Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Daily Crime and Information Report

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


August 31, 2000

Woman a victim of “lottery ticket fraud”

Marathon – A Marathon woman reported Wednesday being the victim of “lottery ticket fraud”.

The victim told deputies she was approached August 28th by a woman in front of a Marathon pharmacy. The woman, who said her name was “Maria”, was crying and told her she had a winning Mega money lottery ticket, but was afraid to cash it in because she is an illegal alien and may be deported. As the two women were talking, a man walked up and identified himself as “Juan”, an employee of the pharmacy. He said he would help “Maria” cash her lottery ticket.

According to the victim, “Juan” said he would first drive the two women to a nearby convenience store to confirm the ticket was a winner. He drove them to the store, went inside, and returned, telling them the ticket was worth $250,000. He told “Maria” he would take her to Miami the following day to collect her money. “Maria” then told “Juan” she would give him $10,000 for his trouble. “Maria” then asked the victim if she could keep her winnings in her bank account, until she could open her own. She said she would pay the victim $6,000.00 for her help.

That night, the victim allowed “Maria” to stay at her house. In the morning, all three began the drive to Miami. During the drive, “Maria” asked Juan and the victim if they would provide her with “good faith money” so she would feel she could trust them. They both agreed. “Juan” stopped at a bank, went inside, and came out with cash and jewelry. The group then went to the victim’s bank, where she took cash and jewelry from her safe deposit box. She gave the cash and jewelry to “Juan”.

The group then drove to a nearby store, where “Maria” asked the victim to go into the store and buy her some aspirin. As she was leaving the vehicle, “Juan” handed her a bag he said contained her money and valuables. When she came out of the store, “Juan” and “Maria” were gone. When she opened the bag, her money and jewelry were not inside.

The victim said she checked with the pharmacy and found out “Juan” did not work there.

Detectives will be investigating. Anyone with information about this case should call the Sheriff’s Office. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. IF a caller’s tip leads to an arrest, he or she will be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.00. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

August 29, 2000

Man charged with fleeing from officers, domestic battery

Monroe County – A Big Pine Key man was arrested this morning (Tuesday) after becoming involved in an argument with his wife that became physical. He then fled from the residence in his car, refusing to stop for law enforcement officers as he drove southbound on highway U.S. One.

35-year-old Victor Boone fought with his wife at their home on Avenue F, Big Pine Key. He then left the house driving a black 1979 Chevrolet. The victim called the Sheriff’s Office to report the incident and a notice to be on the lookout for his car was issued over police radios.

Deputy John Barber spotted the car southbound on Little Torch Key just before 9 a.m. When he tried to pull it over using his emergency lights and sirens, Boone refused to stop. Deputy Freddy Rodriguez responded as back up and the two deputies followed Boone as he drove southbound.

Other deputies responded from Stock Island to the Rockland Key Bridge with a set of Stinger Spikes, used to puncture a car’s tires and slowly and safely bring it to a stop in this type of situation. When Boone’s car arrived at the bridge, the spikes were successfully deployed, the car’s tires were punctured and it came to a stop a short distance away.

Boone was safely taken into custody. He was charged with domestic battery, fleeing an eluding law enforcement officers, driving on the wrong side of the road, failing to obey emergency vehicles, passing in a no passing zone and not wearing a seatbelt. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Cab driver robbed in Marathon

Marathon – A cab driver reported being robbed by four men late Monday night.

The victim told Deputy Todd Tetterton he picked up the four men on Washington Street just before 10 p.m. He said they wanted to go to 73rd Street. When he arrived on 73rd Street, they told him to stop and asked if he had change for a 50-dollar bill. He took out his money and began counting out change. At that point, one of the men in the back seat grabbed him around the neck while another man grabbed his money. All four then got out of the cab and fled the area on foot.

The victim went to a nearby fast food restaurant and the Sheriff’s Office to report the incident.  He described his attackers as black males, all under 20 years of age. One is approximately six feet tall, while the others were approximately five foot six inches tall. One of the men was wearing a “stocking type cap”.

Anyone with information about this case should call the Sheriff’s Office at 289-2430. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a tip leads to an arrest, the caller would be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.00. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

Aug. 24, 2000

Sexual battery on minors arrest

Investigation by the Sheriff’s Crimes against Women and Children Unit resulted in the arrest of 40-year old David G. Hernandez on charges of sexual battery against two minor girls. Hernandez, who is a Marathon resident, was booked into jail Wednesday night. His bond is set at 115 thousand dollars.

The first sexual battery case accuses Hernandez of multiple sexual batteries of a girl in Marathon beginning when she was eleven years old in 1994 and continuing until August of 1999. The second case involved a 16-year old girl from the Marathon area. Hernandez is charged with having multiple sexual encounters with her during a time period from March of 1999 to May of 2000.

Both victims gave investigators detailed statements about the sexual batteries. Based on those statements and further investigation by detectives, an arrest warrant was signed by Judge Becker. Hernandez was taken into custody Wednesday evening in Marathon.

Drug trafficking arrest on Big Coppitt Key

Members of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Special Operations Unit and Special Response Team served a search warrant at a Big Coppitt Key residence that was outfitted with a high tech surveillance system. 

The early morning operation on Tuesday, Aug. 22 yielded one arrest and one-point five ounces of cocaine powder. Arrested on drug trafficking charges was 30-year old Doberti Sanchez. His residence at number eleven Riviera Drive featured a closed circuit television system that monitored the front gate. The investigation of Sanchez followed citizen complaints about drug activity in the area. Sanchez was released on seventy five thousand dollars bond, pending trial.

Date: Aug. 21, 2000

Pistol toting suspect arrested for threatening people

Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the 41st area of Marathon early Sunday morning after receiving reports of a man with a gun. 

Deputies Todd Blyth and David Carpenter located a man standing in the middle of the street. The Deputies asked 33-year old Timothy D. Armstrong if he had a gun. Armstrong replied “I have a gun behind my back.” The Deputies quickly confiscated the gun and handcuffed Armstrong without incident. A search of Armstrong turned up a knife and three tablets of Valium. Several witnesses in the area identified Armstrong as the man who had threatened several people with the handgun, a Smith and Wesson Model 659 that was fully loaded with a chambered round. Armstrong was taken to the county jail and booked on charges of aggravated assault and possession of a controlled substance.

Four arrested in Cudjoe Key burglary

Alert neighbors who reported suspicious activity helped Sheriff’s Deputies arrested four suspects in the burglary of an unoccupied house on Cudjoe Key early today (Monday). 

Sheriff’s Deputies Frank Bartanowitz and Sgt. Joe Pasarelli responded and stopped a vehicle on Jolly Roger Road, a couple of blocks from the burglary scene on Peg Leg road. The driver of the vehicle, 19-year old Phil Pasada of Big Coppitt Key, was detained and later arrested when stolen items were found in his truck. 

Deputies apprehended three other suspects near the burglary scene. 20-year old Reggie Brown of Sugarloaf Key and 19-year old Angelo D’Ambrusio of Key West were arrested after deputies matched their shoes with shoe prints found at the scene. 17-year old Rory Hunt of Cudjoe Key was arrested after Deputies found a television remote which controlled a television that had been taken from the house.

All four suspects were booked at the County Detention Center on burglary charges. The owners of the burglarized house are on vacation.

August 15, 2000

Diver dies in the upper Keys

Islamorada – A visitor scuba diving off the Channel 2 Bridge just south of Islamorada died Tuesday morning just after 8 a.m. after becoming separated from his diving partners by a swift current in the area.

57-year-old Bobby Heath of Jackson, Mississippi is visiting the Keys with his wife, Deena, and two friends. They had been in the Keys since Sunday. The group was reportedly diving in 15 to 20 feet of water off of the Channel 2 Bridge at the 73-mile marker of Highway U.S. One. According to Special Investigations Detective John Shaw, Heath apparently got separated from the group when he got caught in a swift current and was swept away.

United States Coast Guard, Florida Marine Patrol and the Sheriff's Office responded to the scene and his body was recovered from nearby waters a short time later. It appears he may have drowned, but an autopsy will be done to determine the exact cause of his death.

August 14, 2000

Body identified as Cuban refugee by family in Miami

Monroe County – The body found floating in the water’s off of the Florida Keys last week has been identified as a 23 year old Cuban man. The second body spotted nearby but not recovered was most likely his 20-year-old brother.

Family members who live in the Miami area called the Florida Marine Patrol concerned because they believed the two men were en route from Cuba and they hadn’t shown up. They were referred to Special Investigations Detective James Norman, who is working on the case. The family told Detective Norman that 23-year-old Juan Carlos Rodriguez-Bueno and 20-year-old Alex Rodriguez-Bueno were last seen by relatives in Cuba Sunday, August 6th.

Detective Norman met with a stepbrother of the two men, who lives in Miami. He showed the stepbrother a picture of the recovered body’s face, but he was unable to make a positive identification because of the decomposed state of the remains. The stepbrother, in turn, took the picture to his father, who lives in Hialeah. The father, 59-year-old Carlos Rodriguez was able to identify the photo as his son. He told detectives his son also had partial dentures and was known to wear an earring in his left ear, matching the description of the recovered body. Approximate height and weight of the son also matched those of the remains found last week.

The family told Detective James Norman the two men wanted to come to the United States and had talked about it a number of times. Their mother, who still lives in Cuba, told family members in the U.S. she hadn’t seen them since Sunday and thought they might be on their way together.

Man finds alarm box in gas tank

Key Largo – A Tavernier man was leaving the Key Largo flea market Saturday when he noticed wires sticking out of his truck’s gas tank. He pulled over and notified the Sheriff’s Office that he might have a bomb in the gas tank of his vehicle.

Monroe County Sheriff’s Office bomb technicians responded to the parking lot of the shopping center at the 103-mile marker Saturday at 10:45 a.m. When they arrived, they observed a wire which appeared t be sticking out of the truck’s gas tank. Using a special remote controlled robot, they removed a small device that turned out to be part of a car alarm. The device was rendered safe, and upon further investigation, turned out not to be explosive in nature.

Detectives will be investigating.

Marathon man charged with threatening his sister, breaking into her house

Marathon – A Marathon man was arrested Sunday in the early morning hours after he threatened his sister, then forced his way into her house without her permission.

The victim is the sister of 48-year-old Argelio Companoni. She told Deputy Luis Vega her brother pulled up in front of her residence on 80th Street in Marathon at 10:45 p.m. and began yelling obscenities at her. When she refused to go outside, he kicked the door open. She ran to the phone to call for help, but he grabbed the phone away from her. When she tried again to call for help, he slammed the phone to the ground, breaking it.

He began to walk towards her. She slapped him and ran from the home, going to a neighbor’s house to call for help.

Companoni was found at his residence a short time later and was arrested charged with assault, burglary and criminal mischief and he was taken to jail.

Marathon man charged with threatening another man with a chainsaw

Marathon – A Marathon man has been charged with chasing another man around with a running chainsaw in an apparent attempt to injure him.

Witnesses told Deputy Gerald Leathers they saw 49-year-old Craig Geary chasing the victim around a car Saturday at 11:30 p.m. at a residence on 7th Avenue in Marathon. They said the chainsaw was running, and Geary appeared to be trying to hurt the victim with it. The witnesses said they have seen Geary chase someone with the chainsaw before.

Geary was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and he was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.


Date: August 10, 2000

One body recovered off-shore

Looe Key – The Florida Marine Patrol, Coast Guard and Sheriff’s Office responded to reports of two bodies found floating offshore of Looe Key today (Thursday). One body, decomposed and possibly shark bitten, was recovered.

Fishermen who reported seeing the bodies say they spotted them floating about six nautical miles out from Looe Key Light at 9:30 a.m. They said they called the Coast Guard to report the sighting, then saw a shark take one of the bodies underwater.

When officers from Marine Patrol arrived, they recovered the body of a Hispanic male. The body had a small silver hoop earring in one ear and was wearing a pair of white sneakers with the brand name “erke” on them. The body was wearing no other clothing, and no identification was found. The body showed signs of decomposition and initial examination showed damage that might be shark bites.

The man’s body is being transported to shore and will be examined by the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Detectives from the Sheriff’s Office are investigating.


August 9, 2000

Alarm leads to burglary arrest

Shark Key – A Homeless man was arrested Tuesday afternoon after a burglar alarm alerted deputies that he was breaking in to a home on Shark Key.

Deputies Frank Bartanowitz and Jack Bernhard arrived at the home just before 2 p.m. in response to an alarm going off. Investigations revealed an open door leading to the garage. There were also pry marks found on a door leading to the inside of the residence and evidence that someone had rummaged around inside the house. 34 year old Joseph Anthony Enlow was found hiding behind the home, in some bushes up against a house column. In a fanny pack belonging to Enlow, the deputies found several tools commonly used to commit burglary, including a screwdriver, box cutter and needle nosed pliers. A can of “Chicken of the Sea” tuna was also found in his bag.

The owner of the home was called to the scene. He told the deputies all of the home’s doors were locked when he left earlier in the day. He also showed the deputies two more cans of tuna in a cupboard inside the house. Numbers stamped on the two cans were the same lot numbers as those on the can found in Enlow’s possession.

When dispatchers ran Enlow’s name through the computer, records indicated he also goes by the name Gregory Moser. Under that name, he is wanted in Washington State on an outstanding warrant for violation of probation. When the deputy asked Enlow if he ever goes by another name, he denied using an alias. He later admitted to being known by the name Moser.

Enlow was arrested, charged with burglary, possession of burglary tools, trespassing and resisting arrest without violence. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.


August 7, 2000

Pair picks the wrong trailer to steal from

Sunshine Key – A Key West homeless couple chose the wrong campsite when they tried to take rods and reels from two police officers from the Miami area that were staying at the Sunshine Key campground.

The victims said they were sitting in their travel trailer at 11:30 p.m. when they saw a woman and a man walk up onto the wooden porch next to their trailer and remove five rods and reels. They confronted the couple, who fled on foot. The victims pursued them, catching them a short distance away.

Deputies responded and took the two into custody. 40-year-old Vickey Chapman and 44-year-old Robert Wildblood were both charged with burglary and theft and they were booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Homestead teen charged with fleeing from deputies, stolen auto

Key Largo – Deputies, dispatched to a possible burglary in progress, ended up chasing a fleeing pickup truck to Homestead Sunday just before 3 a.m. The driver was apprehended by a Homestead Police Department K-9 unit after he fled from the vehicle on foot.

Deputy Sean Heffron responded to a possible burglary in progress on Tarpon Basin Drive in Key Largo just before 3 a.m. A woman had called the Sheriff’s Office to report seeing a dark colored pickup truck pull up on the street and she thought they were going to break into a neighboring home.

When Deputy Heffron arrived, he saw a dark colored pickup leaving the area. When he tried to stop the truck by pulling into it’s path, the driver drove around the patrol car. The deputy pursued the truck onto the highway, where Deputy Tim Hurd joined him. The two deputies pursued the truck at speeds of 80 to 105 miles per hour until they reached the 109-mile marker. During the course of the pursuit, they were able to get the truck’s tag number. Dispatchers checked the tag and discovered the truck had been reported stolen.

At the 109-mile marker, the deputies turned off their lights and sirens and continued to follow the truck. At that point, Florida City, Homestead and Miami-Dade Police were notified that he was headed their way.

The driver, later identified as 16-year-old Mario Segundo, turned off the highway at Chrome Avenue, then onto a side street where he jumped from the vehicle and fled on foot. A perimeter was set up and a Homestead K-9 unit began searching for Segundo. The dog found Segundo hiding in some bushes not far from the truck. He was arrested.

A check of the truck revealed it had been stolen August 4th from the Miami area. Further investigation revealed a second person had been with Segundo when he stopped on Tarpon Basin Drive. That suspect allegedly stole a 1994 GMC sport utility vehicle from a house on that street. He was reportedly seen northbound at the Card Sound Road tollbooth in that stolen vehicle.

Segundo was charged with grand theft, aggravated fleeing and eluding, driving with a suspended license and being a principle in the first degree to grand theft. He was turned over to the custody of his parents.

Three teens charged with burglary to a boat

Islamorada – Three seventeen year old boys were arrested Sunday in the early morning hours after they were caught burglarizing a charter boat at Holiday Isle.

The front desk alerted security at the resort of a possible burglary to the charter boat “Jeanie-Q”. When the security officer responded to the boat, he found one boy just stepping off the boat and the other standing beside it.

Deputies arrived and took the boys into custody. Witnesses told Deputy Terry Smith they saw three boys on the boat. The owner of the boat responded and discovered the boat’s equipment lockers had been broken into and several items had been moved around. The two boys in custody told Deputy Smith a third boy, named “Martin”, was also involved in committing the crime.

17-year-old Christian Valdes of Coral Gables and 17-year-old Richard Hampton of Miami were arrested and charged with burglary. The third boy, 17-year-old Martin Bernasconi of Coral Gables, was found nearby and was also arrested.


August 5, 2000

Woman charged with child abuse

Marathon – A Marathon woman was arrested Friday and charged with child abuse.

Detective Krissy Games with the Special Investigations Division arrested 50 year old Alma Ramirez of Marathon. Ramirez is accused of beating a 16 year old girl on July 26th in the parking lot of the Marathon K-Mart. The girl suffered a black eye, and bruised lips, ears and rib cage from the beating.

Ramirez was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Warrant sweep nets 17 arrests; drug sting leads to five more

Stock Island – Sheriff’s detectives and deputies arrested 17 people on outstanding warrants during a warrant sweep, and five people for attempting to buy cocaine from undercover operatives during a reverse sting operation. The warrant sweep took place over a two day period, Thursday and Friday, and the reverse sting took place Thursday afternoon.

Both operations were conducted by the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Division assisted by District One road patrol and detectives.

The outstanding warrants were all for drug related charges. The warrants were issued after detectives from the Special Investigations Division conducted an undercover operation spanning three months in the Stock Island area. The detectives purchased drugs from 27 different people during that time period, some on multiple occasions. Ten people could not be found during the sweep and are still wanted on outstanding warrants:

Arrested during the sting were:

James Atkins, 36, of Stock Island for sale of cocaine

Dee Bannister, 41, of Stock Island for sale of cocaine

Leora Beck, 34, of Stock Island for sale of cocaine (2 counts)

Juaquin Duarte, 41, of Stock Island for sale of cocaine

Dan Egan, 47, of Stock Island for sale of cocaine

Armando Estevez, 63, of Stock Island for sale of cocaine

Roberto Ferrer, 42, of Stock Island for sale of cocaine

Otilio Fuentes, 50, of Stock Island for sale of cocaine (4 counts)

Augustin Garcia, 48, of Stock Island for sale of cocaine

Orlando Garcia, 48, of Stock Island for sale of cocaine (2 counts)

Rogelio Gonzalez, 40, of Stock Island for sale of cocaine (2 counts)

Mercedes Gonzalez, 62, of Stock Island for possession of cocaine

Kevin Lehr, 30, of Stock Island for sale of cocaine

Anthony Robinson, 53, of Stock Island for sale of cocaine

Rene Rafael Tur, 32, of Stock Island for sale of cocaine

Regina Wiseman, 38, of Stock Island for sale of cocaine (3 counts)

Antoinette Wollack, 36, of Stock Island for sale of cocaine

Still at large on outstanding warrants

Gabriel Alvarez, 22, of Stock Island, sale of cocaine

Kevin Davis, 38, of Stock Island, sale of cocaine

Gregoria Diaz, 63, of Stock Island, sale of cocaine

Johnny Dieubon, 21, of Stock Island, sale of cocaine

Linda Freeman, 52, of Stock Island, sale of cocaine

Arturo Gallardo, 47, of Stock Island, sale of cocaine (2 counts)

Kathy Grove, 48, of Stock Island, sale of cocaine (2 counts)

Carlos Mendoza, 30, of Stock Island, sale of cocaine

Valdomero Noa, 51, of Stock Island, sale of cocaine

Juan Tuero, 65, of Stock Island, sale of cocaine

Arrested during the reverse sting operation were:

Kevin Martine, 37, of Key West

Cheyenne Star Love, 51, of Key West

Charles Coffey, Jr., 51, of Marathon

Christopher Kelly, 39, of Key West

George Thomas Haley, 50, of Key West


August 3, 2000

Stock Island man charged with possessing cocaine

Stock Island – A Stock Island man was arrested after he was found to be in possession of crack cocaine Wednesday.

Deputy Frank Bartanowitz was on patrol in the vicinity of the Key Haven Boat Ramp when he saw 63-year-old Armando Estevez acting suspiciously, as if trying to hide from him. The deputy approached him and asked if he could do a pat down search for officer safety. Estevez agreed to the search.

In one of the man’s pockets, Bartanowitz found a rock of crack cocaine. Estevez also had $70.00 in cash. He was arrested, charged with possession of cocaine and he was taken to jail.

Two Grassy Key men charged with possessing cocaine

Marathon – Two Grassy Key residents were arrested and charged with possessing crack cocaine late Wednesday.

Deputy Chuck Kellenberger was on routine patrol in the vicinity of 38th Street in Marathon just before midnight when he spotted two men walking along the roadway. He asked their permission to search their pockets and they agreed.

As he began the search, the deputy saw one of the men throw two objects on the ground. Those objects turned out to be a small package containing crack cocaine rocks and a metal pipe used to smoke crack cocaine.

Upon questioning, the men said they both had bought the cocaine recently on 41st Street and smoked some of it prior to the deputy stopping them. 40-year-old Paul Szymanski and 35 year old Richard Lehmann were both charged with possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia and they were booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Key Largo man charged with robbery, battery

Tavernier – A Key Largo man was arrested after he stole cartons of cigarettes from a convenience store, then threatened to shoot the owner.

The owner of the Payfair Market in Tavernier told Deputy Winfred Higgins he saw 43-year-old Samuel Stevenson stuff three cartons of cigarettes under his shirt, then walk out the door. He said he caught Stevenson at the door, and tried to detain him. Stevenson struggled with him, then told the owner he had a gun and would shoot him if he didn’t let him go.

At that point, two other people came to the assistance of the owner and they detained Stevenson and called the Sheriff’s Office. While they were holding him, he broke away and ran out the back door. They caught him as he was climbing over a barbed wire fence. When Deputy Higgins arrived, they were in back of the store still fighting with the suspect.

Stevenson was placed under arrest for robbery and aggravated battery on a person over 65 years of age. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.