Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Daily Crime and Information Report

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

November 30, 2000

Christmas decorations stolen

Key Haven – A family in Key Haven got a visit from the Grinch who stole all their outside Christmas decorations from their lawn between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

The home is on Cypress Avenue in the Key Haven Neighborhood just outside of the city of Key West. The owner called the Sheriff’s Office Wednesday morning to report all his large, lighted Christmas lawn ornaments were taken over night. The ornaments included two six foot tall spiral lighted Christmas trees; two three and a half foot tall deer, one male and one female; and a three and a half foot tall lighted deer and sleigh. Total value of the stolen items is estimated to be over $300.00.

Anyone with information about this theft should contact the Sheriff’s Office. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a tip leads to an arrest, the caller may be eligible for a monetary reward. The Crime Stoppers Hot Line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

Man wanted out of state for Child Molestation found in the Keys


Christopher Lehman

Key Largo – A man wanted in Indiana for Child Molestation was arrested Wednesday at a Key Largo Trailer Park.

Detectives arrested 27 year old Christopher Lehman on an outstanding warrant issued by the Indiana State Police. Lehman was living at a trailer in Florida Keys RV Resort. He’d been staying there since March of this year.

He has reportedly been working as a security guard at a Key Largo Resort Hotel. Detectives in Indiana told Monroe County Sheriff’s detectives Lehman could be considered to be a danger to children. Monroe County Sheriff’s Detectives are attempting to locate and notify any families with children that he may have had regular contact with. Anyone with questions should contact Detective Mark Coleman at the Plantation Key Substation, (305) 853-3211.

Lehman is currently in the Monroe County Detention Center on Stock Island being held without bond. He will be extradited to Indiana to face the charges.

(Note for the media: For more information about the Indiana case, contact Detective Ryan Harmon, with the Indiana State Police, (219) 233-1123).

 

November 29, 2000

Deputy in jail for accident, DUI

Upper Keys – A deputy, arrested by the Florida Highway Patrol in the upper Keys after an alcohol related accident, is currently in the Monroe County Detention Center.

Information relating to the accident and the arrest should be obtained from the investigating agency, the Florida Highway Patrol.

31-year-old David Cline, who was still on a probationary status as an employee at the time of the accident, has been terminated effective immediately from his employment with the Sheriff’s Office. Cline became a deputy sheriff May 31, 2000 after completing the local law enforcement academy at the Florida Institute of Criminal Justice.

At the Plantation Key Detention Center, prior to booking, Cline attempted to commit suicide. He took his T-shirt off, ripped it and tied one end to a security camera in the booking room of the Detention Center. He tied the other end around his neck, apparently preparing to hang himself. Officers in the vicinity of the booking room were able to stop the attempt before any injury occurred. Because of the suicide attempt, Cline will be transported to the Main Detention Center on Stock Island where he will be placed on a 24-hour suicide watch, standard procedure for inmates who have attempted, or talked about committing, suicide.

 

Date: November 28, 2000

Sheriff and deputies arrest impaired, violent driver

Duck Key – Sheriff Rick Roth initiated a traffic stop Monday night after he saw a car traveling at high speed that almost ran two cars off the road. The driver, a Marathon man, was impaired, in possession of illegal drugs, a gun and became violent during the arrest.

The Sheriff first saw the vehicle when it almost hit another car at the intersection of  U.S. One and Coco Plum Road. He followed the car at speeds in excess of 80 miles an hour northbound attempting to stop it. The driver, 40-year-old Danny Sullivan of Marathon, almost hit two more cars and passed several others in the no passing zone of the highway before it stopped at the roadside at the 59-mile marker.

Deputies Stephen Mahmood and Patrick McCroskey responded as back up. When they arrived, they found Sullivan out of the car. He reportedly had bloodshot eyes and smelled of alcohol. Sullivan was asked to perform roadside sobriety exercises, after which he was placed under arrest for being an impaired driver.

While the deputies were trying to handcuff him, he struggled, but he was placed into a marked patrol car for transport to the Florida Highway Patrol Station in Marathon for a Breathalyzer test. A search of his car turned up marijuana, rolling papers and a partially smoked marijuana cigarette on the driver’s side floorboard. A 9mm pistol was also found, in a case in the center console of the car. A pill bottle with 39 Alprazolam pills was also found. Alprazolam is an anti-anxiety/sedative type depressant drug. The prescription for 45 pills was issued that same day.

Once at the FHP station, Sullivan told the deputies he had the ability to kill them, even with handcuffs on. He said he was a martial arts expert, and the deputies later found a card in his wallet identifying him as a 3rd Degree Black Belt. In the Breathalyzer room, and again at the Monroe County Detention Center he struggled with the deputies, at one point shoving a deputy in the chest.

Sullivan was charged with driving under the influence alcohol or drugs, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, resisting arrest with violence and battery on a law enforcement officer. He is currently in custody at the Monroe County Detention Center.

November 27, 2000

Key West man charged with possessing heroin

Big Coppitt Key – A Key West man stopped for speeding was arrested after deputies found heroin in his pocket.

Deputies Jorge Morffi and Maretta McNichol were on patrol on Boca Chica Road, Big Coppitt Key Saturday afternoon when they spotted a car speeding. When they pulled the car over, the driver, 39-year-old George Colby, appeared to be intoxicated. The deputies could smell alcohol and he admitted he’d been drinking. The deputies found two alcoholic beverage containers in the car and he failed a field sobriety exercise.

During the course of his arrest, the deputies began to search him for officer safety reasons. He resisted the search, and refused to listen to officer commands to keep his hands where they could be seen. They finally completed the search, turning up a number of individually wrapped foil packets in one of his pockets. Inside the packets the deputies found heroin – a total of 3.3 grams of the illegal substance.

Colby was placed under arrest and charged with possession of heroin with intent to distribute and resisting arrest without violence. He was also issued a citation for possessing an open container. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Detectives solve string of business burglaries

Marathon – A string of business burglaries in Marathon have been attributed to a Big Pine teenager who has been charged with five of the break ins so far.

The burglaries began in June of this year with a string of break ins taking place over a period of two weeks. According to Detective Rick Martin, who investigated the cases, the break-ins have continued since then and some of them are still under investigation.

17-year-old Tristan Benshetler of Big Pine Key has been charged with burglarizing Jeff’s Bait and Tackle shop, Deadhead George’s Restaurant, Island Restaurant, Shipwreck by Design and the Quay Restaurant. He has also been charged, along with two other teens, with burglarizing the Montego Bay Restaurant on Big Pine Key.

So far in Marathon, Benshetler faces five counts of burglary, two counts of grand theft, two counts of theft and one count of criminal mischief. Two others were charged with the burglary at Montego Bay – his twin brother 17 year old Nicholas Benshetler and 18-year-old Bud Brown, of Little Torch Key. More charges are pending against Benshetler, and more arrests may also be pending further investigation.

Detective Martin began investigating the string of burglaries in June. During the course of his investigation, he received information that Benshetler was involved in the crimes, as well as involved in the Big Pine Key crime. Benshetler was first arrested September 7th and has been arrested four more times since then on burglary and theft charges, as well as one charge of violation of probation.

The investigation is continuing.

Search Warrants lead to arrests

Upper Keys – Three search warrants served by the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Division last week resulted in the arrest of five people on drug related charges.

The first warrant, served November 21st at 5:30 p.m. at #20 Rock Harbor Trailer Park turned up 70 grams of marijuana, cocaine residue and drug paraphernalia. 38-year-old Scott Prior was arrested and charged with possessing the illegal substances and the paraphernalia. He was also charged with two outstanding warrants for sale of cocaine.

The second warrant, served November 21st at 8 p.m. at 841 Largo Road in Key Largo resulted in two arrests. 45-year-old Sergio Batista was arrested for four outstanding warrants for sale of cocaine. He was also charged with possession of marijuana for a small amount of the drug detectives found in his pocket. A search in computers revealed an outstanding warrant out of Hillsborough County for violation of probation ref. possession of cocaine as well.

48-year-old Miguel Martinez was arrested at the same address on three outstanding warrants for sale of cocaine. He, also, was found to be in possession of a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia and was further charged with those crimes.

The third search warrant, served November 22nd at 1 p.m. at 258 Bay Drive in Key Largo led to the arrest of a husband and wife for drug sale and possession. 50 year old Erik Sayenga and his wife, 36 year old Kathleen Sayenga were both booked into the Monroe County Detention Center after a search of their residence turned up 247 grams of marijuana and a large amount of drug paraphernalia. Both of them also had outstanding warrants for sale of LSD and they were arrested on those charges as well.

Work Release inmate fails to return to Detention Center – is found later on Stock Island

Monroe County – A female inmate on work release from the Monroe County Detention Center failed to return from work. She was later picked up by deputies on Stock Island.

42-year-old Carey Hogue was supposed to return to the Detention Center from her job at a local restaurant on Friday morning, but she failed to return on time so a notice to be on the lookout for her was issued.

On Saturday morning, she contacted the Sheriff’s Office and said she wanted to turn herself in. Sgt. Daryl Hull found he at a seafood market on Shrimp Road, Stock Island. She was returned to the Monroe County Detention Center and charges against her are pending.

November 17, 2000

Woman charged with title fraud

Marathon – A Marathon woman has been charged with title fraud after she forged a man’s signature on a boat title, then claimed the boat was hers.

The boat’s owner, Jeffery Price, told Deputy Kevin Mimosa he bought the boat from 40-year-old Martha Lopez and obtained title from her. He said he has been making payments to her for the purchase regularly since he bought it.

He said they had a disagreement, and shortly thereafter, he discovered his boat was missing from its slip at a Marathon marina. He confronted her, and deputies were called to the scene.

Lopez told deputies that Price was having trouble making payments and signed the title back over to her. She showed them the title as proof, with Price’s signature on it. Price denied signing the title over to her. Upon further investigation, Deputy Mimosa and Detective Lionel Vargas discovered that Price’s signature on the title appeared to be a false one. They confronted Lopez and she changed her story several times.

Lopez was placed under arrest, charged with title fraud, and she was taken to the Monroe County Detention Center.

Man tries to pay for motors with false cashier’s check

Marathon – The owner of a Marathon marina told Sheriff’s deputies a man tried to buy two boat motors from him Thursday using a false cashier’s check.

John Riegor, the owner of Turn Key Marina in Marathon, called the Sheriff’s Office Thursday afternoon to report the incident. He told Deputy Deborah Ryan he initially received a phone call on November 6th from a man with a Bahamian accent who identified himself as Mike Jones. The man asked for the price of two Yamaha motors.

The same man called back November 15th and said he wished to purchase the motors and would be bringing a cashier’s check the next day to do so. Thursday afternoon, “Jones” called back to say he was sending a man named “Eric Thomas” to pick up the motors and pay for them. “Thomas” showed up at 4:30 p.m. HE also had a Bahamian accent and sounded very similar to “Jones”. He had what appeared to be a cashier’s check for $26,575.00 from “Washington Mutual Bank, FA.”. Riegor was suspicious and asked for a telephone number for “Jones” so he could call and ask “Jones” to fax him a copy of his driver’s license for verification. He then began to call the bank listed as the issuer of the check. “Thomas” became nervous and said he didn’t have a number for “Jones”. He then fled from the Marina office, got into his truck and drove away.

Upon closer examination, the bank’s logo and the authorizing signature on the check were both blurry and the word “VOID” is visible on the face of the check.

Detectives will be investigating the incident.

 

November 16, 2000

Men arrested after domestic dispute

Marathon – Two Marathon men have been arrested in connection with a violent domestic dispute that took place last week.

The altercation took place at a home on 73rd Street between Thursday in the early morning hours and Friday. The victim told Deputy Susan Greenwood that her boyfriend, 21-year-old Edwin Ecevedo repeatedly accused her of sleeping with another man. On one occasion, she said she was lying on the bed and he put a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her. She said her small child was lying next to her at the time, and Ecevedo, who is the baby’s father, grabbed him and threw him against the wall, causing a bruise on the baby’s forehead. On another occasion, she said he pushed her onto the ground and began hitting her. When she tried to call 911, he disconnected the phone. When she tried to leave the residence, he grabbed her and threw her on the ground.

The victim said after the second incident, Ecevedo called his boss, 33 year old Mark Kern. Kern came to the residence and allegedly threatened her, telling her not to call the police. He reportedly said if she did call police, he would tell deputies she was lying about Ecevedo hitting her.

The victim said she was so afraid, she waited until the next day to contact the Sheriff’s Office. Warrants were issued for the arrest of Ecevedo and Kern. On Tuesday, they were both placed under arrest. Ecevedo was charged with domestic battery, aggravated assault, child abuse and false imprisonment. Kern was charged with tampering with a witness. Both were booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

 

November 15, 2000

Detectives ask for help locating stolen artwork

Islamorada – Sheriff’s detectives are asking for the public’s assistance in locating a large amount of artwork stolen from a Venetian Shores residence in October.

Detective Larry O’Neill would like anyone who has been approached about purchasing artwork, or anyone who has information about the burglary to come forward and help him with the case. The burglary took place between October 15th and October 19th at a home in Venetian Shores. Paintings, prints, sculptures, rugs, lamps, mirrors, carved figurines as well as jewelry, clothing, a television, stereo equipment, tools and house wares were all taken.

Many of the artwork items depict tropical scenes, with birds, fish and other animals, including two large wooden carved pictures of birds, a standing black and white sculpture of leaping dolphins and a piece of brass artwork depicting palm trees and a setting sun. (These four items are depicted in photos, below).

Also missing is a 36” Sony television, a Bose surround sound system, a brass porthole clock, a large shell floor lamp, three large fish pictures, a designer rug with a frog on it, a fur-type rug with Toucan birds on it, numerous video tapes, CDs and audio tapes. Total value of the items taken is over $17,000.00.

Anyone with any information which might help solve this case should contact Detective O’Neill at 853-3211. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a tip leads to an arrest, the caller may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.00. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

 

November 14, 2000

Search warrant results in arrest for trafficking in cocaine

Stock Island – A Stock Island man was arrested Monday after a search warrant served at his home turned up large quantities of cocaine and marijuana.

The search warrant was obtained after detectives from the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Division conducted an investigation into possible drug dealing at 18-A 7th Avenue on Stock Island. A search of the premises turned up 660 grams of marijuana and 54 grams of cocaine in a bedroom of the house. Various items of drug paraphernalia were also found, including a scale, rolling papers and a smoking pipe.

45-year-old Eduardo Martinez was placed under arrest, charged with trafficking in cocaine, possessing a felony amount of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Detectives looking for help identifying suspect

Key Largo – Sheriff’s detectives are asking for the public’s help identifying a motorcycle driver who battered an elderly man in a Key Largo parking lot last week.

According to the victim, the unknown man on the motorcycle pulled in front of him and cut him off as he was waiting to turn into Waldorf Plaza in Key Largo. The victim, who is 74 years old, said he blew his horn at the man, who then began shouting obscenities at him. The victim pulled into the parking lot and the man on the motorcycle began driving circles around his car. He then rammed the motorcycle into the driver’s side door and reached into the open car window, hitting the victim in the face a number of times.

A man getting coffee at the plaza witnessed the battery of the victim and when the motorcycle sped away, he jumped into his car and gave chase along with the victim. The two cars chased the motorcycle around the parking lot and through two adjacent parking lots before the motorcycle was able to get away.

The motorcycle driver is described as a white male in his 20s wearing a white helmet, white t-shirt, blue jeans and a black backpack. He was riding a black “ninja style” motorcycle. Anyone who knows who this person is or who can help detectives identify him should contact Detective Sgt. Corey Bryan at 853-3211. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. IF a tip leads to an arrest, callers may be eligible for a monetary reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

 

November 13, 2000

Marathon man arrested for hiring a man to hurt another man

Marathon – A Marathon man was arrested Friday and charged with hiring a man to smash another man’s hands.

According to Detective Lionel Vargas, 40 year old William Hauck paid a man $1,000.00 to break the hands of the victim because the victim was suing him in civil court over unpaid wages. Hauck, who is the captain of a fishing boat, allegedly hired the victim as an employee then fired him, refusing to pay him any wages. The victim then filed a suit against him in civil court for payment of those wages.

On November 3, the victim called the Sheriff’s Office to report that he’d been approached by a man who said he’d been hired to injure him. The man told the victim Hauck had approached him October 2nd and offered him $1,000 to break the victim’s hands. The victim plays drums as a profession, and Hauck said he wanted him injured so he couldn’t play anymore.

Hauck allegedly paid the man $200.00 as a down payment, and said he would pay the rest when the job was completed. The man left, then returned later in the day and told Hauck he’d completed the job by duct taping the victim and smashing his hands with a boat oar. He told Detective Vargas he lied to Hauck about completing the job because he wanted the rest of the money.

He said over the next few weeks, he found out the victim was a nice guy and became worried that Hauck would hire someone else to hurt him. That is why he came forward and told the victim about Hauck’s attempt to injure him.

After further investigation, Detective Vargas placed Hauck under arrest Friday. Hauck was charged with criminal conspiracy, criminal solicitation and one count of retaliation against a victim and he was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center. His bond was set at $100,000.00 and he was released from of jail Saturday after posting bond.

Key West man charged with unlawful sale of a vehicle

Lower Keys – A Key West man has been arrested by Sheriff’s detectives for unlawfully selling a vehicle that had a lien on it.

The victim told Detective Scott Robinson that 46-year-old Robert Carter sold her a truck in July of this year for $6,700.00. He reportedly signed the title over to her, but when she took it in to the department of motor vehicles to register it, she was told the title was an old one, and that there was another title on the vehicle, with a lien on it by TIB Bank. Detective Robinson checked with the bank and discovered that Carter did owe money on the vehicle, and was 120 days past due on the payments.

Since July, the victim has attempted numerous times to contact Carter about the problem with the title and get her money back, but he has refused. That is why she contacted the Sheriff’s Office.

Carter was arrested Thursday and was charged with grand theft and unlawful sale of a motor vehicle. He was driving another vehicle at the time of the arrest, and, after a check of his license and a check of the vehicle’s tag, he was further charged with driving with his license suspended, attaching a tag not assigned and having no proof of insurance.

 

Date: November 9, 2000

Key Largo man charged with burglary

Islamorada – A Key Largo man was arrested and charged with burglary after witnesses reported seeing him enter a house in Islamorada without the permission of the owner Wednesday afternoon.

The victim called the Sheriff’s Office just after noon to report his house had been burglarized. He said he was at work when two people working for him at his house on Red Wing Road called him to report the break in. He responded to his house, where he found a gold and diamond ring missing from the dresser.

When Deputy Sheila Seago arrived, the witnesses told her that 53 year old Michael Mitchell showed up at the house as they were working upstairs. They knew him because he was a friend of the homeowner’s son. Mitchell told them he was there to speak with someone about some work. The witnesses told him no one was home, so he walked away. They then saw him climb through a bedroom window of the house. They found him inside taking change from a large plastic jug and putting it into a bag. They confronted him and told him to put the money back. Mitchell complied, begging them not to “tell” on him. He then fled through a front sliding glass door, driving away in a black Chevy Blazer.

When dispatchers checked Mitchell’s name through local computers, they found an address for him on Bonefish Lane in Key Largo. When Deputies Lisa King and Julie Smith checked the residence, she found the Blazer parked in the driveway. Sgt. Tom Brazil responded and took Mitchell back to Islamorada for a positive identification by the witnesses.

Mitchell was placed under arrest and charged with burglary and theft. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

November 1, 2000

Marathon man wanted for murder


Larry Leatherwood

Marathon – Sheriff’s Detectives are searching for a Marathon man wanted for killing another man Tuesday night at a Halloween party.

Numerous witnesses saw 34-year-old Larry Leatherwood shoot 34 year old Mark Evans just after 10:30 p.m., as Evans walked out of the party at 10A 240 Sombrero Road. Detectives say that witness accounts lead them to believe Leatherwood fired his handgun at least four times. Evans was shot at least three times, twice in the body and once in the head. He was dead when the ambulance and deputies arrived just minutes later.

Leatherwood and Evans reportedly had a long-standing dispute, possibly over a woman. People at the party said when Leatherwood showed up, he immediately began harassing Evans. He was asked to leave the party by the host, but later returned with the gun, believed to be a revolver.

Phone tips led detectives and the Sheriff’s Special Weapons and Tactics team to Leatherwood’s residence at 784 84th Street. The tipster said Leatherwood was in the residence. When officers entered the home, no one was there.

Detectives from the Sheriff’s Homicide team are investigating the case and expect an autopsy to be done today on Evan’s body. They are in the process of issuing a warrant for Leatherwood’s arrest for murder. Detectives say Leatherwood may be armed and dangerous. He has an extensive history of arrests for violent crimes and for crimes involving firearms. He is described as a  black male, six foot four inches tall, 200 pounds. He also has been known to go by the names Larry Bryant, Michael Bryant and Johnny Bryant.

Anyone with information about Leatherwood’s location should contact the Sheriff’s Office immediately by calling 911, or by contacting the Sheriff’s Homicide Team at 289-2410. Callers who wish to remain anonymous should contact Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If the tip leads to an arrest, the caller will be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.00. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

Search Warrant leads to arrest for marijuana

Key Largo – Detectives from the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Division arrested a Key Largo man for possessing seven pounds of marijuana Tuesday.

Investigations led detectives to obtain the search warrant for 1044 Adams Drive in Key Largo. The warrant was served at 6 a.m. Tuesday.

Inside the home, they found seven pounds of marijuana, most of which was located in a refrigerator and freezer located downstairs. They also found a small amount of cocaine and drug paraphernalia.

49-year-old Robert Lester Aycock was arrested, charged with possessing marijuana, cocaine and paraphernalia. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.