Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Daily Crime and Information Report

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

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September 28, 2015

Man arrested for high speeds, no license, cocaine

A Summerland Key man was arrested Sunday in the early morning hours after he was stopped for speeding on his motorcycle.

Deputy David Lariz was on Rockland Key just before midnight Saturday when he spotted the motorcycle with two people on it, southbound. He saw the driver tailgating and turned around to stop the vehicle. The motorcycle driver sped up, passing a number of other vehicles. Deputy Lariz  attempted to catch up, but the motorcycle was traveling in excess of 100 miles per hour at that point.

Deputy Lariz radioed ahead to Deputy Boyd Williams, who was on Stock Island. Deputy Williams took up a position at U.S. One and Cross Street to wait for the motorcycle. Deputy Lariz caught up with the motorcycle at U.S. One and MacDonald Avenue. It had been stopped by traffic. He told the driver to pull over.

The driver of the motorcycle was identified as 32 year old Sean Kenny of Summerland Key. Deputy Williams, who arrived to back up Deputy Lariz, recognized Kenny as someone he stopped the week before. At the time of that stop, Kenny had no valid driver’s license and was cited for it.

On Sunday night, he still had no valid license. In fact he had an expired license from Pennsylvania. He assured the officers he would be getting one in a few days. When Deputy Lariz asked why he was speeding in excess of 100 miles per hour, Kenny replied it was because there was no one in front of him.

Kenny was issued a number of citations, for speeding and no valid license. He was told to park his motorcycle and not to drive anymore. As Kenny was walking away from Deputy Lariz, putting the citations in his pocket, a plastic bag dropped out of his pants pocket. Inside the bag where nine smaller bags with white powder inside. The powder tested positive as cocaine.

Kenny was arrested. He was charged with failing to register his motorcycle in Florida, driving with an expired license, not obtaining a Florida driver’s license within 30 days of employment and possession of cocaine.

Traffic stop leads to drug arrest

A traffic stop in Key Largo led to the arrest of a woman on drug charges.

Deputy Cody Kerns was on patrol at 2 a.m. this morning when he spotted vehicle at the 102 mile marker with a tag light that was not working. He pulled the car over to inform the driver of the issue. When he approached the driver’s open door, he could smell the distinct odor of burning marijuana. The driver admitted he and his female passenger had smoked marijuana earlier. He said it was her birthday and they wanted to celebrate by watching the blood moon.

Both driver and passenger were asked to exit the vehicle. The passenger, 22 year old Amanda Otano of Miami, had a purse in the vehicle. Inside the purse, Deputy Kerns located a plastic first aid kit. In the first aid kit he found a small amount of marijuana, a plastic container with over six grams of cocaine inside, 10 small plastic bags with more cocaine inside and several items of drug paraphernalia.

Otano was arrested. She was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Cudjoe Key woman charged with burglary

A Cudjoe Key woman was arrested for burglarizing property she used to own.

On Sunday at 5:20 p.m., Deputy David Lariz responded to a home on Guadeloupe Lane, Ramrod Key to a possible burglary. The current tenant of the house was leaving for work and encountered 44 year old Nedda Bentley, who had driven onto the gated property in her red pickup truck. Bentley was the previous owner of the property, which had been foreclosed on by the bank. The current tenant said she told Bentley she needed to leave the property, but Bentley did not leave and was still there when officers arrived on the scene.

Investigation revealed Bentley had removed a number of items which belonged to the current tenant from a downstairs enclosure at the house. The items were found inside her truck.

Bentley was arrested. She was charged with burglary, trespassing and theft and she was booked into jail.

September 22, 2015

Owner of construction company arrested for stealing boat, trailer

The owner of a construction company doing business in Duck Key stole a boat and trailer from a home there. He was arrested Monday, charged with two counts of grand theft.

On August 17th, the owner of the 17 foot Action Craft called the Sheriff’s Office. He lives elsewhere, but his caretaker called him to tell him his boat and trailer were missing from his Duck Key home. A neighbor told Deputy Rosary Ponce she’d seen it the day before around 3 p.m. Detective Michael Sielicki worked with Duck Key security to obtain video of vehicles entering and leaving the area. On the video, they saw a black GMC Yukon leaving Duck Key towing the boat and trailer. The license plate had been removed from the Yukon.

Investigation by Detectives Sielicki and Scott Ward revealed the Yukon belongs to 30 year old Carlos Davalos, the owner of CBD Construction, Inc. Davalos lives in Homestead, but his company frequently works on Duck Key.

On September 11th, the Yukon was stopped by Homestead Police at the request of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. Davalos and his wife were in the car. She told investigators she was in Texas visiting family at the time of the boat theft. She told them only she and her husband have keys and they are the only ones who ever drive the vehicle. She said he mostly works at Duck Key, and drives the Yukon which he uses to transport his employees to work.

When questioned, Davalos denied stealing the boat but could give no explanation as to why his Yukon was caught on video leaving Duck Key towing the boat and trailer. He said he’d returned from Texas the day before and had been at work on Duck Key the day the boat and trailer were stolen. He admitted that no one else ever drove his vehicle except he and his wife.

A warrant was obtained for the arrest of Davalos. He was charged with the warrant Monday afternoon and was booked into jail. As of his arrest yesterday, Davalos company was still doing work in the area of Duck Key and on Stirrup Key as subcontractors.

September 21, 2015

North Dakota man dies while snorkeling

A man visiting the Florida Keys from North Dakota died while snorkeling offshore of the Lower Keys Sunday afternoon.

72 year old George Hsu on board a boat with his wife, and his brother and sister in law at 2 p.m. He was snorkeling near Looe Key Reef when he called for help. His wife, who was on the boat, saw he was in distress. She, along with the others on board, pulled him into the boat.

They began performing CPR on Hsu; a Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission boat was in the vicinity and responded, escorting the vessel to shore at the Dolphin Marina Resort. Paramedics and deputies met the boat at the marina. Hsu was transported to Lower Keys Medical Center where Hsu was pronounced dead.

An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of his death.

September 20, 2015

Stock Island man arrested for child sex abuse

A 33 year old Stock Island man was arrested Friday, charged with sexually abusing a young girl.

Major Crimes Detective Lissette Zuelch arrested Roberto Carlos Aquino Arevalo after a young girl told her school counselor she’d been sexually molested by him. Subsequent investigations into the allegations led to a charge of lewd and lascivious behavior with a child between the ages of 12 and 16. The victim is 13 years old.

In her report, Detective Zuelch indicates her investigation is still ongoing and more charges may be pending against Aquino Arevalo. He remains in jail. His bond is set at $150,000.

September 18, 2015

Stolen boat recovered, suspect arrested

A multi-agency effort to recover a stolen boat resulted in the arrest of a New York man offshore of the Lower Keys Thursday.

The owner of the stolen vessel called the Sheriff’s Office Thursday morning. He said he was taking his son to school and, as he drove past the Hurricane Hole Marina where he keeps the 31 foot Yellowfin, he noticed it wasn’t in its slip. He called the marina and they did not know why it was missing. The marina manager reviewed video and saw someone take the boat from the marina at 5:30 a.m. The victim called the Sheriff’s Office to report the theft.

The victim had a report from a friend who lives on 12th Avenue on Stock Island who said he saw the boat idling south in Cow Key Channel at 6:30 a.m. He said he thought at the time that  it was early for the victim to be out on the water.

At 3:30 p.m. employees of the Key West Harbor Yacht Club called the Sheriff’s Office to report the stolen boat was currently fueling up at their marina. They had heard the boat was stolen and recognized it when it came in. Deputy Spencer Curry was working in the area and responded to the marina. He arrived just as the stolen boat was leaving. He yelled at the boat operator – later identified as 40 year old Stephen Leonard – to stop. Instead, Leonard fled the marina at high speed. The employees that reported the vessel’s presence told Deputy Curry Leonard was asking how much gas he would need to go to Cuba.

Detective David Cruz was working the case and went to the area of South Roosevelt Boulevard in Key West where he saw the boat going south. Sheriff’s dispatchers notified the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection of the boat’s location.

Those agencies responded – despite stormy weather in the area – with air assets as well as boats on the water. A FWC aircraft spotted the boat and directed the pursuing boats to the stolen vessel’s location. Leonard was apprehended and the boat was recovered unharmed. He was brought in to the U.S. Coast Guard station in Key West where he was taken into custody by Detective Cruz and Deputy Curry. Leonard was charged with grand theft and resisting arrest.

Others who had been in contact with Leonard were interviewed and said he’d been acting strangely and had been talking about going to Cuba.

“I want to thank our law enforcement partners for their assistance in the recovery of this vessel and the apprehension of the suspect who stole it,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “When we called them they responded quickly despite the rain and stormy weather. They were instrumental in this case and we truly appreciate the good working relationship we all have in protecting the citizens of Monroe County and those who visit here,” he said.

“The employees at the Key West Harbor Yacht Club are also to be commended for their quick action in calling us and giving us the location of the suspect and the stolen boat,” said the Sheriff. “The teamwork shown in this case – between multiple law enforcement agencies and community members – was truly impressive.”

September 15, 2015

Detectives seek help identifying fraud suspect

Sheriff’s detectives say they need help identifying the suspect in a credit card fraud case.

The victim, who lives in the Upper Keys, called the Sheriff’s Office August 24th. She said someone used her credit card number to make a purchase at the Walgreen’s on Big Pine Key. The manager of Capital Bank, which is the issuer of the credit card, told Deputy Jacques Rozek the card number was used to purchase two bottles of Johnnie Walker Black from the Walgreen’s liquor store for $128.58 on Saturday, August 22nd at 2 p.m.

Detectives responded to Walgreen’s and were able, with the help of store management, to get a clear picture of the man who illegally used the card number to make the purchase.

He is a white male with short dark hair, perhaps in his mid 20s wearing a white T-shirt that says “WITNESS” across the front of it in black letters and has a Nike logo.

Anyone who recognizes this man or who has information about this crime should contact the Sheriff’s Office 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.

September 14, 2015

Detectives say two ATM machines discovered with skimming devices

Sheriff’s detectives are investigating two cases in the Upper Keys were skimming devices were placed on ATM machines.

Both ATM machines were at Bank of Americas, one at the 99 mile marker and one at the 92.2 mile marker. The skimmer devices were placed over top of the card slots on the machines. One device was discovered by a customer Sunday morning at the 99 mile marker who put her card into the slot and it was not returned. The ATM machine’s screen gave a warning about the cards protection. The customer subsequently discovered the skimmer device on top of the card slot – according to the report he said it appeared “flimsy” and he was able to just peel it off.

Deputies checked other ATM machines in the area and discovered the illegal device installed on the machine at the 92.2 mile marker.

Bank of America security personnel were notified and will be working with Sheriff’s detectives to discover who might have placed the devices on the machines. They will also be reviewing their surveillance tapes to see if any customers’ cards may have been compromised. The bank reportedly checks their machines regularly to ensure they are not compromised and last checked these machines Friday.

These skimmer devices can be very hard to detect and can look very similar to the card slots on the machines themselves. It is important to be alert to anything out of the ordinary when using your card. Skimmers have been found on ATM machines as well as inside gas pumps at various convenience stores in the Keys and elsewhere.

It is also very important to check the activity on your credit and debit cards frequently to catch any unusual or illegal activity that might be taking place as early as possible.

Septeber 12, 2015

Tavernier man charged with fleeing at high speeds

A Tavernier man is in jail after he fled from deputies at speeds up to 60 miles an hour over the speed limit.

At 2:15 a.m. today, Sgt. Jason Madnick was at the 105 mile marker when a dark colored truck passed him northbound at a very high speed. Sgt. Madnick’s radar showed the truck was traveling at 106 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone. He turned on his lights and siren in an attempt to stop the truck.

The truck turned onto State Road 905, heading toward Card Sound Road. Sgt. Madnick called for backup officers to head in his direction because the truck was not stopping and was, in fact, speeding up.

The truck turned into the Gulfstream Shores subdivision, on Palm Drive. As the backup officers arrived on scene, the 2007 Toyota truck was found parked at the end of Gulfstream Drive, engine off, windows rolled down and keys in the ignition.

A search of the area turned up the driver, hiding in bushes nearby. 23 year old Phillip Bryan of Tavernier was charged with fleeing and eluding police and received a speeding citation for 61 miles per hour over the posted speed limit.

September 7, 2015

Man dead offshore of Key Largo

A North Miami Beach man is dead after he jumped into the water to go after a boat anchor offshore of Key Largo Saturday afternoon.

41 year old Damian Deandre Smith was on board a private vessel with a group of people late in the afternoon Saturday. They were going to anchor in the waters near Molasses Reef in about 50 feet of water. Someone on the boat threw the anchor into the water. It was not secured to the boat and the anchor and line both went overboard.

Smith put on a mask, snorkel, fins and a heavy weight belt and reportedly went into the water to retrieve the anchor. Others on the boat told Major Crimes Detective Vince Weiner they saw Smith surface once and then go back underwater. He did not resurface after that.

Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the U.S. Coast Guard searched for him. Divers from Key Largo Fire Rescue on board a private vessel were also in the area and they located his body on the ocean bottom, near the anchor, deceased.

September 4, 2015

Woman stabbed during dispute

A Grassy Key woman was cut with a knife and another woman was booked into jail for stabbing her Thursday night.

Deputy Garrett Bragg and Sgt. Chuck Kellenberger responded to a Grassy Key home several times during the course of the evening before the stabbing took place. The victim, who lives in the home at the 59 mile marker, told the officers her boyfriend’s parents are visiting and she does not get along with the mother, 64 year old Samantha Freeman, from Weatherford, Texas.

At one point, the victim called her boyfriend and threatened to throw all his belongings outside. His parents went to the house in an attempt to stop her from destroying their son’s belongings. Deputies arrived on the scene as Freeman was removing a screen from a window in an attempt to get into the house.

The last time Deputy Bragg and Sgt. Kellenberger responded, at 8 p.m., they found the 25 year old victim bleeding from a large cut on her right forearm. She told the deputy Freeman had punched her in the throat, had stabbed her with a knife and had threatened repeatedly to kill her.

Interviews with those who were present – the victim, the victim’s boyfriend and his parents – gave varying accounts of what took place leading up to the stabbing.

Freeman was placed under arrest. She was charged with battery, aggravated assault and aggravated battery. The victim was treated for her injuries.

September 3, 2015

Man arrested for using another’s debit card, ID

A Marathon man was arrested Wednesday after an alert convenience store clerk noticed he was using someone else’s debit card and identification in an attempt to make purchases.

Deputy Kendall Baily was dispatched to Dion’s convenience store on 14th street at 10:30 a.m. When he arrived he met with the store clerk, who handed over a debit card and driver’s license which she obtained from a man trying to make a purchase at the store. The ID did not belong to the man trying to use it.

When the deputy asked 53 year old Vincent Desilvis about it, Desilvis said the man whose ID he was using asked him to pick some things up at the store for him.

Further investigation revealed Desilvis had the man’s entire wallet. When the owner of the wallet was contacted, he responded to Dion’s to claim his property. He told Deputy Bailey he does not know Desilvis, nor did he give him permission to use his card and ID. He said he lost his wallet the day before and had been looking for it ever since.

Desilvis was arrested. He was charged with possession and use of the stolen driver’s license, fraudulent use of another person’s identification and theft.

September 2, 2015

Man arrested for selling boat trailer illegally

A Key Largo man was arrested Tuesday, charged with forging someone else’s name on the title of a boat trailer and selling it without the owner’s permission.

The owner of the 30 foot Load Master trailer was storing it at the Snake Creek Marina. She told Sgt. Eric Mixon she’d been dealing at the marina with a man named Abraham Vaught. She said at one point, Vaught offered to buy the trailer for $1,400 but she refused because she thought it was worth more than that.

She said she went to the marina on July 20th and found the trailer missing. She went to the local tag office and found the trailer had been sold and was registered in the name of a woman who lives in Miami Lakes, Florida.

Detective Yunier Galvez was assigned to investigate and he spoke to the trailer’s new owner. She said she’d recently bought a boat from Snake Creek Marina. She said she’d been dealing with Vaught at the marina, who identified himself as the marina manager. She said she also purchased a trailer from him.

She said as she was purchasing the trailer, she saw Vaught sign the name “Michael Smith” as the seller on the bill of sale. When she asked why he was signing someone else’s name, he said he had power of attorney to do so. She said she paid Vaught $2,000 for the trailer and then registered it in her name using the bill of sale he gave her.

Detective Galvez obtained a warrant for the arrest of 34 year old Michael Abraham Vaught. He was charged Tuesday with two counts of grand theft, dealing in stolen property, forgery and uttering a false or forged document.