Issued by the Media Relations Office,
Public Information Officer Deputy Becky Herrin
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October 31, 201
Plane crashes at Key West Airport
Key West – A Gulfstream 150 jet crash landed at the Key West airport this evening at 7:45 p.m. with the pilot and co-pilot radioing there were no brakes upon landing. Four people on board were taken to Lower Keys hospital, two with minor injuries and two transported for precautionary reasons.
The plane was registered to Jimmie Johnson Racing II Incorporated out of Charlotte North Carolina. Names of those on board were not immediately available. The plane ran completely off the runway and the runaway was closed for a short time before being reopened. The National Transportation Safety Board was notified and will be investigating the incident.
Maryland man charged with variety of drugs
Deputies in Marathon arrested a Maryland man Sunday morning on drug charges after a reckless driving complaint.
A woman called Sheriff’s dispatchers at 10:30 a.m. to report she was northbound following a white van which was driving erratically, crossing the center lane into oncoming traffic. She continued to update dispatchers as she and the van crossed the Seven Mile Bridge into Marathon. Deputy Jon Barry Huff was just north of the bridge. When the van passed his patrol car, he pulled in behind it. After observing the van cross the dividing line several times, he pulled it over near 53rd Street in Marathon.
The driver was identified as 25 year old Jesse Leese. There were four other people in the vehicle with him. An open bottle of rum was found behind the driver’s seat. Leese was initially given warnings for not staying in his lane, not carrying a current insurance card and for open container.
Sgt. Dennis Coleman was on the scene assisting, along with Deputies Leon Bourcier and Bradford Colen. Sgt. Coleman asked Leese if he had any illegal substances in the van. Leese admitted to having marijuana, turning over to the deputies a mason jar half full of marijuana buds. He was then arrested for possession of marijuana. In his pockets, the deputies found Xanax packaged in 11 individual plastic bags, as if for sale. Leese also had $544 in cash in his pockets and his wallet.
A further search of the van turned up more Xanax in several different areas; Hash, Oxycodone, Methadone, Adderal and more marijuana. He currently faces multiple drug related charges. The cash and his van were seized for possible forfeiture.
One of the passengers, 42 year old Cerrina Norton of Key Largo, had marijuana in her possession. She was also arrested and charged with possession of marijuana.
October 29, 2011
Man wanted for lewd and lascivious acts is arrested
A Big Coppitt Key man wanted for lewd acts on a 13 year old girl was arrested on an outstanding warrant overnight.
The incident took place on October 19th at a residence on Big Coppitt Key. The victim told detectives 66 year old Alfredo Cardenas Rodriguez grabbed her and stuck his tongue in her ear. Before she could break away from him, he kissed her on the lips and tried to put his tongue in her mouth.
Cardenas Rodriguez is a friend of the victim’s family and was at her home helping to cook dinner at the time.
She broke away and ran next door to a friend’s house. She told her mother about the incident and they reported it to the Sheriff’s Office.
Detective Manny Cuervo was assigned to investigate the case. He obtained a warrant for the suspect’s arrest. Cardenas Rodriguez was picked up by Key West Police who brought him in to the Stock Island Detention Center where he was charged with lewd and lascivious behavior. He is currently in jail.
Woman arrested for drugs
Key West – A deputy on patrol at Higg’s Beach in Key West arrested a woman for possessing drugs.
Deputy Kimberly Clausen saw 40 year old Joyce Carter of Dunedin, Florida sleeping in her car, a 2009 Suba Legacy. She knocked on the car’s window and asked to see Carter’s driver’s license.
When Carter opened her purse, the deputy saw a plastic bag with a green leafy substance inside. She asked Carter to get out of the car and asked her if she had drugs in her purse.
Carter told the deputy she had marijuana and some “crystal”. In the purse Deputy Clausen found marijuana and a baggie of methamphetamine. She also found a pill that Carter said was ecstasy but it did not test positive for ecstasy. Syringes used to inject the methamphetamine were also found in the car. Carter was arrested, charged with possession of marijuana, methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia and she was booked into jail.
October 27, 2011
Man dies snorkeling offshore of Key West
A man visiting South Florida from Nova Scotia, Canada died while snorkeling offshore of Key West Wednesday.
43 year old Daniel Yiu Sun Ting was staying at a hotel in Miami Beach and had taken a day trip to Key West on a tour bus. Detective Manny Cuervo said Ting was traveling alone. Ting took a snorkeling trip on board one of the Sebago charter boats to the Eastern Dry Rocks. According to employees on the boat, he was in the water with snorkeling gear, wearing a floatation device and carrying a Styrofoam “noodle”. He was snorkeling in about 18 feet of water at around 2 p.m.
They said they saw him in the water and he was fine; just a few minutes later, they noticed the “noodle” floating away and saw him floating on the water, not moving. When they pulled him into the boat, he was not breathing.
They started Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation and called the U.S. Coast Guard. The Coast Guard responded and picked the victim up, bringing him to the docks where they were met by paramedics. Ting was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of his death.
Detective Cuervo said Ting has no family in the United States or in Canada. Detective Cuervo was able to locate family members in Hong Kong and they were notified of Ting’s death.
October 26, 2011
Man turns himself in for bank robbery
A man who lives in Louisville, Kentucky called Sheriff’s detectives yesterday, said he’d robbed a bank in the Keys in 2007 and wanted to turn himself in.
Major Crimes Detective Mark Coleman was sitting at his desk in the Special Operations Division Tuesday when he received a call from 52 year old Michael Mitchell. Mitchell told him he’d committed a bank robbery at a TIB Bank in the Keys in 2007. As Detective Coleman talked with him, Mitchell began to give him detailed information about the crime – information only he, the witnesses and the detectives would know.
The robbery he said he committed took place on August 21st at the TIB Bank at the 92 mile marker of Highway U.S. One. The suspect entered the bank, handed the teller a note and demanded cash. In the note, he claimed to have a bomb. In his hand, he had a small box with wire protruding from it. The teller handed over cash and he walked out of the bank, taking the device with him.
Mitchell told Detective Coleman he constructed the fake device out of a cell phone, wire, batteries and black electrical tape. He said he originally was going to rob Bank of America, but decided there were too many windows on the building which might interfere with the robbery so he decided to rob TIB instead.
Detective Coleman contacted authorities in Louisville who met with Mitchell. He then contacted the State Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and made them aware of what was happening. A warrant was obtained for Mitchell’s arrest and he was taken into custody in Kentucky. He will be brought back to Monroe County to face charges of bank robbery and grand theft.
Mitchell is not the first person arrested for this bank robbery. Shortly after the crime occurred, detectives received information identifying the alleged robber and a suspect was arrested in Puerto Rico and was later brought back to the United States. Further information eliminated him as a suspect, however, and he was released and the charges against him were dropped.
October 25, 2011
Marathon man charged with killing dog
Marathon – A Marathon man was arrested Saturday, charged with brutally killing a dog.
On September 28th, Deputy Trevor Wirth and Sgt. Ken Fricke responded to 15th Street to a report of an “animal incident”. When they arrived, they found 57 year old Marino Sanchez standing over brown dog; the dog was dead and appeared to have suffered severe trauma to the head.
Subsequent examination of the body and the scene indicated the dog had been repeatedly struck where it lay, not struck by a vehicle. A veterinarian’s examination of the body revealed “multiple superficial wounds consistent with trauma; a dislocated jaw, bleeding around the brain, damage to the right front aspect of the brain and a broken pelvis.” The cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.
The dog’s name was “Duede”; he belonged to a man named Ariel Lopez. Lopez told Deputy Wirth the dog was a month and a half old, and he’d left the dog in the care of his uncle, who lives in Trailerama Trailer Park. The uncle, when questioned, said he’d last seen the dog five days before. He said he’d come home from work and had seen Sanchez holding Duede on a leash. When he confronted Sanchez, Sanchez told him Lopez had given him the dog. Lopez denied giving anyone except his uncle permission to care for Duede.
Deputy Wirth also spoke with the man who reported the dead dog, John Darbie, who said the previous Saturday he’d seen Sanchez pick up a brown puppy that looked like Duede and slam it to the ground. He said on September 28th he then saw Marino standing over the same dog’s body, so he called the Sheriff’s Office.
Deputy Wirth obtained a warrant for Sanchez’ arrest. On Saturday, he was arrested on the warrant and charged with theft and cruelty to animals: causing a death of an animal. He was booked into jail.
Captain Morgan found
The Captain Morgan’s figure reported stolen from Walgreen’s Pharmacy in Key West last week was recovered in the early morning hours Monday.
A tipster called to report it might be in the dorms at Florida Keys Community College. Sgt. Tom Walker and Deputy Joe Cortner responded to the dorms at 1 a.m. and found the Captain in a dorm room; the Captain was reportedly covered in Fantasy Fest beads.
No one would admit to having taken him, but students told the deputies he’d been making the rounds from room to room, “wherever the party was taking place”. Captain Morgan was returned to Walgreen’s in Key West, none the worse for wear.
Intoxicated man makes bomb threat after domestic dispute
Key West – An intoxicated Texas man called in a bomb threat about a Miami-bound flight after having a fight with his wife just before boarding.
32 year old Darren Tonner had been drinking and reportedly got into an argument with his wife just before their flight left the Key West airport shortly after 7 p.m. Monday. According to reports by Deputy Tomas Venegas, Tonner decided he wanted to take another flight so he stayed behind while his wife boarded the plane.
The deputy was escorting Tonner through the airport to get his luggage. As they were walking, Deputy Venegas was informed over his police radio that a bomb threat had been called in to Key West Police dispatchers. The caller, later identified as Tonner, said “There’s a flight between Key West and Miami and someone on board has Explosive Ordinance.” He then hung up his phone and didn’t answer when the dispatcher tried to call him back.
Tonner claimed, during an interview, that the phone was in his back pocket and was misdialed. He said he was in the airport bar having a conversation with someone at the time and they were talking about explosives.
Tonner was charged with misuse of the 911 system and making a false bomb threat. Miami-Dade Police met the airplane in Miami to interview Tonner’s wife when she got off the plane; the Federal Bureau of Investigation was also notified and will be sending an agent today to speak with Tonner about his actions.
October 22, 2011
Man displays gun during “road rage” incident
Key Largo - A Key Largo man is behind bars today after threatening a family with a handgun during a “road rage” incident Friday night.
The victim, who is from Key Largo, was in his Honda Civic with his girlfriend and one year old son northbound at the 99 mile marker of the highway at 7:30 p.m. He told Deputy Vaughn O’Keefe a mini-van pulled out in front of him causing him to stop suddenly, and causing his car to stall. The suspect, 29 year old Derrick Bosworth of Key Largo, was behind the Honda in his Ford F150 truck. He had a boat in the back of the truck.
Bosworth began yelling at the victim; the victim in turn held his middle finger up at Bosworth. At that point, the victim said Bosworth pulled up beside his car and held up a handgun, pointing it at him and at his family.
The victim called the Sheriff’s Office, giving Sheriff’s dispatchers a description of Bosworth and the truck. Deputy Vaughn O’Keefe was in the area and pulled in to the median at the 101 mile marker to wait for the truck to pass. When the truck passed him, he pulled it over.
The victim stopped to give a statement and to positively identify Bosworth. A fully loaded Taurus revolver was found in Bosworth’s truck. Bosworth was arrested, charged with three counts of aggravated assault and he was taken to jail. His truck was seized for possible forfeiture.
October 19, 2011
Man robs ex girlfriend
Key Largo – A Key Largo man is in jail charged with robbing his pregnant ex girlfriend of cash she’d just picked up from Western Union.
The victim said she’d just picked up the $200 in cash at Denny’s Latin Café at the 99.6 mile marker of U.S. One at 3:30 p.m. She was standing outside when 25 year old Ryan Pettit ran up and grabbed her purse from her arm. She chased him, but said she was unable to catch him because she is pregnant and couldn’t run very fast. She turned a corner and found her purse on the ground. The cash she’d just picked up was missing from the purse.
She called later in the day and told Deputies Pettit was in the area of the Yellow Bait House in key largo, near the 101 mile marker waiting for her to pick him up. Deputies found Pettit there and placed him under arrest for robbery. He was booked into jail.
Man’s body found offshore of Wisteria Island
The body of a man was found offshore of Wisteria Island this morning. It is believed to be the body of the man who went missing on the evening of the 17th.
The crew from a salvage vessel spotted the body on the gulf-side of Wisteria Island in about five feet of water this morning at about 9 a.m. They notified the U.S. Coast Guard and the Coast Guard called the Sheriff’s Office.
Detective Manny Cuervo went out on a Coast Guard vessel and retrieved the body. The recovered body is believed to be that of missing man 42 year old Donald Roller; Roller lived on board a boat in Key West harbor with his girlfriend, 42 year old Beverly Anderson. An initial examination of the body did not reveal an obvious cause of death. The Medical Examiner will be performing an autopsy in an attempt to determine what killed Roller.
Anderson told Detective Mark Coleman she and Roller argued on Monday night; she said she decided to leave the boat, but couldn’t get the engine on their dinghy started. She said Roller got into the dinghy and started it for her. He got back on the boat and she motored a short distance away, but the engine quit again. She said she heard him ask if she wanted him to swim over and help; she saw him jump in, but the dinghy was drifting toward Wisteria Island, so she rowed to the island. She said she lost sight of him and didn’t see what happened after he jumped in the water.
Detective Coleman is investigating the case.
October 18, 2011
Man arrested for exploiting elderly woman
Stock Island - A man now living in Arizona has been brought back to the Florida Keys to face charges of exploitation of an elderly woman he was acting as caretaker for.
51 year old Mark Costa was originally a handyman for the 80 year old victim, who lives on Allamanda Terrace in the neighborhood of Key Haven. The victim told Detective Diane Mimosa she considered Costa her friend, so when he had nowhere to live in 2009, she told him she had an extra bedroom he could stay in. She said she would sign blank checks so he could pick up her prescriptions, groceries and other items she needed around town. She said she let him use her car to run the errands. She said she never paid him a salary, though. She said, “…he was living here for free and eating here for free, why should I give him a salary?”
According to Detective Mimosa’s extensive and detailed investigation, Costa’s boyfriend moved into her house without her permission when he got out of jail in July of 2010. She said he and Costa redecorated her house, including tearing out an outside kitchen and bar area, replacing it with new cabinets and a storage shed, all without her permission.
The investigation showed Costa spent her money as if it were his own, writing checks to benefit himself and using her credit card and bank account to purchase items, airline tickets, and paying himself and his boyfriend for “labor” that was never performed.
According to Detective Mimosa, Costa spent over $100,000.00 of her money “to benefit himself and his partner”. Detective Mimosa obtained a warrant for Costa’s arrest; subsequent to the warrant being issued, she found out he’d moved to Mesa, Arizona. She contacted the Mesa Police Department and, on September 1, 2011 he was picked up in that location. He was returned to Monroe County yesterday to face charges of Grand theft from an elderly person; illegal use of credit cards. His bond is set at $150,000.00.
Upper Keys jeweler charged with theft of engagement ring
Islamorada - An upper Keys jewelry store owner is facing more charges, this time for selling a ring he had on consignment in his shop and then failing to pay the ring’s owner the amount they agreed upon for the sale.
The victim, an Islamorada woman, told Detective Patrick Crozier she brought her engagement ring in to Jeff Halliday’s jewelry shop, Coin of the Realm in Islamorada, in August of 2009. She said he agreed to sell it for her; he said he would sell it for $6,500.00 and give her $4,200.00 of it, keeping the rest for himself.
She returned to the shop in November of 2010 and asked for it back because it hadn’t yet been sold. He told her he had sold it to a friend of his, but hadn’t received the money yet. She returned to the shop several more times to ask for her money, but he kept saying he did not have it yet.
She said she finally went to the State Attorney’s Office to file a complaint and was referred to the Sheriff’s Office.
A warrant was issued for Halliday’s arrest and today he was charged with grand theft and violating the statute requiring him to have a second hand dealer’s license to engage in such consignment sales. Bond on the warrant is set at $6,500.00.
Teens charged with burglary of Marathon home
Marathon - Two Marathon teens have been charged with burglarizing a home in Marathon in March of this year.
According to reports by Detective Bobby Burkett, the burglarized home is on Copa De Oro; the crime was reported on March 24th. A friend of the victims was in the vicinity and saw two juveniles on the property and became suspicious. He asked the boys what they were doing there; they left the area. When he checked the house, he discovered it had been broken into and burglarized.
Investigations revealed the suspects had taken a large number of items, including jewelry, artwork, cash and other household items. A number of fingerprints were recovered during the investigation and they were sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for analysis. The fingerprints were identified as coming from two 15 year old boys, Steven Thompson and Donovan Collie.
Detective Burkett interviewed the two boys and they admitted to participating in the burglary. A number of stolen items were recovered from the boys’ homes. On Monday, warrants were obtained for the two boys charging them both with burglary, grand theft and criminal mischief. They were both taken into custody on the charges.
October 15, 2011
Anonymous tip leads to Marijuana arrest
Marathon - An anonymous tip to the Sheriff’s Office led to the arrest of a Marathon woman for possessing 6.5 pounds of Marijuana Friday night.
After the tip came in to the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Division, a bulletin was sent out to deputies to look for a 1998 white in color Saturn SL heading south, returning to Marathon. At 7:30 p.m. Deputy Chuck Kellenberger spotted the car on Grassy Key.
He followed it until it turned right onto Coco Plum Drive at the north end of Marathon. He could see through the back window the driver was not wearing her seatbelt, so he pulled her over. 56 year old Lillian Jennen of Marathon was nervous as he spoke with her; her hands were shaking and she was breathing quickly. Deputy Kellenberger could smell the odor of marijuana coming through the car’s open window. As he asked her to get out of the car, Deputy Nicholas Abroe arrived to back him up.
She admitted to the two officers that she had marijuana in the car. She said she bought it in Miami. She said she uses it to treat her Rheumatoid Arthritis.
In the car the deputies found 6.5 pounds of marijuana in brick form. They also found $5,070.00 in cash. Jennen said she had the money in the car because she originally meant to buy more marijuana with it, then changed her mind.
The cash was seized for possible forfeiture, as was the vehicle she was driving. Jennen was charged with possession of a felony amount of marijuana and she was taken to jail.
Boat stolen from Key Largo marina
Key Largo - A 55 foot boat valued at $800,000.00 was reported stolen Friday from a Key Largo marina.
The owner of the 55 foot Sedan Bridge Sea Ray is from Miami Beach. According to the dock master at the Marina Del Mar, the vessel, called the “Cynthia Marie” arrived at the marina on Tuesday evening for a stay of five days. She said on Thursday, she saw the boat leaving the marina at around 10 a.m.
When the boat did not return that evening, the dock master tried calling the owner. She finally reached him Friday afternoon. He told her no one had permission to take the boat. He said he’d brought the boat to the Keys intending to spend the weekend with his family.
The missing vessel was entered into FCIC and NCIC computers, and was also reported stolen to the U.S. Coast Guard and Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission as well.
Key Largo man arrested for holding flare gun to man’s head
Key Largo - A Key Largo man is under arrest on a number of charges, including aggravated assault for holding a flare gun to a man’s head and pulling the trigger.
The gun failed to fire a flare when 40 year old George Page held it to the 41 year old male victim’s head. The incident took place at the front door of a residence on Bayview Drive in Key Largo at 1 a.m. Friday. Page’s ex-girlfriend lives there and the victim was at the house visiting her. When the gun failed to discharge, the victim pushed Page out the door and closed it. He heard a loud bang outside and then Page fled the area on foot. An examination of the outside of the door showed a large dent in it. It is unknown what Page used to damage it.
The following day, Detective Francisco Gaete was assigned to investigate. On his way to the scene, he spotted Page crossing the street at the 99 mile marker of the highway. He stopped to talk with Page, then detained him in the back of Deputy Kyle Page’s patrol vehicle and Detective Gaete went to Bayview Drive. A female friend of his, Tommie Camp, was also on the scene at the 99 mile marker; a bag Page had been carrying was handed over to Camp for safe keeping.
As the detective was speaking with the victims in the case, Camp walked by the scene. Page’s ex-girlfriend, who was talking to the detective, broke off her conversation and began yelling that Page and Camp had stolen her purse. She said her purse had been in the carport and had been stolen that morning. A check on Page’s bag, which Camp was carrying, turned up a woman’s purse; the purse was positively identified by the victim as the one stolen from her carport.
Page was charged with aggravated assault, criminal mischief, burglary and theft and he was taken to jail.
October 13, 2011
Teen arrested after shooting a man with a “blow gun”
Big Coppitt Key – An 18 year old Marathon boy is under arrest for shooting a man in the side with a dart from a “blow gun”.
The victim was in the parking lot of the Circle K convenience store with his wife just before 11 p.m. Wednesday when he felt a sharp sting on his right side. He found a dart sticking in his shirt and saw a green vehicle pull quickly away from the parking lot and head north on the highway.
He called the Sheriff’s Office and met with Deputy Joe Cortner. Deputy Cortner put a notice to be on the lookout for a green sedan with lots of stickers on the back window. The victim was taken to the hospital upon his request; he said he was concerned about what the dart may have had on it.
Just before 3 a.m., Deputy Spenser Bryan spotted a similar vehicle on Big Pine Key and pulled it over. Several people were in the car. The deputy also found a PVC pipe in the car; 18 year old Michael Brabham of Marathon admitted to shooting the victim with a dart using the PVC pipe.
Brabham was arrested and charged with aggravated battery. The victim was treated for minor injuries and released from the hospital.
Deputy instrumental in arrest for illegal lobster, stone crabs
Long key – An alert deputy was instrumental in the arrest of a Miami man caught with illegal lobster and stone crabs on Long Key early Tuesday.
Deputy Anthony O’Dea was on patrol at 2 a.m. and pulled into Sea Bird Marina to check the docks. He saw a man pulling his boat into a slip by hand, using a rope. The lights and motor on his vessel were turned off. He decided to investigate further.
He asked the man for identification; he produced court documents in the name of 56 year old Jorge Vargas of Miami. Deputy O’Dea saw two large bags full of wrung lobster tails on the man’s boat. He also noticed the man had no fishing or diving gear in the boat. He asked if the man had any kind of fishing license. The man said “No, please, give me a break.” The deputy then called for assistance from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
A short time later, FWC Lt. Riesz arrived. As the officers continued to investigate, they found 274 short lobster tails, 20 legal size tails, and 8 stone crab claws caught out of season. The investigation was handed over to the FWC officer; Vargas was transported to jail to be charged by FWC with possession of short lobster tails and out of season crab claws.
October 12, 2011
Tavernier man arrested for vacation rental fraud
A Tavernier man who fraudulently rented out properties in the Upper Keys has been arrested on multiple fraud related charges.
Detectives say 52 year old John Williams set up multiple internet rental sites, used multiple business names and multiple identities while fraudulently renting the properties to people wishing to visit the Keys on vacation. He started out with a company called Vacation Rental Properties. He legitimately managed several homes at the 96 mile marker, renting them out through the internet. According to the owners of those homes, though, at some point he began double booking the properties and the owners began to get complaints from people who said Williams had taken their deposits. When they showed up to stay, though, the properties were already rented to someone else. When they tried to get their deposits back, Williams would blame the “mistake” on other fictitious employees; he would sometimes refund some of their money. Sometimes he would just stop talking to them at all and avoid their calls and emails.
The home owners and some of the victims made complaints to the Sheriff’s Office. At that point, officers spoke with Williams and warned him about what he was doing. “At that point, we just thought it was poor bookkeeping or that he was just really disorganized,” said Det. Sgt. David Carey. “We talked to him about it and he said he would make it all good.”
After the home owners canceled their business relations with Williams, he continued to rent their properties without their knowledge using four other business names and four other internet web sites: Resort Property Management, Tropical Resort Vacation Home Rentals, Keys Dreams and Keys Realty. At one point, he even rented out a property at Keys RV Park which was lived in by a couple year-long. “We figure at some point he just began pulling pictures off the internet of properties and was renting them,” Carey said.
When complaints began to come in involving some of the same properties as before, detectives began investigating the case as a crime. Because there were multiple web sites, multiple business names and Williams was using a number of different names in his dealings, it took a while to connect all the dots.
“We suspected it all might be connected because the same phone number was used on several of the web sites,” Det. Sgt. Carey said. “But we had to have more than that.” When victim Kenneth Beauvias reported being scammed by someone named David Osborne, who rented him a property fraudulently, detectives finally had what they needed to connect those dots. Beauvias had actually met face to face with “Osborne” on several occasions. When he viewed a photo lineup, he identified John Williams as “Osborne”.
The case is still very much under investigation and detectives suspect there may be many more victims they haven’t heard from yet. As of now, Williams has been charged with four cases which carry five criminal counts each; one count of grand theft each, and four separate counts of fraud each, relating to his use of the internet to advertise the properties falsely; his use of the telephone and email to defraud people; his fraudulent claim that he was the legal manager of the properties in question and the use of a computer to defraud the victims. Each charge carries a $10,000 bond for a total bond of $200,000.00.
“Even though we are still investigating, we felt it was important to stop this guy from defrauding any more people,” said Sheriff Bob Peryam. “The victims we have spoken to unfortunately have very negative feelings about the Keys, understandably. We want to let them know that this is a terrific place to visit and that we don’t tolerate this kind of activity. The vast majority of rental businesses in the Keys are completely legitimate, but the actions of just a few scammers like Williams make it much harder for them to do business and that hurts everyone in Monroe County,” he said.
Anyone who has information about this case, or who also believes themselves to be a victim should contact the Plantation Key Sheriff’s Detective Division at 305-853-3211.
October 9, 2011
Local business owner arrested for not having secondhand dealer’s license
Islamorada – The owner of a jewelry store in Islamorada was arrested Friday, accused of holding previously owned jewelry on consignment without having a Secondhand Dealer’s License with the State of Florida.
Detective Patrick Crozier responded to Coin of the Realm jewelry store to investigate a report that a check written by the owner, 51 year old Jeffery Halliday, had bounced. He’d written the check to 61 year old Samuel Gibbons, who said he’d placed 21 items of jewelry worth $7,000.00 with Halliday on consignment.
Halliday was involved in a similar case in July of 2010; according to Detective Crozier, part of a pretrial agreement in that case required Halliday to obtain a Secondhand Dealer’s License. During the course of this current investigation, Halliday admitted he had not done so.
Halliday was arrested and charged with engaging in purchasing and consigning second hand goods without a license to do so. He was booked into jail.
October 6, 2011
Missing diver found dead
Big Pine Key – A 62 year old Jacksonville man diving from a private vessel offshore of Big Pine Key was found dead today by the U.S. Coast Guard, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Tow Boat U.S.
Charles Newman was on board the 25 foot Seawind vessel with five other friends, including the boat’s owner, James Williams, also of Jacksonville. Four of them, including Newman, had reportedly been diving since 9:30 a.m.; the others told Detective Jason Madnick they’d last seen him in the water between 10 and 11 a.m. When the others climbed on board the boat, around 11:30 a.m., they realized he was not with them and they couldn’t find him. They called the Coast Guard for assistance.
He was found a short time later, in the center of Bogie Channel, in about 10 – 15 feet of water. His body was brought in to the Old Wooden Bridge Fishing Camp.
An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of his death.