Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Daily Crime and Information Report

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


April 26, 2000

Man arrested for burglarizing boats

Islamorada – A Miami man was arrested Monday and charged with burglarizing two boats at the Executive Bay Club in Islamorada.

Deputies responded to reports of an accident Monday at 11:15 a.m. When they arrived, they spoke with a security guard on the scene. He told them a man driving a car had just run into a parked car. The car involved in the accident had fled the scene, but the guard told the officer the suspect, 17-year-old Eduardo Morales of Miami, was staying in a condo at the club.

While on the scene of the crash, the officer was approached by two people who said their boats had been burglarized sometime during the night. Fishing equipment and other items had been taken from the boats. The two victims told the deputy that Morales and another man had been fishing near the boat docks over night and they suspected he might have been the one who stole their belongings.

The deputies received permission to search the residence where Morales was staying. Items stolen in both boat burglaries were found inside. Morales was arrested and charged with two counts each of burglary and theft. He was also charged with leaving the scene of an accident with property damage. He was booked at the Monroe County Detention Center.

April 20, 2000

Detectives want victims to come forward

Upper Keys – Upper Keys detectives say they recovered a large amount of property during the investigation of a burglary case April 18th. They are now trying to match it up with the victims it was stolen from.

The property was recovered from a van driven by two Miami men, caught in the act of burglarizing a van on Bonito Lane in Key Largo Tuesday in the early morning hours. When detectives began sorting through property found in the van, they found items which had been reported stolen in two other auto burglaries in the upper Keys. They also found a large number of items which have not yet been reported stolen, and they are looking for the owners.

“People should check their cars, sheds and outbuildings to see if they are missing any property,” said Detective Adrian Youngblood. “If they discover they have been a victim of a crime, they should call me immediately.” The detective says the crimes probably occurred Monday between 6 p.m. and midnight. He can be reached at (305)853-3211.

Among those items found in the van are marine equipment, electronics, a pressure washer, fishing gear and spear guns.

The investigation began when Sheriff’s dispatchers received a cell phone call at 11:30 p.m. from witnesses who said they saw two men breaking in to a neighbor’s van on Bonito Lane. They said they were in their car heading northbound, following van the two suspects were traveling in. Dispatchers kept them on the phone in order to update deputies on the location of the fleeing vehicle. Deputy Matt Koval stood by at the 99.8 mile marker and as the two vehicles passed, he pulled in behind the van with the suspects inside.

When he pulled the van over, the two men inside refused to identify themselves. They were later identified at the Detention Center from their fingerprints. 27-year-old Javier Govin and 43 year old Lazzaro Rodriguez both of Miami were arrested and charged with burglary, grand theft and obstruction of justice. The decal on the van’s license tag turned out to be stolen so Govin, who was the driver, was additionally charged with theft.

All the tools stolen from the victim’s van were recovered and returned to him. The suspect’s van was seized for possible forfeiture.

Two other victims subsequently reported their vehicles were burglarized; one in the vicinity of the 92-mile marker of the highway and one near the 95-mile marker. Two counts of grand theft and two counts of burglary are pending against Govin and Rodriguez in these cases.

Search Warrant leads to arrests

Summerland Key – Two people were arrested on drug charges after a search warrant was served at a home on Summerland Key Wednesday night.

Detectives from the Special Investigations Division served the search warrant at 8:30 p.m. at 25151 Center Street. The search turned up cocaine, marijuana and a large amount of drug paraphernalia.

47-year-old Rodolfo Fernandez and 40 year old Lori Morris were both arrested and charged with possessing cocaine and drug paraphernalia. Fernandez was also charged with possessing marijuana. Both defendants were booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Date: April 18, 2000

Burglars caught with help of observant neighbors

Key Largo – Two Miami men who stole a large number of tools from a van parked on Bonito Lane in Key Largo were caught when neighbors of the victim saw them commit the crime and reported it to the Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff’s dispatchers received a cell phone call from the witnesses at 11:30 p.m. They said they were heading northbound in their car, following two men who had just broken into their neighbor’s van. Dispatchers kept them on the phone in order to update deputies on the location of the fleeing vehicle. Deputy Matt Koval stood by at the 99.8 mile marker and as the two vehicles passed, he pulled in behind the van with the suspects inside.

When he pulled the van over, the two men inside refused to identify themselves. They were later identified at the Detention Center from their fingerprints. 27 year old Javier Govin and 43 year old Lazzaro Rodriguez both of Miami  were arrested and charged with burglary, grand theft and obstruction of justice. The decal on the van’s license tag turned out to be stolen so Govin, who was the driver, was additionally charged with theft.

All the tools stolen from the victim’s van were recovered and returned to him. The suspect’s van was seized for possible forfeiture.



Woman arrested for worthless checks

Big Pine Key – A Big Pine Key woman was arrested Monday for writing checks on a closed account.

45-year-old Frances Schreiber is accused of writing ten checks on a closed account for a total of $1,500.00 worth of goods and services. She wrote the checks to a number of different businesses between January and April of this year.

Detective John McGee was notified of the bad checks by a bank manager. His investigations led him to obtain an arrest warrant for Schreiber. Deputies Krissy Games and John O’Malley arrested her at her home in Halcyon Trailer Park on Big Pine Key Monday. She was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center. Her bond is set at $5,000.00.


April 17th, 2000

Road rage leads to gun assault

Key Largo – A Fort Lauderdale man was arrested Saturday and charged with pulling a gun and threatening another man with it after a traffic accident.

The two men reportedly got into a traffic accident near the 110-mile marker of Highway U.S. one on the 18-mile stretch of roadway between Key Largo and Florida City. According to witnesses, one car was trying to pass the other on the shoulder of the road at about 4:30 p.m. During the improper passing incident, the two cars collided. After the accident, the two driver’s got into an argument. During the course of the argument, 30-year-old David Morris of Fort Lauderdale allegedly pulled a gun and threatened 32-year-old Michael McLaughlin of Key Largo with it. The fought over the gun and McLaughlin managed to take it away from Morris. During the struggle, the two men fell into the water and Morris regained control of the gun and hit McLaughlin in the head with the butt of the gun. Some witnesses to the incident say they heard at least one gun shot during the struggle. A third man, 35-year-old Richard Alvarez of Key Largo, intervened in the fight. Morris pointed the gun at him, then fled northbound in his vehicle.

A notice to be on the lookout for Morris was issued to all police agencies in Miami-Dade County. Morris was stopped just minutes later in Florida City and he was held for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. Morris was arrested by Deputy Winfred Higgins and charged with two counts of aggravated assault and one count of aggravated battery. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

The accident is being investigated by the Florida Highway Patrol.

Detectives investigate death of Naples man

Everglades, Monroe County – Homicide Detectives are investigating the death of a Naples, Florida man in the Everglades over the weekend.

According to Detective John Shaw, 39-year-old Pat McCarthy appears to have drowned while on a canoeing trip. An examination of the body turned up no obvious signs of foul play. An autopsy is scheduled for today to determine the exact cause of his death.

McCarthy was last seen Saturday morning when he left a friend’s dock to go on a five-day trip alone in his 13-foot homemade canoe. His body turned up Sunday just before noon. A tourist boating in the area of Chatham River Inlet found McCarthy floating. His feet were in his canoe and his head was in the water. According to the Detective, it appeared he’d been dead for 12 to 18 hours when he was found.

The tourist called the Park Service who, in turn, called the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

April 10th, 2000

Woman found with head injuries in her home

Islamorada – An Islamorada woman was found semi-conscious in her home, suffering from severe head injuries Sunday. Detectives are trying to find out what happened to her.

43-year-old Kathleen Romano was found in the master bedroom of her house on Stromboli Drive in the Venetian Shores Subdivision of Islamorada by a friend. Her husband, who lives in New Jersey became concerned about her when he couldn’t reach her by phone. He called the friend and asked him to check on her Sunday morning.

When the friend entered the residence just after 11 a.m., he found blood throughout the house. Romano was in the master bedroom on the top floor of the house. She had head injuries, and was unable to tell anyone what happened to her. Detective Larry O’Neill, who is currently heading up the investigation, said the injury must have occurred sometime between Friday night and Sunday morning.

Romano was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami where she underwent surgery for a skull fracture and a subdural hematoma. A detective went to the Miami hospital Sunday and met with her husband, but Romano was still unable to speak and was listed in critical condition at the hospital as of Sunday evening.

Men arrested for trafficking in cocaine

Marathon – A routine traffic stop resulted in the arrest of two men for trafficking in cocaine Friday night.

Deputy Kin Parks was on routine patrol near the intersection of Coco Plum Road and Highway U.S. One at 8:30 when she spotted a van with a headlight out. She stopped the vehicle at the 54-mile marker of the highway. Two men were inside the van. The driver, 40-year-old Eddie Rush, admitted to having a suspended driver’s license and he was arrested.

A search of the van turned up a paper bag under the passenger side seat. Inside the bag were four round disk shaped objects that were later discovered to be crack cocaine cookies. The driver, Rush, and the passenger, 24-year-old Clifford Green, were both arrested and charged with trafficking in cocaine. A search of Green’s pockets turned up 2.5 grams of cocaine powder, so he was additionally charged with possession of the illegal substance.

Both men were booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Speeding leads to marijuana arrest

Marathon – A Marathon man was arrested for possessing marijuana after he was stopped for speeding Sunday night.

Deputy Don MacCallaster stopped a black pickup truck at 10:30 p.m. Sunday after he spotted it speeding near the 47-mile marker of Highway U.S. one. Deputy Chuck Kellenberger was the back up officer on the stop.

Deputy Kellenberger used his flashlight to look at the seat of the vehicle. On the seat, in plain view, he spotted a plastic bag with a green leafy substance inside. The substance was later identified as marijuana.

The driver, 34-year-old Kelly Patron, was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana. A search of his pockets turned up another small bag of the illegal substance, for a total seizure of 30.5 grams of marijuana.

Patron was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Marathon man charged with attempted murder

Marathon – A Marathon man was arrested Sunday night on an outstanding warrant for attempted murder.

The charge stemmed from an incident that occurred March 29th on 41st Street in Marathon. The victim, 31-year-old Dario Singletary, told Deputy Todd Blyth and Detective Lionel Vargas he and the defendant, 23-year-old George Stemage, got into an argument. Singletary said Stemage went home and returned with a gun. The victim was sitting beside his van, and when he saw the gun, he said he ran around his van in an attempt to hide from Stemage. Stemage ran after him allegedly firing the gun until it ran out of bullets. The victim said Stemage said several times during the incident that he intended to kill him.

Five empty shell casings were found on the scene, as well as bullet holes in the van. Singletary was not injured.

Detective Vargas obtained a warrant for Stemage’s arrest on charges of attempted murder. Stemage was arrested by Deputy Chuck Kellenberger at 8:15 p.m. at his home on 41st Street. Bond on the warrant is set at $50,000.00.

Islamorada man arrested for knife assault

Islamorada – An Islamorada man who threatened another man with a knife is in the Monroe County Detention Center today charged with burglary and aggravated assault.

The victim told Deputies Wilson Williams and Terry Smith that he and a friend were sleeping when 30-year-old Erin Harbour forced open the locked front door of their Islamorada residence. Harbour allegedly put a knife at the victim’s throat and threatened to kill him, then shoved him to the floor. The victim grabbed an aluminum baseball bat and struck Harbour on the forehead with it. Harbour then left the residence through the back door.

A neighbor heard the disturbance and went to check on the victim. Harbour, who was circling around the building, saw the neighbor at the front door and hit him in the head, knocking him to the ground.

When deputies arrived, Harbour was in the front yard. He refused to comply with the deputy’s orders to lie on the ground so they could handcuff him. Instead, he ran at them, yelling, “shoot me, shoot me, I want to die.” They managed to take control of him, although he continued to fight with them even after they placed him in arm and leg restraints.

He reacted so violently, that Medical Units could not treat his injuries on the scene, so he was transported to Mariner’s Hospital, treated, then taken to the Plantation Key Detention Center, charged with burglary, aggravated assault, two counts of battery and two counts of resisting arrest.

April 4, 2000

Titusville man charged with vacation rental violation

Cudjoe Key – A Titusville, Florida man was arrested Saturday and charged with renting his Cudjoe Key residence on a short term basis, in violation of Monroe County’s vacation rental ordinance.

Monroe County Code Enforcement notified Detective Donald Catala of the violation March 23rd. He responded to 23097 Sailfish Lane, Cudjoe Key to check into reports it was being used as a short-term rental.

When he arrived, a man was staying in the home. He told the detective he’d written a check for $2,000.00 to the owner, 63-year-old Dean Madison. Initially, he told Det. Catala he’d written the check as a down payment to purchase the house. When he was asked to put that information in a sworn statement, however, he changed his story.

He admitted to renting the house for a ten-day period from Madison. He said he was visiting the Keys looking for property to purchase. He said Madison told him about the vacation rental ordinance, and warned him that someone might stop by the property to check on it. Madison also reportedly told the man to put “deposit on real estate in Florida Keys” on the check to make it look like he was putting a down payment on it.

Madison was arrested by Deputy Manuel Cuervo at his Cudjoe Key home April 1st and he was booked at the Monroe County Detention Center. He was released after posting a $500.00 bond.

Three Dade County women charged with using altered checks to purchase merchandise

Marathon – Three women from Homestead are in the Monroe County Detention Center charged with purchasing items from a number of stores in the Keys by writing checks on closed bank accounts and using altered driver’s licenses for identification.

Deputies were alerted to the scam last week after Office Depot in Marathon became suspicious. An employee noticed the woman writing a check for a large amount of merchandise was using a driver’s license that appeared to have been altered. A short time later, deputies stopped the women in their car outside the K-Mart in Marathon. In their car was a lot of merchandise that appeared to have just been purchased from stores in the upper and middle Keys, including Office Depot and K-Mart in Marathon, Eckerd Drugs in Islamorada and the Bealls Outlet Store in Key Largo.

Further investigation revealed the checking accounts that checks the women were writing checks from were closed accounts. The three women refused to give their real names and refused to give home addresses to the arresting deputies. Their fingerprints were run through the Automated Fingerprint Identification System and all three were finally identified as:

       33-year-old Henrietta Frasier (AKA Patrice Sabrina Sykes), charged with two counts of grand theft, two counts of uttering a forgery, two counts of worthless checks and unlawful use of a driver’s license.

       36-year-old Bernadette Campbell (AKA Pamela Sykes) charged with grand theft, obstruction by disguise, unlawful use of a driver’s license and resisting arrest without violence.

       21-year-old Matrie Lee Smith (AKA Matrie Lee Robinson) charged with grand theft, obstruction by disguise and unlawful use of a driver’s license.

All three women are still in the Monroe County Detention Center.

Easter at the Animal Park

Stock Island – The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office will be hosting an early Easter celebration this Sunday (April 9th) at the Children’s Animal Park on Stock Island.

Families are welcome to attend and enjoy the event, which will include an Easter egg hunt for children under 12, as well as a raffle with great prizes and a 50/50 drawing. There will be free refreshments provided by Pepsi, and music courtesy of WPIK Radio Station. Volunteers from “Friends of Animals” will also be on hand to help out.

Visitors to the park can also see the animals, including horses, a cow, goats, pigs, ostriches, bunnies, chickens, ducks, turkeys, peacocks, snakes, and a variety of exotic birds. Some of the animals will be available for petting.

Best of all, the event is free of charge and a great way for everyone to enjoy a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Donations are gratefully accepted, and will be used to maintain the Animal Park and feed the animals.