Issued by the Media Relations Office,
Public Information Officer Deputy Becky Herrin
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January 29, 2016
Two more counterfeit bills reported
Two more Key Largo salons have reported receiving counterfeit $100 bills under similar circumstances, bringing the total so far to four of the fake bills passed in the Key Largo area this week.
In all four cases a man fitting a similar description has entered hair or nail salons and has purchased gift certificates for $40 - $50 using a fake $100 bill and receiving cash for the balance.
The most recent two cases to be reported occurred at T & T Nails and Linda Lee’s Hairport, both salons in Key Largo. The first two reported incidents were at Tiffany’s Styling Salon and Tina Nails and Spa. In three of the four cases, the bills were reportedly passed on Wednesday afternoon. The case at Linda Lee’s Hairport reportedly took place Tuesday afternoon, but wasn’t discovered until today.
All witnesses say the fake bills were passed by an older Hispanic male, possibly in his 60s with graying or salt and pepper hair and a heavy accent.
All businesses should be wary of accepting such bills and should check them carefully. In all of these cases the bills were exactly the same, bearing the same exact serial number of “LE66130232B”.
Anyone with information about the case should contact Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys at 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may also be submitted on line at www.tipsubmit.com.
January 28, 2016
Counterfeit bills passed at two salons
Counterfeit $100 bills were used at two Key Largo businesses Wednesday afternoon.
In both instances, a man with a similar description walked in to the businesses – Tiffany’s Styling Salon and Tina Nails and Spa – and used counterfeit $100 bills to purchase gift certificates. He received certificates for $40 from one business and $50 from the other business and the balance was returned to him in cash. After he left, the businesses discovered the bills were fake.
The man is described as 5’9 – 5’10 inches tall, 45 – 60 years old with gray or salt and pepper hair and a Spanish accent. He was wearing a grey shirt, possibly striped and faded jeans.
January 22, 2016
Detectives arrest suspect in school bomb threat case
This morning, Sheriff’s detectives arrested a 15 year old girl for her part in false bomb threats called in to Key West High School and Marathon High School in December.
Charlynn Marrero, whose family lives on Long Key, was arrested at Marathon High School as school was starting. She is a student at the school. She stands accused of assisting another person in calling in a bomb threat at the school December 14th. The first threat call made to Key West High School was made in error; the caller mistakenly thought Marrero went to that school. After that call was made, Marrero sent the caller a map and contact information for her school after which the second treat call to Marathon High was made.
Both schools were evacuated for several hours, and school was finally canceled for the day at Key West High School as officers searched the campuses for explosive devices. None were located. Extensive manpower and time was expended during the course of investigating the threats.
“Bomb threats are no joke and we take them very seriously,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “These threats took a lot of time, a lot of people and a lot of resources to investigate. They also caused a great amount of fear for parents and school staff. Our detectives have worked hard on this investigation and we will continue to work toward identifying and arresting the second suspect in this case.”
Marrero and a friend approached School Resource Deputy Derick Velez on December 15th and told him an acquaintance of Marrero had made the bomb threat. Marrero told a number of different stories about how she met the male subject who called in the threat. At one point she said she went to school with him in another county which turned out not to be true. She also deleted a number of text messages between her and the other suspect, lying to detectives about the extent of her contact with him. Detectives eventually discovered through extensive investigation she’d met him on-line and they’d never met in person.
Investigations into his identity are continuing.
Marrero is charged with making a false report of a bomb, obstruction in a criminal investigation, tampering with evidence and use of a two way communications device to commit a felony crime.
January 19, 2016
Craig’s List ad leads to more charges in boat theft case
A Craig’s list ad listing a stolen boat motor for sale led to further charges in connection with a boat theft case on Duck Key in August of 2015.
The 17 foot Action Craft boat on a trailer was stolen from a home on Duck Key in August of last year. Video from the entrance to the Duck Key community led to the arrest of the owner of CBD Construction, Inc. – 30 year old Carlos Davalos of Homestead, Florida. Davalos was arrested September 21st and charged with two counts of grand theft for stealing the boat and trailer.
On September 23rd, the boat was recovered in Lehigh Acres, Florida. It had been abandoned and burned. A receipt from a Dollar General store was found by arson investigators nearby. Video from that Dollar General store led investigators to 28 year old Marcos Martinez of Homestead. When interviewed, Martinez said he knows Davalos because he cuts Davalos’ hair. He said he was paid by Davalos to bring the boat to Lehigh Acres. He said he was there when the boat was stripped of valuable items and then burned.
Martinez was subsequently arrested in Miami-Dade County on October 1, 2015 and charged with possessing stolen property.
Last week, in a new development, the victim of the stolen boat, trailer and motor spotted his stolen motor, a 2002 115 hp Evinrude, on Craig’s List and called the lead investigator, Detective Michael Sielicki. Detective Sielicki called the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Unit to assist him with setting up an undercover sting operation on the person selling the motor. The seller, who said his name was “Jesse”, confirmed over the phone he was selling the motor for $2,500.00. He gave the undercover operative his address in Florida City.
The Sheriff’s Office was assisted with this portion of the investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Homeland Security Investigations.
Investigators went to the address to view the motor, ostensibly to purchase it. Once there, they observed the serial number had been removed from it. They offered “Jesse” $2,300.00 for the engine and he accepted their offer. Further investigation turned up a second serial number on the engine that had not been removed. It was confirmed the motor was the one stolen with the boat and trailer from Duck Key.
“Jesse”, identified as 31 year old Jesus Cruz of Florida City, was taken into custody by FWC. Florida City Police also responded. A check on his name showed he is a convicted felon and is wanted on a number of active felony warrants. He was also found to be in possession of a firearm, which his wife turned over to officers. Cruz was booked into jail in Miami-Dade County, charged with dealing in stolen property, use of a two way communications device to facilitate a felony, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of property with an altered serial number.
January 17, 2016
Vehicle burglaries in the Upper Keys
A number of vehicles were burglarized in the Upper Keys Friday with similar methods of entry used.
Suspects smashed windows in the vehicles in order to reach valuables left visible inside. The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind everyone to remove valuables from inside a vehicle or to place them in a location where they are not visible, like the trunk or under the seat.
A black Jeep parked at Pelican Cove resort had the front passenger window smashed Friday afternoon. A bag with a camera inside was taken from the floor of the passenger side.
A silver Nissan Pathfinder parked at Casa Mar Village Friday afternoon had the back window smashed. A backpack on the rear seat was taken with various children’s items inside.
A Volkswagen parked at Starbuck’s in Key Largo for a short time around noon Friday had the passenger side window smashed. A backpack on the floor on the passenger side was taken. Inside the backpack was a computer, wallet, credit cards, cash and jewelry.
A white Nissan parked at the Diving Museum in Islamorada Friday afternoon had the front passenger window smashed. A black bag was taken with an Ipad inside.
Detectives will be investigating these cases.
January 15, 2016
Iowa man faces charges for gun threats
An Iowa man was arrested Thursday night after he pulled a gun on another man staying at the same motel.
According to reports by Deputy Thomas Amador, both the victim and the suspect are staying at the Creekside Inn at the 90.6 mile marker of the highway. Deputies responded there at 9:20 after the victim, who is from Plantation, Florida, reported another man had threatened him with a gun.
The victim said he was sitting at a table outside, about 40 feet away from suspect, 55 year old Dale Noftsger of New Virginia, Iowa who was with a group of people. He said he was talking on his phone when Noftsger approached him and confronted him about talking on his phone. He said Noftsger then pulled out a gun and pointed it at him. The victim said he was going to call the police and Noftsger then reportedly used the gun to knock the phone to the ground.
Noftsger and the group with him left the area and the victim called the Sheriff’s Office for assistance.
When deputies arrived, they found Noftsger and his girlfriend asleep in their motel room. The loaded handgun was located in the room. Noftsger was arrested. He was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, improper exhibition of a firearm, use of a firearm while under the influence of alcohol and using intimidation or physical force to prevent someone from calling 911.
Man arrested for making a false bomb threat
A Stock Island man was arrested Thursday night for making a false bomb threat and misuse of 911.
41 year old Osmel Garcia called 911 at 6:45 p.m. and said there was a suspicious package on 2nd Street, Stock Island. He said he thought the package was a bomb and that he put it there. He then told Sheriff’s communications officers the bomb exploded. As deputies responded to the area, Garcia remained on the phone. He continued to make bizarre statements until the deputies arrived at the scene.
Deputies Donald Stullken and Austin Hopp asked Garcia where the reported package was. Garcia pointed to several different locations where there was no package. Garcia was making no sense, first saying there was a bomb and then saying there wasn’t one. Garcia admitted to drinking alcohol that evening.
Garcia was arrested. He was charged with misuse of 911 and with making a false bomb threat. He was booked into jail.