Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Daily Crime and Information Report

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

October 30, 2003

Sheriff’s Office looking for information about stolen school crossing signs

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Key West – The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office wants information about school crossing signs which have been stolen over the past few weeks.

Someone is stealing the signs used to mark school crossing zones. The orange cones, topped by a small sign marking the speed limit, have been disappearing overnight from their storage locations near various Key West schools.

Anyone with information about the location of the signs, or about who might be stealing them, should contact the Sheriff’s Office or Key West Police.

California woman arrested for taking child against court order

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Key Largo – A woman was arrested Wednesday afternoon on an outstanding California warrant for abducting her child from that state in defiance of a court ordered custody agreement.

The Sheriff’s Office received information the woman and her young daughter might be staying at a Key Largo hotel. The woman was wanted out of San Diego County for parental abduction. Detectives from that area said 46 year old Joyce Murphy was believed to be armed with a handgun and had made remarks that she would not allow herself and her daughter to be returned to California.

Deputies and detectives responded to the hotel at 4:30 p.m. The woman’s car was found parked in the parking lot. They asked the manager to call Murphy’s room and tell her there was a payment problem. He asked her to come to the front desk to straighten the problem out. When Murphy left the room with her daughter, officers confronted her. She began to back away from them, reaching in to a pocket of her purse. A loaded .38 caliber handgun was later found in that purse pocket.

Murphy was taken into custody without incident. She was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center. Bond on the California warrant is set at $75,000.00. Her daughter was turned over to the Department of Children and Family Services.

Summerland Key man charged with attempted murder

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Summerland Key – Sheriff’s deputies arrested a Summerland Key man who threatened to kill his wife with a gun, and fired the gun during a struggle with her over the weapon.

37 year old John Wesley Ward is in jail, charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and domestic battery. The victim said the two of them got into an argument just after midnight. She said during the course of the argument, Ward armed himself with a handgun and threatened to shoot both himself and her. She said he pointed the gun at her when he made the threats. She said she struggled with him in an attempted to take the gun away. The gun when off, and she managed to grab it from him. She said she threw the gun out of the window so he would no longer have access to it.

She said later she found him in the bathroom with a rifle, attempting to load it. She said she managed to get the ammunition clip from him and threw that out the window as well. At one point, she said he knocked her to the ground and pressed his thumb into her eye, causing a contusion. The victim barricaded herself in the home’s bathroom and called the Sheriff’s Office for assistance.

When Deputies Jeremy Davy and Doug Penley arrived, they could hear Ward inside, but he wouldn’t come to the door. They could hear him angrily asking his wife if she had called police. They finally convinced him to open the door and he was taken into custody without further incident. Ward was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

October 29, 2003

Key West man found dead in waters off of Key West

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Key West – The body of a Key West man was found this morning about two miles off of the Atlantic side of Key West. Detectives say there are no obvious signs of foul play in the death.

47 year old Donald McAllister was found at 7 a.m. floating, fully clothed, with a life preserver on by people on board a boat called The Sugar Daddy. The United States Coast Guard picked up the body and brought it to shore, where they were met by Sheriff’s detectives.

Investigations show that McAllister was last seen at 4 p.m. Monday when he left work at Anchor’s Aweigh Club in Key West. He told people he was going to see friends on Christmas Tree Island. An autopsy is scheduled for Thursday to determine the cause of his death.

October 27, 2003

Four arrested for purchasing a stolen vehicle

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Marathon – Deputies on routine patrol Friday night pulled over a car that turned out to be stolen. The four people inside said they bought the car from someone in Key West for $100.00. They were arrested for dealing in stolen property.

Deputy Greg Korzen spotted the car acting suspiciously Friday at 11:10 p.m. in the vicinity of 41st Street in Marathon. When he checked the car’s license tag, it came back as possibly stolen from Orange County, Florida. He and Deputy Ernie Paton stopped the car, which had four people inside. When the deputies asked where they’d gotten the Honda Prelude, they said they bought it from a guy in a bar in Key West for $100.00 on Thursday night. The person they bought it from wrote them a bill of sale on a napkin. They still had the bill of sale in the car with them.

All four people in the car said they knew the car was worth considerably more than $100.00. They said they didn’t care if it was stolen or not – they needed transportation, so they paid the guy for it.

The deputies arrested 24 year old Richard Shaw, 19 year old Arnica Van Norman-Erickson, 22 year old Ami Nicole Jerome, all of California and 18 year old Mignonette Anne Evans of South Carolina. All four were charged with dealing in stolen property. They were booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Key Largo man arrested for selling cocaine twice in one week

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Key Largo – Sheriff’s detectives arrested a Key Largo man for selling crack cocaine twice in the same week.

Detectives from the Special Investigations Division arrested 21 year old Milo Whitehead on Friday for selling crack cocaine to an undercover operative twice. The first sale took place on Wednesday. He reportedly sold the operative $400.00 worth of crack cocaine. Then, on Friday he again sold a large amount of crack cocaine to an undercover operative. After the Friday sale, Whitehead was arrested. He was charged with two counts of sale of cocaine and he was booked into jail.

Miami man charged with stealing, killing bird

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Stock Island – A Miami man was arrested Saturday just before 11 p.m. for stealing a Macaw from a Stock Island residence. When he was confronted by the bird’s owners, he killed the bird and threw it at them.

31 year old Jorge Acosta broke into a fenced yard where the bird was kept, on 12th Avenue on Stock Island. The four year old bird, named “Tica” had been raised by the owner’s and was kept in a large cage in the yard.

The owners were home and heard the bird screaming. They said they recognized her scream as an “alarm” she only used when there was trouble of some sort, so they went outside to check on her.

They saw a man walking away from the house carrying Tica. They pursued him, catching up to him a short distance away. When they confronted him, he twisted the bird’s head around, then threw her at them. The bird died a short time later.

When deputies arrived, they found Acosta still in the vicinity. He fit the description the owners gave of the man who stole and killed their bird. They positively identified Acosta as the suspect. He was arrested and charged with burglary, grand theft and cruelty to animals. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

October 24, 2003

Key West man charged with groping bank teller

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Marathon – A man who worked as a security guard for an armored car company has been arrested for groping a bank teller at her place of business while he was on duty.

According to the victim, 36 year old Erguin Fernandez of Key West made improper advances to her and stalked her over a two and a half year period. Fernandez, who no longer works for the armored car company, was warned repeatedly by management at the Marathon bank to stop his activities. He continued to send her love notes, ask her about her sex life and tried to kiss her and touch her numerous times. When she threatened to defend herself, he reminded her that he carried a gun.

Finally, on July 11th, Fernandez cornered her in the vault room of the bank and wouldn’t let her leave. He fondled her against her will during the incident.

Deputy Dave Simons investigated the accusations, and obtained a warrant for Fernandez’ arrest for False Imprisonment, battery and stalking. Fernandez was arrested Thursday and booked into the Monroe County Detention Center. His bond is set at $30,000.00.

October 23, 2003

Watch out for car repair scam

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Monroe County – The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office recently took a report of a possible car repair scam.

Two Latin males approached the victim at the Walgreen’s Pharmacy in Key West. They said they noticed his car had some damage and offered to repair it for a reasonable price. The two men followed the victim to his home on Shark Key. Once at the home, the men saw a second vehicle parked there which also needed repair. They offered to repair the second car as well. They did some superficial repairs to the vehicles, then told the victim they’d ordered some replacement parts from an Auto Repair shop in Key West. They said the parts were scheduled to arrive the following week. They promised to return and finish the repair job at that time. They gave the victim what turned out to be a false contact name and phone number.

The victim paid the men $800.00 and he never heard from them again. A check with the auto repair shop revealed no parts had been ordered.

Several other people have reported being approached in or near the parking lot of the Overseas Market, and at the Days Inn Motel in Key West with similar proposals.

The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind everyone to do a thorough check on anyone doing any type of work for you. Anyone operating a legitimate business will have a business license, and should produce it if asked. You should also ask for references and check those references before agreeing to have any type of work done. Never pay for work that is not completed, and don’t hesitate to check people’s identification. The bottom line is – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Marathon man charged with marijuana possession

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Marathon – A Marathon man was arrested Wednesday after detectives received information he was in possession of marijuana.

Detectives stopped 49 year old Manuel Suarez of Marathon after he got off a bus at Coco Plum Drive in Marathon shortly before noon. The bus was coming from Homestead. The told him they had information he might be bringing illegal items to the Marathon area on board the bus. He denied doing so. They asked him for permission to search the bag he was carrying. He agreed to the search.

Inside the bag the detectives found 108 grams of marijuana in a plastic bag, wrapped in a shirt. Suarez was arrested, charged with possession of a felony amount of marijuana, and he was taken to jail.

Big Pine Key man arrested for possessing a gun and knife, and making threats

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Big Pine Key – A Big Pine Key man was arrested Tuesday evening after deputies were called to Wilder Road and South Street on Big Pine Key. The caller reported seeing a man armed with a gun.

When Sgt. Joe Passerelli and Deputy Craig Sparrow arrived, they saw a man and a woman. The man had his back to the officers and a gun was stuck in the back of his pants.

The deputies ordered 53 year old James Doersom to put his hands on his head and to back up slowly. They disarmed him without incident and searched him for more weapons, finding a knife stuck in the front of his pants. He was placed under arrest for carrying a concealed firearm and carrying a concealed weapon.

The woman, who turned out to be his ex-wife, said Doersom called her and told her he was coming over to “settle this thing once and for all.” She said he told her he “had nothing to lose.”

Doersom was further charged with aggravated domestic assault. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Tavernier man arrested after struggle with deputies

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Tavernier – Deputies called to a disturbance at an Islamorada Resort in the early morning hours Tuesday arrested a man who threatened them and struggled violently with them.

The night clerk at the Pelican Cove Resort called the Sheriff’s Office at 4:30 a.m. to report being attacked by a guest. He said he responded to a noise complaint at a room at the resort, but when he knocked on the door the man inside attacked him. He identified his attacker as 34 year old John Pandolfe III. Sgt. Roy Bogue tried to find Pandolfe, but he wasn’t in the room at the time.

They were called back to the resort two hours later because Pandolfe had reportedly returned and resort employees wanted him removed from the property. Sgt. Bogue and Deputies Wilfred Higgins, Jason Madnick and Adam Rabinowitz all responded. They spoke with Pandolfe’s parents, who agreed to remove him from the premises.

When they tried to get him in the car to leave, he became belligerent. Pandolfe called his parents and the deputies obscene names, telling the deputies he wanted them to kill him. He reportedly began banging his head against concrete pillars saying he wished he was dead.

He began aggressively approaching Sgt. Bogue, so the other officers took him down to the ground in an attempt to get the situation under control. Paldolfe struggled with them, biting Sgt. Bogue twice in the process.

Pandolfe was arrested and charged with battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest with violence and disorderly conduct.

All four officers had to be treated at Mariner’s Hospital for cuts, bruises and abrasions.

October 20, 2003

Elderly man missing from home, found dead in waterway

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Key Largo – An elderly man, suffering from Alzheimer ’s disease, was reported missing from his Key largo home Friday morning. After an extensive search, his body was found floating in the Walter D. Adams Waterway near the 103 mile marker of the highway.

82 year old Robert Knuck was last seen in the bedroom of his Bass Avenue home by the woman who lived with him at about 11 p.m. Thursday. She noticed he was missing the following morning at 7 a.m. and called the Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff’s helicopters, K-9s and the Sheriff’s Office dive team assisted in the search for Knuck. A Sheriff’s Office K-9 team found a possible track from Knuck’s residence to the water. The Sheriff’s Dive Team then began searching the waterway and found Knuck’s body just after 1 p.m. Friday.

According to detectives there is no evidence that foul play was involved in Knuck’s death. His death is believed at this time to be accidental.

October 17, 2003

Marathon man arrested for attempted murder

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Marathon – A Marathon man has been arrested for attempting to kill his wife Thursday night.

Deputies and Key Colony Beach Police were dispatched to the Sea Cove Motel in Marathon just before 9 p.m. to reports of a possible domestic dispute. When they arrived, they knocked on the door of the motel room. 40 year old Jason Glazier answered the door. His shorts were unbuttoned and pulled down from his waist. Behind him, in the room, Deputy Daniel Marquith could see a woman face down on the bed. She only had a shirt on and appeared to be unconscious.

Police Officer Hilarie Weiland went into the room to check on the woman while the deputy took Glazier out in the hall to ask him what happened. Glazier said he and his wife had been arguing. He indicated she’d been drinking. He said they did not have a physical confrontation. He told the officers she was asleep.

The victim was unconscious on the bed. When Officer Weiland tried to wake her, she was unresponsive. Further investigation revealed she had a rope wrapped twice around her neck and around her wrist. There were marks on her neck which may have been from the rope.

When Officer Weiland loosened the rope, the 37 year old victim regained consciousness and gasped for air. Once she recovered enough to speak, she told the officer the last she remembers, she and Glazier were playing cards and got into an argument. She said she does not remember anything else.

Glazier was arrested and charged with attempted murder, aggravated battery and kidnapping. He was taken to the Monroe County Detention Center. The victim was taken to the hospital for treatment of her injuries.

October 10, 2003

Young teller turns himself in, returns money

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Monroe County – The 19 year old bank teller who went to lunch Wednesday and didn’t return, taking a large amount of cash with him, has turned himself in to Spokane Police in Washington State.

Elijah Doyle walked in to a Community Oriented Policing Services Office in Spokane at 7 p.m. Thursday and asked to talk with a police officer. The volunteer manning the office asked him why he wanted to see an officer. According to the volunteer, he opened up a bag he was carrying and showed her the cash, saying that he’d stolen the money from a bank in Florida and wanted to turn it, and himself, in.

Doyle used to live in Spokane, and told the woman he was familiar with the COPS storefront. He said when he was in Spokane previously he’d always seen police cars parked there and figured it was a good place to turn himself in. She called for assistance from an officer and Doyle was taken into custody without incident. The money was also confiscated and will be returned to the bank.

He is being held in Spokane and will be returned to Monroe County to face outstanding charges of Grand Theft. Bond on those charges is currently set at $100,000.00.

Man charged with fondling young girl

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Key Largo – A Key Largo man has been charged with fondling a young girl.

The fondling incident took place when the victim was five years old. The now 10 year old victim says 31 year old David Capitos fondled her while she was in bed. He then told her not to tell anyone or she would get him into trouble.

Capitos was arrested today (Friday) and charged with lewd and lascivious acts on a child. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Marathon man charged with drug possession

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Marathon – A Marathon man was arrested for possessing cocaine Thursday just after midnight.

Sheriff’s deputy Andrew Ensminger spotted a truck parked suspiciously in a dark alley in the vicinity of 107th Street. When he approached the truck, the two men inside got out and began walking toward the deputy. The deputy asked to see identification, which the men produced. The deputy then asked for permission to search the truck. The driver and owner of the truck, 26 year old Michael Stickney, gave him permission.

The deputy said the truck smelled strongly of alcohol. Under the driver’s seat was a small scale commonly used to weigh cocaine. A small plastic bag of the drug was found in the center console of the truck.

Stickney was arrested, charged with possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia and he was booked at the Monroe County Detention Center.

October 9, 2003

Young Teller steals cash from Marathon Bank

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Marathon - A 19 year old teller with the Marathon branch of Bank if America left for lunch yesterday and did not return. After noticing his absence after lunch, bank employees began looking around the bank and they discovered a large amount of cash missing.

Elijah David Doyle of 63rd Street in Marathon apparently took off with the cash for an unknown destination. He may be driving a 1996 Red Dodge Neon. A notice to be on the lookout for him has been issued state-wide.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Detective Ron Sylvester with the Sheriff's Office at 289-2430. Callers who wish to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a tip leads to an arrest, the caller would be eligible for a substantial cash reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

October 2, 2003

Big Coppitt Key man commits suicide after standoff with Sheriff’s deputies

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Big Coppitt Key – A Big Coppitt Key man shot himself in the early morning hours today after a lengthy standoff with Sheriff’s deputies at his home on Avenue G, Big Coppitt Key.

Deputies went to the home of 50 year old Stanley Bishop at 5 p.m. Wednesday to arrest him on three outstanding felony warrants. When they arrived, Bishop refused to give himself up. Instead, he barricaded himself inside his home holding a handgun to his head, threatening to shoot himself.

Sheriff’s negotiators responded to the scene along with the Sheriff’s Special Weapons and Tactics Squad and a host of other deputies and detectives. The negotiators spent almost 12 hours trying to safely talk Bishop into giving himself up.

Just before 5 a.m., the SWAT team shot two canisters of gas into the residence in preparation for going inside and taking Bishop into custody. After the gas canisters were shot inside, there was a gunshot heard from the residence.

When the SWAT team entered, they found Bishop dead of an apparent self inflicted gun shot wound to his head.

Big Coppitt fire and rescue units assisted on the scene, along with members of the Key West Police Department Special Response Team.

Bishop was wanted for three outstanding warrants. One for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, one for aggravated assault and one for violation of probation for aggravated assault.

He has numerous past arrests as well. In March of 2002, Bishop chased an off duty Key West Police Officer down the street with a machete. When deputies showed up to arrest him for that incident, he again barricaded himself inside the house, threatening to shoot the deputies. Negotiators and the SWAT team responded to that scene as well. The negotiator was able to talk Bishop out after an hour. In another incident, in January of 2002, Bishop reportedly held a gun to a man’s head and threatened to kill him.

Man charged with lewd and lascivious acts on a minor

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Key Largo – A 20 year old Key Largo man has been arrested for having sexual relations with a 15 year old girl.

20 year old Steven Deatley was arrested Wednesday on an outstanding warrant for performing lewd and lascivious acts on a minor. The charges stem from a complaint filed by the victim’s parents. They reported her missing in early September. She was found on board a boat with Deatley. The two admitted to having sexual relations with each other. They said they were boyfriend and girlfriend.

Florida State Statutes make it illegal for someone over the age of 18 to have sexual relations with someone under the age of 16 without parental consent. The victim’s parents asked that charges be filed against Deatley.

Deatley is currently being held in the Monroe County Detention Center. Bond is set at $20,000.00.