Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Daily Crime and Information Report

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

Follow us on Twitter @mcsonews and on Facebook at MCSO – Florida Keys. All of our press releases can be found on our blog at floridakeyssheriff.blogspot.com

November 28, 2013

Broward man charged with kidnapping woman in Marathon

A Broward County man is in jail in that jurisdiction, charged with a Monroe County warrant for kidnapping.

42 year old Mauricio Parra of Pompano Beach is accused of driving to Marathon at 4 a.m. on November 23rd and confronting his 28 year old  girlfriend from her condominium. Detective Nicholis Whiteman was the detective assigned to investigate the case.

The victim told the detective he entered the condo and accused her of having an affair with someone. She said he was angry because he’d tried calling her the night before and she didn’t answer her phone. She said they struggled and Parra held her down and hit her numerous times. She said he took her phone and wouldn’t allow her to call anyone. He threatened to cut her hair with a pair of scissors, then cut her on the neck with them. She said he also threatened to kill her dogs.

She said he held her down with his arm on her neck making it difficult to breath. He then held her phone and forced her to call her work to say she would not be in that morning. He forced her into his car and began driving north.

She said at one point she tried to jump out of the car, but he grabbed her, forcing her to stay in the car. She said she complained numerous times she was in pain from the beating, but he refused to allow her to go to the hospital.

Parra drove her to his home in Pompano Beach. He held her there without allowing her to call anyone. She said at one point, around 8 p.m., he left his home to get some food and left her phone on the counter. She used the phone to contact her friends and asked them to call her grandmother and to call the police.

Broward County deputies showed up and took the victim to the hospital  for treatment of her injuries, which included bruised ribs, a black eye and a six inch cut on her neck. The victim told Detective Whiteman they’d been dating for five years and lived together for three. She said she’d been trying to break up with Parra, but he refused to allow it. She said in the past he has pushed her and been emotionally and verbally abusive.

Detective Whiteman interviewed the suspect, who admitted hitting and threatening the victim. He also admitted forcing her into the car, and taking her phone so she could not call for help.

A warrant was obtained for Parra, who was arrested Wednesday by the Boca Raton Police Department. Parra was charged with kidnapping / false imprisonment, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, obstruction of justice for refusing her medical care and obstruction of justice for keeping her from calling for help.

Boca Raton police say Parra had both marijuana and cocaine when they arrested him, so he was also charged by them with possessing those illegal substances.

Big Pine man arrested for battering girlfriend

A Big Pine Key man was arrested Wednesday after he battered his girlfriend in front of witnesses at the Circle K store on Big Coppitt Key.

Witnesses called the Sheriff’s Office when they saw 28 year old Kainun Thorson beating his 28 year old girlfriend outside the store. When Deputy Freddy Rodriguez and Detective Dave Chavka arrived, Thorson was on his motorcycle trying to leave the area. Two people – a man and a woman – were holding him and not allowing him to leave.

The officers ordered him to get off the bike, but he refused, instead trying to flee. Deputy Rodriguez used his Taser to stun Thorson, who then dropped his bike. Thorson was able to flee on foot, however, and jumped into the water in an attempt to get away. He finally exited the water and was taken into custody.

Witnesses at the scene said they saw Thorson hitting the victim. They said she fell to the ground and he kicked her, screaming at her to get up. They said he dragged her across the parking lot continuing to yell at her. The witnesses saw him force her onto the back of the motorcycle. They said when he started to ride away, she jumped off and ran away from him. He reportedly chased her on the motorcycle.

Thorson gave the officers several false names before correctly identifying himself. A check on his name revealed outstanding warrants in Minnesota, and that he had no driver’s license.

Thorson was charged with domestic battery, fleeing and eluding police, resisting arrest, giving a false name to the officers and failing to register as a convicted felon. He was booked into jail.

November 27, 2013

Detectives arrest suspect in occupied burglaries

Key Largo – A man has been arrested this morning and is believed to be connected with a number of burglaries of occupied homes in the Upper Keys.

At 2 a.m., Sheriff’s dispatchers received a report from a man who lives on Shoreland Drive near the 103.4 mile marker of Highway U.S. One. He said he’d been sleeping on his couch when a man wearing a mask, a green raincoat and camouflage shorts entered his home through an unlocked door. He said when he confronted the man, the man turned and walked out of the house.

The Sheriff’s Office had numerous extra deputies and detectives on duty, working a directed patrol operation. The operation was aimed at catching whoever it was committing burglaries of occupied dwellings over the past two weeks. There have been nine such burglaries in Key Largo and Islamorada.

The deputies and detectives working that special patrol began to converge on the area, setting up a perimeter. They began stopping any pedestrians and vehicles in the vicinity of the burglary. They also did a canvas of the neighborhood and found a second home that had been burglarized next door to the first one. The second home was entered through a second floor window which had been left unlocked. The suspect cut the window screen, and left footprints behind in several areas of the home. The homeowner was at home at the time, sleeping in her bedroom.

Detective Deb Ryan, who was participating in the perimeter, saw a car leaving the area and stopped it. The driver was soaking wet and acted nervously when she began asking him questions. He said he had no identification with him and, although he said he lived nearby, he was unable to give an exact address. Suddenly, he put the car in drive and accelerated away. Detective Ryan called for assistance from other officers, giving a description of the car and driver. The car was stopped a short distance away and the driver was arrested.

The driver initially gave a false name. Further investigation led to his true identity - 51 year old Martinez Watts of Miami. Watts currently has an outstanding warrant for violation of probation.

The victim who confronted the burglar positively identified Watts as the man who walked into his house. Although Watts was wearing a mask on his face when he entered the home, the victim recognized the way he walks, and recognized the camouflage shorts he was wearing. He was also charged with the second burglary after shoe prints found at the scene were matched to the shoes Watts was wearing. Watts was also found to be in possession of a knife when he was arrested.

The mask and the raincoat he was seen wearing were found discarded near where his car was first seen by Detective Ryan. Watts was charged with two counts of armed burglary of an occupied dwelling, two counts of resisting arrest, loitering and prowling and with the outstanding warrant.

Detectives are continuing their investigation into his involvement with the burglaries which have taken place over the past two weeks. More charges are pending.

Woman arrested for fraudulent credit card use

A Stock Island woman is in jail, charged with using a business’s credit card to make purchases without permission.

24 year old Paij Ellender told Detective Dave Chavka she found the credit card in a driveway on 6th Avenue on Stock Island. She admitted to using the card at a number of local businesses. Records show she used it 14 times on November 19th to charge over $1,200 at various local businesses and at ATM machines.

On November 20th, the owner of the business noticed the fraudulent activity on his account and reported it to the Sheriff’s Office. Detective Chavka was able to obtain video from one of the businesses where the card was used. The video showed Ellender using the card. The video also showed another woman with her who the detective was also familiar with.

When he confronted Ellender’s friend, she said she was not aware the card was stolen. She said Ellender was the one who had the card. When Detective Chavka spoke with Ellender, she admitted to using the card. On Tuesday she was arrested. Ellender was charged with fraudulent use of a credit card, using the identification of a person without consent and grand theft. She was booked into jail.

Bodies identified; deaths appear to be murder suicide

Detectives say they have confirmed the identities of two people found dead in a car on Big Pine Key Monday. They say the circumstances of the deaths appear to be a murder-suicide.

The bodies of 49 year old Jim Ovecka and 54 year old Michelle Chapman were discovered by an employee of Mosquito Control at 8:15 a.m. Monday. They were inside of a 2004 Honda Element, parked in a wooded area past the end of 5th Avenue on Big Pine Key. The car was running. A hose was taped to the tailpipe and run into a back window of the car.

It appears from initial investigations that Ovecka used a handgun to first shoot Chapman in the head, then shoot himself.

Ovecka and Chapman were identified from Arizona driver’s licenses found in the car, and by fingerprints which were compared to a set of fingerprints from Corpus Christi, Texas. The couple were past owners of a restaurant in that town and were arrested for stealing a large amount of money from credit cards belonging to customers. According to news reports from Texas,  the two were given ten years probation recently for stealing $200,000 and were required by the courts to pay back a large portion of the stolen money.

For more information about that case, contact the Corpus Christi Police Department office of Public Information.

November 25, 2013

Detectives investigate deaths

Big Pine Key – Sheriff’s detectives are investigating the deaths of two people who were found in a vehicle on Big Pine Key early today.

The vehicle was parked at the end of Fifth Avenue in a wooded area on Big Pine Key. Sheriff’s dispatchers received a report at 8:15 a.m. there were two people inside the car who appeared to be unconscious. When deputies arrived on the scene, they found the car running. There was a hose running from the car’s tailpipe to one of the windows.

The circumstances of the deaths are still under investigation. Detectives say from the information they have gathered so far the two do not appear to be from the Keys. They are in the process of identifying who the two people are and are attempting to locate family members for notification purposes.

More information will be released when it is available.

Detectives investigate three more occupied burglaries

Islamorada – Detectives in the Upper Keys are continuing to investigate a series of burglaries of occupied homes. Three more homes were burglarized over the weekend – this time in Islamorada. Seven other burglaries took place over the last week in a Key Largo neighborhood.

The three most recent burglaries took place in the vicinity of the 85 mile marker on the old highway. In all three cases, the suspect or suspects entered the homes through unlocked doors and took cash, wallets, purses and electronic equipment. A handgun was taken from one of the homes.

The other seven burglaries took place in the vicinity of the 100 mile marker, in Key Largo.  The method of entry is similar in those crimes, and similar items were taken as well.

“I cannot stress strongly enough the importance of locking all your doors and windows when you go to sleep at night,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “It is a simple enough thing to do, and can be the difference between becoming a victim and staying safe and secure in your home.”

Other tips to prevent such crimes:

Anyone with information about these crime should contact the Sheriff’s Office. Callers may also contact Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Tipsters can remain anonymous and, if a tip leads to an arrest in the case, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may also be submitted on line at www.tipsubmit.com.

November 22, 2013

Fire at Brazalena Restaurant, Islamorada

Sheriff’s deputies and firefighters responded to Brazalena Restaurant in Islamorada last night to reports of a fire.

Callers reported seeing heavy smoke and smelling something burning at 10:20 p.m. Fire crews entered the building and found a fire in the office.

The fire was extinguished, but firefighters remained on the scene for several hours making sure there were no hot spots remaining. The scene was turned over to the state fire marshal’s office at 3 a.m.

Woman charged with child neglect

Note: It is against the law in Florida for anyone to reveal any information which would identify the victim of a child abuse or neglect.

A 21 year old Key Largo woman was arrested Thursday night for child neglect after a small child almost drowned in a bathtub.

The woman – Cassandra Budka -  was caring for two small children when the incident occurred just before 6 p.m. She told Detective Lissette Zuelch she had just put the smallest child in a playpen to sleep. She put the older child in the bathtub.

She said she went outside to check the mail, then began cleaning the kitchen. She said the child who was in the bathtub then ran out to her and told her the other child was drowning.

Her boyfriend reportedly returned from the store at that point. He pulled the child from the bathtub and began performing CPR. By the time deputies arrived on the scene the child was gasping for breath.

Paramedics responded and transported the child to Mariner’s Hospital.

Budka was arrested and charged with child neglect.

November 21, 2013

Marijuana mistakenly shipped to man’s rental home

The Sheriff’s Office will be destroying 11 pounds of marijuana mistakenly shipped to a rental home in Louisiana owned by a Key Largo couple.

The Key Largo man called the Sheriff’s Office Wednesday after he and his wife opened two locked suitcases and found the illegal substance inside. He told Deputy Dave Campbell a box was shipped to a vacation rental home they own in Louisiana back in July. He said his cleaning lady told him about it and he instructed her to return it to UPS.

He said she returned it to UPS, but the package once again wound up on the doorstep of the rental property and the cleaning lady put it inside.

He said he and his wife recently took a trip to check on several rental properties including the one in Louisiana and found the box still there. He said they opened it and found two locked blue suitcases. Thinking the suitcases were probably lost luggage being shipped to someone, they decided to put them in the back of their truck and deal with them later, when they got home to Key Largo.

They traveled to several other homes they own before returning to Key Largo. Once they got home they decided to cut the locks off the luggage. Inside they found two sealed bags full of marijuana – a total of 11 pounds.

They called the Sheriff’s Office. The marijuana was taken and will be destroyed.

“This could have been really bad,” said Special Investigations Detective Sgt. Al Ramirez. “These people were traveling all over with this stuff in their truck. If they had been pulled over with it, they could have wound up in jail and their truck may have been seized.”

November 20, 2013

More details about Key Largo burglaries

Key Largo – Sheriff’s detectives are currently investigating a number of home and vehicle burglaries in the vicinity of the 100 mile marker in Key Largo that have been reported to the Sheriff’s Office between Saturday and Tuesday of this week.

Three of the residences burglarized were on Bay Drive; three were on Buttonwood Shores Drive; one was on Pointe Pleasant Drive. A vehicle was also burglarized on Buttonwood Avenue during the same time period. In most cases, people were at home sleeping when someone entered through an unlocked door or window. In one case, the suspect cut the screen on a porch to access an unlocked door. In another instance, he may have used a prying tool of some sort to force open a rear door. Purses, wallets, computers and other items were taken.

In one instance, the homeowner surprised the burglar in the act and chased him out of the house. He could only describe him as a black male, approximately 6’1” tall, 180-190 pounds wearing dark clothing.

The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind people to lock the doors on their cars and residences when they are not at home, and at night while they are sleeping. Also, make sure outside lights are turned on. Burglars typically like the dark and won’t risk committing a crime where they might be seen. Most of these crimes are crimes of opportunity and can be prevented by taking proper security precautions.

Anyone with information about these crimes should contact the Sheriff’s Office. Callers may also contact Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Tipsters can remain anonymous and, if a tip leads to an arrest in the case, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may also be submitted on line at www.tipsubmit.com.

November 19, 2013

Detectives investigate burglaries

Key Largo – Sheriff’s detectives are investigating a number of home and vehicle burglaries in Key Largo.

The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind people to lock the doors on their cars and residences when they are not at home, and at night while they are sleeping.  In the most recent burglary cases, a suspect or suspects have entered homes both occupied and unoccupied; most homes and vehicles that were burglarized were left unlocked, although forced entry was used in at least one instance.

Reports have been taken yesterday and information is still being gathered today from seven burglaries so far. Items taken include cash, purses, wallets and sunglasses.

Man arrested for aircraft violations

A Marathon man is in jail after he was caught piloting a plane without a pilot’s license, flying an unregistered aircraft, operating a plane for hire without  the proper license to do so and flying in a careless or reckless manner. His plane has been seized for possible forfeiture.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Safety Inspector was on vacation in Islamorada in September when he observed the illegal behavior of 46 year old John Walsh of Marathon. The inspector was in the vicinity of a sandbar offshore of Islamorada on September 14th when he saw a seaplane make a low altitude flyby about 25 feet above a group of boats and people anchored at the sandbar.

He saw the plane land close to the boats and the pilot and passenger got out, approaching the boats and people and soliciting customers for a ride in the plane for “three 20 dollar bills”. Walsh made the remark that he just “did this for fun” and his real income was from “resort investments”.

The inspector reported the incident to the Federal Aviation Security office in Miami. That office contacted the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office for assistance in investigating. Aviation Division Director Brooks Bateman worked with that office on the investigation.

Director Bateman, working with federal authorities, discovered Walsh does not have a pilot’s license, nor does he have a license to carry passengers for hire in his aircraft. The plane he was flying is not properly registered, and he flew the plane in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another. Warrants were subsequently issued for Walsh’s arrest.

Today, Walsh was charged with possessing an unregistered aircraft and operating an aircraft in a careless or reckless manner. More charges may be pending against him. The plane he was flying, a 2011 M-Squared Breeze2 light sport with floats was seized for possible forfeiture.

Search warrant on Stock Island results in two arrests

Two men were arrested after a search warrant was served on Stock Island today.

Detectives from the Special Investigations Division and from the Lower Keys Criminal Investigations Unit served a warrant this morning at 5600 Laurel Avenue, Lot 1. A search of the residence turned up marijuana, a number of unknown pills and drug paraphernalia.

Two men were in the residence when it was searched. 20 year old Amado Cabrera and 20 year old Daniel Drago. Both men were arrested and booked into jail for possessing marijuana. Charges related to the unknown pills may be pending.

During the search, Cabrera complained of chest pains and shortness of breath. He was transported to the hospital where he was medically cleared. While at the hospital, he caused a disturbance. Deputy Lazaro Valdes removed him from the emergency room and was placing him in the back of his patrol car when Cabrera spit at him, hitting him in the eye.

Cabrera was subsequently charged with battery on a law enforcement officer.

November 16, 2013

Key West man charged with burglary, battery

Cudjoe Key – A friendly visit turned violent Friday with a man cut by a machete and arrested for burglary and criminal mischief.

Deputy Ian Cooper responded to Sawyer Drive at 9:20 p.m. to reports of a disturbance. When he arrived he found a man standing in the yard of the home bleeding from a cut on his arm and screaming at three others standing on a balcony. The bleeding man was 46 year old Douglas Ney of Key West.

The other three said Ney was at their  house visiting when he became drunk and angry. An argument ensued. Ney grabbed a bottle of liquor, took it outside and threw it at the windshield of a van parked outside, breaking the windshield. He then left.

Ney returned a short time later. The others described him as “in a rage”. He began to push and shove one of the victims, who grabbed a machete in defense and struck Ney on the arm with it. Ney continued to go after the other man until all of the others finally fled the residence and went to a neighbor’s house for help. That is when Deputy Cooper arrived.

Ney was arrested. A bag of marijuana was found in his pocket. He was taken to Lower Keys Hospital where his arm was stapled. He was then booked into jail on charges of burglary with battery on the occupant, criminal mischief and possession of marijuana.

November 14, 2013

Miami man charged with fraud, grand theft giving false information

Big Pine Key – A Miami man was arrested Wednesday on outstanding warrants for multiple charges. He is accused of stealing property from a friend, purchasing items with bad checks, then pawning all the items for cash, giving false ownership information to the pawn shops.

In January, 50 year old John Golden purchased a large amount of fishing equipment from Jig’s Bait and Tackle and from Underseas, Inc. on Big Pine Key. He wrote checks for all the items he was purchasing. He then pawned the items at various pawn shops in the Keys.

The owner of one of the pawn shops called the owner of Jig’s Bait and Tackle and asked him if he was missing any fishing equipment. He said someone had just pawned a number of items, new and still in the box. The owner of Jig’s recognized the items as the one’s he had just sold to Golden and became suspicious. He called the Sheriff’s Office.

Detective Diane Mimosa confirmed the checks written to both stores were written on a closed account.

While she was investigating these cases, she discovered other items which had been pawned by Golden. When she checked on them, she found they belonged to a Miami man who has a house in the Keys. The man said Golden had helped him move some property from Miami to his house on Little Torch Key. He said he gave Golden a key to his home and let him stay there. While staying there, Golden had taken property belonging to him and had pawned it, telling the pawn shops it was his own property.

Warrants were obtained for Golden’s arrest. He was arrested in Miami-Dade County on the warrants and returned to the Keys Wednesday to face the charges, which include five counts of grand theft, two counts of theft and four counts of fraud.

November 13, 2013

Detectives investigating boat theft

Sheriff’s detectives are investigating the theft of a 27 foot Contender boat on a trailer. The boat was taken from a storage yard in Islamorada over the weekend.

The 2000 27 foot Contender center console has twin 250 horsepower Yamaha four stroke engines on it. It was on a 2003 Continental trailer. They were taken from the business Fly Fishing, Incorporated at the 84.7 mile marker of the highway. The stolen items are valued at approximately $80,000.

An employee noticed the theft when he arrived on the property Sunday morning. A lock on one of the gates had been cut and a truck parked in front of the boat had been moved to give access to it. The boat belongs to the owner of the storage lot. He said he last saw it Saturday night at 5:30 p.m.

Detective Francisco Gaete has been assigned to investigate.

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

Stock Island man found passed out with marijuana, cocaine

Stock Island – A Stock island man, found passed out in his car with the vehicle running, was arrested after deputies found cocaine and a large amount of marijuana in his possession.

Deputy David Lariz was on bike patrol at 9 p.m. in the area of 9th Avenue and Cross Streets when he saw a black Infinity parked half in the roadway with the motor running. When he looked inside he saw a man passed out, lying on the front seat.

He got no response when he knocked on the window so he opened the door to check on the man and immediately smelled an odor similar to burnt marijuana in the car. There were amounts of a green leafy substance found a number of different places inside the car, along with a plastic bag with cocaine in it. The man in the car was identified as 29 year old Orlando Grimon.

Deputy Ian Cooper responded as back up. A tow truck was called to tow the car and Grimon was placed under arrest. As the tow truck driver was hooking up the vehicle, Deputy Cooper noticed two large plastic bags in the driver’s side wheel well of the car. The bags were filled with a total of 8.8 ounces of marijuana.

At the jail, when Grimon was informed about the finding of the hidden marijuana, he said “I was hoping they did not find that.” He was charged with possession of cocaine and a felony amount of marijuana.

November 11, 2013

Fire destroys trailer early today

A trailer in Key Largo was destroyed by fire overnight. No one was injured.

Deputy Tony Conde responded to reports of a trailer on fire at 80 Coral Way in the Harborage Trailer Park at 2 a.m. When he arrived, he found the trailer fully engulfed in flames. He and Sgt. Jason Madnick evacuated nearby trailers in case the fire spread.

Deputy Conde found a man standing in front of the trailer who said he was the person who’d been inside when the fire started. His uncle showed up a short time later. He identified himself as the person who lives in the trailer.

The uncle said he’d brought his nephew, who’d been drinking, to the trailer to “sleep it off”. He said he was house sitting somewhere else for a friend and returned to the other house after dropping off his nephew.

The nephew said he was hungry and decided to cook a steak. He said he must have fallen asleep, and woke up to find the kitchen on fire. He said he tried to put the fire out, but finally had to evacuate the trailer.

The Red Cross responded to the scene and will be assisting the fire victims. The Fire Marshal’s Office also responded to investigate.

Man arrested for stealing fishing boat

Stock Island – A 29 year old Key West man was arrested Saturday night, charged with stealing a commercial fishing vessel from the Stock Island fishing docks.

Michael McKenna, known as “Irish Mike”, was arrested and charged with stealing the 34 foot vessel “Bosun” from the docks at Sea Lobster on Stock Island. Witnesses told Deputy Aaron Coller and Sgt. Geni Hernandez they saw McKenna take the boat out. The owner told Sgt. Hernandez he did not give McKenna permission to take his boat.

As the officers were investigating at 10 p.m. Saturday, they saw the boat in the harbor, returning to the dock. As they watched, the vessel turned around as if it were leaving again. A few minutes later, they spotted McKenna standing on a dock nearby. Further investigation revealed the stolen boat tied up next to another boat. Witnesses said they saw McKenna dock it there.

McKenna was taken into custody. He was charged with grand theft and he was booked into jail.

House party discovered; juveniles cited

A house party with numerous juveniles drinking alcohol was broken up late Sunday in Tavernier.

Sheriff’s deputies received information about a possible party involving juveniles drinking on Airport Road late Saturday. They arrived in the area and saw a house with a large number of cars parked around it.

When they entered the property, they began encountering juveniles with alcoholic beverages in their hands. One boy told them he lived there and his parents are gone, leaving him alone. He said he was watching football on television when people started showing up. His parents were notified of what was happening at their home.

The parents of all the other juveniles were contacted to come pick up their kids. All the kids who were drinking alcohol were issued juvenile citations, which will be processed through the Sheriff’s Office Juvenile Programs Unit.

A small amount of marijuana and two pipes were found at the scene and will be destroyed.

Man charged with domestic battery, robbery

A Stock Island man was arrested Sunday, charged with battering his girlfriend, then robbing her.

The victim first called the Sheriff’s Office on Friday afternoon to report her boyfriend, 28 year old Alberto Diaz, had battered her. She said on November 6th he became angry about phone calls she made. She said he shoved her to the ground, injuring her arm. He then reportedly choked her.

Deputy Lazaro Valdes took a report of the incident.

Hours later, at 9:40 p.m., Deputy Spencer Curry responded to the Rusty Anchor restaurant where the victim works. She was holding a bag of ice to the back of her head, where she had a large lump.

She told Deputy Curry she’d left the restaurant to ride her bike to the store for cigarettes. She said Diaz rode his bike into hers, knocking her onto the ground. She got up and tried to run, but he grabbed her by the hair, throwing her down. He punched her several times, then stole her money and cell phone from her back pocket and fled.

Warrants were issued for Diaz and on Sunday he was arrested by Deputy Valdes. He was charged with two counts of battery, domestic battery, robbery and grand theft. He was booked into jail.

November 10, 2013

Miami man charged with burglary of Marathon Deli

A Miami man was caught by the employees of a Marathon deli entering the business through a back door and stealing a steak from inside Saturday.

The employees of Lauri’s Deli were working in the front of the business at 1 p.m. when they heard a door close in the rear. Since no one was supposed to be in the back, one of the employees went to check and found 49 year old Jeffery Hunter running out the back door with a large frozen steak and a loaf of bread in his hands.

The employee caught him by the back of his shirt and pulled him back inside. He then told other employees to call the Sheriff’s Office.

Deputy Anthony O’Dea responded. He took Hunter into custody. The employees said a second man had come into the deli at the same time and tried to sell them fake gold chains. They told Deputy O’Dea they thought the second man might have been trying to distract them.

The second man was found nearby. Investigations revealed he was, indeed, with Hunter. He said he and Hunter came to the Keys to sell the fake gold chains. He denied knowing Hunter was going to steal from the deli.

Hunter was arrested. He was charged with burglary and theft and he was booked into jail.

November 8, 2013

Tampa man arrested for fleeing from deputies

A 20 year old Tampa man is in jail today, after refusing to pull over for deputies trying to stop him for speeding and improper passing.

Deputy Greg Johnson spotted a black Nissan sedan at 11 a.m. traveling at a high rate of speed in the center turn lane at the 87 mile marker, passing other cars illegally. At the 86 mile marker he saw the car run out of room and cut sharply back in to traffic, right into the middle of a pack of motorcycles almost causing a crash.

Deputy Johnson had his lights and siren on attempting to pull the car over. He pulled up beside the car and, using his PA system, told the driver to pull over. The driver looked at him, lit a cigarette, and continued with his dangerous driving. Deputy Johnson saw the driver – later identified as 20 year old Tyler Seeger – waving at passing cars as he continued passing illegally, weaving in and out of traffic and passing into oncoming traffic.

Deputy Anthony O’Dea was at the south end of the Channel 5 Bridge with his lights and siren activated. As Seeger drove by him, he waved to Deputy O’Dea as well. Deputy O’Dea pulled out to assist in the pursuit and Deputy Johnson called ahead to have patrol units south of their location set up at the south end of the Long Key Bridge to use the Stinger Spike system to stop the fleeing car.

Just prior to reaching the location where the spikes had been set up, Seeger stopped his car and surrendered. As he was being arrested, he asked if he could “explain”. He then told Deputy Johnson “you are all going to jail for treason.”

A number of the motorcycle drivers he almost caused to crash stopped to give statements about what happened.

Seeger was charged with fleeing and eluding police, speeding, improper passing. He was booked into jail.

Man threatens wife with a gun

Big Pine Key – A Big Pine man is in jail charged with threatening his wife with a gun.

The victim told deputies she and her husband, 45 year old Matthew Sutton, got into an argument at their home on Avenue E at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. She said during the argument, he pointed a handgun at her and told her he had “perfect aim”. She said he told her she had three choices – him, her son, or her life.

She said she was in fear that he would kill her, so she left the residence and went to a friend’s house. Sutton left their home and went to his place of business, AARGH Golfcart Maintenance and Service in Marathon.

Deputies responded to the business and found him sleeping in his office. He admitted to having a gun in his hand when he argued with his wife and said it was possible he had pointed it at her. Sutton was charged with aggravated assault with a firearm and he was taken to jail.

Iowa man airlifted after bicycle accident

An Iowa man was airlifted to a Miami Trauma Center Thursday after two bicycles collided on Stock Island.

Deputy David Lariz responded to Golf Club Drive at 6:30 p.m. to a report of an accident with injuries. When he arrived, the victim, 67 year old Jerry Needham, was on the ground, unconscious with severe injuries to his face and head. His son was on the scene and told deputy Lariz he and his father had been riding their bikes together. He said they began to race and, when his father caught up with him his father’s bike clipped his rear tire, causing a crash.

Needham was transported by ambulance to Lower Key

s Hospital, then airlifted to Miami do to the severity of his injuries.

November 7, 2013

Search Warrant, Islamorada

Islamorada – This morning, Sheriff's Special Investigations detectives, the Upper Keys Criminal Investigative Unit and patrol deputies executed a search warrant at an Islamorada residence.

The warrant was served at 102 Anglers Way in Islamorada. Inside, detectives located 56 year old Nancy Jeannette Faucett. The search of the residence turned up over 20 grams of marijuana, several grams of cocaine and crack, two MDMA pills, 33 other assorted pulls, several hundred empty plastic bags with cocaine residue in them, digital scales and drug paraphernalia. Detectives seized $549 dollars in suspected drug proceeds and Faucett's 2012 black Honda Accord. 

Faucett was charged with three warrants for sale of cocaine, possession of cocaine, felony possession of marijuana, possession of MDMA, possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and possession of drug paraphernalia. She was booked into the Monroe County Jail.

November 5, 2013

Beware of convincing scammers

A Key Largo man is out $1,500, after wiring the money to someone who convinced him he was a family member in trouble.

The 95 year old victim told Sgt. Susan Keene he received a phone call on November 1st from someone identifying himself as his grandson. The imposter told him he was in Mexico, had drunk too much and had been arrested. The caller told him he needed $1,500 to bond out of jail and asked the victim to send the money via Western Union. The caller told the victim not to tell anyone else about it because he was embarrassed about being arrested and didn’t want anyone else to know.

The victim said his grandson does travel to Mexico on business and so he believed the call to be legitimate, so he wired the money. It was not until afterward that he began to suspect a scam. He called his grandson who was safe at home, and not in Mexico.

The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind people there are many versions of this particular scam in which family members or friends are ostensibly “in trouble” and need money. The scammers almost always ask for money to be wired to them – making it virtually impossible to trace once it has been sent. They also try to discourage their victims from calling anyone else before wiring the money. They sometimes insist on staying on the phone with the victim until the money is sent.

 In some versions of this scam, victims are asked to purchase a “Green Dot” prepaid debit card. They are then asked to give the caller the number off the back, giving them access to the money on the card. Sometimes the callers will say they have a friend or family member under their control and are holding them until money is transferred to them.

“If a family member or friend is really in trouble and they need money, they won’t mind if you take the time to verify who they are and what is happening,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “If it is someone is calling and threatening a family member or friend, then hang up and call us right away. I guess the message here is to be extremely skeptical when you get any kind of call asking you to send money. Verify everything first,” he said.

The victim in Key Largo told Sgt. Susan Keene he feels “stupid” about falling for it, but reported it to the Sheriff’s Office in the hopes it will keep someone else from becoming a victim.

Man arrested for fleeing deputies

A man with a driver’s license from British Columbia was arrested today after failing to stop for deputies and driving recklessly.

Sergeant Dennis Coleman responded to a disturbance at Knight’s Key Campground this morning (Tuesday). According to callers, a man had thrown water on another camper’s tent and had been rambling about religious issues. He left the campground driving an older red Ford pickup truck with a bicycle in the bed of the truck.

Sgt. Coleman saw the truck pass him heading southbound from Knight’s Key and he turned around and attempted to stop it. The truck failed to stop. The sergeant followed the truck across the Seven Mile Bridge. The truck failed to stop, instead dangerously passing numerous vehicles, almost hitting several head on.

The dangerous driving continued as the truck proceeded across the Bahia Honda Bridge and onto Big Pine Key. Finally the truck turned off the highway into St. Peter’s Church on Big Pine Key.

73 year old James Paterson jumped out of the truck. Sgt. Coleman and Deputy Paul Bean ordered him to the ground. Paterson began yelling that he was “on sacred ground” and that the officers “could not touch” him. He struggled as they took him into custody.

Paterson was charged with reckless driving, fleeing and eluding police and resisting arrest with violence. He was booked into jail.

November 3, 2013

More charges against Pearl, AKA Trotter

Sheriff’s Major Crimes detectives brought more child pornography charges against a man arrested earlier this year.

39 year old Robert Pearl, AKA Robert Trotter, was originally arrested in February for driver’s license fraud. He and his wife gave fake driver’s licenses as ID when they applied for work at Gilbert’s Resort in Key Largo. They were found to have outstanding warrants in California under their real names.

Pearl was further charged with multiple counts of possessing child pornography in May of this year after an examination of a computer in his possession turned up a number of illegal images.

The investigation has continued, along with further examination of the computer’s hard drive. On Saturday, Pearl was further charged with seven more counts of sexual performance by a child because he possessed videos of underage children performing sexual acts.

Pearl remains in the Monroe County Detention Center.

November 2, 2013

Two arrested for stolen camera

Big Pine Key – An adult and a teen were arrested today, charged with stealing a camera from a Big Pine Key church and pawning it.

An employee at the Vineyard Church reported someone took the high-end Nikon camera from an unlocked media room at the church. He reported it missing on October 8th. He said he’d last seen it on October 4th. Detective Diane Mimosa is assigned to investigate the case. She ran the camera’s serial number through the Sheriff’s Office pawn shop software and discovered it had been pawned October 7th at Real Deal Jewelry and Pawn.

The pawn shop clerk told her it had been pawned by 20 year old Devontshe Carey of Key West, who had been accompanied in the shop by another younger male. When Detective Mimosa confronted Carey, he told her a 15 year old Key West teen had accompanied him to the pawn shop. He told her the same teen was the one who gave him the camera. He said the teen told him several different stories about where the camera came from. He admitted he lied when he signed the pawn shop forms saying the camera was his and was not stolen.

The assistant pastor of the church told Detective Mimosa the 15 year old was at the church around the time the camera was stolen. He said he saw the 15 year old go upstairs to get his younger brother. He said the brother was playing video games in a room near where the camera was kept.

The 15 year old told the detective he found the camera inside a backpack outside the church.

The 15 year old was charged with dealing in stolen property. Carey was charged with giving false information in the pawn transaction. Both were booked at the Monroe County Detention Center.