consent and fraudulent use of a credit card.

October 26, 2015

Thomas charged with attempted murder

Sheriff’s detectives charged 25 year old Timothy Thomas of Key West with attempted murder today.

Thomas stands accused of attempting to murder Deputy Joshua Gordon. He fired a gun at Deputy Gordon Saturday night as the deputy attempted to apprehend him.  Thomas was wanted for questioning by Key West police for armed robbery. The bullet lodged in the deputy’s bullet proof vest.

Thomas was apprehended hiding out in a house on Von Phister Street in the city of Key West Sunday evening. He had two gunshot wounds from his firefight with deputies.

He was initially charged with outstanding felony warrants from Martin and Orange Counties. He is wanted in Martin County for high speed wanton reckless driving and with driving with his license suspended. In Orange County he is wanted for violation of probation with the underlying charge of robbery.

Today, Major Crimes Detective Manny Cuervo filed charges against Thomas including attempted murder of a law enforcement officer with a firearm and use of a weapon to commit a felony. There is no bond allowed on the charges.

October 25, 2015

Shooting suspect in custody

The man who shot a deputy Saturday night on Stock Island is in custody. He was arrested at a home on Von Phister Street in Key West this afternoon.

The deputy was wearing a bullet proof vest which stopped the bullet. He was slightly injured from the impact but was treated and released at the hospital.

Information was received today that 25 year old Timothy Thomas was at hiding out at a residence at 1711 Von Phister Street in Key West. Sheriff’s Office and Key West Police set up a perimeter around the house and cleared neighbors from the area. Key West Police negotiators spoke with Thomas over the phone and convinced him to give himself up. He came out of the house with his hands up and was taken into custody just after 6 p.m. He had two gunshot wounds sustained when he exchanged fire with Sheriff’s deputies the night before.

“We were not going to let this guy remain at large where he was a threat to law enforcement and to the community,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “Our officers, with the assistance of many other agencies, worked tirelessly chasing down leads until we got him,” he said. “The teamwork we have between agencies and with the community helped resolve this situation without any further violence.”

More information is now available in an incident that took place on Stock Island Saturday night.

Just before 9:45 p.m., Key West Police notified the Sheriff’s Office to look out for a black colored mustang headed out of the city of Key West. A suspect from an armed robbery in the city was believed to be in the vehicle. The suspect vehicle – a black Ford Mustang - was spotted on Stock Island by Deputy Joshua Gordon. Deputy David Lariz responded to back him up.

The suspect who was driving the black Mustang, later identified as 25 year old Timothy Thomas of Key West, spotted the deputies vehicles. He sped up, fleeing from them down 3rd Avenue, toward 5th Street. He drove through the intersection at 5th Street and 3rd Avenue, but hit a stop sign, which stopped the vehicle.

The deputies exited their patrol cars in an effort to detain the suspect, but Thomas began firing at the deputies, hitting Deputy Gordon in the chest. His bullet proof vest protected him from serious injury. Both deputies returned fire, and retreated to cover behind their patrol vehicles.

Thomas was able to flee the area in the Mustang, which he abandoned at 2nd Avenue and 5th Street, just a short distance away. He fled on foot. Blood was found in the abandoned car, indicating Thomas may have been injured in the confrontation. There were no other passengers in the vehicle with him.

An extensive search of the area failed to locate Thomas. Sheriff’s detectives received information a short time later that he might be hiding on Big Coppitt Key, possibly in the area of Barcelona Drive. The search for Thomas continued in that area, with a perimeter set up and a street by street, house by house search taking place.

“This man is armed and dangerous. If you see him or know where he is, do not approach him. Call 911 immediately,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “We are continuing our search for Timothy Thomas. You cannot shoot one of our officers and walk away from it. We will catch him. It is just a matter of time,” he said.

“I am so thankful that Deputy Gordon is safe and uninjured. Just a few inches one way or another and the outcome would have been very different. This just shows you how a call can turn violent in an instant. As a law enforcement officer, you just never know what you will be confronted with when you put on that uniform every day,” said Sheriff Ramsay.

Assisting in the search were officers from the Sheriff’s Office, Key West Police, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Florida Highway Patrol, Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. SWAT from the Sheriff’s Office and SRT from Key West Police were on scene, along with K-9 teams from Key West Police. Also lending support upon request was the Miami-Dade Police Department, which sent a helicopter to help with an air search as well as a K-9 team and members of their SWAT team. Customs and Border Protection sent a helicopter as well to assist in the search.

After an extensive search, the perimeter was canceled at 7 a.m. today. Thomas remains on the loose. He should be considered armed and dangerous; he may also be injured.

Anyone with information about this crime should contact the Sheriff’s Office immediately at 305-481-8060. 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.

Deputy shot; saved by his bullet proof vest

A Monroe County Sheriff’s deputy was shot Saturday night on Stock Island. The bullet struck his chest, which was protected by his bullet proof vest. He was taken to Lower Keys Hospital. He was released after being treated for minor impact injuries.

Deputy Josh Gordon and other deputies were on the lookout for a vehicle with a robbery suspect inside from the city of Key West. Deputies spotted the car on Stock Island, near the intersection of 3rd Avenue and Sunshine Street at about 9:45 p.m. When they attempted to stop the car, the suspect opened fire, striking Deputy Gordon in the chest.

The suspect then fled the scene. Detectives received information he might be hiding on Big Coppitt Key, in the vicinity of Barcelona Drive and DelMar Boulevard. A perimeter was set up in that area and an extensive search took place in that area for several hours. The perimeter was broken down at about 7 a.m. this morning. He was not found and remains at large.

The suspect has been identified as 25 year old Timothy Thomas. He is the reported  suspect in the robbery that took place in the city of Key West on October 5th, at a home near Key West High School. He has an extensive criminal history and should be considered armed and dangerous.

Anyone with information about this crime should contact the Sheriff’s Office immediately at 305-481-8060. 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.

Woman arrested for stabbing her sister

A Stock Island woman was arrested today for stabbing her sister with a knife.

The victim told Deputy Freddy Rodriguez she and her sister, 22 year old Courtney Lozada, had been out drinking Saturday night. She said they live together on Stock Island. They returned home in the early morning hours Sunday and got into an argument.

She said during the argument, her sister picked up a large kitchen knife and stabbed her in the forearm.

The victim said she had a friend drive her to the emergency room where she received numerous staples to close the wound.

Courtney Lozada was placed under arrest. She was charged with aggravated assault with a weapon and she was booked into jail.

Palm Beach man charged with credit card fraud

A Palm Beach Gardens man was arrested Saturday for credit card fraud.

The victim of the fraud called the Sheriff’s Office from St. Louis, Missouri. He said he’d gotten alerts for possible fraudulent use of his credit card. He said the alerts indicated the card number was being used in Monroe County, Florida. One of the charges was for Amara Cay Resort in Islamorada. There were several other charges in Monroe County as well.

Deputy Caridad Bellon went to Amara Cay Resort and confirmed someone had made a reservation in person using the card number in question at 7:15 a.m. The victim said the card number was also used to make a reservation over the phone at Yankee Freedom in Key West. The victim called Yankee Freedom offices and let them know about the fraud.

The suspect showed up in the Yankee Freedom offices at 3 p.m. on Saturday and, because the employees knew about the fraud, they were able to capture the vehicle registration information for the car the suspect was driving. They also got a detailed description of him, all of which they relayed to the Sheriff’s Office.

Later in the day, the car was spotted traveling northbound on the highway and turning into the Amara Cay parking lot. Sgt. Mike DiGiovanni made contact with the vehicle and its occupants, including the suspect , Javier Hernan Lopez Montoya, and several of his family members.

Lopez-Montoya had possession of a credit card with the card number in question on it. He also had several pieces of identification in different names, and several other credit cards that either had no names or had other names on them.

He was placed under arrest. He was charged with illegally using a fraudulent credit card to obtain goods, use or possession of another person’s identification without consent, use of fraudulent identification, possession of an altered credit card and use of a fraudulent use of a credit card.

October 23, 2015

Upper Keys dive shops – and Mares brand – targeted by vandal

Sheriff’s detectives say someone is targeting Mares Brand dive gear and has entered two separate dive shops in the Upper Keys and damaged thousands of dollars in buoyancy control devices and wet suits by slashing them with a sharp object.

The first report came on Wednesday afternoon. West Marine at the 103 mile marker of the highway said they got a notice from their corporate office that someone has been cutting Mares wet suits from the Palm Beach County area south and they were asking all their stores to check their wet suit inventories.

The store manager said when they checked, they found 13 wet suits and one dive bag, all the Mares brand, damaged. Someone has slashed them down the back.

The second report came in Thursday afternoon from Divers Direct at the 99.6 mile marker of the highway in Key Largo. That store discovered  11 BCDs and two dive gear bags, all  made by Mares, slashed with a sharp object. That store said they’d had a notice from their corporate office as well.

The Sheriff’s Office would like to put all local dive shops on notice that this is taking place. Anyone who has information should contact our agency immediately. 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.

Marathon man found dead in the water

A 30 year old Marathon man was found dead Monday in the water offshore of Coco Plum Drive in Marathon.

A woman flagged down Key Colony Beach Officer Griffith just after 7 a.m. and told the officer she’d seen a body in the water at 66 Coco Plum Drive. Paramedics were called and the body was pulled from the water. 30 year old Jacek Krempin was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to Major Crimes Detective Nancy Torrijos, Krempin was last seen Sunday night by a woman friend who says he was drinking on a boat, offshore. There is no foul play suspected in his death. No indications of trauma were found on the body upon initial examination.

October 22, 2015

Marathon man arrested for exposure

The Sheriff’s Office received numerous calls Wednesday afternoon  from drivers on Sugarloaf Key who said a man was exposing his genitals purposefully to passing cars.

The callers all said 61 year old Marino Sanchez pulled his pants down, was “mooning” traffic, and was grabbing his genitals and shaking them at passing cars. When Deputy Donald Stullken arrived at 4:40 p.m. he found Sanchez at the 17 mile marker. He looked and smelled like he was drunk. He was positively identified by a couple of the witnesses as the man they saw expose himself in public.

Sanchez was arrested. He was charged with indecent exposure and he was taken to jail.

October 20, 2015

Former deputy threatens suicide at Grassy Key home

A tense situation at a Grassy Key home Monday night was resolved peacefully. A former deputy who worked for the Sheriff’s Office for a short time in 2012 was taken into custody under Florida’s Baker’s Act.

37 year old John Keeney armed himself at his Morton Street home and made threats to harm himself. His wife and two children aged 1 and 3 were home at the time, locked themselves in a bedroom of the home and called the Sheriff’s Office for help shortly after 6 p.m. Deputies arrived on the scene and took up safe positions outside the house. Keeney refused to speak with anyone on the phone; his wife relayed his comments to Sheriff’s dispatchers.

Over the next hour and a half, a hostage negotiator and officers on the scene attempted to talk him safely out of the house. During that time, he said numerous times he wanted his family safely out of the house, but said several times he would not give up his gun and at one point said he would return fire if shot at by deputies.

Shortly before 8:40 p.m. he exited the house, surrendered his weapon and was taken into custody. He was Baker’s Acted due to his suicidal comments, and was taken to a mental health facility for evaluation.

Keeney served in the military prior to coming to work for the Sheriff’s Office, as a military police officer. He worked for the Sheriff’s Office as a road patrol deputy participating in our Field Training Officer program from September to December of 2012 after which he resigned while still in training.

October 17, 2015

Couple shot to death in their home

A man and a woman were shot to death in their home on Cuba Road in Tavernier.

Detectives from the Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit say a neighbor called the Sheriff’s Office shortly after 2 p.m. to report finding the bodies of 26 year old Tara Rosado and 30 year old Carlos Ortiz. The neighbor said he found Rosado’s three children outside. The children are aged 3, 4, and 8. He said the children told him their mother and Carlos were in the house, dead.

He went next door and, after finding the two bodies, called the Sheriff’s Office.

Detective Vince Weiner, lead investigator on the case, said it appears Rosado and Ortiz were shot to death sometime Thursday night. The case is under investigation.

Anyone with information about this crime 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.

October 16, 2015

Man arrested on drug warrant

A Little Torch Key man was arrested Thursday on drug charges.

Warrants were issued for the arrest of 20 year old Yeiniel Moreno after he sold heroin to an undercover operative with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Special Investigations Unit in May and in August of this year.

On both occasions, Moreno agreed to meet with the operative, once on Summerland Key and once on Little Torch Key. On both occasions, money was exchanged for heroin – a half a gram on the first occasion and a gram of the illegal substance on the second occasion. On both occasions, a cell phone was used to communicate about the exchange.

On Thursday, Moreno was picked up on the warrants and booked into jail on charges including two counts each of  sale of Heroin and use of a two way communications device to facilitate a felony. He was booked into jail.

October 15, 2015

Man arrested for burglarizing pharmacy

A Tavernier man is in jail, arrested for burglarizing a CVS pharmacy after it was closed for the night.

Sheriff’s Deputy Cody Kerns responded to the CVS Store at the 91 mile marker in Tavernier at 9 p.m. An employee at the store told Deputy Kerns a man had come into the store, jumped the pharmacy counter and had taken a garbage bag full of Sudafed and other similar medicines. She said she heard the pharmacy alarm go off, yelled at him to stop, but he ran out of the store with the bag.

Deputy Kerns watched video surveillance that showed a white male wearing a black and white striped shirt, a black baseball cap, sunglasses and jean shorts with red underwear visible. The video confirmed the employees version of events.

Within minutes, Deputy Kerns and Deputy Deanna Torres were dispatched to a domestic situation just north of the CVS Store. When Deputy Kerns arrived, he saw the same man as the one in the video arguing with a woman outside of a trailer. The man was identified as 26 year old Ronald Williams. Williams was arrested. His girlfriend, with whom he had been arguing, gave the deputies permission to search their trailer for the garbage bag of drugs.

The drugs were recovered inside the trailer. Williams admitted to having a “drug problem”. Pseudoephedrine, an ingredient found in the medication he stole from the pharmacy, is commonly used in the manufacture of Methamphetamine.

Williams was charged with burglary of an occupied structure and theft.

October 10, 2015

Summerland Key woman faces drug, gun charges

A Summerland Key woman is in jail, charged with possessing drugs and being a convicted felon with guns.

A search warrant was served by detectives from the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Unit at her home at 25169-B on 41st Street, Summerland Key on Friday at 4:30 p.m. A search of the home turned up crack cocaine and marijuana in various locations inside the home, along with numerous guns including multiple handguns, rifles and shotguns and including ammunition for the weapons as well.

There were three people at the residence while the search was taking place, including the woman who was arrested – 47 year old Lori Pilotti.

In Pilotti’s purse, detectives found $990 cash believed to be proceeds from drug sales.

Pilotti was charged with possession of cocaine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia. She was also charged with being a felon in possession of firearms. She was booked into jail.

Assisting with service of the search warrant was the Sheriff’s Office Special Weapons and Tactics Team, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Department of Homeland Security and the Naval Investigative Service.

October 2, 2015

Georgia man dies while on dive trip

A Georgia man died while on a dive trip offshore of Key Largo Thursday.

According to reports from Sheriff’s detectives, 50 year old Morris Mitchell Lamb of Covington, Georgia was visiting his brother in Key Largo. They were on a boat with a neighbor near Carysfort Reef Light at about 11:40 a.m. Lamb entered the water wearing scuba gear. He had not even gone underwater when he reportedly appeared to be in distress. Wave heights were reported to be about three feet, and there was a strong current in the area.

He yelled for help. The neighbor and the brother, who had remained in the vessel, jumped in the water and attempted to assist him but experienced difficulties with the current, which was strong and began swiftly taking them away from the vessel toward the light. Another person on the boat called for help.

United States Coast Guard and Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission responded. Lamb and the other two men were pulled from the water. Lamb was taken to Mercy Hospital in Miami, where he was pronounced dead. The Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner will be performing an autopsy on him. The other two men were reported to be uninjured.

October 1, 2015

Two arrested for condo burglary

Two teens were arrested Wednesday in Islamorada, charged with burglarizing a condo at the Executive Bay Club.

The condo’s owner called the Sheriff’s Office at 6:30 p.m. to report he’d caught the two boys committing the crime. He told Deputy Tony Conde he returned home to find 18 year old Kyle Gates outside of his condo, talking on a two way radio and thought it was suspicious. He then saw a younger boy inside the front porch area of his condo . He confronted the younger one, asking what he was doing there. They boy said he was trying to break into the condo to steal alcohol.

Further investigation revealed the two boys had entered the same condo the night before after finding no one home. They said they entered through an unlocked sliding glass door and took beer and other alcohol from inside. They returned on Wednesday during the day to take more. They were using the hand held two way radios to communicate with each other.

They were both charged with burglary, theft and unlawful use of a two way communications device to facilitate a felony.

Marathon man flees from officers, crashes his car

A Marathon man was arrested after he fled from law enforcement, crashing his car in the process.

Deputy Ben Elmore was on patrol at 2:40 a.m. today when he saw a silver Chrysler sedan turn on to the highway at 116th Street and drive north in the southbound lanes. The car then turned onto 117th Street Ocean. The deputy followed, activating his lights and siren in an attempt to pull it over.

The driver, later identified as 30 year old Raymond Martinez, turned onto Aviation Boulevard and stopped briefly, the continued on at a high rate of speed. The deputy stopped his pursuit of the car, but continued in the direction the vehicle fled. He found the car at the end of 6th Avenue and 109th Street Gulf, crashed into a fence, a pole and a tree. Martinez had fled from the vehicle on foot.

More deputies arrived to assist, along with a Florida Highway Patrol Trooper, Key Colony Beach Police Officer Petrick and a Customs and Border Protection officer. Martinez was located in a yard on 109th Street. He was placed under arrest.

The car, a rental vehicle,  caught fire after the crash, which was investigated by FHP. Martinez was taken to Fishermen’s Hospital to be checked for injuries. He was then charged with fleeing and eluding police, resisting arrest, leaving the scene of a crash and driving on the wrong side of the road. He was booked into jail.

Man arrested after running Sheriff Ramsay and others off the road

A man from Beijing, China was arrested Wednesday for driving recklessly.

Sheriff Rick Ramsay was southbound in his Sheriff’s Office vehicle just before 10 a.m. on Big Pine Key when he saw a vehicle in front of him swerve suddenly. He then saw a grey Jeep sport utility vehicle northbound in the southbound lanes of the highway passing vehicles recklessly. The area is a no passing zone.

Sheriff Ramsay had to swerve off the road to avoid an accident with the Jeep. He then turned on his lights and siren and pulled the vehicle over, calling for backup.

Deputy Kim Trullender responded. The driver of the Jeep, 34 year old Shan Huang, said he was late to check out of his hotel in Marathon and was in a hurry. Huang was arrested. He was charged with reckless driving and he was booked into jail.