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
July 27, 2010
Islamorada man charged with sexual battery on 10 year old
Islamorada – An Islamorada man involved in a recent standoff with law enforcement has been charged with sexually battering a 10 year old girl.
The victim and her brother were staying with 58 year old Robert Twist in June when the incident occurred. She said she woke up to find Twist fondling her. She told a relative about the incident; the relative then reported it to her parents and to law enforcement. Detective Sgt. Linda Mixon was assigned to investigate.
A warrant was issued for Twist, charging him with two counts of sexual battery on a child under 12; on Monday, he was served with the warrant at the Monroe County Detention Center, where he is currently facing charges relating to the standoff which took place last week. The current charges carry a bond of $200,000.00.
July 25, 2010
Sheriff says keep your dive, fishing gear safe
Monroe County - Sheriff Bob Peryam wants to remind people who plan to go diving for lobster Wednesday and Thursday to be careful to keep your fishing, dive and snorkel gear secure.
“During the two day sport lobster season, we always see an increase in the theft of dive and snorkel gear," said Sheriff Peryam. "People leave their gear on the dock, or on the seawall or under their stilt house to dry and someone walks off with it. It is a simple crime to prevent - secure your gear right away when you get off the boat. Also, don’t leave gear or electronics on your boat at the end of the day. Take it with you and put it somewhere secure."
In addition, there are usually reports during the season of vehicle burglaries near bridge approaches and at boat ramps. Make sure you don’t leave purses or valuables visible in your car. Lock them in the trunk or glove box, or remove them from the car entirely. And, don’t forget to lock your car when you leave it.
Otherwise, Sheriff Peryam would like to remind people to follow the rules and have a good time.
"We will have all our boats and jet skis out on the water during the sport lobster season. We'll also have officers at all area boat ramps during the two day season. We have no desire to ruin anyone's day with a criminal charge for short lobsters or a citation for lack of safety equipment," he said. "That's why everyone should know the rules in advance, and make sure they are properly equipped for their days on the water. Make this a safe and legal visit to the Keys and we welcome everyone to our beautiful county and hope you have a terrific time."
July 20, 2010
Armed barricaded suspect is taken into custody safely
Islamorada – A tense situation involving an armed and possibly suicidal man in Islamorada today has been resolved without injury to law enforcement or the suspect himself.
Two uniformed deputies responded to 87883 Old Highway in Islamorada at 10:30 a.m. to check on a man who was reported to possibly be suicidal. When they arrived at the caretaker’s cottage on the property, where 58 year old Robert Twist Jr. lives, there was no answer at the door. The deputies decided to enter the building to check on Twist, in case he had injured himself.
When they opened the door, they were confronted by Twist, who pointed a gun at the officers. One officer deployed a Taser and the other officer fired his gun at Twist. One prong of the Taser hit Twist, but was ineffective; the bullet fired by the other officer missed Twist. At that point, the officers retreated outside and Twist barricaded himself inside, refusing to come out.
More deputies responded, setting up a perimeter around the property. Hostage Negotiators were called to the scene along with the Sheriff’s Special Weapons and Tactics team. On a number of occasions Twist shouted at the officers outside, sometimes yelling “Shoot me” and “Kill me”. He was reportedly seen on a number of occasions moving around inside the building with the gun in his hand.
At 4 p.m., negotiators were successful in talking him out of the residence peacefully. He was taken into custody and will be booked into the Monroe County Jail on charges of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer with a firearm.
Many agencies assisted the Sheriff’s Office on the scene, including the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Florida Highway Patrol, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Border Patrol,and Islamorada Fire / Rescue.
July 15, 2010
Inmate caught by KWPD
The Key West Police Department has apprehended Robert Michael Sanders, the inmate who walked away from an trusty work detail earlier this afternoon. Details of the apprehension are not currently available. Contact KWPD for more information about how and where he was found.
Sanders is being booked back into jail, charged with escape. He will obviously no longer be assigned to work as a trusty and faces a possible five years in prison on the escape charges in addition to the penalties possible for his other charges.
Trusty walks away from KOTS work detail
Stock Island – An inmate trusty assigned to work at the KOTS Homeless Shelter walked away from his work detail today and is now wanted for escape.
Robert Michael Sanders, 54, of Key West was in jail for two outstanding warrants. Charges included two counts of Burglary and two counts of Grand Theft. At 1:40 p.m., the Sheriff’s Office was notified that he walked away from KOTS, where he was working as a trusty on a cleaning detail. At that point, it is estimated he may have been gone for a half an hour.
His inmate uniform was found discarded at the marina, next door to KOTS, so detectives say he is believed to be wearing civilian clothes. Sanders’ last known address is on Harris Avenue in the city of Key West. A notice to be on the lookout for him has been issued to all police agencies in Monroe County, and to police agencies in the entire South Florida region. When he is caught, he will face charges of escape.
Anyone who has any information about Sanders should contact the Sheriff’s Office immediately, or call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and will be eligible for a cash reward if their information leads to an arrest in the case. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips can also be submitted on line at www.tipsubmit.com.
Miami men caught on stolen boat
Marathon - Two Miami men are under arrest after they were caught by the U.S. Coast Guard on board a boat stolen from Key Largo.
Deputy Francisco Gaete responded to Bass Avenue in Key Largo Wednesday morning after dispatchers received a call about a stolen boat. The boat owner's son told Deputy Gaete he saw the 28 foot Edgewater center console with twin 225 Yamaha four stroke engines in the canal behind their house before he went to bed; when he woke up at 5:30 a.m. it was gone.
Later in the morning, the boat was intercepted offshore of Marathon by the U.S. Coast Guard. Two men were on board the boat, 34 year old Eliezer Lazo-Martinez and 23 year old Pedro Blanco Valdes, both of Miami. Both men told Deputy Wilfredo Guerra they'd bought the boat from an unknown man, and were intending to take the boat to Cuba to be reunited with family members. On board the boat, they had 32 - 15 gallon tanks of gasoline and several cases of water.
Both Miami men were arrested; they were charged with burglary, grand theft and trespassing. They were booked into jail.
July 14, 2010
Woman charged with four trailer burglaries
Islamorada - A 21 year old woman has been arrested, charged with four burglaries on Airstream Lane in Islamorada.
The burglaries all took place in June. They were reported in July after one victim found some of her stolen items in a local pawn shop. Once that victim reported her jewelry stolen, the other victims came forward as well to report items stolen, including jewelry and cash. Several of the victims and a few witnesses in the area reported to deputies that they saw 21 year old Taylor Gue in the vicinity of the victim's trailers and suspected she may have committed the crimes. Gue lives in the neighborhood.
Detective Jason Madnick confronted Gue and she admitted to committing the break ins. She said she did it to pay for her drug habit. On Tuesday, she was charged with four counts of burglary, two counts of theft, two counts of grand theft and one count of dealing in stolen property. More charges are pending.
Fingerprints identify 16 year old burglary suspect
Key Largo - A 16 year old boy has been charged with burglary after fingerprints identified him as a suspect in the crime.
The burglary took place in March, on Halfway Road in the Ocean Reef Club. The victims called the Sheriff's Office after they woke up shortly after 1 a.m. and found someone standing in their bedroom. When they yelled at him, he fled through a sliding glass door, leaving the door ajar. Detective Patricia Garcia lifted fingerprints from the door which were sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for comparison to their database.
Recently, FDLE reported the fingerprints had been identified as belonging to 16 year old Kyle Lane of Key Largo. A warrant was issued for his arrest. He was arrested Tuesday and charged with Burglary of an occupied dwelling. He was booked at the Monroe County Detention Center.
Aristides Hernandez, 26, Miami; Duniesky Perez-Morales, 29, Miami 7/13 6 pm Nelson Sanchez 2007 23ft Yamaha Jet Boat 94.8mm
Alert deputy arrests two for stealing boat
Rock Harbor - Two Miami men are under arrest for stealing a boat from Key Largo Ocean Resorts.
Deputy Nelson Sanchez was on patrol at 6 p.m. when he saw a truck, a boat on a boat trailer and a white Lexus pulled to the side of the road near the 95 mile marker of the highway. There were three men on the scene. It appeared they were removing a boat cover from the boat. When Deputy Sanchez pulled up to check it out, two of the men began walking away; the third got into the Lexus and began to drive away. Deputy Sanchez put on his lights and siren, but the Lexus refused to stop. The deputy was able to get a tag number from the car, then stopped and went after one of the two other fleeing men.
26 year old Aristides Hernandez was not able to explain what he was doing there; he was evasive, and finally admitted the man who left in the Lexus had paid him to pick up the boat and deliver it to Miami. Deputy Sanchez put a notice out on police radios to stop the Lexus before it left the Keys. He then examined the boat – a 23 foot 2007 Yamaha Jet Boat - and the trailer more closely. He noticed the numbers 266 on the tongue of the trailer which, in his experience he recognized were probably a lot or apartment number where the boat was kept. He knew that Key Largo Ocean Resort was not far away, so he called there and asked for the name and phone number of the owner of Lot 266. When he spoke with the owner of the lot, she identified the boat as hers and said no one had permission to remove it.
The Lexus was stopped by Deputy Matt Koval at the 102 mile marker northbound. The driver was identified as 29 year old Duniesky Perez-Morales. He denied knowing Hernandez. Bolt cutters were found in his car which could have been used to facilitate the boat theft. Hernandez was arrested. He was returned to the scene, where Deputy Sanchez identified him as the man who fled in the Lexus.
Both men were arrested. They were charged with grant theft and were booked into jail. The third suspect was not yet apprehended. Investigations are continuing.
July 13, 2010
Fingerprints, DNA lead to arrest in two burglaries
Big Pine Key - A Big Pine Key man was arrested Monday after fingerprints tied him to one burglary, and DNA tied him to another.
The two burglaries took place in April of 2009. According to Detective Diane Mimosa, 32 year old Michael Manning first broke into a house on Ixora Drive sometime between April 8th and the 9th. He stole jewelry, cash and a couple of cameras from the home. He left behind fingerprints on the outside of the home's sliding glass door. They were collected by Crime Scene Detective John Underwood and sent off to Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) for comparison with their fingerprint database.
Between April 11th and 12th, Manning burglarized another home on Avenue G, Big Pine Key. According to Detective Mimosa, to get in, he broke a window; when he broke the window he cut himself leaving his blood behind. He took a laptop from the home. His blood was collected by Detective Underwood and sent off to FDLE for comparison to their DNA database.
Recently, the results from both the fingerprint and the DNA comparison returned from FDLE identifying Manning as the perpetrator of both burglaries. Warrants were issued for his arrest. The warrants were served Monday. He is currently in Monroe County jail.
July 12, 2010
Fire at Cudjoe Key restaurant
Cudjoe Key - Fire damaged Coco's Cantina on Cudjoe Key overnight.
Deputy Peter Garcia was on patrol, northbound on U.S. One at 12:15 a.m. today when he saw smoke coming from Coco's Cantina at the 21 mile marker of the highway. He called for firefighters and then evacuated two residents from an efficiency apartment in the rear of the building. Firefighters found the fire appeared to have originated in the rear of the building. There was no one inside. There was damage from smoke and heat throughout the building.
The State Fire Marshal responded and will be investigating the origins of the fire.
Palm Beach man arrested after false calls to 911
Islamorada - Sheriff's deputies arrested a Palm Beach County man after he called 911 two nights in a row to falsely report that bartenders at Hog Heaven Sports Bare were serving alcohol to minors.
In the early morning hours Saturday, Sheriff's dispatchers received a call from a man identifying himself as David Hoffman. He gave his phone number, and said he was at Hog Heaven, was underage and was being served alcohol. When Deputy Yunier Galvez arrived, he encountered two men arguing in the parking lot. Deputy Galvez intervened, telling them they had to leave. He told them to leave their car and to take a taxi because they had been drinking. He then went into the bar and spoke with a security person about the report of possible underage drinking. Security said the two men the deputy had encountered in the parking lot had just been asked to leave the bar because they were causing a disturbance. He said the men threatened to call the police and tell them the bar was serving minors.
In the early morning hours Sunday, dispatch got another call from an unidentified person reporting that Hog Heaven was serving alcohol to minors. This time, the person did not give a name, but the phone number was the same as the night before. Deputy Galvez, who responded to the first call, remembered the car belonging to the two men arguing in the parking lot had been a gray Dodge Magnum, so a notice to be on the lookout for the car was issued over police radios. Deputy Galvez and Deputy Patrick Crozier stopped the car at a Plantation Key convenience store. Deputy Galvez identified the passenger as one of the two men from the night before.
At first, the passenger denied being David Hoffman, and denied calling 911. His identification belied his claims, however, and confirmed Hoffman was his name. He finally admitted to making the false 911 calls because the "bouncers were picking on him". Bouncers at the bar said Hoffman and his friend showed up again at the bar and were told they could not enter because of the trouble they caused the night before.
Hoffman, who is 29 years old, was arrested and charged with misuse of 911 and resisting arrest. He was booked into jail.
July 9, 2010
Detention Deputy charged with battering inmate
Stock Island – A Monroe County Detention Deputy who works at the Stock Island jail was arrested today for battering an inmate.
The battery incident took place Thursday as Deputy Kenson Jean Baptiste was removing 19 year old inmate Fernando Concepcion, Jr. from his cell at the main detention facility. According to Investigator Janine Gedmin, a surveillance video shows the officer slammed Concepcion into a phone cage; Concepcion had his hands cuffed in front of him at the time and, according to Investigator Gedmin, he at no time showed signs of physically resisting the officer. The officer then picked the inmate up off the floor and slammed him into the cement wall next to the cage.
The inmate sustained a minor laceration and swelling on his forehead, an injury on his lip and abrasions on his wrists. He was treated for his injuries by the jail medical staff. Jean Baptiste was booked into jail for battery. His bond is set at $2,000.00.
Jean Baptiste is 26 years old; he’s been employed by the Sheriff’s Office as a Corrections Officer since March of 2008. He will now be placed in a position at the Sheriff’s Office that requires no contact with inmates until the outcome of an Internal Affairs Investigation into this incident.
July 9, 2010
Tavernier woman charged with business burglary
Key Largo – A Tavernier woman was arrested early today after deputies responded to an alarm call at Papa John’s restaurant at the 98 mile marker of the highway.
Deputies John Perez and Ian Barnett responded to the alarm call at 1:20 a.m. As they arrived, they saw car speeding away from the area. The vehicle was stopped and 33 year old Jennifer Rubino was found to be driving it. She was wearing a Papa John’s employee uniform.
Investigations revealed she had entered the Papa John’s restaurant after it was closed. She took a digital video recorder from the business, which was recovered from her car. The manager also told deputies a small amount of cash was taken.
A search of Rubino’s purse inside the vehicle, turned up cocaine, Xanax and Endocet. She was arrested and charged with burglary, theft, possession of cocaine and possession of controlled substances without a prescription. She was booked into jail.
July 8, 2010
Arrest made in two Dominos Pizza burglaries
A Miami man is in custody, charged with two burglaries at Domino's Pizza restaurants in the upper Keys in June.
The burglaries took place June 12th at the Domino's locations at the 88.5 and the 99 mile markers of U.S. One. Both locations were forcibly entered and damage was done to the inside; a small amount of cash was taken in both instances. Detectives were able to identify 24 year old Stephen Rosario of Miami from surveillance video they obtained during their investigation.
Case Detective Jason Madnick has been working with detectives from Miami-Dade County. There have been seven similar Domino's Pizza break-ins in that area and, according to Miami-Dade Police, Rosario is a suspect in those cases; he is reportedly a former employee of a Domino's Pizza in Miami.
Rosario was taken into custody in Miami Wednesday on two outstanding Monroe County warrants and is currently being interviewed there; when he is returned to Monroe County, he faces charges including two counts each of burglary, possession of burglary tools, theft and one count of criminal mischief.
The investigation is still going on and detectives anticipate the possible arrest of a second suspect.
July 6, 2010
Honduran man charged with sexual battery on young girl
Stock Island - A 20 year old man from Honduras was arrested Monday, charged with sexual battery on a young girl.
The young girl told family members what happened Monday and they called the Sheriff's Office at 7:30 p.m. When deputies and detectives arrived, the suspect - Darwin Banegas-Serrano - was still on the scene at a trailer in Waters Edge Trailer Park on Stock Island. He admitted to sexually battering the nine year old victim. He was arrested and charged with sexual battery on a child under the age of 12 and he was booked into jail.
Key Largo man arrested for having sex with a teen
Rock Harbor - A 25 year old Key Largo man is under arrest, charged with having sexual relations with a 16 year old girl.
The girl's mother called the Sheriff's Office Monday morning to ask for help. She said she had information that her young daughter was in a hotel room with 25 year old Arthur Gasser. When she and Deputy Ryan Cowart arrived at the hotel, located at the 98.6 mile marker, they indeed found the girl in a room with Gasser. They were in bed together and there was a used condom found in the room. The girl told Deputy Cowart they had consensual sex together.
Gasser was arrested and charged with being over the age of 24 and having sexual relations with a victim who is under the age of 18, a second degree felony. He was booked into jail.
Tree crushes uproots; crushes car
Key Largo - A tree uprooted and fell on a car overnight on Plante Street in Key Largo.
The tree is currently being removed by Monroe County Public Works, assisted by inmates from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office Detention Center.
July 2, 2010
Officers shoot attacking dog during warrant service
Stock Island - A chaotic scene and an attacking Rottweiler led to the shooting death of the dog yesterday on Stock Island.
Detectives and deputies went to a Stock Island residence on 2nd Terrace Thursday at 6:15 p.m. to serve an arrest warrant on Catherine Perez. They were backed up by officers from Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
When they arrived, they explained to her what they were there for and she became belligerent and uncooperative, struggling with the officers who were taking her into custody on grand theft charges.
Neighbors and family members began gathering. A large Rottweiler was chained to a picnic table. The owner of the dog, 41 year old Thomas Council, was asked to move the dog to a side yard to get the dog away from the crowd and the officers. Council unchained the dog from the table and took hold of the dog's collar. According to deputies on the scene, Council took a couple of steps with the dog, then deliberately let go of the dog's collar, turing it loose. Council later admitted to letting the dog go on purpose. He said he thought he could control the dog and that the dog would listen to him.
The dog began advancing on officers and others gathered at the scene. The dog was described as agitated, with its hackles raised, growling and barking. Individuals in the crowd began to scream and run; Council began running at one of the officers on scene - an Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officer named Jeffrey Muller.
Muller told deputies that Council charged at him, hitting him with his fist; Agent Muller then took Council to the ground, in an effort to control the situation. As other officers ran to assist, the dog charged at Muller and Council. Muller was forced to shoot the dog to keep from being attacked. The dog died on the scene.
Perez was taken to jail for the grand theft warrant; Council was also arrested, charged with resisting an officer with violence. Agent Muller was taken to the hospital for treatment after he complained of chest pains and difficulty breathing.
Utah man dies after diving the Vandenberg
Key West - A Utah man is dead after he had trouble upon surfacing from a dive offshore of Key West, on the Vandenberg
Detective Kim Trullender said 51 year old Elwood Carter, of Orem, Utah was visiting Key West alone, with the goal of diving the Vandenberg On Thursday, he was set to reach that goal, going on a dive on board the dive vessel Sea Eagle. He told other divers on board that he'd been involved in a motorcycle accident with his girlfriend and the girlfriend was killed. "It was apparently their dream to dive the Vandenberg together," said Detective Trullender. "After she died, he decided to dive it himself, in her memory," he said.
Carter was diving at a depth of 92 feet on the Vandenberg According to witnesses, he surfaced from the dive at about 11:30 a.m. and began to have difficulties as he was removing his equipment. He passed out on the surface. He was pulled into the vessel and two paramedics who just happened to be on board began CPR and began giving him oxygen. Carter was transported to the U.S. Coast Guard Station in Key West where he was picked up by an ambulance. He was transported to Lower Keys Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Carter was reportedly an experienced diver, but had not been diving in a number of years.
July 1, 2010
Cudjoe Key man charged with selling Oxycodone
Big Pine Key - Detectives from the Sheriff's Special Investigations Division arrested a Cudjoe Key man after an undercover operative bought Oxycodone from him Wednesday.
The undercover operative called 36 year old Brett Stewart Wednesday on Stewart's cell phone and he agreed to sell the operative 50-30 milligram Oxycodone pills for $1,000.00. The two met at the Blue Hole on Key Deer Boulevard and the operative exchanged cash for the pills. Stewart was arrested a short distance away and the documented buy money was recovered from him. Stewart was charged with trafficking in a controlled substance and use of a two way communications device to facilitate a felony. Stewart was booked into jail.