Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Daily Crime and Information Report

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

February 26, 2013

Three men caught trying to steal boat trailer

Three Key West men are in jail, charged with trying to steal a boat trailer from a home on Big Coppitt Key.

Deputy Chris Fraser received a report at 12:45 a.m. today  from dispatchers that a man called reporting someone just tried to steal his boat trailer. The trailer was parked on the right of way at #7 Cormorant Lane. The man said he saw several men in a yellow truck hook the trailer up and drive away with it. The trailer was later found abandoned about a block away.

Deputy Fraser spotted the truck southbound near the 5 mile marker of Highway U.S. One. There were three men inside. Sgt. Evan Calhoun arrived as back up. The two officers questioned the three men about the trailer theft.

All three men gave different stories about what they were doing. All three had different explanations for why they had hooked the trailer up to the truck and driven away with it.

45 year old John Liddy, 35 year old Richard Rice and 19 year old Kyle Barbosa were all arrested. They were charged with grand theft and they were booked into jail.

Vehicle burglaries reported in Marathon

Deputies took reports Monday morning of six vehicle burglaries in Marathon.

The six vehicles were all parked overnight in the vicinity of 88th and 89th Street Ocean. All the vehicle owners told the deputies their cars were unlocked.

Someone entered the vehicles, taking loose change, a camera, a laptop computer, an Apple IPod, credit cards, gift cards and other miscellaneous items.

Detectives will be investigating. Anyone with information about these thefts should call the Sheriff’s Office at 305-289-2430. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can contact Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a tip leads to an arrest, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may be submitted on line at www.tipsubmit.com.

Man arrested for threats with a stun gun

A Little Torch Key man was arrested Monday, charged with threatening his son with a stun gun.

During an argument with his son, 58 year old John Arnold allegedly held the stun gun to the son’s head and threatened to shoot him with it. According to Arnold’s wife, he woke up from a nap agitated and angry and eventually confronted the son with the weapon. At one point during the confrontation, Arnold reportedly told the son, “You have to sleep some time.”

After speaking with Arnold, his wife and his son, Arnold was placed under arrest. He was charged with assault and improper exhibition of a weapon. He was taken to jail. The stun gun was seized as evidence in the case.

February 20, 2012

Tavernier man arrested for attempting to steal money from local bank

Tavernier – A Tavernier man was arrested Tuesday after he attempted to deposit three fraudulent checks into his bank account at Community Bank. The bank discovered the crime after finding out the Citibank account the checks were written on was not a real account.

21 year old Cole Peacock attempted to defraud Community bank by depositing the three checks for a total of $22,000.00. When Deputy Mike Sielicki arrived, Peacock was still at the bank. He claimed the checks were from a company called Data Point Systems, located at 234 Azalea Street in Tavernier. That address is also Peacock’s home address. He then later admitted to ordering the checks on line, but said he didn’t know they were written on a counterfeit account.

During the course of an investigation by Sheriff’s Detective Francisco Gaete, Peacock claimed to have accessed the Sheriff’s Office secure network. He also claimed to have accessed the DAVID system, a secure vehicle identification system belonging to the State of Florida.

Information Systems specialists at the Sheriff’s Office say they have no evidence Peacock did access the secure part of the Sheriff’s Office network. When detectives asked Peacock to show them how he did it, he was unable to access the Sheriff’s Office computer network at that time and, in fact, was only able to access portions of the Sheriff’s Office web site which is publicly accessible and could not penetrate the network farther than that.

His computer and computer equipment was seized for further investigation.

Detectives did gain information which indicates he may have had access to a Sheriff’s Office laptop computer several years ago. At that time, a Sheriff’s Office employee who has since retired asked Peacock to help him copy two non-work related files off the computer. There is no indication he gained access at that time to the MCSO secure network, however while Peacock was helping to copy the files, he had access to the computer’s hard drive and may have gained access to an authentication certificate for the DAVID system. Investigations are underway to see if he was able to use that certificate to gain access to the secure DAVID network using the stolen certificate.

Peacock was arrested. He was charged with grand theft, fraud, three counts uttering a forged instrument and accessing a computer  without the authority to do so.

Investigations are continuing.

Key Largo man arrested on drug charges

Key Largo – A Key Largo man was arrested on drug charges after a traffic stop by Sheriff’s deputies Tuesday night.

Deputy Pedro Garcia was on patrol at 10 p.m. when he spotted the white Lincoln swerving multiple times over the white line of the highway between the 104 and the 105 mile marker of Highway U.S. One. The deputy pulled the vehicle over. The driver was 26 year old Eddy Diaz.

As the deputy spoke with Diaz, he saw clearly visible in the car a prescription pill bottle on the driver’s side floor board. Sgt. Jason Madnick arrived as back up. Diaz gave consent for the officers to search his car. In the pull bottle was Xanax and Oxycodone. A second bottle was found which contained Acetaminophen with Hydrocodone. A third bottle, found behind the passenger seat, contained miscellaneous pills and a plastic bag with marijuana inside.

In the trunk of the car, the officers found a “Shark Bites” snack box with two more plastic bags of marijuana inside. Over $500 in cash was found in Diaz’ pocket. Total weight of all the marijuana was 65 grams.

Diaz was arrested. He was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell, two counts possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and four counts possession of drug paraphernalia. He was booked into jail.

Man arrested for vehicle burglaries

Ramrod Key – Sheriff’s deputies arrested a man Tuesday for burglarizing two vehicles in the parking lot of Boondock’s Restaurant on Ramrod Key.

The owner of the restaurant called the Sheriff’s Office at 6 p.m. after he saw 24 year old Keitel Romero inside one of the vehicles in the employee parking lot of the business. Deputy Spenser Bryan responded to the call. Romero was still there when the deputy arrived.

Investigations revealed Romero had entered two different vehicles. He’d used a permanent marker to “tag” the glove box of one vehicle, and had ransacked another one and damaged the vehicle’s ignition in an apparent attempt to steal it. Loose change from the cars was found in Romero’s pockets, along with a spark plug which Romero told deputies could be used to break windows in order to get into cars.

The restaurant owner told deputies Romero had also purchased food inside earlier in the evening and had failed to pay for it.

Romero was charged with two counts of vehicle burglary, criminal mischief, theft, possession of burglary tools and defrauding an innkeeper. He was booked into jail.

February 17, 2013

Man fights with deputies, is arrested on drug charges

Key Largo – A New Jersey man stopped for riding his bike erratically in Key Largo early today was arrested after he ran from deputies, fought them and was found to possess drugs.

Deputy Matthew O’Neill was on patrol at the 100 mile marker at 1:20 a.m. when he spotted 23 year old Richard Scrivani riding his bike in the middle of the highway. As the deputy watched, Scrivani rode southbound in the northbound lanes, swerving back and forth, and he had no lights on his bicycle.

Using his overhead lights, the deputy stopped Scrivani and asked what he was doing. Scrivani was vague in his responses. He said he had been “hanging out” at Publix with friends. He could not explain why he would be handing out at a closed business, nor could he give any of his friend’s names. He told Deputy O’Neill his own name was Russell Coopper and said he was from New York. He said he had no identification with him.

When Deputy O’Neill told him he was going to do a pat down search for officer safety reasons, Scrivani fled on foot with the deputy running after him.  The deputy called on the radio for back up. At one point Scrivani tripped and fell. Deputy O’Neill ordered him at Taser point to stay on the ground. When Scrivani got up , Deputy O’Neill deployed the taser. Unfortunately, because he was wearing a jacket the taser was not effective. Scrivani again began running, but Deputy O’Neill tackled him and they fought. Sgt. E.B. Askins arrived on the scene as back up and the two deputies were able to subdue Scrivani.

A driver’s license with his real name was found in his possession. A check on the name revealed a warrant out of New Jersey for drug related charges. A cigarette pack in his pocket was found to contain Oxycodone, Xanax, crack cocaine and a small metal pipe.

Scrivani later admitted to smoking crack cocaine just 10 minutes before his encounter with the deputy.

He was charged with battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest with violence, giving a false name to a law enforcement officer, possession of cocaine, drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance. He was also charged with the outstanding New Jersey warrant. He was booked into jail.

February 13, 2013

Stock Island businessman operating illegally

Stock Island – A Stock Island man was arrested Wednesday after detectives found he was not complying with the law when it comes to his secondhand dealer’s license.

50 year old Paul Ollariu is the owner of a business called We Buy Gold We Pay More, located on Front Street, Stock Island. On Friday, Sheriff’s Detective Dave Chavka, along with two Key West Police detectives, went to the business to inspect his records and to ensure he was complying with state law.

Their inspection showed Ollariu was only keeping a hand written log of transactions, instead of the computerized records he is required to keep. It appears he was also not in compliance with the requirement to obtain identification and fingerprints of people selling items to him. The scale he used to weigh the items being sold was also not calibrated as required, nor was he holding the items he purchased for the required 15 days.

Ollariu admitted to being trained on the computerized pawn program called RAPID in June of 2012, so he was aware of the requirement that transactions be recorded in that system. His handwritten log showed a total of 24 transactions between November and February which were not in compliance with the law.

Ollariu was arreste and charged with 24 counts of violation of Florida State Statute 538.04, regarding second hand dealer’s licenses.

The Sheriff’s Office wants to remind all businesses holding a second hand dealer’s license that detectives will be periodically inspecting to make sure the businesses are complying with all record keeping requirements. Anyone with questions regarding this issue can call the Sheriff’s Office in their area and ask to speak with the detective sergeant assigned to that area.

Two arrested for false Florida drivers licenses

Key Largo – A couple who work at Gilbert’s Resort in Key Largo were arrested Wednesday and charged with possessing counterfeit Florida drivers licenses.

The owner of the resort called the Sheriff’s Office to report he thought two of his employees were stealing from him. Detective Francisco Gaete was assigned to investigate. He obtained identification the two employees had given to Gilbert’s Resort when they applied for work.

When Detecitve Gaete checked the drivers licenses for Robert and Tamara Trotter, both of them returned a report of “no record found” indicating they were false IDs. He obtained arrest warrants for both of them for possessing counterfeit drivers licenses. When he served the arrest warrants and took them both into custody, Tamara Trotter admitted  her real name is Tamara Asada, 40 years old and Robert Trotter admitted his real name is Robert Pearl, 39 years of age.

Both Asada and Pearl have outstanding arrest warrants in California. In addition, detectives are continuing their investigation into where they may have obtained the false IDs and into the alleged theft from the resort.

February 12, 2013

Michigan woman dies while diving

Key Largo – A Michigan woman died while diving offshore of Key Largo today.

64 year old Donna Hartson of Sterling Heights, Michigan was on board the commercial dive vessel Silent World 4 with her husband, Leroy Hartson, and six other divers. They were diving on the Benwood Reef, offshore of Key Largo between 2 and 3 p.m.

According to the vessel’s captain, the diver’s had been in the water for about 40 minutes. They were getting ready to leave the area and go to another location. He said when Hartson surfaced, he saw her signaling for help. When the vessel reached her, she was not responsive. They pulled her on to the boat, began CPR, and called the Coast Guard to notify them of the trouble.

When they reached Port Largo Subdivision, they were met by deputies and paramedics. Hartson was transported to Mariner’s Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of her death.

February 11, 2013

Two arrested for car burglary

Stock Island – A man and woman were arrested Sunday after they were caught on video tape burglarizing a car on Stock Island.

The owner of the car told Deputy Matt Dowling she was unloading items from her car to her apartment on 5th Avenue at about 12:45 p.m. Sunday. She said someone took her medication from the car while she was inside her residence. She told Deputy Dowling there was a video camera on the apartment building.

She and Deputy Dowling found the landlord and asked to view the tape. On the tape, they could clearly see a man removing the medication from the center console of the car while a woman acted as a lookout.

Deputy Dowling recognized the couple as two people he encountered earlier who were witnesses to an automobile accident he investigated. Further investigation revealed their identity – 19 year old Charles Robinson and a 16 year old girl. The two were reportedly staying in Ocean Spray Trailer park at the home of Robinson’s mother.

Deputy Dowling went to the trailer and found Robinson and the girl inside. They were both taken into custody, charged with burglary and theft. The girl was identified as a runaway from Miami and was turned over to the custody of her mother after booking. Robinson was booked into jail.

Two women wanted for dealing in stolen property

Tavernier – Sheriff’s Detective Robert Dosh says he needs the public’s assistance tracking down two women wanted for dealing in stolen property.

The victim, who owns a home on Oleander Drive in Tavernier, called the Sheriff’s Office on February 6th to report his son, 34 year old Heriberto Tejeda Jr., had broken glass doors to enter the home and had stolen fishing rods and reels from inside. He said he’d heard his son might be staying there without his permission. He said he drove to the Keys to check the house. When he arrived, his son was walking out with the rods and reels in his hand. When he confronted his son, he fled.

Detective Dosh was assigned to investigate. The rods and reels were found at a local pawn shop. The pawn shop’s owner told Detective Dosh that Tejeda Jr. had come into the shop with two women and had pawned them.

Detective Dosh was able to identify the two women as 25 year old Sandy Vazquez and 23 year old Cindy Perezdealderete,.

Warrants were issued for the arrest of all three suspects. On February 8th, Tejeda, Jr. was arrested in Broward County on Monroe County warrants for burglary, grand theft and seven counts of dealing in stolen property. He will be returned to the Keys to face the charges. The two women are still at large and are believed to be in the Miami area. They are each wanted for seven counts of dealing in stolen property.

Anyone with information about them and where they might be should contact the Sheriff’s Office at 305-853-3211. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a Crime Stoppers tip leads to an arrest, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may be submitted anonymously on line at www.tipsubmit.com.

February 9, 2013

“Whisper” app causes disturbances at Marathon High School

A social media application caused several disturbances at Marathon High School Thursday as students used the app to post anonymous comments about one another, about relationships and about school.

The application – called “Whisper” – purports to be a platform allowing young people to express themselves and their feelings without fear of having others know who they are. Developers say they are targeting college students who feel the need to talk about how they are feeling without judgment.

Users do not have to identify themselves and, indeed, can change their user names at will and even use other peoples user names when posting photos and text. On Thursday, student postings in Marathon resulted in School Resource Sergeant Glenn Test having to investigate two battery reports, a disorderly conduct and a possible “cyber-stalking”.

In one battery report, two girls pushed each other after one thought the other’s boyfriend posted negative photos and text about her on Whisper.

In another incident, one boy went after another boy over derogatory postings on Whisper. The boy’s confrontation was stopped by teachers before it could get physical.

The reports did not result in any arrests to date, although the “cyber-stalking” report is still under investigation. The school, however,  did hand out administrative sanctions to some students. One of the main concerns for everyone is the disruption the app caused and the potential for teens – already going through an emotionally turbulent time of their lives – to engage in bullying behavior, or to be bullied.

“Parents should be aware of this particular application and whether their child is using it. The potential for anonymous bullying is concerning to all of us who care about our kids and want them to be healthy and happy,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay.

“We are working closely with our schools to monitor this situation. We have sent out notices to all of our School Resource Officers and detectives who investigate juvenile crimes so they will be aware of it. We just want to make sure the public – and in particular parents – know about it as well,” he said.

“Party Patrol” detail nets two juvenile drug arrests

Marathon - An extra duty detail targeted at underage drinking and drug use resulted in the arrest of two juveniles and the seizure of 33 bags filled with marijuana Friday night.

The special county-wide patrol details are funded by the Monroe County Coalition for a Safe and Drug Free Community. Deputies who sign up for the detail work as an additional law enforcement presence at and around after-school activities as well as patrolling for house parties.

On Friday night, officers were working in Marathon at a baseball tournament at the High School. They made contact with a group of four teenage males in the parking lot. The teens ranged in age from 16 to 19. One of the males – 17 years old - had a plastic bag in his pocket with marijuana inside. A car in the parking lot belonged to one of them who is 16 years old; when Deputy Chuck Kellenberger approached it, he could smell the odor of marijuana. The boy who owned the car gave the deputy permission to search it. Deputy Kellenberger then called for Deputy Danielle Malone to respond with her dog, Tracer.

Tracer first alerted on the car, and once inside the car, alerted on a back pack on the back seat. Inside the back pack, deputies found 32 plastic bags of marijuana, packaged as if for sale. The bags contained 34 grams of marijuana.

Inside the glove compartment of the car was a digital scale with marijuana residue on it and an empty plastic bag. In the trunk was found a bottle of Captain Morgan rum that was partially empty.

One of the teens, the 16 year old owner of the car, claimed responsibility for all the marijuana in the car. He was charged with possession of marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to sell, possession of alcohol by a minor and possession of drug paraphernalia. The 17 year old who had marijuana in his pocket was also arrested and charged with possession of marijuana.

The other two claimed to know nothing about the illegal substances; they were not charged.

Three of the teens were from Marathon, including the two who were arrested. The 19 year old who was with them is from Clewiston, Florida.

February 7, 2013

Search warrant leads to drug arrests

Marathon - Sheriff's Special Investigations detectives served a search warrant at a Marathon residence Wednesday afternoon, arresting two people on drug charges.

The warrant was served at 19 Sombrero Boulevard, Apt 202 at 3:30 p.m.  Inside, detectives found 37 year old Donald Franks and 39 year old Melissa Koopman.  A search of the residence turned up 54 grams of powdered cocaine in the same vicinity where Franks was found when detectives entered. Detectives also located 6 grams of cocaine in Koopman’s purse.

In addition to the drugs, detectives found glass beakers for cooking crack cocaine, scales, several baggies for packaging narcotics and $3,282 in suspected drug proceeds.

Franks  was charged with trafficking in cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia. Koopman was charged with trafficking in cocaine, possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia. They were both booked into jail.

February 5, 2013

Detectives investigate death

Update: Next of kin has now been notified. The man whose body was found floating offshore of Grassy Key is identified as 49 year old Fritznel Alexis of Homestead.

Grassy Key – Detectives are investigating the death of a man whose body was found floating offshore of Grassy key today.

Passing boaters spotted the man’s body in about two feet of water, within sight of the shore near Grassy Key RV Resort.  Deputies responded at 10:45 a.m., along with a marine officer from Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The body was removed from the water and brought to shore. Positive identification of the 49 year old  man was made from information found in a wallet in his pocket. His name is being withheld pending notification of his next of kin.

Detectives say a preliminary examination of the body revealed no obvious signs of foul play. They will continue to investigate the circumstances of his death and the Medical Examiner will perform an autopsy to determine the cause of his death.

Detective Deborah Ryan has been assigned to investigate. She says she has not yet found anyone who saw the man prior to his death. She says his body does not appear to have been in the water very long. He is described as a black dark skinned male, five feet six inches tall and heavy – perhaps 250 pounds. He had short hair and was clean shaven. He was wearing dark colored blue jeans and a dark blue short sleeved polo shirt.

Anyone who has information about the man’s death or who may have seen him before he died should call the Sheriff’s Office at 305-289-2351.

February 4, 2013

Fatal accident overnight

An accident at the intersection of Card Sound Road and State Road 905 which was discovered at 12:20 a.m. closed those roads on and off for several hours overnight as the Florida Highway Patrol investigated. Two people died in the single vehicle which apparently crashed and rolled over.

February 2, 2013

Teen charged with burglary

Marathon – A 14 year old boy was arrested for burglarizing a home on Treasure Road in Marathon after alert witnesses called the Sheriff’s Office.

Two men driving by a home on Treasure Road in Marathon Friday morning saw a broken window screen and two suspicious people near it. They confronted the two, and called the Sheriff’s Office. When Deputy Sydney Whitehouse arrived on the scene just before 11 a.m., he spotted a boy fitting the description of one of the suspects. He stopped the boy for questioning.

The boy admitted to breaking the window screen and pulling the window open, breaking the window away from the frame. He said after breaking the window, he stuck his head and hands inside the window. That is when he was interrupted by the witnesses who confronted him and called the Sheriff’s Office.

The resident of the home was contacted. He checked his home and found nothing had been stolen. The 14 year old was charged with criminal mischief and burglary. He was booked and turned over to the custody of his mother. A search of the area around the house failed to turn up the second suspect.

“Because these two witnesses called the Sheriff’s Office when they saw something suspicious, a more serious crime was most likely prevented,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “I commend them for being so observant and for taking the time to report this.”