Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Daily Crime and Information Report

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

Click on the highlighted headlines to hear an audio recording of the story


September 28, 2007

DMV photos, vehicle description lead to arrest of man for armed robbery

Key Largo - Sheriff's detectives arrested a Key Largo man Thursday, charging him with the armed robbery of a convenience store in August.

32 year old Robert Shepard was arrested on an outstanding warrant for armed robbery. He was picked up at his home on Snapper Lane in Key Largo. He is accused of robbing the Circle K Convenience Store August 4th at gunpoint. Following the robbery, witnesses were able to give officers a clear description of Shepard and of the car he was driving, a green Ford Explorer that was missing a rear tire hub cover. A video tape from a surveillance camera backed up their description, and also captured the vehicle on tape when Shepard pulled up to gas pumps outside the store earlier that evening, prior to the robbery.

Detective Don Dalton was assigned to investigate the case, with assistance from a number of other deputies and detectives. He reviewed Department of Motor Vehicle records which led him to a possible identification of the suspect as Shepard. He presented a photo line up to the two convenience store clerks who were the victims of the robbery. They positively identified Shepard as the man who pointed a gun at them and stole all the money from their cash register.

Shepard was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center Thursday evening on the armed robbery charges. Bond on the warrant is set at $40,000.00.

Summerland Key man charged with failing to register as sex offender

Sugarloaf Key - A Summerland Key was arrested Thursday on a list of charges, including failing to register as a sex offender.

School Resource Deputy Sonya Morgan was working in the School Zone in front of Sugarloaf School Thursday at 2:30 p.m. when she saw 39 year old William Bower drive by her patrol car in a Dodge pickup truck. She recognized him and knew he was wanted on outstanding warrants, so she pulled behind him and turned on her lights and siren. Bower refused to stop and instead kept driving on Crane Boulevard, finally turning onto Loggerhead Lane. He drove to the end of the street, finally stopping in the driveway of a house. When he got out of his truck, Deputy Morgan placed him under arrest.

Bower was charged with outstanding warrants for violation of probation and failure to register as a sex offender. He was further charged with fleeing from an officer, and driving with his license suspended. He has suspended licenses in both Florida and Maryland. Bower was booked into jail.

Detectives looking for two absconded sex offenders

Monroe County – Sheriff’s detectives with the Crimes Against Women and Children’s Unit say they are looking for two sex offenders who failed to register their current address as required by state law.

Detectives say when they checked an address on Palm Drive, Bay Point to make sure 41 year old Carlos DelValle Cruz was living where he said he was, he wasn’t there. Cruz registered the address #5 Palm Drive with the Florida Department of Corrections as the place he would be living. They also checked an address at 24 Luna Lane, Big Coppitt Key to see if 35 year old Ricardo Jaen was living where he said he was. Jaen gave the address to the Florida Department of Corrections upon his release from prison. He was released August 22nd after serving time for previously failing to register as a sex offender. They discovered the Luna Lane address was a vacant lot. The owner of the lot said Jaen did not live there to her knowledge. The lot was cleared in May of this year after Hurricane Wilma flooded the trailers on the property.

Warrants have been issued for the arrest of Cruz and Jaen. Both are wanted for two felony charges: failure to register as a sex offender, and failure to comply with the sex offender registry laws.

Anyone with information about these wanted felons should call the Sheriff's Office or call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward if their information leads to an arrest. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

Man charged with throwing concrete blocks through house and car windows

Big Coppitt Key - A man just released from prison was arrested Thursday night after he became angry with his ex-wife and threw a concrete block through her house window and her car's window.

Deputy John Underwood responded to the El Monte Lane residence at 7:30 p.m. and spoke with the victim, who is the ex-wife of 51 year old Michael Arena. She said Arena was recently released from prison and she let him stay on the enclosed porch of her home because he said he had nowhere else to go. Florida Department of Corrections records show Arena was released from prison July 3rd. Arena has an extensive history of arrests and has been booked into the Monroe County Detention Center at least 17 times since 1990.

She said he'd become increasingly demanding and abusive and on Thursday earlier in the day he'd thrown a concrete block through her rear car window and broken the taillight, afterward apologizing profusely for it and promising to fix it for her. She said he left for a while, then returned at 7:30 p.m. and began yelling at her and cursing her. She said she kept the door to the house locked and wouldn't let him in. That is when he picked up a concrete block and threw it through the bedroom window of her home. He threw a second block through the side window of her car. She called 911 for help.

Deputy Underwood arrived, but Arena had left the area driving a pickup truck. The truck was later found by Deputy Marc Maison, parked at 10th Avenue and Cross Street on Stock Island. As deputies arrived at that scene, Arena was spotted riding a bicycle. He fled when he saw the deputies. They searched the area and found him hiding under a truck. He said he was "just changing the oil". He was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, throwing a missile into a dwelling and two counts of criminal mischief. He was booked into jail.

September 27, 2007

Massachusetts woman charged with having sex with 15 year old boy

Islamorada - A Massachusetts woman is in jail, charged with having sex with a 15 year old boy while he was on a trip to Sea Base Boy Scouts Camp in Islamorada.

The suspect, 22 year old Caroline Corbett, was the first mate on a sail boat called the Heritage of Miami. In July, 18 Boy Scouts from the camp took a trip on the boat, sleeping on board for a week. During that week, while the boat was anchored off shore of Key West near Wisteria Island, Corbett allegedly had sexual intercourse with one of the boys, who was 15 years old and is from Georgia.

When he returned home to Georgia, he received a letter from Corbett telling him she missed him and talking about their relationship. The boy's mother read the letter, spoke with him, then called the Sheriff's Office to report the incident.

After extensive investigation by the Sheriff's Office Crimes Against Women and Children's Unit, a warrant was issued for Corbett. On Tuesday, Corbett was arrested by the Hingham, Georgia Police Department on the outstanding warrant. She will be returned to Monroe County to face charges of Lewd and Lascivious Battery on a child over 12 but under 16 years of age. Bond on the warrant is set at $150,000.00.

Homestead man charged with cocaine warrant and possession of the drug

Key Largo - A Homestead man, wanted for Sale of Cocaine, was arrested Wednesday evening. He faces further charges after crack cocaine was found in his car following his arrest.

Detectives with the Sheriff's Special Operations Division received information that 33 year old Esteban Hernandez was on his way to the Florida Keys from Homestead, driving a two tone green and maroon Lincoln Towncar. Detectives spotted the car southbound at the 112 mile marker and followed it for a distance before pulling it over near the 103 mile marker of the highway in Key Largo.

Hernandez was arrested for the outstanding warrant. A subsequent search of his car turned up three plastic bags with a total of 27 crack cocaine rocks inside. The car, along with $496 in cash found in Hernandez' possession, was seized for possible forfeiture. Hernandez was further charged with possession of cocaine with intent to sell. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

September 26, 2007

Man charged with handgun threats

Big Pine Key - A Big Pine Key man was arrested Tuesday, charged with threatening to kill two people with a handgun.

The victims, a 45 year old woman and a 74 year old man, told Deputy Manny Cuervo 46 year old David Shaffer threatened to kill them with a handgun. The woman is Shaffer's girlfriend. She said it wasn't the first time he'd threatened her with the gun. She said he also threatened her with it over the weekend, hit her several times and burned her with a cigarette. She showed Deputy Cuervo the burn marks and bruises. She said after that, she took all the bullets from the gun and threw them away.

The 74 year old victim is the caretaker of the residence where Shaffer and his girlfriend live. On Tuesday, he went to the house on Avenue A, Big Pine Key at noon to tell Shaffer he had to move out. Shaffer reportedly became angry, got a handgun and threatened to shoot him. While he was threatening the man, he noticed the bullets were missing from the gun and became enraged. He told his girlfriend he had more bullets in the car and, after he killed the man, he would come in and kill her.

After he stormed out of the house to get his bullets, she locked the doors and called the other victim to warn him. When Deputy Cuervo arrived, he found Shaffer standing on the porch of the house. Shaffer denied having a handgun, but the deputy found one hidden on the porch. Shaffer was arrested, charged with aggravated assault, aggravated assault on a person over 65 years of age and battery and he was booked into jail.

September 24, 2007

Stolen truck recovered from the water

Ramrod Key - A truck, stolen from Big Pine Key in the early morning hours Sunday was recovered just hours later, submerged at a swimming hole on Ramrod Key.

The owner of the truck told Deputy David Brummer he left his 2001 Ford F150 parked at the corner of Constitution Avenue and Ships Way at 2 a.m. He said he went to Key West and when he returned at 4:15 a.m., the truck was no longer parked in that location. He said he'd left the keys and the remote control underneath the seat of the truck, and the truck was unlocked.

At 9 a.m., Sheriff's dispatchers received a call from a man who was at a Ramrod Key swimming hole on Puitt Drive. He said he was getting ready to go kayaking when he spotted a truck submerged in the swimming hole. He said he dove down to check it and found no one inside. The truck turned out to be the one stolen from Big Pine Key earlier in the morning.

The truck was pulled from the water. The keys were in the ignition, and the stereo and speakers were missing from inside. Detectives will be investigating.

Business owner arrested for grand theft

Summerland Key - The owner of Caribbean Glass and Shutters has been arrested, charged with theft for cashing downpayment checks for shutter installation, then failing to do the work.

Detective Paul Shultz was assigned to investigate two cases in which 39 year old Jeffrey Schaumleffel took downpayment checks, then failed to do the work. One victim lives on Ashe Street in Key West, and paid him $1,500 in April of 2007 to install hurricane shutters on her home. He cashed the check, but did not do the work. The other victim lives on 19th Street in Key West and paid him $725 as a downpayment to install shutters. Again, he cashed the check but never did the work.

Detective Shultz assisted the victims with sending a letter to Schaumleffel telling him since he's not done the work in more than 60 days, he had 30 days to refund the money or face criminal charges. He failed to pay either victim a refund, so warrants were issued for his arrest. On Sunday, he was arrested and charged with two counts of grand theft and he was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

September 22, 2007

Big Coppitt Key woman charged with assisting runaway girl

Big Coppitt Key - A Big Coppitt Key woman was arrested Friday and charged with helping a runaway from a state treatment program hide from authorities.

37 year old Dulcinea Depoo and her boyfriend allegedly picked the 14 year old girl up in Miami on August 8th after she ran away from the Miami based court ordered treatment program. The girl was legally in the custody of the Department of Children and Families and Depoo was ordered by the court to have no contact with her. Depoo brought her back to the Keys and helped to hide her from authorities until September 5th, when the girl was found at Depoo's home on Second Street, Big Coppitt Key.

The girl was returned to the treatment program and Depoo was taken into custody, charged with interference with custody and with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. She was booked into jail.

September 20, 2007

Injury from egg throwing incident under investigation

Rockland Key - Deputies took a report Wednesday from a Key West High School student reporting she was injured during a Coffin week egg throwing incident on Rockland Key.

Deputy David Cruz responded to the high school to talk to the 16 year old female victim. She told him she and a number of other students were on Rockland Key at 9 p.m. engaging in throwing eggs at each other. She said during the incident two of the boys chased her, knocked her down, and one of them punched her in the head causing her to lose consciousness. One of the boys she implicated admitted to hitting her on the back of the head with an egg.

A witness who took part in the incident told Deputy Cruz she heard the victim scream and found her a short time later on the ground, crying. She had a swollen right eye and a large lump on her head. The victim told the deputy she went to the doctor and was diagnosed with a concussion.

Investigations are continuing and may lead to arrests in the case.

Key Largo man arrested on drug charges

Key Largo - Special Investigations Detectives arrested a Key Largo man Wednesday for selling and possessing crack cocaine

At 6:30 p.m., 29 year old Larry Price sold $100 worth of crack cocaine to an undercover operative while detectives waited and watched nearby. A short time later, he was pulled over with the help of road patrol deputies in his Cadillac and he was placed under arrest for sale of cocaine. A search of the vehicle turned up 21 crack cocaine rocks in the center console. Price was further charged with possession of cocaine and he was booked into jail. Detectives seized the $160 in cash he had, and seized his car for possible forfeiture.

Five taken into custody on drug charges

Marathon - Three men and two young girls were taken into custody after being caught smoking marijuana in a Marathon apartment Wednesday evening.

At 6 p.m. Deputy Sydney Whitehouse responded to an anonymous report that people were doing drugs inside apartment #4 at 2401 Overseas Highway in Marathon. When he arrived, he knocked on the door and 21 year old Jeremy Spivey answered the door. The deputy said he immediately smelled a strong odor of marijuana. Spivey had a cigar in his hand which he dropped onto the floor. As the deputy entered, he saw 23 year old Alex Sweeney sitting on a bed with a plastic bag in his hand which he immediately dropped on the floor after seeing the deputy. Inside the bag was marijuana. Another man sitting next to Sweeney, 19 year old Lisvany Sanchez-Hernandez began digging in his pants pocket for something and was ordered to remove his hand from his pocket. All three men, along with a 17 and 13 year old girl in the apartment with them, were ordered onto the floor prior to being taken into custody.

The two girls were issued juvenile citations for possession of marijuana under 20 grams and they were turned over to their mother's, who were called to the scene. The three men were arrested and booked into jail on charges of possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

September 13, 2007

Unlicensed contractor arrested for defrauding Sugarloaf Key woman

Sugarloaf Key - A Big Pine Key man is under arrest for acting as an unlicensed contractor and for stealing money from a woman while he remodeled her home after it was flooded during Hurricane Wilma.

The victim is a 63 year old woman who lives on Pelico Road on Sugarloaf Key. She called the Sheriff's Office on August 24th to report the offense. Detective Paul Schultz was assigned to investigate the case. During his investigation, he discovered that the victim hired 44 year old Robin Eubanks to repair her home after it was flooded October 24th, 2005. He performed extensive repairs, and, during the repairs, purchased cabinets, tile and numerous other items. While purchasing those items for the victim's home, he also purchased a large number of items for his own use without her knowledge. He had over $11,000.00 worth of cabinets delivered to his own home; he purchased lumber he used to build a deck on his own home; he purchased tools he kept for himself; he purchased tile he used in an apartment he owns.

All the renovations to the victim's home were done without Eubanks having a Contractor's license nor did he have an Occupational License in Monroe County. Detective Schultz obtained a warrant for Eubanks and on Wednesday, he was arrested and charged with Fraud - impersonating a contractor during a state of emergency; grand theft and with a violation of the county ordinance requiring an occupational license. Bond on the warrant is $75,000.00.

Landscaping employee charged with multiple burglaries

Lower Keys - A Big Coppitt Key man was arrested last week, charged with burglarizing four homes in the lower Keys.

22 year old Phillip Randle worked for a landscaping business when he committed the burglaries in May of 2007. While working, he entered three homes - one home was burglarized twice - and took a total of almost $40,000 worth of jewelry. Detective Paul Schultz was assigned to investigate the crimes and when he realized the same landscaping business serviced all the homes, he began to focus his investigation in that area. He discovered that Randle pawned a watch in Key West belonging to one of the victims. On September 4th, Randle was questioned and confessed to the burglaries.

Warrants were obtained for his arrest and he was charged with three counts of burglary, four counts of theft and with fraud. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center where he remains, held on a $64,000 bond.

Seven vessel thefts in the upper Keys prompts warning

Upper Keys - Detectives are warning upper Keys residents about boat thefts occurring in the upper Keys.

Detective Sgt. Gene Thompson says seven boats have been stolen from behind upper Keys residences over the past two months. The boats were all on boat lifts or on davits, and were all relatively new vessels, each with multiple high-end engines. In most of the cases, the boats were recovered, abandoned, just days after they were stolen. Detectives believe the boats are being used for migrant smuggling. In one particular case, the stolen boat was recovered by the U.S. Coast Guard while being used for that purpose. Most of the thefts have taken place while the owners are out of town.

Boat owners throughout the Keys should take every precaution with their vessels, particularly those kept in the water, or near the water. When leaving home for any amount of time, the owner should turn off power to their boat lift and put a lock box around the lift controls. Make sure the area where the boat is kept is well lighted at night, and notify neighbors to keep an eye on the boat if at all possible.

Anyone with information about these crimes should call the Sheriff's Office or call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward if their information leads to an arrest. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

September 4, 2007

Robbery at upper Keys Waffle House

Key Largo - The Waffle House in Key Largo was robbed this morning by two men wielding a stun gun, a knife and an axe.

The victims, both employees of the restaurant, told Deputy Vaughn O'Keefe the men came in at 5 a.m., one armed with a large knife and a stun gun, the other carrying a large axe. They demanded money from the cash register and the safe. They told the victims not to look at them or they would be killed. When the victims said they did not have keys to the register and safe, the suspects used the axe to force open the safe, taking all the money inside. They left the victims in the back room and left the building. The victims then called the Sheriff's Office.

Both suspects were reported to be Hispanic males with an accent, possibly Cuban. They both wore hooded sweatshirts with the hoods pulled up and blue and white bandanas over their faces.

Anyone with information about this crime should call the Sheriff's Office or call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward if their information leads to an arrest. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

Drunk Boca Raton man, driving recklessly, causes accident on Big Pine Key

Big Pine Key - A Boca Raton man, drunk and driving recklessly, ran into the back of a boat trailer causing an accident and a traffic tie-up on Big Pine Key this morning (Tuesday).

At 6:10 a.m., Deputies received a notice to be on the lookout for a small yellow car northbound in the vicinity of Little Torch Key which was having trouble staying in it's lane. As Deputies Liisa Thibideau, Tom Peteck and Sgt. Ronnie Roberts began heading in that direction, the Ford Focus, driven by 21 year old Darrell Yancy of Boca Raton, hit the back of a boat on a trailer, being pulled by a Ford truck. The accident took place in front of the Tom Thumb store on Big Pine Key. The impact spun the boat, trailer and truck around and the boat was thrown from the trailer. The tongue of the trailer was torn off as well. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured in the crash.

Deputy Thibideau arrived to find Yancy standing in the middle of the road, with blood on his face from superficial injuries. She could smell alcohol, and asked him if he'd had anything to drink. He said he'd had a lot to drink the night before, "that's why my mom told me not to drive, " he said. Further questioning revealed he thought he'd been traveling southbound at the time of the crash, and did not know what day it was. He said he took the car from his mother without her permission. His mother has agreed to press charges in the theft of her car.

Deputy Thibideau said while she was taking pictures of Yancy's injuries, he gave her a thumbs up sign, and indicated he was amused by the incident. She asked him if he'd submit to field sobriety exercises, to which he enthusiastically agreed. While waiting for the exercises to begin, he referred to himself as "wasted". He failed the exercises. He later registered .19 and .17 on a blood alcohol content test.

He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center, charged with driving under the influence of alcohol with property damage, grand theft auto, failure to maintain a single lane and failure to use due care.

September 3, 2007

Miami men charged with hit and run, attempted theft of tires

Tavernier - Three  Miami men were arrested Sunday morning after they were caught attempting to steal truck tires.

The victim told Deputy Tony Conde he drove by the lot at the 99.3 mile marker where he keeps his fleet of trucks parked at 8:30 a.m. Sunday. He said he noticed the gate was unlocked and a white Cadillac Escalade was inside the lot. Three men were standing around one of the trucks. The victim parked his Ford truck in front of the gate to keep the men from leaving. He confronted them, asking what they were doing there. They said they were looking for someone. When the victim said he was calling the police, the men got into their vehicle and sped out of the lot, hitting the victim's truck as they left. A further examination of the scene revealed the lug nuts had been removed from some of the trucks tires, as if the men had intended to steal the tires.

After the victim called 911, a notice to be on the lookout was put out over police radios. Reserve Captain Ted Migala spotted the Escalade at the 86 mile marker of the highway. Sgt. Dennis Coleman responded and stopped the vehicle. The victim was brought to the scene and identified the Escalade and the three men inside. A search of the vehicle turned up a hydraulic jack and other tools commonly used to remove tires from vehicles.

39 year old Juan Castro, 32 year old Rolando Ruiz and 40 year old Gerardo Vazquez, all of Miami, were arrested. They were all charged with burglary of a conveyance, possession of burglary tools and theft. They were booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

September 2, 2007

Snorkeler dies off of Islamorada

Islamorada - An Orlando man died while snorkeling offshore of Islamorada Saturday afternoon (3:30 p.m.).

37 year old Matthew Kleber of Orlando was hunting for lobster for his eighth wedding anniversary when he died Saturday near Cheeca Rocks. His wife was driving their boat, towing him behind hanging on to a rope. She said he signaled to her he'd found some, and dropped off the rope. He dove beneath the surface and that's the last she saw of him alive.

When he didn't surface, she began to search for him, along with other boaters in the area. His body was found on the bottom, in about 13 feet of water. An autopsy is being performed today to determine the cause of his death.

September 1, 2007

Incidents reported offshore of  the Keys today

Sheriff's dispatchers have been busy fielding calls about incidents on the water today (Saturday).


 Labelled with ICRA