Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Daily Crime and Information Report

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

Click here to read press releases on other Sheriff's Office events and occurrences

May 29, 2013

Man arrested for burglary, dealing in stolen property

Big Pine Key – A Little Torch Key man was arrested Tuesday, charged with stealing a generator and tools from a Big Pine Key home and pawning them at a local pawn shop.

According to Detective Diane Mimosa, who investigated the case, 31 year old Jeremy Yrsha went to the home on Hollerich Drive in April because he’d purchased a sailboat and it was stored on the property. While there, he took the sailboat and other items he was entitled to take that went with the boat. He also took a generator and a bag of tools that were in the same storage areas of the home.

The generator belonged to a neighbor, who was keeping it there with the homeowner’s permission. He told Deputy Jon Riggs he stops by the house periodically to check on the property. He said when he checked the property in late April, he found a door open and his generator gone. He also found a bag of tools missing. The tools belonged to the homeowner.

He called the Sheriff’s Office after he went to Molly’s Pawn Shop and found his generator and the bag of tools at the shop. He told the deputy he’d spoken to the tenant of the home on Hollerich Drive. The tenant mentioned that he’d sold a sailboat to Yrsha, and that he’d allowed Yrsha to stop by the house and pick up the boat without being there himself. He said it was possible Yrsha had taken the stolen items.

The owner of the pawn shop told Detective Mimosa that Yrsha had come to the shop with another man and  pawned the generator and the tools. He said he paid Yrsha a total of $90for the items.

After interviewing Yrsha, and the other man who’d been with him at the pawn shop, Detective Mimosa got a warrant for Yrsha’s arrest. Yrsha was arrested Tuesday and charged with burglary, grand theft and dealing in stolen property.

May 28, 2013

Key West woman faces multiple charges

Stock Island – A Key West woman who became violent Monday night was arrested on multiple charges including neglecting her child’s welfare, attacking the child’s father and his brother and then fighting with officers who arrived to arrest her.

When Detective Lissette Zuelch arrived at the trailer on Front Street at 9 p.m., she found 24 year old Marjorie Maradiaga holding her 11 month old infant. She was visibly impaired, having trouble standing and slurring her words. Detective Zuelch asked her to hand the child over for safety’s sake. Maradiaga refused. With the help of Deputies Joe Cortner and Wendy Negron, the child was removed from her mother and Maradiaga was then detained as the deputies investigated the complaint they’d been dispatched to.

The child’s father and brother were there. The father has a domestic violence injunction against Maradiaga, which she was in violation of. He said she became violent, chasing him down the street. She hit him several times and bit his back. He showed deputies a bleeding bite mark to back up his story. He said she also attacked his brother. They finally called 911 for help.

The child’s father said Maradiaga threatened to drown their daughter several months before and he said he fears for the child’s safety.

Maradiaga was arrested. She struggled violently with deputies as they attempted to handcuff her. She continued to fight as they placed her in a patrol car. Her feet had to be restrained as well as her hands as she kicked both the deputies and the inside of the car. Once at the jail, she also fight with detention deputies and had to be placed in a special restraint chair to keep her from injuring herself or others.

She was charged with violating a domestic violence injunction, domestic battery, two counts of battery on law enforcement officers, resisting arrest with violence and child neglect.

May 27, 2013

Two Miami women charged with burglary

Big Pine Key – Two women from Miami were arrested for burglary at a home on Croton Lane, Big Pine Key Sunday evening.

Deputies Martin Reyes and Spencer Curry responded to the home at 8:50 p.m. after the property manager called to say someone was in the house who did not belong there. Deputy Reyes was first to arrive. When he knocked on the door, he heard someone running out the back. He apprehended 27 year old Mariela Abarca and 22 year old Janel Vega.

The property manager, who lives nearby, said no one had permission to be in the house. The owner lives in New Jersey.

Abarca and Vega both told the deputies they drove down from Miami with no destination in mind. They said they spotted the house and thought it looked  nice because it was on a canal, had a hammock hanging outside and looked like there was no one around.

They both said they had some food, so they went up on the porch of the house to eat it. They said the sliding glass door in the back opened when they pushed on it, so them went inside to heat up their food and to watch television.

The rear sliding glass door showed signs it had been forced open. A small amount of marijuana was found in a bag belonging to Abarca.

Both of the women were arrested. They were charged with burglary, criminal mischief and trespassing. Abarca was additionally charged with possession of marijuana.

May 24, 2013

Marathon man dead, floating in the water near his home

A 70 year old Marathon man was found dead, floating in the water near his 23rd Street home near a boat he’d been working on.

Deputies Garrett Test and Chuck Kellenberger responded to the home at 5:45 p.m. after a neighbor and the man’s girlfriend reported finding James Gogan. The neighbor said she’d seen him working on his boat earlier in the afternoon. When the girlfriend showed up at the house at 5 p.m. she began looking for him and the neighbor helped. That is when they found him in the water.

Major Crimes Detective Deborah Ryan responded to investigate. She said she does not suspect foul play. Both women told Deputy Test Gogan had some type of “heart problem” that he was going to have looked at next month, when he took a trip to New Jersey.

May 21, 2013

Man’s body identified; no foul play suspected

The man whose body was found floating offshore of Lower Matecumbe Key on Sunday was identified Monday using fingerprints as 55 year old Mark Parent of Ensoburg, Vermont. Good Samaritans located the body and called the U.S. Coast Guard Sunday morning.

Earlier in the morning, two people fishing from the Channel 2 bridge told Sheriff’s dispatchers they saw a man floating under the bridge, yelling for help. They tried to throw him a rope but were unsuccessful at rescuing him. A search by water and air ensued, but failed to find him.

Detectives believe Parent was the man seen floating under the bridge. His Chevrolet Tahoe was found parked at the bridge with his belongings inside.

There was no evidence of foul play on his body. Detectives say they believe the death to be accidental.

Man goes missing while on boating trip

An Alaskan man who has been in Key West for the past year has gone missing, along with the 39 foot trimaran sailboat he was traveling on.

Jay Wesley Rydberg, 40 years old, was reportedly living on the sailboat in Garrison Bight Marina. He’d moved to Florida from Alaska to be near his 11 year old son, who lives in Lehigh Acres, Florida. His sister, Jill Lesseig, of Fairbanks, Alaska said he sailed from Key West to Fort Myers and was on the return trip last week on board his sailboat, called “3/4 Time”. She said he called her on May 13th in the morning and was calm and relaxed. He told her he should be arriving in Key West Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning.

Tuesday morning, May 14th, at 4:13 a.m. the Coast Guard detected his Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) and initiated a search that lasted for 78 hours. The EPIRB was located 33 miles north of Key West, but they found no other signs of Rydberg or his vessel. At the time the beacon went off, weather was 20 knot winds and three foot seas. There were no reported storms in the area, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Lesseig said Rydberg worked at “manual labor” but she wasn’t sure who he worked for. She said he was known to ride a bright red bicycle. Rydberg is described as a white male, 5’11” tall, 170 – 175 pounds with brown hair, brown eyes and he often wore a beard. He has scars on his abdomen and is missing his right eye. He reportedly often wore an eye patch.

Anyone who knows anything about Rydberg, or his whereabouts is asked to contact the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. Major Crimes Detective Manuel Cuervo is assigned as lead investigator.

May 20, 2013

Body found thought to be that of man spotted floating under bridge

Lower Matecumbe – The body of a man was recovered by the United States Coast Guard Sunday morning, about a mile east of the Channel 2 Bridge. It is thought to be that of the man spotted in the early morning hours yelling for help as he floated under the bridge.

The 56 year old man had identification reflecting a North Carolina address and a Vermont address. His vehicle, a Chevrolet Tahoe, was found parked at the bridge and had a Vermont license tag.

Two Miami residents fishing from the bridge reported hearing cries for help at 4:30 a.m. and seeing a man floating from the Oceanside to the bayside of the bridge. After attempting to throw him a rope, they called the Sheriff’s Office. A search ensued using boats and helicopters, but the man was not found. The man’s body was later found by a good Samaritan boater, who reported it to the Coast Guard.

Detective Dan Mehler is assigned to investigate the case. There are no obvious signs of foul play on the body which has been turned over to the Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy to determine the cause of death. Detective Mehler is working to notify the man’s next of kin.

May 19, 2013

Stock Island man charged for cutting a man with a knife

Stock Island – A Stock Island man was arrested, charged with cutting another man with a knife in a dispute over a woman.

The victim said he and a man he only knows as  “worm” got into a fight over a woman they both had dated. He said he was originally dating her, then she left him for “worm”. After staying with “worm” for a while, she returned to the victim.

He said on Saturday morning, he was on his boat in Boca Chica Channel when “worm” went by in a dinghy yelling profanities. When “worm” got to the Key Haven boat ramp, he threw the victim’s moped into the water.

The victim went to the boat ramp to confront “worm” and a fight ensued. “Worm” pulled out a knife and slashed the victim, cutting his arm.

Deputy Kim Trullender was dispatched to reports of a fight at the boat ramp at 10:45 a.m. He found no one there, but a short time later he found the victim at the Tom Thumb store on Stock Island. He was taken to the hospital for treatment of his injury. He told Deputy Trullender what happened.

Jeffery “Worm” Ballard was found by Deputy Joe Cortner walking on College Road at 1:15 a.m. He had blood on his face and head, and told the deputy he’d been beaten up by the victim of the earlier fight. He was arrested and charged with aggravated battery. Photos were taken of his injuries and Detective David Brummer will be continuing to investigate. Ballard was checked at the hospital, then booked into jail.

May 18, 2013

Three burglary suspects additionally charged

Islamorada – Three Miami residents charged with burglarizing a Key Largo home were also charged with burglarizing a cargo trailer full of tools parked in Islamorada.

The three were charged with burglary Thursday after a neighbor saw them trying to force their way into a home on Bowen Drive in Key Largo. The neighbor gave the Sheriff’s Office their vehicle tag number and their car was stopped in Islamorada. All three were arrested for burglary and possession of burglary tools.

Inside the car, detectives found 16 assorted power tools in the back seat, including a chain saw, a leaf blower and a circular saw. One of the suspects claimed the tools were his.

On Friday, the Sheriff’s Office received a report the cargo trailer had been burglarized. It was parked less than a block from where the suspects were arrested in Islamorada. The reporting person identified the tools found in the suspect’s car as being from the trailer.

25 year old Yasmany Caballero, 27 year old Judit Reynoso and 31 year old Yosvany Sosa, all Miami residents, were  already in jail and were additionally charged with burglary grand theft and criminal mischief.

May 17, 2013

Alert neighbor foils burglary; three arrested

Key Largo – Three people were arrested for burglary after an alert neighbor spotted them trying to force their way into a Key Largo home and confronted them.

The neighbor saw a car drive up to a home on Bowen Drive at 8:40 p.m. Thursday. He walked over and saw two men and a woman. One man was trying to pry open a screen door on the house. The second man was trying to pry open a shed door. The woman was standing beside their vehicle. When he asked them what they were doing, they said they were “looking for family” then they ran to their vehicle and fled.

The neighbor was able to get the license tag number of the vehicle the three suspects fled in. He called the Sheriff’s Office, giving dispatchers the tag number, vehicle description and details of what he had seen.

A notice to be on the lookout for the vehicle was issued over police radios and the car was spotted in Islamorada. It was stopped by Deputy Nestor Argote at the 88.9 mile marker of the highway. The witness was brought to the scene of the stop where he identified all three suspects. A pry bar was found in the rear pocket of the driver’s side seat. Other tools were found in the vehicle as well.

25 year old Yasmany Caballero, 27 year old Judit Reynoso and 31 year old Yosvany Sosa, all Miami residents, were  arrested.  All three were charged with burglary and possession of burglary tools. Their car, a 2010 Honda Accord, was seized for possible forfeiture.

Traffic stop results in drug arrest

Two men were arrested after a traffic stop revealed the presence of crack cocaine in the vehicle they were in.

Detectives with the Special Investigations Unit spotted 26 year old Harold Reece of Miami and 55 year old William Beagle of Marathon in a white Dodge Ram truck on 55th Street in Marathon at 3:15 p.m. Thursday. They recognized both men and knew they had both been arrested previously for drug related charges. Neither man was wearing a seat belt, and the driver, Beagle, had a suspended driver’s license so the detectives called for assistance from road patrol to pull the vehicle over.

As the detectives followed the vehicle, they saw Reece look back and spot the unmarked patrol car, then say something to Beagle. The two men then began moving around inside the truck as if they were trying to conceal something.

The truck was pulled over on Highway U.S. One. A K-9 team was called to the scene to do a sniff of the outside of the vehicle. The dog alerted to the presence of narcotics. On the floorboard of the truck, between where the two men had been sitting, detectives found a plastic bag with what appeared to be crack cocaine inside. The substance tested positive for the illegal substance and weighed 6.2 grams.

Drug charges on Big Pine Key

A deputy on patrol Thursday night on Big Pine Key charged one person with possession of cocaine and issued a notice to appear in court to a second person for having a small amount of marijuana.

Deputy Chris Fraser turned onto Bailey Road at 8:44 p.m. and saw a large group of people in the street. As he approached, a number of people left but a group of six people remained clustered around a parked van with its passenger door open. As the deputy approached he could smell the odor of marijuana.

Looking inside the van, the deputy saw marijuana in the center console. As he spoke with and conducted searches of the others in the group, he discovered one man with marijuana in his pocket and a second man with marijuana and 4.6 grams of cocaine in his pocket.

22 year old Alain Pico of Big Pine Key was issued a notice to appear in court for possession of marijuana. 30 year old Bradley Whetstone of Little Torch key was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana, cocaine and drug paraphernalia. He was booked into jail.

May 16, 2013

Traffic stop leads to stolen gun recovery

Key Largo – A traffic stop for speeding in Key Largo this morning resulted in the arrest of two men and the recovery of a handgun stolen in Fort Myers, Florida.

Deputy Matthew O’Neill was on patrol at 2:10 a.m. near the Jewfish Creek Bridge when he spotted a red Mercury sedan traveling at a high rate of speed southbound. With his radar, he measured the speed at 70 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone. He pulled the car over at the 106.5 mile marker of the highway.

A check of the two men in the vehicle revealed the driver was a convicted felon on probation and that one of the terms of his probation was he had to give consent to search his vehicle.

Inside the vehicle, Deputy O’Neill found marijuana. He also found a 9mm Ruger handgun which, when checked, turned out to have been stolen from Fort Myers, Florida. Sgt. Jason Madnick, who responded to back up Deputy O’Neill, found drug paraphernalia in the car as well.

The driver, 28 year old Emmanuel Clarke of Lithonia, Georgia and 25 year old Absolum Jones of Newport News, Virginia were both arrested. Clarke was charged with possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Jones was charged with possession of marijuana. Both were booked into jail.

May 15, 2013

Woman charged with credit card fraud

The employee of an upper Keys business was arrested Tuesday, charged with stealing clients credit cards and selling the information.

The owner of Vacation Travel Club in Tavernier called the Sheriff’s Office after she received information about the crimes. Someone called the business and said two of her employees had been stealing client credit card information and selling it.

Detective Bob Dosh was assigned to investigate. He confronted one of the employees, 24 year old Ashley Spivey who admitted to stealing the credit card information from five accounts and providing it to another employee, who then sold the information to someone in Miami.

Spivey was arrested and charged with five counts of credit card fraud. Detective Dosh is still investigating the case and expects to make additional arrests in connection with his investigation.

Highway Interdiction Operation

Law Enforcement agencies participated this week in a Highway Interdiction operation in Key Largo and Islamorada, targeting vehicles bringing illegal narcotics into Monroe County
On Monday and Tuesday of this week, officers conducted 69 traffic stops; during those stops they issued 35 traffic citations, wrote 31 warnings, searched 27 vehicles using a police K-9 team. They made ten arrests, with three of them going to jail and the other seven issued notices to appear in court.

Sheriff’s Special Investigations Unit conducted the operation, assisted by the Traffic Enforcement Unit, Homeland Security investigators, and Miami Dade Police K-9 Unit, 
The following people were booked into jail:

The following people were issued notices to appear in court:

May 13, 2013

Stock Island man charged with knife threats

A Stock Island man is in jail, charged with threatening people with a butcher knife.

When Deputy Lazaro Valdes arrived on Suncrest Street at 4 p.m. Sunday, he saw a group of people in the area. He also saw 26 year old Yendry Vega holding a butcher knife in a threatening manner, as if he were going to attack the group. He held Vega at gunpoint until backup officers arrived to help.

Investigations and interviews with witnesses revealed Vega had been making noise in the yard of his residence, throwing things and yelling obscenities. A neighbor who is friends with Vega attempted to calm him, holding him in a “bear hug” until he calmed down. When he let Vega go, Vega agreed to go back inside his residence. He returned a short time later, though, with the butcher knife.

Vega was arrested and charged with aggravated assault. He was booked into jail.

Business check for alcohol sales to minors

On May 10, 2013 the Special Investigations Division conducted an operation checking businesses that sell alcohol in Islamorada and the Upper Keys. Eight businesses were checked including restaurants, convenience stores and bars. Three of the businesses served alcohol to minors during our investigations. The three people who sold the alcohol were given notices to appear before a Monroe County Judge. 

The following are a list of the Business, and suspects who sold the alcohol:

The Sale Clerk violations are up to 60 days in jail $500 fine, $235 in court cost, $75 in cost of prosecution, and $40 in cost of investigation.

The Licensee Violations are:

The remaining business checked, were in compliance with the law.

This operation was conducted in cooperation with the Monroe County Coalition for a Safe and Drug Free Community.

May 12, 2013

Trailer destroyed by fire

Fire destroyed a trailer in Roy’s Trailer park on Stock Island in the early morning hours Saturday.

Sgt. Geni Hernandez responded to the area at 12:20 a.m. and could see smoke and flames coming from the trailer. She was able to contact the occupants, who were already out of the trailer. She also evacuated neighboring trailers in case the fire spread.

Firefighters responded and extinguished the blaze, but the trailer was a complete loss. Six people lived inside the trailer and were left homeless and with no personal belongings. The Red Cross responded to assist them with finding a place to stay and provided them with necessities. The Fire Marshall’s office will be investigating.

May 9, 2013

Key Largo man wanted for two burglaries

A Key Largo man is wanted on two outstanding warrants for burglary. Detective Yunier Galvez is asking for the public’s help finding him.

The first burglary was reported February 22nd on Plantation Shores Drive on Plantation Key. The house that was burglarized was under construction. Rods and reels were stored on the first floor of the residence. Someone entered the house and removed six reels from their rods. Fingerprints were lifted from the rods left behind and were sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for identification. The FDLE report came back, identifying 26 year old Steele Hancock as the person they belonged to. A warrant was issued for his arrest on charges of burglary and grand theft.

The second burglary was reported March 6th, to a house on Dolphin Road in Key Largo. The victim reported someone removed seven reels, two rods and several items of dive gear from his home. Detective Galvez reviewed pawn slips for pawn shops in the area. On April 4th, he found a number of the items stolen from the house had been pawned at Mother Ocean Key Largo pawn shop. They were pawned by Hancock. A warrant was issued for his arrest on charges of burglary, grand theft and dealing in stolen property.

Anyone who knows where Hancock is can receive a cash reward by calling Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Tipsters can remain anonymous. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may also be submitted on line at

May 8, 2013

Accident sends pedestrian to Miami hospital

Accident at entrance to Marathon Community Park, 9:03 p.m. Pedestrian hit by vehicle. Airlifted to Miami. Northbound lanes closed. Traffic diverted onto side streets. The road was completely opened at 11:30 p.m. Florida Highway Patrol investigating.

Update: Two Hialeah men wanted for GPS thefts

According to Sheriff’s Detective Francisco Gaete, one of the men wanted for the theft of a high end GPS unit in the Upper Keys has been arrested.

27 year old Luis Sanifel was arrested by members of the Miami-Dade Warrants Division. He was booked into jail in Miami and will be returned to the Keys to face charges of grand theft, burglary, trespassing and criminal mischief charges.

A representative of 41 year old Omar Martinez contacted Detective Gaete and expressed his desire to turn himself in for his outstanding warrant. Detective Gaete will be working with the representative to accomplish that goal.

Each man is wanted for removing a high end GPS unit from a boat parked behind a Key Largo home. The two crimes took place in October of 2012; one boat was on Cactus Street in  Key Largo. The second one was on Mockingbird Road in Key Largo.

Jail discovers arrestee is missing North Carolina man

Observant Corrections Officers with a feeling that something was just not right discovered an arrestee was a missing man from North Carolina.

When Key West Police brought David Hinton in to the jail on Monday morning, he’d given the name “Jeff Willard”. He was booked on charges of theft and resisting arrest. Detention Deputy Baptiste was the booking officer.

While speaking with the man, the deputy noticed he was confused and was unsure of his  name and other identifying information. During further conversation “Willard” said he’d had a stroke recently and could not remember much. He said he’d come to the Keys to visit a friend, but couldn’t remember the friend’s name.

Deputy Baptiste ran the man’s fingerprint and did not get a “hit” on him. Because he felt something was not right, he decided to perform a more in depth fingerprint scan that takes more time.

Several hours later, the scan revealed his real name, Danny Lee Hinton, and revealed he’d been reported missing from North Carolina. He was reported to have a history of dementia and strokes.

The agency with which he’d been reported missing was notified of his recovery. He remains in jail on the charges but his family will now know where he is and that he is all right and they will have the opportunity to help him return home.

May 7, 2013

Marathon man charged with gun threats

Marathon – A Marathon man is under arrest for threatening another man with an airsoft pistol which had been altered to look like a real gun.

The victim had been at Charles Hosendove’s 1st Avenue apartment earlier in the evening and two got into an argument. The victim left, returning to his nearby residence.

A short time later, Hosendove followed the victim to his residence. He had what appeared to be a .380 caliber handgun. He first threatened the victim with it, then threatened to shoot the victim’s dog. The two men struggled. During the struggle, Hosendove hit the victim in the face. Hosendove then left and the victim called the Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies arrived on scene and spoke with the victim and the suspect. They then knocked on the door of Hosendove’s apartment to speak with his wife. When she opened the door, they saw the handgun described by the victim, sitting on the floor just inside the doorway. It was an airsoft pistol. The end of its barrel – normally orange in color – had been painted black and it’s grips had also been removed to make it more closely resemble a real gun.

Hosendove was arrested. He was charged with aggravated assault and battery and he was taken to jail.

May 6, 2013

Two teens arrested in connection with molesting, video recording 14 year old girl

Two upper Keys boys were arrested over the weekend after one of them molested a 14 year old girl and the other video recorded it.

Deputies responded to a home on Ocean Drive Sunday morning after a woman called to report strangers in the lower portion of her house. When Deputy Michael Sielicki arrived, he found the two males – aged 23 and 16 – and the victim, a 14 year old girl. All three appeared to be drunk. The oldest male said they had been partying the night before, but said he could not remember what happened. Further investigation revealed the three to be acquaintances of the owner’s 15 year old daughter. The daughter later admitted to having a party in the lower portion of the house the night before without her mother’s knowledge.

Deputy Michael Sielicki asked to see the 23 year old male’s cell phone, knowing that often people will video themselves while they are partying. The male agreed to let him see it. He told the deputy someone else had his phone for a time the night before.

On the phone, the deputy found a video recording of another boy top of the victim, who was only partially clothed. In the video he was performing sexual acts on her.

Major Crimes Detective Manuel Cuervo was notified and responded to the scene to continue the investigation. He interviewed the victim, who could not recall the incident depicted in the video. She watched the video and identified the male on top of her in the video as a 17 year old she has been in a sexual relationship with for a few weeks. She also identified the one video recording the incident as a 15 year old who had also attended the party.

Both boys were interviewed. The 17 year old denied having sexual relations with the victim, even though he was depicted clearly in the video fondling her. The 15 year old denied video recording the incident, even though portions of the video confirmed he was the one behind the camera. Witnesses corroborated the victim’s version of events.

The 17 year old was charged with lewd and lascivious battery on a 14 year old girl. The 15 year old was charged with sexual performance with a child for video recording the sexual activity.

Fraud suspect also charged with child pornography

A man arrested for giving fraudulent identification to his employer during the hiring process was further charged with possessing child pornography.

39 year old Robert Pearl was originally arrested in February after detectives discovered he and his girlfriend had given false identification to the owner’s of Gilbert’s Resort when they were hired to work there.

Subsequent investigation led to the examination of a computer Pearl had in his possession that belonged to Gilbert’s resort. Resort owners said the computer was password protected by Pearl, and when they asked him for the password, he always had an excuse for why he couldn’t give it to them.

Examination of the computer’s hard drive revealed images of child pornography. Pearl, who was still in jail on the fraud charges, was further charged with six counts possession of child pornography.

May 5, 2013

Sugarloaf man accused of molesting young girl

A Sugarloaf Key man is in jail, charged with molesting a young girl four years ago.

Major Crimes Detective Manuel Cuervo was assigned to investigate the case. He asked law enforcement in Pennsylvania, where the victim is now living, to interview the victim. The victim reportedly disclosed that 36 year old Michael Woodruff had molested her in 2008, while she was staying with her mother in a house in Key Haven, in the Lower Keys. The victim was nine years old at the time the abuse took place.

Woodruff was booked into jail today on two counts lewd and lascivious molestation of a child under the age of 12 and one count of lewd and lascivious conduct.

Marina fire destroys, damages boats

Two boats were destroyed and one damaged by fire at Pancho’s Fuel Dock at Burdine’s Waterfront early today in Marathon.

Firefighters and deputies responded to reports of a fire on a 30 foot powerboat at 4:50 a.m. The fire quickly spread to a second boat as deputies attempted to evacuate the surrounding area.

By 5:30, firefighters had knocked down the fire on both vessels and by 6 a.m. the fires were extinguished. Two boats were reported to be destroyed and a third damaged in the blaze.

The Fire Marshalls Office will be investigating the cause of the blaze.

May 2, 2013

Man arrested for stealing from employer

A Key Largo man was arrested today and faces charges of stealing from a former employer, Amerigas.

The company called the Sheriff’s Office in April to report the crimes. They told Detective Robert Dosh a previous employee – 50 year old Elby Alonso – worked for them between July and November of 2012 delivering propane tanks. While working for the company, he was issued a fleet fuel card which he was allowed to use to fuel the truck he was driving while he worked.

The company let him go because they suspected he was stealing propane tanks and selling them on the side. They also suspected he was using his company fuel card to fuel his personal vehicles.

Once he was terminated, his fuel cards were terminated as well.  A short time later, though, the district manager of the company noticed a fuel card belonging to a vehicle that was no longer in service was being used on a regular basis. Between December and April, the card was used to charge approximately $8,000 worth of fuel.

The company’s security technician investigated the use of the card initially. He traced the employee pin number being used with the card to an employee in Key West. He then discovered the card was being used in Key Largo when the employee whose pin was being used was at work in Key West, so he knew someone else was fraudulently using the pin number and signing for the fuel card. The card was being used in Key Largo to purchase large amounts of fuel, including a large amount of diesel. The district manager knew Alonso owned a dump truck and suspected he was the one using the card to fuel the dump truck.

A trace was put on the card so the manger would be notified when it was being used. On Wednesday, Detective Dosh followed Alonso and saw him fuel the dump truck at the Hess Gas Station in Key Largo. At the same time as he was fueling the truck, the manager received notification the card was being used fraudulently.

In addition, a customer of Amerigas told the district manager Alonso had tried to sell him propane tanks belonging to the company for cash. An inventory revealed approximately 20 – 30 propane tanks are missing from the company and unaccounted for.

Alonso was arrested Thursday. He was charged with grand theft, fraudulent use of a credit card, fraudulently using another person’s identity and fraudulently signing another person’s name. His pickup truck and his dump truck were both seized for possible forfeiture.

Two men wanted for stealing GPS units

Warrants have been issued for the arrest of two Hialeah men. They are accused electronic equipment from boats parked behind homes in Key Largo. Both men were identified by fingerprints found at the scenes of the crimes.

41 year old Omar Mora Martinez’ fingerprints were found on board a boat that had been burglarized in October of 2012 on Cactus Street in Key Largo. A Garmin GPS and a depth sounder were taken from the boat, valued at a total of $2,600. Damage was done to the boat’s electrical wiring during the process of the theft.

27 year old Luis Sanifel’s fingerprints were found on board a boat that had been burglarized on Mockingbird Road in Key Largo.  A GPS and a depth sounder were taken from the boat, valued at a total of $4,800. Damage was done to the boat’s electrical wiring during the process of the theft.

Both men are wanted for burglary, grand theft, trespassing and criminal mischief.

Anyone with information about where these men are should contact the Sheriff’s Office. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a tip called in to Crime Stoppers leads to an arrest in the case, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may also be submitted on line at

Rods and reels stolen in burglary

Sheriff’s detectives in Marathon are investigating a burglary in which over $16,000 worth of fishing rods and reels were stolen . Detective Nick Whiteman wants people to keep an eye out for anyone trying to sell fishing equipment that might be this stolen property.

On April 30th, deputies responded to 97th Street Ocean in Marathon to reports of a residential burglary. Deputy Garrett Test talked with the victim, who said his rods and reels had been stolen, along with a 50 inch flat screen television set. The deputy found a window unlocked which may have been the point of entry.

There have been a number of break ins in various areas of the county with fishing equipment stolen. Fishing equipment has also been reported stolen from docks, fishing boats and storage sheds. The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind everyone not to leave such equipment anywhere where it is easily accessible. As shown by this crime, that won’t necessarily guarantee it’s security, but taking the precaution of locking up expensive marine equipment would prevent a majority of the crimes reported to the Sheriff’s Office.

In addition, anyone attempting to sell such equipment on the street, door to door or for an absurdly low price should be a clue that there is something wrong. If someone tries to sell you any type of property, make sure you call the Sheriff’s Office before purchasing it. If the person selling it to you is above board, they should have no problem having a law enforcement officer check it first to make sure it is not stolen before making the transaction. If they do not agree, do not purchase the property. If you do, and you suspect it might be stolen, you could face charges.

Anyone with information about this, or any felony crime should contact the Sheriff’s Office. Callers who may also contact Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a tipster calls Crime Stoppers, the caller can remain anonymous and, if a tip leads to an arrest in the case, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may also be submitted on line at

May 1, 2013

Woman missing from Pennsylvania since 2002 found in the Keys

Key Largo – A 53 year old woman who has been missing from Pennsylvania since February of 2002 was recovered in the Florida Keys this week after she turned herself in to a Sheriff’s deputy on Friday.

Brenda Heist turned herself in to Deputy Jacques Rozek at 4:30 p.m., telling him she thought she might be wanted in Pinellas County. A check on her name revealed her status as “missing and possibly deceased” from Lititz, Pennsylvania.

According to a detective from Pennsylvania who worked the case, she and her husband were divorcing. She dropped her kids off at school and was never seen again. Her car was found abandoned just days later with no signs of a struggle.

Authorities in Pennsylvania were notified of her recovery. She is currently in protective custody in the Keys, but not in the custody of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

No further information about her current status can be released due to Florida laws that prohibit such information from being released to the public.

Marathon man arrested for business burglary

Islamorada – A Marathon man was arrested today, charged with breaking in to Miss Monroe Boutique in Islamorada.

59 year old Mark Freedman was identified from surveillance photos taken during the break in on March 24th. Detectives are investigating three other similar burglaries in Islamorada which took place between March 4th and April 22nd.

Detective Yunier Galvez, who is investigating the case, released the photos to the public on April 25th. On the 29th, the detective received a call from someone who recognized Freedman from the photos.

A check on his name revealed Freedman is on probation. A secondary identification was then made by his probation officer.

Freedman was charged with burglary and theft and he was booked into jail. Investigations continue into other similar business burglaries in the Islamorada area.