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


March 31, 2008

Detectives investigate "suspicious death"

Lower Keys - Sheriff's Homicide Detectives are investigating what they term a "suspicious death" today.

Sheriff's Office dispatchers received a report from a passerby at 2:24 p.m. that there was a dead body at the Key Haven Boat Ramp at 5991 Overseas Highway, at the 5.9 mile marker of the highway. When Deputy Liisa Thibideau arrived, she did indeed find a man deceased. There was blood found on and near the body and injuries which cause detectives to say the death appears to be "suspicious" in nature.

Although detectives say they know the dead man's identity, because his next of kin have not been notified, they are not going to release his name at this time. They will say the man is known to be a local homeless person. An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of his death and detectives continue to try to locate the dead man's relatives. Investigations are continuing.

Anyone with information about the case can contact Homicide Detectives Mark Coleman or Terry Smith at the Sheriff's Office. Callers may also contact 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.

Deputies respond to battery report, find hoax explosive device

Big Coppitt Key - Deputies responding to reports of a battery Sunday morning at 55 Old Boca Chica Road, #436, found a something which looked like a legitimate explosive device being used as a centerpiece on a table.

Deputy Danielle Malone responded to the home to investigate a battery at 5:20 a.m. She found 34 year old Bryan Christian sitting outside. He complained of pain and said his roommate had beaten him up. 

Deputy Malone went inside to speak with the roommate, 53 year old David Huseby. That is when she saw what looked like an explosive device inside a glass container on a table. Huseby told her he didn't know what it was; Christian told her it was a joke. Malone evacuated the residence, and called for her supervisor. Adjoining residences were evacuated as well. Christian was taken to the hospital for treatment of his injuries, which included broken ribs and a punctured lung.

The device is described as four cylindrical objects taped together with wires coming out of them and a claylike substance at one end which looked like plastic explosive. The cylinders were attached to a cell phone which could have been meant to be a detonator.

Members of the Navy Explosive Ordinance Disposal team responded with a bomb dog which did not alert at the scene. The Sheriff's Office Bomb Squad also responded as well.

Christian admitted to making the device. He said it was inert and he was just using it as a centerpiece. A next door neighbor told deputies she'd seen it before, and had told Christian he should get rid of it because it looked too real. Christian's step father responded to the scene and said his son had made it as a Halloween gag.

It was determined, upon closer examination, that the device was not explosive. It was removed without incident. Charges against Christian may be pending. Christian was referred to the State Attorney's Office if he wished to press charges against his roommate for the battery case.

March 30, 2008

Man arrested for minor traffic charge later picked up for false identity

Key Largo - A man originally arrested for traffic violations was later arrested again when it was revealed he'd falsely identified himself.

Deputy Jason Keith originally stopped 32 year old Justin Bakely on March 21st just after 1 p.m. after he spotted him speeding in a van which appeared to have window tinting on the windows that was too dark to be legal. Bakely gave the deputy a Florida Identification card with the name Steven Delise and with Bakely's picture on it. A check on that name revealed Delise's license had been revoked, so Bakely was arrested under the name Delise and he was booked into jail.

AT the jail he was fingerprinted. He was released from jail, however, before the fingerprint check could be completed. When it was completed, it was revealed that he was really Bakely and had an outstanding warrant out of New Jersey issued in 2005 for distributing cocaine in a school zone.

Detectives located Bakely on March 26th on his way to work and placed him under arrest on the New Jersey warrant. During an interview with Bakely, he said he'd assumed his step brother's identity to avoid arrest on the warrant. More charges are pending in regards to the driver's license fraud. Detective Sgt. Dave Carey is the investigating officer on the case.

Islamorada man charged with exposing himself

Islamorada - An Islamorada man was arrested Friday evening after neighbors complained he was exposing himself.

Deputies Ray Jodlowski and David Minor responded to the complaint at 5:30 p.m. at a condominium complex at the 75 mile marker of the highway. Once they arrived, they had the opportunity to see for themselves how  59 year old Thomas Karels was offending his neighbors. The complainant told deputies which apartment Karels was living in. One of the deputies interviewed the complainant while the other went a short distance away to the door of the suspect. When he knocked on the door a woman answered and would not allow him inside. When the deputy asked to see Karels, he came to the door in a silk robe. As the deputy spoke to Karels in the common hallway of the condo, he opened his robe exposing his body. He was wearing a black g-string and his testicles were hanging out of it. Both deputies said they could clearly see him exposing himself.

Karels was arrested and charged with exposing his sexual organs in public and he was booked into jail. His g-string was taken as evidence.

Search warrant results in one arrest

Stock Island - Detectives served a search warrant on a Stock Island residence arresting one man who was running from the house when they arrived.

Detectives served the warrant at 10:15 p.m. Friday at 6529 Maloney Avenue, lot #9. As they approached they saw 40 year old Otis Brown running toward the fence. He tossed something over the fence which was later revealed to be 9.6 grams of crack cocaine in a plastic bag.

A search inside the home turned up 12.5 grams of marijuana and 17 more crack rocks, along with $396 in cash. Brown was arrested and charged with possession of cocaine. More arrests may be pending.

March 27, 2008

Suspect in stabbing identified

Stock Island - The man who stabbed a woman on Stock island Monday has been identified. Detectives say they have obtained a warrant for his arrest.

29 year old Arles "Alex" Echevarria of Miami is wanted for attempted murder, robbery and false imprisonment. He is accused of stabbing the 63 year old female victim while robbing her in the early morning hours Monday. The victim was waiting near 2nd Street and Laurel Avenue for a ride to work at 5:30 a.m.

Anyone with information about Echevarria's whereabouts should contact the Sheriff's Office or call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and will be eligible for a substantial reward if their tip leads to Echevarria's arrest. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

Detectives investigate home invasion robbery in Key Largo

Key Largo - Sheriff's detectives say they are investigating a home invasion robbery in Key Largo today.

The 49 year old victim was in her home on Cabrera Street at 2:45 p.m. when she says the suspect walked in, pointed a handgun at her and demanded money. He struck her in the head with the gun, grabbed her and led her to the back of the house. She managed to break away from him and ran outside yelling for help.

The suspect fled. The victim called her husband, who came home and then they called the Sheriff's Office, about ten minutes after the incident occurred.

The suspect is described as a Hispanic male in his 20s, about 5" 10" tall, with black short hair. He was clean shaven, has dark eyes and was wearing a dark t-shirt, dark hooded sweatshirt and dark baggy jeans.

The lead detective on the case is Jason Madnick. Anyone with information should call the Sheriff's Office or call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Callers whose information leads to an arrest will be eligible for a cash reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

March 25, 2008

Two charged with prostitution

Marathon - Two women were arrested in Marathon Monday, charged with prostitution.

Undercover operatives working a prostitution sting Monday afternoon at the intersection of U.S. One and 15th Street made deals to pay the two women $20 for oral sex. After paying them the money, they were arrested. 52 year old Opal Davidson and 48 year old Mona Thornton were both charged with prostituting themselves. They were both booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Key West man charged with multiple counts of sex with a minor

Key West - A Key West man is in jail charged with repeatedly sexually battering a young girl.

The victim reported the abuse to her mother on Sunday. The girl told Sheriff's detectives the sexual abuse has been going on for years. She said it started when she was just seven years old and continued until just a few months ago. Detectives from the Sheriff's Crimes Against Women and Children's Unit were assigned to investigate.

On Monday, 37 year old Troy Henson was arrested and charged with three counts each of Sexual Assault on a victim under the age of 12 and Lewd and Lascivious Battery on a child under 16. More charges are expected.

Key West man charged with indecent exposure

Higgs Beach - A Key West man, swimming nude offshore of Higgs Beach, was arrested Monday.

Deputies on patrol in the area were approached by an employee of Monroe County Public Works just before noon who said 30 year old Claude Bazo had taken his swimming suit off and was in the water, nude. He was concerned because of families at the beach and the possibility Bazo might expose himself to children there.

Sgt. Andrew Ensminger yelled at Bazo, who was swimming about 20 yards offshore. Bazo saw the sergeant and began swimming the other direction. Sgt. Ensminger then called for back up from a Sheriff's Office Marine Unit. Deputy Daniel Chu responded and picked up Bazo, who was, indeed nude.

Bazo was charged with disorderly conduct and indecent exposure and he was booked into jail.

March 24, 2008

Autopsy results on gunshot victim; investigation continues

Marathon - An autopsy done on the 20 year old Deerfield Beach woman killed Saturday night in Marathon confirm she was killed by a single gunshot wound in her chest.

20 year old Andrea V. Anzola Villafrade (name was originally released as Andrea Ansola) was shot at 10:15 p.m. Saturday night in a room at the Knight's Key Inn. In the room with her was her boyfriend, 25 year old Dam Lopez of Davie, Florida and another couple.

Stories from Lopez and the other two witnesses are not consistent. In general, they all agree that they came to the Keys overnight planning to drive to Key West to party. They checked in to the Knight's Key Inn, went swimming and then went to their room and began getting ready to drive to Key West. The boyfriend has a concealed weapons permit and had his handgun with him. Somehow, the gun went off and Villafrade was shot just below her left breast. The boyfriend also suffered a wound on his right arm which appears to have been from the same bullet..

The boyfriend asked a man staying in a nearby room to drive him and Villafrade to the hospital. At the same time, he instructed the two witnesses to call 911. Deputies responded to the scene of the shooting and to the hospital. The gun was recovered at the scene. Villafrade was pronounced dead at Fisherman's Hospital shortly after her arrival.

The circumstances of the shooting remain uncertain. At this point, no one has been charged in the case. Detectives are withholding the names of the two witnesses pending further investigation.

Stock Island woman stabbed during robbery

Stock Island - A 63 year old Stock Island woman was stabbed in the chest today as she was waiting for a ride to work. The motive appears to be robbery.

63 year old Consuelo Carcamo told Deputy John Underwood she was waiting at Laurel Avenue and 2nd Street at 5:30 a.m. for a ride to work from a friend when the suspect approached her. He had a knife in his hand and he demanded money. She handed over a five dollar bill and he demanded her purse. When she refused to give him her purse and tried to move away from him, he stabbed her on the left side of her upper chest.

The victim began screaming and the suspect fled, throwing the knife over a nearby fence. Her friend arrived and called 911. The knife was later recovered. The victim was airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center by the Sheriff's Trauma Star helicopter.

The suspect is Hispanic and spoke Spanish during the attack. He is estimated to be around 30 years old, five foot three inches tall, was clean shaven and his head was also shaved. He was wearing a long sleeved red button up shirt and very long yellow shorts.

Detectives are investigating. Anyone with information about this case should contact the Sheriff’s Office or call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and may receive a reward if their information leads to an arrest. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

March 23, 2008

Deerfield Beach woman dead of gunshot wound

Marathon - A Deerfield Beach woman is dead of a gunshot wound to the chest. Detectives say they are still investigating the circumstances of the shooting.

The victim, 20 year old Andrea Ansola, was with her boyfriend and another couple, staying in a room at the Knight's Key Inn when the incident occurred at 10:15 p.m. Saturday. Stories from her boyfriend and the other two witnesses are not consistent. In general, they all agree that they came to the Keys overnight planning to drive to Key West to party. They checked in to the Knight's Key Inn, went swimming and then went to their room and began getting ready to drive to Key West. The boyfriend has a concealed weapons permit and had his handgun with him. Somehow, the gun went off and Ansola was shot just below her left breast. The boyfriend also suffered a gun shot wound on his right arm.

The boyfriend asked a man staying in a nearby room to drive him and Ansola to the hospital. At the same time, he instructed the two witnesses to call 911. Deputies responded to the scene of the shooting and to the hospital. The gun was recovered at the scene. Ansola was pronounced dead at Fisherman's Hospital shortly after her arrival.

The circumstances of the shooting remain uncertain. At this point, no one has been charged in the case. Detectives are withholding the names of the boyfriend and the two witnesses pending further investigation. An autopsy will be performed on the victim Monday.

March 20, 2008

Surveillance nets burglar

Key Largo - An surveillance operation at a Key Largo restaurant and bar led to the arrest of a repeat burglary suspect early today.

Snapper's Restaurant on Seaside Avenue in Key Largo reported to the Sheriff's Office they were having trouble with items missing from the bar over past weeks. The owner of the business set up a video camera on his own and captured images of a man wearing a hooded sweatshirt entering and taking bottles of liquor from behind the bar.

Detective Jason Madnick and Deputy Lance Hernandez set up a surveillance operation Wednesday night in hopes of catching the suspect in the act. Detective Madnick sat inside the office area watching video from a camera set up in the bar; Deputy Hernandez sat outside watching for the approach of the suspect.

At 1:30 a.m., 19 year old Brandon Shelby entered the bar. He later told Detective Madnick he used a spoon to pry the door open. He entered, took several items from the bar and then left. As he walked away from the bar the officers moved in and arrested him. When they asked him what he was doing there, he said he was fishing.

He told Detective Madnick his girlfriend, who lived nearby, was outside waiting for him. The officers found her walking down Seaside Avenue. She professed to be unaware of his breaking and entering efforts, but did say Shelby had brought bottles of alcohol to her house several times during recent days. The officers asked what they were doing in the area and she also said "fishing".

During questioning, Shelby admitted to the break in and to a second break in on March 14th. He was charged with burglary and theft. More charges are pending.

Young teen arrested for shooting flare gun at deputy

Big Pine Key - A 14 year old Big Pine boy was arrested Wednesday afternoon after he fired a flare gun at a deputy. An 18 year old was also arrested for helping the younger boy hide from authorities.

Deputy David Chavka was doing surveillance at a house on Oettley Drive on Big Pine Key because he had information 14 year old Craig Veitinger was hiding out there at the home of 18 year old Jose "Joey" Roth. A court order to pick Veitinger up had been issued and the deputy was attempting to take him into custody.

At 4:20 p.m., Deputy Chavka saw Veitinger and two other boys walk out of the house. The deputy called for back up and got onto his patrol bike in an attempt to get closer to the group without them noticing him. As the deputy approached, he saw there were actually four of them in the group. Roth was there and spotted the deputy as he approached. Deputy Chavka ordered them to stop, but the group began to scatter. Deputy Chavka told Roth he was under arrest, but he continued his flight.

As the deputy pursued members of the fleeing group, Veitinger pulled out a flare gun and fired at the deputy. The flare exploded right in front of the deputy's bicycle. The deputy tackled Veitinger, knocked the gun out of his hand and took him into custody.

More officers arrived on the scene. After a lengthy search, Roth was found hiding in a canal. He also was taken into custody. Veitinger was charged with resisting arrest with violence, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, discharging a firearm, use of a firearm while committing a felony, possession of a firearm by someone under 18 and possession of tobacco by someone under 18.

Roth was charged with resisting arrest without violence and harboring Veitinger, who was a runaway reported missing by his mother. Roth had been informed of Veitinger's status as a runaway on a number of occasions and refused to tell authorities, or the boy's mother, where he was.

Roth was booked into jail. Veitinger was booked and handed over to the Department of Juvenile Justice.

March 19, 2008

Fire destroys unoccupied trailer

Big Coppitt Key - Fire destroyed an unoccupied trailer on Big Coppitt Key Tuesday.

Deputies and Monroe County firefighters responded to 65 Ed Swift Road to reports of a trailer fire at 10 a.m. When deputies arrived, firefighters were already working to extinguish the blaze. The owner was on the scene and said his tenant had just moved out over the weekend and no one was living in the trailer.

The cause of the fire is undetermined and the Fire Marshall's Office was notified about the incident.

March 14, 2008

18 year old free diver dead; body recovered

Monroe County - The body of an 18 year old free diver from Dunedin, Florida was recovered from the waters offshore of Bahia Honda today just before noon.

Sheriff's Homicide Detective and Dive Team Leader Mark Coleman found 18 year old Joshua Choi on the bottom in about 75 feet of water at 11:40 a.m. An autopsy will be done tomorrow to confirm the cause of his death. He was reportedly boating with his father, brother and friends late Thursday. He was free diving (diving without tanks) to about 75 feet when he failed to surface. The Coast Guard was notified and they responded along with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Sheriff's Office. They all searched but failed to find him.

Sheriff's Office dive team members returned today and recovered the body.

Neighbor dispute results in arrest

Grassy Key - A dispute over loud music lead to a physical altercation with one man going to jail in the early morning hours today.

Deputies responded to Morton Street on Grassy Key to reports of a fight and a possible burglary. When they arrived, the victim told them he'd just been in an altercation with his neighbor and his neighbor's friend. He said the two men were sitting in a car outside playing music loudly. He said he asked them to turn it down and they agreed. After he went back inside his home, however, he said one of the men, 24 year old Michael Gayheart, came to his house and began pounding on his door, yelling obscenities and threats. When he opened his door, Gayheart forced his way inside. The victim pushed him back outside and locked the door. A few minutes later, Gayheart threw a large rock through his sliding glass doors.

Gayheart and his friend had left the scene by the time deputies arrived. A description of the car they were driving was given out over police radios and Deputy Joel Slough spotted the car and followed it. He stopped the car in Marathon and, after questioning the two men about the incident, placed Gayheart under arrest.

Gayheart was charged with battery, throwing a missile into a building, criminal mischief and burglary. He was booked into jail.

Swarm of bees found in front of school

Plantation Key – A swarm of bees found in front of Plantation Key School today was dispersed without incident today.

According to Sheriff’s Sgt. Dennis Coleman, the large gathering of bees was found on the bicycle path in front of the school just before school let out for the afternoon. Sheriff’s deputies and fire rescue responded. The bees were dispersed with a spray of water and no one was stung. The children were released from school as usual.

Sgt. Coleman says he spoke with someone with some knowledge about bees who said this time of year queen bees will leave their hives with the rest of the bees following. When she gets tired, he will land and the other bees follow suit. It is unknown what type of bees these were. They had be dispersed quickly due to the proximity of the school and there was not enough time to determine that.

March 13, 2008

Georgia man reports being robbed

Stock Island - A Georgia man reported being robbed while on Stock Island early today (Thursday).

The 24 year old victim told Deputies Marc Maison and John Underwood he met a girl on Duval Street earlier and got her phone number. He said he called her a few hours later and told her he was leaving town soon. She invited him to come see her and told him to meet her in front of G20 Roberta Street on Stock Island.

His friends dropped him off there at 5 a.m. The girl, who he knows as Alyssa, was standing in the street. As he was talking with her, he said two black males with a dog on a leash came out from behind a boat in the front yard of the residence and began to ask him questions. "Alyssa" told him to ignore the men, but he felt something was wrong and began to back away from all of them. As he backed away, the men attacked him, punching and choking him and demanding to know where his money was.

The victim took his money and other items out of his pocket and threw them on the ground. He then fled the area on foot and called the Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff's Detective Henry Hamilton was assigned to investigate the case. Anyone with information about this case should contact the Sheriff’s Office or call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and may receive a reward if their information leads to an arrest. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

March 12, 2008

Road Rage leads to arrest

Key Largo - Deputies arrested a Tavernier man for throwing something at another car in what appears to be a road rage incident.

Shortly after midnight today (Wednesday) dispatchers received a call from a woman who said she was the victim of a road rage incident. When she met with Deputy Richard Bellon, she told him she and her friend were from Cape Coral, Florida and were traveling southbound on the highway, through Key Largo. She said another car, described as a yellow and blue "hearse-like" vehicle pulled up beside them and the passenger in the car began yelling at them. She said he was halfway out of the vehicle while he was yelling and when they ignored him, he threw something at their car.

She said she told her friend to follow the car while she called police. The vehicle turned on a side street and then turned several more times as if trying to elude them. The victim finally gave up following the car and returned to the highway to meet with deputies.

There was a dent in the car where she said the unknown item hit the car. A notice to be on the lookout for the suspect vehicle was put out and the car was spotted by Sgt. Tom Kiffney a short time later. It was parked at Coral Shores High School and the two men who'd been inside were leaving in two other vehicles when he drove up.

The victim identified 26 year old Ronald Smith as the man who first yelled at them, then threw something at their car. The blue and yellow "hearse-like" car was a 1972 Chevrolet Sport Utility Vehicle. Smith admitted to being in the vehicle and to "messing with" the female victim. He denied throwing anything at the victim's car.

Smith was arrested and charged with throwing a missile at a vehicle and with criminal mischief and he was taken to jail.

Fleeing driver taken into custody; multiple vehicles damaged by spike system

Marathon - A Hialeah man was taken into protective custody under Florida's Baker's Act after he fled from deputies in his vehicle, endangering numerous traveler's on Highway U.S. One.

When he was finally stopped, the driver - whose name is protected under state law because of his Baker's Act status - thought he was still in Miami-Dade County. He said the last thing he remembered was dropping his dog off to be groomed. A check on his name through computers revealed a cautionary notice to be on the lookout for him. His family reported him missing and said he may be off of his medication.

Deputy Bradford Colen first noticed the vehicle as he patrolled the area of Layton. He saw the vehicle southbound at a high rate of speed. He began following it and saw it cross over the center line three times. The deputy turned on his lights and siren to pull the ar over, but it failed to stop. Once on the Long Key Bridge the car stopped, blocking the roadway. Deputy Colen used his PA system to order the driver to proceed over the bridge and stop on the other side. He finally had to get out of his patrol car, open the other car's door and tell the driver to drive to the other side of the bridge.

Once at the other side, the driver refused to stop again and kept going, picking up speed to a dangerous level once again. The sergeant on duty, Lionel Vargas, ordered Deputy Colen to turn off his emergency equipment and follow at a safe distance in an effort to get the driver to slow down. In the meantime, deputies stationed in the Marathon area got two separate stinger spike strips ready for deployment. Stinger spikes are thrown out in front of a fleeing car and puncture it's tires, slowly bringing the vehicle to a safe stop.

Spikes were set up at U.S. One and Coco Plum Road. Unfortunately, the spikes were deployed prematurely and accidentally spiked the tires of several other vehicles on the highway. When the suspect vehicle hit the spike strip, his tires were not damaged and he continued on.. The second set of spikes were set up at the Marathon Sheriff's Substation. These spikes successfully punctured his tires and brought his vehicle to a safe stop.

Paramedics were called to the scene because the driver was found to have injuries on both wrists. He was medically treated and then taken into protective custody under the Baker's Act. He was not criminally charged.

March 11, 2008

Big Pine man charged with burglary

Big Pine Key - A Big Pine Key man was arrested Monday, charged with burglarizing a Big Pine Key home in February.

Deputy Freddy Rodriguez responded to a burglary report at a Sandy Circle residence February 10th. The victim said someone entered his garage during the night, stealing a laptop computer and a hunting bow. The bow belonged to a friend of the victim.

The owner of the bow called Detective Henry DelValle on March 3rd. He said he'd heard a 17 year old Big Pine boy had recently purchased a bow just like the one stolen from him. When Detective DelValle confronted the boy about it, he admitted purchasing the bow from 18 year old David Tollet of Big Pine Key for $100.00.

In an initial interview with Tollet, he denied stealing the bow and laptop. He said he got the bow from someone else and sold it to the 17 year old. He later admitted to his uncle, however, that he'd committed the burglary and stolen both items. His uncle insisted he tell Detective DelValle the truth and, during a second interview, he admitted committing the crime.

On Monday, he was arrested on an outstanding warrant for burglary, theft and dealing in stolen property. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Two more cited at Higgs Beach

Key West - Two more people were cited for illegal activity at Higgs Beach in Key West.

At 12:45 p.m. Monday, Sgt. Andrew Ensminger and Deputy Liisa Thibideau caught 53 year old Barbara Hollowell drinking a 16 ounce can of Busch Beer on the beach. She was cited for drinking alcohol in public. At 2 a.m. today, Deputy Caridad Bellon found 38 year old Alfred Copeland sleeping on the racquetball court at the beach with an open container of alcohol next to him. He had a trespass warning issued in May of 2007, so he was issued a notice to appear in court for trespass after warning. Deputy Bellon advised him if he needed a place to sleep, he could go to the Safe Zone on Stock Island.

March 10, 2008

Deputies patrol Higgs Beach; issue violations

Key West - Sheriff's deputies have been actively patrolling Higgs Beach, handing out citations for drinking in public and for trespass after warning.

Between March 6th and March 10th, deputies have taken three people to jail, issued four notices to appear in court and written citations to two people for drinking in public.

On the 6th, 48 year old Richard Nelson was sleeping under a pavilion at the beach after midnight. He had a trespass warning issued in January so he was given an NTA for trespass after warning.

On the 7th, just after midnight, 52 year old Donald Cote was sleeping next to a picnic table; he also had a trespass warning issued on November of 2006. He was given an NTA for trespass after warning.

During the afternoon of the 7th, at 2:30 p.m., 54 year old David Clevenger, 52 year old Donald Cote and 48 year old Richard Nelson were all found sleeping on the beach with bags, blankets, bikes and other belongings piled around them. All three had previous trespass warnings. They were arrested and taken to jail for trespass after warning.

Today (March 10th) between 10:45 a.m. and 12:45 p.m., deputies found 34 year old Joann Coleman taking a bottle of Vodka out of her backpack. She had a previous trespass warning and received an NTA; 29 year old Bernie Britt was drinking a 16 ounce Keystone Ice beer and was issued a citation for drinking in public; 45 year old Barbara Komenda was caught drinking a 16 ounce can of Busch beer and was cited as well and 41 year old Robert Pittman got into an argument with another man on the beach. A check revealed he had a trespass warning issued in February, so he received an NTA for Trespass after warning.

March 8, 2008

Two arrested for drugs after traffic stop in Marathon

Marathon - Two Hialeah men were arrested in the early morning hours today on drug charges after they were stopped for speeding.

Deputy Jacek Szymanski was on patrol in the vicinity of 20th Street at 1:30 a.m. when he spotted a gray Toyota Corolla southbound traveling at 55 miles per hour in a 35 mile per hour zone. He pulled the car over at 15th Street.  The wrong license tag was attached to the car, and the driver of the car, 19 year old Alberto Medina Jr., did not have his license with him and, when the deputy checked, he found Medina's license had been suspended. Medina admitted to attaching the wrong license tag to the car. He said he just bought it and was unable to register it because of the status of his driver's license.

Medina was issued citations for not registering the vehicle, for speeding, for not having his license with him, for driving with his license suspended and for attaching a tag not assigned to the vehicle.

As Deputy Szymanski was getting ready to tow the car, he did an inventory search. In the trunk, next to the spare tire, he found a cigar box and an electronic scale. Inside the box, he found 51 grams of cocaine packaged in a number of small plastic bags.Medina admitted the drugs were his. His passenger, 19 year old Gilberto Fuentes Castelo admitted to knowing the drugs were present in the car.

Medina and Castelo were both charged with trafficking in cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia and they were booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

March 7, 2008

Missing boater found by Sheriff's Marine Unit

Islamorada - A missing boater, last seen at 10:30 p.m. Thursday when he left his place of work by boat, was found by Marine Deputy Paul Kupke this morning.

Co-workers reported 29 year old John Strain missing at 12:30 a.m. He'd left work at the Island Grill at 10:30 p.m and had reportedly not arrived home. This morning, Deputy Kupke, assigned to Islamorada Marine Patrol for the Sheriff's Office, began searching for Strain.

Strain was located at 10 a.m. on his 17 foot boat, which was stuck on a mud flat on the bayside of the 88 mile marker of the highway. He was so far onto the mud flat that the Coast Guard had to pluck him off of his boat with their helicopter. He was returned to shore where it was determined he was slightly dehydrated but otherwise in good shape.

Three charged with spray painting bridge

Marathon - Deputies arrested three Miami teens for spray painting the Seven Mile Bridge Thursday morning.

Deputies responded to the 43 mile marker at 10:30 a.m. after callers reported seeing three young people spray painting the bridge rail with red paint. The described a small red car the three were traveling in.

Deputy Manuel Cuervo spotted the car southbound at the 35 mile marker as he was responding to the call. He pulled it over and noticed the rear passenger had red paint on his hand. He also saw a can of red spray paint on the floorboard behind the driver. During questioning, the three admitted to doing the damage.

A camera was found in the car. On the camera was a picture of the three standing beside the painted bridge. The picture was taken as evidence. 18 year old Rene Bentancourt, 18 year old Henry Chen and 19 year old Victor Pinto, Jr. were all charged with criminal mischief. They were issued notices to appear in court and they were released on their own recognizance.

March 6, 2008

Homestead man charged with possession of cocaine

Marathon - A Homestead man was arrested Wednesday afternoon, charged with possession of powdered cocaine.

Detectives with the Sheriff's Special Investigations Division received information that 25 year old Kenneth Barry was making regular trips to the Keys to supply drug dealers with cocaine. On Wednesday, they spotted him in the vicinity of 41st Street. When he ran a stop sign in his vehicle, he was pulled over. As a detective approached him he began running away. The detective ran after him and, when uniform officers began arriving in the area, Barry stopped and surrendered.

A plastic bag with 15 grams of powdered cocaine was found on the roof of a nearby building. Barry admitted to throwing it there. He was arrested and charged with possession of cocaine and he was booked into jail.

March 5, 2008

Man captured in the water off of Islamorada after burglary

Islamorada - A homeless Tavernier man fled from deputies today, swimming away after stealing cash from the Coconut Cove Resort and Marina in Islamorada.

An employee of the resort, Rick Delara, was in the office when 42 year old Anthony Harper entered. Suddenly, Harper darted behind the Delara, grabbing a bank bag with cash inside then fleeing out the door. Delara pursued him on foot and at one point caught up with him. The two struggled, Harper struck Delara on the back of the head and broke free, jumping onto his bicycle and riding away.

Delara got into his car and followed Harper who rode down a dirt road. He jumped off his bike and ran toward the rear of the Pelican Cove Resort, where he jumped into the water and began to swim away. A Sheriff's Office Marine Unit was in the area and responded. Marine Deputy Nelson Sanchez stopped at the dock at Rum Runner's Bar to pick up Lt. Tom Brazil and Captain Don Fanelli before going after Harper. He was found about 150 yards offshore and kept swimming away from the boat attempting to elude the officers.

Finally, Lt. Brazil used a boat hook to grab the suspect by the strap of the backpack he was wearing. As he pulled Harper toward the boat, Harper kept struggling. He was warned not to fight or a Taser would be used to subdue him. He continued his struggles and was shot with a Taser. At that point, he stopped fighting and was pulled into the boat and taken into custody.

The stolen cash was found in his backpack. Harper was charged with burglary, battery, theft and resisting arrest without violence. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

March 2, 2008

Fire burns Key Largo home

Key Largo - Fire burned a home at 545 Tina Place Friday night.

According to a report by Deputy Ian Barnett, the fire may have started from a cigarette inadvertently left burning on the front porch of the house. The fire was reported at 10:45 p.m. No one was injured in the blaze. The family was assisted by the American Red Cross.

Three teens charged with stealing, crashing golf cart

Marathon - Three teens were arrested early today (Sunday), charged with stealing a golf cart and crashing it into mangroves, causing extensive damage to the cart.

Deputy Bradford Colen responded to Indigo Reef in Marathon at 3:45 a.m. He spoke with a woman who was working the front desk at the resort. She said she'd been checking the property when she saw one of the resort's golf carts with four people inside. As she watched, she said the four crashed the golf cart into some mangroves and then ran away.

Deputies found three people fitting her description at a convenience store nearby. She was able to positively identify them as three of the four she saw running from the crashed cart.

16 year old Shane Dipaolo, 16 year old Joseph Lytell and 17 year old Barrington Patterson were all arrested. They were charged with grand theft and criminal mischief and they were booked at the Monroe County Detention Center.

Marathon woman arrested after trying to use fake bill to pay cab fare

Stock Island - A Marathon woman who tried to pay cab fare with a fake $100 bill was arrested Friday morning.

The cab driver called the Sheriff's Office at 7:30 a.m. She said she'd picked up 30 year old Crystal Dinklocker at a convenience store on Stock Island. Dinklocker wanted to be taken to Stadium Trailer Park in Key West. When Dinklocker tried to pay the fare with a $100 bill, the driver said she didn't have change. The driver then took Dinklocker to McDonalds so she could buy breakfast and break the $100 bill. At McDonalds, the bill was identified as counterfeit and was given back to Dinklocker.

Dinklocker then told the cab driver to take her to another location on Stock Island where she thought she could get the fare. At that point, the driver called the Sheriff's Office.

Dinklocker was arrested and charged with possessing a counterfeit bill and with defrauding the cab driver. The bill was taken as evidence. Dinklocker was booked at the Monroe County Detention Center.




 Labelled with ICRA