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

March 27, 2014

Stock Island man arrested for gun threats

A Stock Island man was arrested for threatening to shoot his girlfriend with a shotgun.

Deputies responded just before 1 a.m. today to a report of a man with a gun in the area of 6621 Maloney Avenue on Stock Island. When they arrived in the area, they saw two women and two children running down the street. They told the deputies 23 year old Robert Morejon had just pointed a shotgun at one of them and threatened to kill her.

The victim said she lives with Morejon and he’s been acting strangely for a few days, making remarks about killing people. She said that night they were in bed together when he threatened her life. She said at one point she reached for her cell phone several times, but he pushed her away from it.

She said he pulled a shotgun from behind the dresser and pointed it at her. She said that is when she grabbed her children and ran out the door.

The woman with the victim was her mother. She said she saw Morejon walk out of the bedroom with the shotgun in his hands.

A gun case was later found hidden in the bedroom between the mattress and box springs.

Deputies Ian Cooper and David Lariz saw Morejon walking down Maloney Avenue. They were able to detain him without incident. He was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, battery and tampering with evidence. He was booked into jail.

March 26, 2014

Stock Island man arrested for molesting boy

A Stock Island man was arrested Tuesday, charged with molesting a young boy.

Major Crimes Detective Lissette Zuelch investigated the case against 26 year old Robert Morales. The conclusion of her investigation was that Morales sexually molested a six year old boy. The boy told family members what happened.

The Sheriff’s Office became involved when a family member of the victim first confronted then punched Morales. When deputies responded to the disturbance they were told about the molestation accusations.

Florida law prohibits anyone from identifying the victim in this case, or from disclosing any information which might identify him.

Morales was arrested and charged with lewd and lascivious molestation of a child. His bond is set at $500,000.

March 25, 2014

Man charged with beating another man

A homeless man from Islamorada was arrested Monday, charged with beating another man after they had been drinking together.

Suspect 26 year old Justin Marlowe and the 50 year old victim were reportedly drinking together Sunday night into Monday morning at Hog Heaven bar. The two left together at approximately 3 a.m. After leaving, the victim says Marlowe attacked him, knocking him unconscious.

The victim told Detective Bob Dosh he awoke to find Marlowe standing over him. He said he could tell he had been injured badly and told the suspect he needed medical assistance. Marlowe got the victim s cell phone and dropped it on him so he could call for help. Marlowe then fled on his bicycle before help arrived.

The victim was taken to Mariner s Hospital. Doctors there said he would have to be taken to the Ryder Trauma Center for treatment of facial fractures. Deputy Martin Digrius found Marlowe Monday afternoon walking southbound on the highway at the 87 mile marker. He was arrested for aggravated battery and was booked into jail.

March 22, 2014

Woman hiding from the feds for 18 years found in Key West

A woman who failed to appear in court on federal charges in Kansas City 18 years ago was apprehended in Key West Friday, living on a houseboat under another name.

Michelle Singleton, now 66 years old, failed to appear in federal court for sentencing on charges of payroll check fraud in March of 1996. A federal fugitive warrant was issued for her arrest. According to reports, the Secret Service recently received information she was possibly living in Key West under the assumed name of Catherine Harris.

An agent from the Kansas City office called Detective Sgt. Donald Catala with the information. When Detective Sgt. Catala looked at a photo of Harris, he recognized her as a person he has seen many times in the city of Key West. A check of computer records showed a woman by the name of Harris was living at an address in the Hilton Haven neighborhood of Key West. She had a 1994 Honda with a Florida tag, and had obtained a Florida driver s license in 2006 which expired in 2012.

A comparison of a picture of Singleton with the driver's license photo of Harris confirmed they were one and the same.

A Secret Service agent from the local office responded to Key West and met with the detective sergeant and with Detective Dave Chavka. They all went to the houseboat she was living on, which is moored at a pier at 15 Hilton Haven Drive. Singleton was on board. When they asked her for her identification, she gave them her expired license. They asked for her birth certificate and, when she got it from a file, some other pieces of paper fell out. Those pieces of paper turned out to be the social security card and birth certificate for Singleton.

She said she d obtained a birth certificate with the name Harris one month after fleeing from Kansas City. She used that birth certificate to initially obtain her Florida Driver's license. She said she had not renewed her driver' s license because they had changed the rules for applying for it and she did not have all the proper identification she needed to apply for the renewal.

She admitted she was, indeed, Michelle Singleton. She was taken into federal custody on the federal fugitive charges. Singleton told the officers when they found her she was in the process of trying to sell the houseboat and move to the Dominican Republic.

Man wanted on numerous warrants apprehended with the help of Crime Stoppers

A designated career criminal wanted on both Monroe County and Key West Police felony warrants was apprehended with the assistance of a Crime Stoppers tip and an alert deputy Friday.

Deputy David Lariz had information from a Crime Stoppers tip that 34 year old Frank Jones might be traveling on the highway in a mint green BMW. At 5:30 p.m., Deputy Lariz spotted the car southbound at the 11 mile marker of the highway.

He followed it and watched it pull into a condominium complex at 201 Coppitt Road. Frank Jones, wanted on multiple charges including false imprisonment and aggravated battery, got out of the driver s seat. Two small children got out of the back seat and a woman, the registered owner of the car, got out of the passenger seat.

Deputy Lariz confronted Jones. Jones was visibly nervous and began to back away. Deputy Lariz asked Jones to give up quietly and not to cause any problems in front of the children. Jones began reaching in his pockets despite the deputies orders to keep his hands in sight. Deputy Lariz deployed his Taser, hitting Jones but Jones was still able to turn and flee southbound on the highway. He was apprehended with the assistance of Lt. John Crane from the Sheriff s Detention Center, who was in the area at the time and acted as backup.

Jones license had been suspended numerous times. He was taken into custody, and faces the following charges:

Driving with license suspended with knowledge
Resisting arrest
Failure to register as a career offender
Aggravated battery and kidnapping / false imprisonment (Key West Police warrant)

March 20, 2014

Poker game leads to beer bottle attack

One man was arrested and a second went to the hospital after a fight over money broke out during  a poker game early today.

When Deputy Deanna Torres arrived at the home on Aviation Boulevard in Marathon at 2 a.m., they met the victim’s brother outside. He told them his brother had been hit in the head with an empty Corona beer bottle and was bleeding heavily. He advised the deputies not to go inside alone because there were a lot of people inside “acting crazy”.

Deputies Garrett Test and Danielle Malone arrived quickly on the scene and the three officers entered the house. They found the victim covered in blood, sitting just inside the door. They found a number of other people inside, and broken bottles and blood trails leading too all the rooms in the house with the largest concentration of blood in the living room.

The victim and other witnesses identified the suspect as 21 year old Isaac Vargas, a roommate of the victim. He was arrested and charged with aggravated battery. The victim was taken to Fishermen’s Hospital where received numerous staples to close two wounds in his head.

March 18, 2014

Man arrested for not completing work he was paid for

A Rock Harbor man hired to do a survey of a home was paid for the work but never completed it. He was arrested for grand theft.

The victim said he hired 55 year old Lawrence Frank to do a survey of his Islamorada home prior to pulling permits for construction. He said he paid Frank $450 up front to do the survey, but Frank never showed up to do the work.

Since the victim hired Frank on the recommendation of his contractor, he asked the contractor to call Frank about it. The contractor called Frank numerous times, but Frank never returned his calls. The victim himself then tried to call Frank, but found all his phone numbers had been disconnected. He went to Frank’s Office at the 83.2 mile marker of the highway and found that Frank had vacated his offices as well.

Detective Yunier Galvez was assigned to investigate. He obtained a warrant for Frank’s arrest and today Frank was charged with Grand Theft and he was booked into jail.

March 17, 2014

Traffic stop leads to marine violations

A trio from Miami were pulled over in a car northbound on Big Pine Key Sunday for a  traffic violation. The case turned into a marine violation case after the deputy found illegal fish in a cooler in the car.

The red sport utility vehicle was northbound at 2:20 a.m. Sunday when Deputy Kendall Bailey pulled it over for having no tag light. The driver, 55 year old Larry Brown, turned out to have a suspended driver’s license.

As Deputy Bailey was issuing Brown a notice to appear in court for driving with his license suspended, he noticed a cooler in the back of the vehicle. He asked to see what was inside. Brown told him they’d been fishing from a bridge on Cudjoe Key. He opened the cooler, revealing a large number of fish inside.

Deputy Bailey called for assistance from the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. After counting and measuring the fish, there were a total of 80 mangrove snapper – 65 over the bag limit. Twelve of the fish were undersized. They also had one undersized Mutton Snapper and one undersized School Master.

Brown, 33 year old Travis Rolle and 56 year old Yvonne Jackson – all Miami residents -  were issued marine violations in connection with the undersized and over the limit fish.

March 10, 2014

A Stock Island man was arrested for trafficking in cocaine Sunday.

A search warrant was served at 11:30 a.m. Sunday at 5312 3rd Avenue Apartment 6 after a multi-agency investigation revealed the occupant of the apartment was selling large amounts of cocaine.

68 year old Juan Vazquez was at home when the search warrant was served by investigators from Monroe County Sheriff's Office HIDTA, Key West Police Special Investigations Unit, Homeland Security Investigations and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The search of the residence revealed a large number of individual bags of cocaine hidden in a coffee table in the front living room and cocaine hidden under the kitchen sink and on top of the bed in the bedroom. A total of 231.6 grams of cocaine were found.

A large amount of cash - $2,914 - was found hidden in the wall of the hot water heater closet.  The cash was seized for possible forfeiture as the possible proceeds of drug sales.

March 8, 2014

Fire destroys trailer

A trailer caught fire in Roy' s Trailer Park on Maloney Avenue, Stock Island Friday night. Sheriff' s dispatchers received a call of an unknown problem at Lot 47 in the trailer park at 8:15 p.m. When Deputy Andrew Hudson arrived, he found smoke coming from the trailer and no one inside.

Deputy Hudson called for firefighters to assist and began to evacuate surrounding trailers.

The fire was extinguished and the victims who lived there were assisted by the American Red Cross with necessities and a place to stay.

March 7, 2014

Contractor arrested for grand theft

The owner of a company that installs boat lifts was arrested Thursday for taking money to install a boat lift and then failing to do the work.

This is the fourth criminal case against Englund and his company in the last five years investigated by Monroe County detectives. In three of those cases, 61 year old Peter Englund has been arrested for grand theft for taking money from people to do work for them, and then failing to do the work.

Englund gives a home address in Delray Beach, Florida and owns a company called Viking Marine. In his latest criminal offense, Englund took $1,500 from a Key Largo resident who lives on Adams Drive. He contracted to install a boat lift at the man’s residence in March of 2013, but after that he never showed up to do the work. Repeated phone calls from the homeowner got no response from Englund.

In previous cases, he did the same thing to homeowners in Big Pine Key, Key Largo and Tavernier. Only one case was resolved without criminal charges when Englund agreed to repay the deposit money the homeowner paid to him because he said he was too busy to complete the work.

Englund was booked into jail Thursday on grand theft charges.

March 5, 2014

Marathon man charged with animal cruelty

A Marathon man is in jail, charged with cruelly abusing a pit bull terrier named “Wally” in front of witnesses.

At 12:45 a.m., Deputies Garrett Brag, Garrett Test and Deanna Torres responded to the Marathon Grill and Alehouse to a disturbance. When they arrived, they found the suspect, 21 year old Benjamin Check, pacing in the parking lot, visibly agitated. Witnesses in the parking lot said they’d seen Check violently abusing his dog, a pit bull terrier named “Wally”.

The witnesses said they saw Check pick Wally up by the ears and slam him into the ground repeatedly. They also saw him thrust his knee into Wally’s side. They said during the entire attack, Wally was crying out in pain.

A search of Check turned up a wallet in his pocket that did not belong to him. The wallet’s owner was on the scene. He said he did not give Check permission to take his wallet.

Animal Control was called to the scene and took Wally into their custody for his protection and for treatment of any injuries he may have sustained.

Check went to jail on charges of petit theft and animal cruelty.

Man eats money he stole

A Marathon man was arrested for battering and robbing his girlfriend. On the way to jail, he then ate a large portion of the money he stole from her.

Sgt. Joel Slough and Deputy Vince Weiner responded to Ocean Terrace in Marathon at 8:45 p.m. to reports of a domestic dispute. When they arrived, they found the suspect Leosvel Cordova Parrado who was clearly intoxicated. The victim, his girlfriend and her son were also on the scene.

The victim told deputies they were at a party earlier and Parrado became angry and demanded they return home. She said once they were at home, he pushed her around in their residence and the two of them struggled over her wallet, which he took from her by force. The wallet contained $750 in cash.

When deputies placed Parrado under arrest, they found a large amount of cash in his pocket along with a valium pill which he did not have a prescription for. He said the pill belonged to his girlfriend. The cash was left in his pocket temporarily as the deputies walked him outside to a patrol vehicle. Once outside, they attempted to find the cash but it was missing from his pocket. They asked him where it was and he said he took it out of his pocket inside the house and threw it on the bed.

Parrado was handcuffed and placed in a patrol car. As Sgt. Slough was driving to the detention center in Marathon, he heard a strange noise in the back of his car. When he looked in his rearview mirror, he saw Parrado with his mouth full of cash. He was literally chewing  – and choking on - the cash he had stolen from his girlfriend.

Sgt. Slough pulled over and attempted to recover the money Parrado was eating, but when he counted the remaining cash he found $277 missing from the whole amount the girlfriend said he stole. Some of the money was found in his underwear and deputies think that is where he hid it prior to eating it.

Parrado was charged with robbery, battery, grand theft, resisting arrest, possession of a controlled substance and tampering with evidence.

Stock Island man charged with selling marijuana

A Stock Island man is in jail today charged with selling several pounds of marijuana.

29 year old Timothy Bouchard of Miriam Street on Stock Island is accused of selling the large amount of marijuana in late February during an operation conducted by the Sheriff’s Monroe HIDTA group along with Key West Police detectives from their Special Investigations Unit and investigators from Homeland Security Investigations and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

A warrant was obtained for his arrest and he was picked up Wednesday, charged with sale of marijuana.

March 4, 2014

Stock Island man arrested for stabbing

A Stock Island man is under arrest, charged with stabbing another man in a fight over a woman.

Witnesses and the victim say 32 year old Keeny Diaz and the victim were fighting over the victim' s girlfriend. The fight took place Monday at 11 a.m. on Robin Lane on Stock Island. During the fight, Diaz reportedly pulled out a knife. When the victim saw the knife he turned to flee. Diaz then allegedly stabbed him in the lower back with the knife.

Deputy Matt Dowling was nearby when the victim approached him to report being stabbed. Paramedics were called. Deputy Dowling responded to Robin Lane, to the rear of a home on 5th Avenue. He asked a man he found there if Diaz was inside. The man said Diaz was inside.

Diaz then stepped outside the home and he was taken into custody and placed in the rear of Deputy Dowling' s patrol car. When Deputy Dowling told Diaz he was being arrested, Diaz began to struggle in the back of the vehicle. Deputies David Lariz and Kim Trullender were on scene to assist and they attempted to calm Diaz, who kicked and struggled with them violently.

Big Pine man faces gun charges

A Big Pine man was arrested on a warrant for being a felon in possession of a firearm and for failing to register as a convicted felon.

Deputy Aaron Coller responded to a fight at Sea Horse Campground on Big Pine Key Friday night at 11 p.m. When he arrived, he found a group of neighbors gathered around two men fighting. He broke up the fight, and one of the men began to walk quickly away. 42 year old Ronald Jacobs was detained until Deputy Coller could determine what took place.

Witnesses said Jacobs had attacked his girlfriend. When several people intervened, the fight broke out. A witness to the fight said he' d seen Jacobs with a long gun  either a rifle or shotgun. Another witness said Jacobs had a large knife.

A shotgun was, indeed, found inside the home where Jacobs is living with his girlfriend. A check of his background revealed he is a convicted felon who has not registered in Monroe County.

As Jacobs was in the process of being arrested Friday night, he began to have medical problems and paramedics were called to the scene. Jacobs was eventually transported to Lower Keys Hospital where he was admitted for treatment.

A warrant was obtained for the charges. After he was discharged from the hospital, he was arrested and was booked into jail for failing to register as a convicted felon and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Speeding leads to drug charges

A Long Key man is in jail on drug charges after he was stopped for speeding early today.

Sgt. Sydney Whitehouse was on patrol at 2 a.m. at the 99.5 mile marker of the highway, southbound when he spotted a white Dodge minivan traveling over the speed limit. He pulled the vehicle over at the 97 mile marker.

The driver, Eric Rodriguez Campos admitted he knew his license was suspended. In fact a check on it revealed several suspensions and a cancellation of the license in November. Campos was arrested and charged with driving with a suspended license.

A digital scale with cocaine residue was found in one of his pants pockets. A search of his vehicle prior to it being towed turned up a can of Brake Parts Cleaner with a false bottom. Hidden inside the false bottom was a plastic bag containing 15 grams of powdered cocaine.

Campos was further charged with possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia. He was booked into jail.

March 3, 2014

Man found dead under Jewfish Creek Bridge

The circumstances surrounding the death of a Homestead man remain unknown pending an autopsy. His body was found Saturday about 70 feet below the Jewfish Creek Bridge, in a wooded area. His car was found parked at the top of the bridge.

Deputy E.B. Askins responded Saturday at 10:15 a.m. to a report of a suspicious vehicle in the northbound lanes at the top of the bridge. When he checked on it, the blue Jeep had a red tow notice on it from the Florida Highway Patrol, dated Friday, February 28th.

Later Saturday morning, the roommate of the car’s owner called Sheriff’s dispatchers.  He said he was traveling into Monroe County for work Saturday morning and saw his roommate’s car parked on the top of the bridge. He said he hadn’t heard from 42 year old Michael Schmidt since Thursday. He said Schmidt called him that day about 4 p.m. to ask him to let his dog out for him. He said he’d not heard from Schmidt since that conversation. The roommate said he’d been in contact with Schmidt’s parents, who said they also had not heard from their son.

The roommate and a friend responded to the bridge to pick up the vehicle so it wouldn’t be towed. They brought a spare key for the car they’d gotten from Schmidt’s parents. They said they found nothing wrong with the car which would cause it to have been abandoned. It reportedly started right up and wasn’t out of gas. The two looked over the edge of the bridge and saw what they believed to be a body about 70 feet below, in a wooded area. They called the Sheriff’s Office to report it.

The body was retrieved from the wooded area with the assistance of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and taken to the Medical Examiner’s Office for identification. Due to damage from the fall, the body’s identity was not immediately obvious. The body was identified by fingerprints as Schmidt’s. The circumstances surrounding his death are unknown, although there are no obvious signs or indications of foul play in his death. An autopsy will be done in an attempt to determine the cause of his death.

Woman arrested for knife threats

A Big Pine Key woman who stole towels from the laundry room of a trailer park threatened the owners of the towels with a knife when they tried to get them back from her.

When a 19 year old man went to the laundry facility just after 8 p.m. Sunday to get bath towels his mother left in one of the dryers, he found they were missing. Another man in the laundry told him he’d seen 52 year old Robin Grabey take them. The 19 year old and a 27 year old friend confronted Grabey asking for the towels back. Grabey then pulled a folding knife from her pocket, opened it and told them she would stab them.

A witness who saw Grabey make the threats told Deputy Aaron Coller he saw the entire chain of events. He gave the same account of events as the two victims.

Grabey was found at her trailer at lot #101 and she was arrested. She was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and she was booked into jail.

Elderly man, lost, recovered in the Keys

An elderly man reported missing with a statewide Silver Alert was found safe in Tavernier this weekend.

The 82 year old from Port St. Lucie was at the Circle K store at the 92 mile marker Sunday at 2 a.m. The clerk at the store called the Sheriff’s Office because he recognized the man from a Silver Alert he’d seen on the Florida State Lottery gaming machine in the store.

When Deputy Michael Claudy arrived, he found the man tired and disoriented. Deputy Claudy was able to contact the man’s family and he and his vehicle were returned home safely.

Sheriff’s Office checks for underage alcohol sales

Note: the undercover operatives used in these operations are carefully chosen so they appear clearly to be underage.  It is in no way the intention of the operation to trick anyone into selling alcohol illegally.

On February 28, 2014, The Sheriff’s Special Investigations Division conducted an operation checking businesses that sell alcohol in the Upper Keys.  Twelve businesses were checked including restaurants, convenience stores and bars.  Four of the businesses served alcohol to a minor during our investigation.  The four clerks who sold the alcohol were issued Notices to Appear before a Monroe County Judge. 

The following are a list of the Business, and attendants who sold the alcohol:

The Sale Clerk violations are up to 60 days in jail, a $500.00 fine, $235.00 in court cost, $75.00 in cost of prosecution, and $40.00 in cost of investigation.

The Licensee Violations are:

1st-Offense $1000 fine and 7 day suspension.
2nd-Offense $3000 fine and 30 day suspension.
3rd-Offense Revocation of license.

The remaining business checked, were in compliance with the law.  This operation was conducted in cooperation with the Monroe County Coalition for a Safe and Drug Free Community.