Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Daily Crime and Information Report

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

January 31, 2001

Attempted robbery at Big Pine Key convenience store

Big Pine Key – A convenience store clerk on Big Pine Key reported a man tried to rob her at knifepoint Monday in the early morning hours.

The victim, a clerk at the Tom Thumb Convenience store, told Deputy Craig Waskiewicz she was behind the counter when a man walked in at 1:30 a.m. Monday. She said he put a six pack of beer on the counter, pulled out a knife and demanded money from the register. Another clerk in the store was also behind the counter and he slammed the cash register drawer shut, picked up a coin jar to defend himself, and the robber fled the store on foot with the beer and the knife.

Detectives are investigating the incident. Anyone with information should contact the Sheriff’s Office at 305-292-7075. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a tip leads to an arrest in the case, the caller would be eligible for a reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

 

January 26, 2001

Python found, returned to owners

Plantation Key – A missing 10 foot long python has been found and returned to it’s owner.

The Snake was found near a woodworking shop on Plantation Key Tuesday. The man who found the snake put it in a pillowcase for safe keeping and called the owner’s, who flew to the Keys Wednesday to pick up their family pet. The snake reportedly appeared to be healthy and none the worse for it’s adventure.

Man who shot wife dies at Miami hospital

Key Largo – A Key Largo man who shot his wife, then himself, died at a Miami Hospital late Wednesday.

72 year old Bobby Lee Spangler was pronounced dead at 10:30 p.m. at the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. According to Detective James Norman his wife, Susan Delfante, may be released from the hospital soon.

Brothers arrested for attempted arson

Big Coppitt Key – Three young brothers were arrested by Sheriff’s deputies Thursday and charged with attempted arson to a boat.

According to the victim, the boys were throwing some type of flaming objects at his boat, docked at a Riviera Drive residence. When the victim confronted the boys, they threw the flaming objects at him as well.

13 year old James Smith, 12 year old Ryan Smith and 10 year old Brendan Smith, all of Riviera Drive, Big Coppitt Key were arrested and charged with attempted arson and assault. They were turned over to the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Two of the brothers, Brandon and Ryan, were arrested January 22nd for taking part in the burglary and ransacking of a trailer and storage shed on Riviera Drive.

 

January 23, 2001

Domestic dispute leads to manhunt, multiple felony charges

Marathon – A domestic dispute at a Marathon motel Monday evening led to an extensive search of a wooded area using a helicopter and dogs, and the apprehension of a man for multiple felony charges.

Deputy Greg McNally responded to the Sea Cove Motel after a woman called the Sheriff’s Office to report her boyfriend had been beating her for four days. When he arrived, the victim told him that 38 year old Kent Michael Kearney had threatened to kill her if she called police. He also told her he would not allow police to arrest him, and was not afraid to kill an officer to avoid being taken into custody.

She told deputies he was driving a black 1997 Ford F-250 pickup truck which he’d stolen in Cherokee County, Georgia. She said the truck had a stolen Florida license tag on it, and a front vanity plate which said “Burgess Construction”. She said he was armed with a handgun which he keeps in a black waist bag.

Deputy McNally spotted the truck a short time later traveling north on U.S. One near 39th Street. There were three men inside. The truck stopped at a liquor store and two of the men got out. One of them fit the description of Kearney. The deputy called for backup and Deputy Joe Cortner arrived just as the men were getting back into the truck.

Deputy McNally attempted to stop the truck using his lights and siren. The truck fled northbound, turned left and drove on the sidewalk for a short distance before turning in to Gulfside Village in Marathon. Kearney drove behind the shopping plaza and into a wooded area, then jumped out of the truck and fled on foot. The two men with him surrendered immediately and were taken into custody, then later released.

A perimeter was set up around the area where Kearney was last seen. The Sheriff’s Office helicopter was called to assist in the search, along with Florida Highway Patrol and Homestead Police K-9 units. When they began searching the area, an FHP K-9 found Kearney’s waist bag and gun on the ground in the wooded area. The helicopter, equipped with Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) equipment then spotted Kearney’s heat signature from the air and lit up the area where he was hiding. A Homestead K-9, guided by the helicopter, then found Kearney’s hiding place. During the his apprehension by the dog, Kearney suffered a bite to one of his legs. He was treated at Fisherman’s Hospital prior to being booked into jail. In his possession he had several false pieces of identification. A check through computers revealed he had a lengthy criminal history as well.

Kearney was arrested and charged with carrying a concealed firearm, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, theft, having no valid driver’s license, grand theft and fleeing and attempting to elude a law enforcement officer.

His girlfriend, who called the Sheriff’s Office n the first place, was also arrested. When deputies checked her name through computers, they found out that 31 year old Melissa Ann Conner was wanted on an outstanding Tennessee warrant for violation of parole reference escape and possession of contraband in a penal facility.

Man reports armed robbery in Key Largo

Key Largo – A man walking on Ocean Bay Drive in Marathon was robbed at gunpoint Monday just before noon.

The victim told Deputy Laura Garcia he was walking on the street smoking a cigarette when a car with two young men inside pulled up to him. The passenger asked him for a cigarette and when the victim walked over to hand it to him, the man pulled out a gun, pointed it at him and said “I’ll take your wallet, too.”

The victim handed over his wallet, then ran away, calling the Sheriff’s Office from a nearby pay phone.

He described the vehicle as an older model black Ford four door. The passenger is described as a Hispanic male in his early 20s, thin build with a thin mustache and pale skin. He was wearing blue jeans, a white t-shirt and a Miami Hurricanes jacket. The gun he was carrying was a small semi-automatic handgun with a chrome or nickel-plated finish. The victim did not get a good look at the driver of the car.

Detectives are investigating.

Six kids charged with burglarizing a trailer

Big Coppitt Key – Six kids between the ages of 9 and 12 were arrested Monday after they admitted to breaking into a trailer, and ransacking a storage shed.

The caretaker of the trailer called the Sheriff’s Office to report the crime. When Deputy Jack Bernhard arrived, the man told him kids from down the street had been on the property over the weekend. The deputy went to the kid’s home and questioned them in the presence of their parents and/or guardians.

9 year old Britney Smith and 11 year old David Osborne admitted that they and their friends had broken into a storage shed on the property and had found a key to the trailer. They said they went into the trailer and “set up house” inside. They brought cots, televisions, bed cushions and tools inside the trailer. They cooked food, and set off a fire extinguisher inside the shed.

All six admitted to taking part in the crime and were arrested and charged with burglary and criminal mischief. In addition to Smith and Osborne, the others arrested were:

       10 year old Brandon Smith

       12 year old Ryan Smith

       9 year old Danielle Osborne

       10 year old Brian Osborne

 

January 22, 2001

Man shoots wife, then himself

Key Largo – A Key Largo man shot his wife, then himself Friday night at a home on Island Drive. When Sheriff’s deputies arrived on the scene at 6:03 p.m., they found Spangler had gone back inside the house and would not come out.

Sheriff’s Office Hostage negotiators, Sgt. Dave Stark and Sgt. Tom Brazil were called to the scene and spent almost 8 hours trying to talk 72 year old Bobby Lee Spangler into coming out of his house at 616 Island Drive in Key Largo. When he refused all communication, the Sheriff’s Office Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) entered the house just before 2 a.m., with assistance from the Homestead SWAT team.

They found Spangler sitting in a chair, facing a window looking out on the water. He’d shot himself in the side of the head with a .38 caliber revolver, but was still alive. He was taken into custody, then airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami for treatment. He is expected to survive.

His wife, 56 year old Sharon Spangler, was also airlifted to Miami after her husband shot her three times, twice in the back and once in the upper right arm, according to Deputy Sever Hustad who completed the initial report of the incident. Sharon Spangler also goes by the name Susan Katherine Delfante. Just before 6 p.m., he shot her inside their home. She ran outside and climbed into a car. He chased her outside, still shooting. Despite her injuries, she was able to back out of the driveway and flee down the street to a neighbor’s house. She, also, was airlifted to Miami for treatment of her injuries and is expected to survive.

Spangler left several letters addressed to friends and family members. Detective James Norman, who is investigating the case, said the letters and witness statements gathered from friends and neighbors indicate the pair had been having marital problems. Investigations indicate Spangler may have been planning for some time to kill his wife and then himself.

The investigation is continuing.

Search warrants served in Marathon

Marathon – Detectives from the Special Investigations Division served two search warrants in Marathon Thursday.

The first warrant was served at 11 a.m. at 374 73rd Street, #28. Inside, a search turned up cocaine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia.53 year old Sharon “Sally” Ahearn was arrested and charged with possessing the illegal substances.

The second warrant was served at 2:30 p.m. at 11135 3rd Avenue Oceanside in Marathon. At the house, detectives found an unknown type of pills, marijuana and drug paraphernalia. They arrested 24 year old Geanne Hughes and charged her with possessing those illegal substances. As they were performing the search, two men drove up in a 1975 Ford Grand Torino. Inside the car, detectives found crack cocaine in a small jewelry container, and a small amount of marijuana. 22 ear old Jerry “Flint” Anderson and 20 year old J.D. Worley were both arrested. Anderson was charged with possession of cocaine. Worley was charged with possession of marijuana and an outstanding warrant for failing to show a driver’s license to his probation officer.

All three were booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Man charged with armed sexual battery, kidnapping

Islamorada – An Islamorada man was arrested Saturday and charge with holding a woman at knifepoint and forcing her to have sex with him.

The victim told Detective Mark Coleman and Deputy Winfred Higgins she was walking her bike on the bike path near the 82 mile marker of the highway Thursday night at 7 p.m. when the incident occurred. She said 44 year old Charles Everette Strong jumped out of the bushes, grabbed her around the neck and held a knife to her throat. He then pulled her into the bushes and raped her.

The victim said after the attack, he tied her hands together and forced her to walk to a wooded area near the 84.5 mile marker where he again raped her. She said he refused to let her go because he said he was afraid she’d call the police. A short time later, Strong’s wife reportedly showed up and confronted both of them. At that point, the victim was able to escape. She reported the incident to the Sheriff’s Office the following day.

On Saturday, Strong was found inside his van in an Islamorada parking lot. He was taken into custody and questioned about the accusations. He admitted to having sexual relations with the victim, but told investigators it was consensual. He was placed under arrest, charged with kidnapping and armed sexual battery and he was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Two charged with Marathon business burglary

Marathon – More than six months after it was committed, Sheriff’s detectives arrested two men in connection with a business burglary in Marathon.

Detective Rick Martin  recently arrested 17 year old Nicholas “Abba” Phipps in connection with the armed robbery of a Marathon cab driver. When he interviewed him after the arrest, Phipps admitted to being involved in the burglary of The Island Restaurant in Marathon in June of last year. Phipps told Detective Martin that he and 16 year old Christopher Orr broke into the building and stole a large amount of cash from inside.

Detective Martin charged Phipps Friday with burglary and grand theft in connection with the case, and a warrant was obtained for the arrest of Orr. Orr was arrested on the same charges Friday afternoon. Over the past year, Orr has been charged with seven counts of burglary for his participation in a string of business burglaries in Marathon.

Marathon man charged with robbery

Marathon – A Marathon man told deputies he was punched in the mouth by a man who stole $2.00 from him.

Deputy Todd Blyth spotted the victim in the parking lot of a Marathon bar and stopped to talk to him. He noticed the man’s lip was bleeding and asked him what happened. The victim said 26 year old Kenyatta Scott had walked up to him, punched him in the face, then stole $2.00 from his pocket.

Deputy Blyth, with two other deputies as back-up, went to Scott’s residence on 41st Street. Scott admitted to punching the victim, but said he didn’t steal anything from him. Scott was arrested, charged with strong arm robbery and he was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Inmate fails to return from work release, is charged with escape

Marathon – An inmate at the Monroe County Detention Center in Marathon failed to return from his work release job on time. When he turned himself in later, he was charged with escape.

42 year old Andrew Cannon participates in the work release program, in which inmates are allowed to go to leave jail to go to work. They must return to jail immediately after finishing work for the day. The program was implemented to help inmates keep their jobs while they are serving time in jail. This allows them to continue to support their families, and/or pay restitution to their victims.

On Saturday, Cannon failed to return from work at 6 p.m. A notice to be on the lookout for him was issued to all Sheriff’s deputies. At 2:46 a.m., he turned himself in to the jail. He was charged with escape and his work release privileges were revoke

 

January 18, 2001

Search warrant leads to three arrests for marijuana

Marathon – A search warrant served at a Marathon residence resulted in three arrests Wednesday.

Detectives from the Special Investigations Division served the search warrant at 205 Camino Real in Marathon just before 9 a.m.

Two people left the residence in a car just prior to the warrant being served and they were stopped by deputies a short distance away in their 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier. In that car, detectives found 381 grams of marijuana in a plastic bag on the floorboards in the back seat of the car. The car was seized for forfeiture. 22 year old Michael Henry and 26 year old Stephanie Temple were both arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

A search of the residence turned up more marijuana and drug paraphernalia scattered in various areas. In a room belonging to 16 year old Bonnie Henry, Henry’s sister, detectives found 45 grams of hash hidden in a laundry basket and in a top dresser drawer. They also found numerous items of drug paraphernalia and some unidentified white pills. She was charged with felony possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Tests will be done on the pills to determine what they are.

All three were booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Search warrant leads to arrest for crack

Cudjoe Key – A search warrant served at a Cudjoe Key residence resulted in the arrest of one man for possessing crack Wednesday afternoon.

Detectives from the Special Investigations Division served the search warrant at the home just before 5 p.m. The home is located on Cutthroat Drive on the Gulf side of Cudjoe Key. While the search was going on, the resident, 23 year old Jonathon Knox, returned home in his 1995 Mazda. A search of his pockets turned up crack cocaine. More crack cocaine was found during the search of his home. A total of 12 grams of crack was found in all.

Knock was arrested and charged with possession of cocaine. His car was seized for possible forfeiture.

Stabbing under investigation

Big Pine Key – During the course of a fight, one man stabbed another man at a Big Pine Key residence Wednesday night. Investigations into the incident are continuing.

Sgt. Ronnie Roberts responded to a bar where he found the victim of the stabbing. The man spoke little English and was intoxicated, so the Sgt. was unable to determine exactly what happened. The victim indicated that he had been in a fight with another man at a house on 1st Street. He said they were drinking together and began arguing over a bottle of rum.

The victim was transported to Fisherman’s Hospital for treatment of wounds on his hand and on his arm. He was treated and released.

Sgt. Roberts went to the house on 1st Street. The suspect also did not speak much English and had been drinking. A witness told the Sgt. she was asleep when the fight started. She said she walked out of her bedroom to find the two men struggling over the knife.

Investigations are continuing.

Third man charged with taxi robbery attempt

Marathon – Detective Rick Martin arrested the third man involved in the attempted armed robbery of a Marathon taxi driver.

17 year old Nicholas “Abba” Phipps was served with an outstanding warrant for attempted armed robbery Wednesday.

10 foot Python at large

Plantation Key – Tourists visiting the Keys in a motor home lost their 10 foot Python Tuesday morning.

The snake was lost in the area of the 89 mile marker of highway U.S. One. He escaped from the family’s motor home when they stopped alongside the road. The snake’s name is “Mr. Snake” and has reportedly been a family pet for the past 10 years. The family is from Ohio and was visiting the Keys. They say they have to return home soon, but someone will fly back to Monroe County to pick up the snake if it is found.

They assure everyone in the community that the snake is very friendly. He was fed very recently, and shouldn’t be hungry for several days. They are offering a $100.00 reward to anyone who finds it.

Anyone who spots the snake should contact the Sheriff’s Office immediately. The family also has a toll free number to call if the snake is found. The number is 1-800-229-4377.

Two warnings for watering

Monroe County – Sheriff’s deputies issued to verbal warnings to people watering lawns in violation of water restrictions Wednesday.

In Marathon, deputies issued a verbal warning to the Holiday Inn in Marathon at 2 a.m. Wednesday. In Plantation Key, deputies verbally warned a property owner who lives near the 87.4 mile marker at 9 p.m. Wednesday. The owner assured the deputy he would correct the timing on his watering system to comply with restrictions.

 

January 16, 2001 – Second edition

Escapee turns herself in

Key West – An escaped inmate from the Monroe County Detention Center turned herself in Monday night and is back in custody.

31 year old Heather Kelly was booked back in to the Detention Center after turning herself in to Sheriff’s detectives. She will be charged with escape, grand theft, forgery and uttering a forged instrument. She also faces charges of violation of probation reference worthless checks and violation of probation reference possession of cocaine.

Kelly was released from jail Saturday after she claimed to be another inmate, Heather Brandt. Brandt was sharing a cell with Kelly and had just made bond late Saturday night. Kelly identified herself to Corrections Officers as Brandt, signed Brandt’s name on release paperwork, signed for Brandt’s personal effects, including a cellular phone and jewelry, and was let go.

When she was asked about the discrepancy between her name, which was on a wrist identification bracelet, and the name “Heather Brandt” she told officers she had used the name “Brandt” occasionally in the past when dealing with law enforcement officers. A check in Sheriff’s Office computers revealed the name “Brandt” was, indeed, included the list of names she has been known to use.

The mistake was discovered later, after the real Brandt spoke up, asking why she hadn’t been released yet.

Detectives John McGee and Jason Madnick were investigators assigned to the case.

 

January 16, 2001

Two more charged with taxi robbery attempt

Marathon – Two more men have been identified as being involved in the attempted robbery of a Marathon cab driver January 8th. One has been arrested and the other is wanted on an outstanding warrant.

The victim, who drives a cab for the A-1 Taxi Company, said she was called to pick up a fare behind the Winn Dixie Grocery Store Monday evening. She said while she was waiting, three black men walked up to her cab. One of the men pulled out a gun and held it to her head, demanding she “Give it up”. She sped away from the scene without giving them any money, then called the Sheriff’s Office to report the incident.

18 year old Terrance Holmes was arrested Monday by Detective Rick Martin. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center on a warrant for attempted armed robbery. Bond on the warrant was set at $25,000.00. 17 year old Nicholas “Abba” Phipps is wanted on an outstanding warrant for the same charges. He is currently believed to be out of town and will be arrested when he returns.

On Thursday, Detective Martin arrested 18 year old Ernest Harris for his part in the crime. Harris admitted to being involved in the crime, and is the one who allegedly held the gun during the course of the robbery attempt.

When Holmes was questioned by Detective Martin about his part in the robbery, he admitted to being involved. He said he got the gun from another person and gave it to Harris. Holmes said he was present during the planning of the robbery, and acted as a lookout while the robbery was taking place. The gun has been recovered. It is a bb gun which closely resembles a real semi-automatic handgun.

Small boy shot with BB gun

Key Largo – A small boy was shot in the arm with a BB gun while he was playing with a friend Sunday afternoon.

The six year old boy’s father called the Sheriff’s Office to report the incident. He told Deputy George LaRoschelle his son was playing with another child who lives in the neighborhood. According to the boy, he was holding a ball up over his head as a target, while his friend tried to shoot it with his rifle-style BB gun. The friend missed the target, hitting the victim in the right arm just above his elbow.

The father drove his son to the hospital where an x-ray revealed the BB was still in his arm. He will reportedly have minor surgery to remove it at a later date. The victim’s father said he was not interested in pressing any charges in the case, and would work the situation out privately.

The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind everyone that state law requires any child using a BB gun who is under 16 years of age to be supervised by an adult who has the consent of the minor’s parent. Any adult who knowingly allows a child under 16 to use or have in his possession such a weapon without supervision may be guilty of a second degree misdemeanor.

Key Largo man arrested for threatening a woman and burglarizing her home

Tavernier – A Key Largo man is under arrest after he broke two sliding glass doors on a trailer on Sunset Lane, and threatened to kill the woman who lives there.

The victim called the Sheriff’s Office in the early morning hours Saturday. She said a man was outside her trailer. He had just broken two sliding glass doors on her trailer and was yelling that he was going to come inside and kill her.

When deputies arrived, she identified the man as 28 year old Carl Schaff. She said she and her husband used to rent a room to him. He fled the scene as the deputies drove up, but she described him and the clothing he was wearing.

A search of the area immediately following the incident failed to turn him up, but he was found a short time later he was found about a half mile away. He was arrested and charged with burglary and aggravated assault and he was taken to jail.

Detectives investigating burglaries in Tavernier neighborhood

Tavernier – Sheriff’s detectives are investigating a series of burglaries which have taken place in the Hammer Point Subdivision of Tavernier. Thousands of dollars worth of property has been stolen from the homes involved.

Detective David Carey is looking in to six burglaries in the neighborhood. They were all reported to the Sheriff’s Office over the past weekend, and actually took place over the past few weeks, while the owners were not home. Four homes were burglarized, along with a storage shed at a fifth home, and a screened in porch at the sixth home.

At the four homes, entry was made through windows which were either pried open, or removed entirely. Items ranging from fishing equipment to electronics to household goods were taken. Fishing equipment was taken from the storage shed, and burglars helped themselves to beer from a refrigerator on the screened in porch.

Detective’s Carey and Adrian Youngblood are investigating the cases, which they do believe are connected. Anyone with information about these crimes should call the Sheriff’s Office immediately at 305-853-3211. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can contact Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If the tip leads to an arrest, the caller will be eligible for a monetary reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

 

January 15, 2001

Inmate mistakenly released

Monroe County – A Monroe County Detention Center inmate claimed the identity of another inmate and was released in her place Saturday night. A notice to be on the lookout for her has been issued to police agencies in South Florida area, particularly in Broward County because her last known address was in Fort Lauderdale.

31 year old Heather Kelly was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center in Plantation Key Thursday evening on two outstanding warrants for violation of probation ref. worthless checks and possession of cocaine. Her bond was set at a total of $30,000.00. 26 year old Heather Brandt was booked into the jail the same evening on an outstanding warrant for violation of probation, ref. battery. Her bond was set at $5,000.00. Both women are from the Fort Lauderdale area and were brought to the Keys from another jurisdiction to face the outstanding charges against them. Both women were transported to the Key West Detention Center, where they were placed into the women’s detention unit in the same cell.

On Saturday night, Brandt made bond and was supposed to be released. A Correction’s Officer went to the cell and announced that Brandt was getting out of jail. At that point, Kelly reportedly identified herself to the officer as Brandt. According to Detective John McGee, the officer asked her why her wrist identification said Kelly and the woman said Heather Brandt was an AKA she uses occasionally. A check in Sheriff’s Office computers revealed Kelly  had used that name in the past in her encounters with law enforcement. She was taken to the Intake and Release area of the jail where she signed for Heather Brandt’s property, took it, and was released. The property included a cellular phone and several items of silver jewelry.

Heather Brandt later asked why she had not been released when her bond was posted. An investigation revealed Kelly’s escape. Brandt claims she was asleep when the officer came to the cell and did not know what Kelly was planning to do. She was released on bond Sunday after speaking to Detective McGee.

Kelly is still wanted on the outstanding warrants, with added charges of escape, forgery, uttering a forged instrument and theft.

Search warrant leads to arrests

Key West – A search warrant served on a Key West residence led to the arrest of two women for possessing Oxycodone and other prescription drugs.

Detectives from the Special Investigations division received information that the women, who live at 2521 Fogarty Avenue in Key West, were selling Oxycodone tablets. Oxycodone tablets are a prescription narcotic similar to morphine used by doctors as a powerful painkiller. An undercover investigation resulted in several purchases of Oxycodone from the residence at a cost of $40.00 per pill. Based on this evidence, a search warrant was obtained, signed by Judge Susan Vernon.

The search warrant was served Friday at 5 p.m. Detectives from the Special Investigations Division found 44 pills in the residence, including Oxycodone, Lortabs, Xanax and a number of unidentified pills. A small amount of marijuana was also found, along with various items of drug paraphernalia.

20 year old Mariah “Zima” Goldsberry and 22 year old Nichol “Nicky” Merlina (Merlina turned 23 years old Saturday, while still in jail) were both arrested and charged with possessing controlled substances and possessing drug paraphernalia. They were booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

January 12, 2001

Marathon man arrested for attempted robbery

Marathon – A Marathon man has been arrested for attempting to rob a cab driver Monday evening.

The victim, a driver for A-1 Taxi Company, told Detective Rick Martin she was dispatched to pick up a fare behind the Winn Dixie Supermarket at 8 p.m. Monday. She was parked in that location when three black males walked up on either side of her vehicle. The one on the driver’s side pulled out a gun and pointed it at her head, demanding that she “Give it up”.

The driver sped away from the area, avoiding the robbery attempt. She then called the Sheriff’s Office to report the crime.

Investigations by Detective Martin led him to question 17 year old Ernest Harris, of Marathon. Harris admitted to being involved in the robbery and gave Detective the gun used in the crime. The gun turned out to be a Daisy model BB gun, black in color, that closely resembles a semi-automatic handgun.

More arrests are pending in the case.

January 11, 2001

Suspicious item turns out to be electronic sextant

Marathon – The Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad was called to the scene of a suspicious item found in front of a Marathon bank Thursday morning.

When an employee of First National Bank arrived for work at 6:15, a small gray plastic case was sitting outside, in the front of the building. The case had the word “Free” written on the outside of it. The employee called  the Sheriff’s Office to report it. Deputies who were dispatched to the scene could not tell what was in the case just by looking at it, so the Sheriff’s Bomb Squad was dispatched to check it out.

Detective Sgt. Bobby Randolph, a member of the Bomb squad, examined the case and determined an electronic device of some sort was inside. With assistance from Sgt. Sam Cassel, he was able to identify the device as an electronic ship’s sextant.

Since no explosives were involved, the Bomb Squad and deputies cleared the scene with no further action at 8:30 a.m.

Big Pine man charged with stealing truck

Big Pine Key – A Big Pine Key man was arrested Wednesday afternoon and charged with stealing a truck and trailer belonging to another man.

Sgt. Daryl Hull and Deputy Kevin Kopp arrived on the scene at 4:30 p.m. and found 68 year old LeRoy Swope attempting to unload the truck, which was on the trailer. While unloading it, he had damaged the truck’s undercarriage. Damage is estimated to be $1,200.00.

Upon investigation, Sgt. Hull found that the truck’s owner had parked the trailer with the truck on it on Palomino Horse Trail, on the right of way. He was attempting to contact the owner of a storage lot where he keeps the truck and trailer so he could put it in storage.

Swope allegedly removed the trailer, the truck and several other items, taking them to his lot on Palomino Horse Trail. When questioned, he told Sgt. Hull that the truck and trailer were parked on his property, and that anything on his property belonged to him.

Swope was charged with grand theft and criminal mischief and he was taken to jail.

Big Pine man charged with multiple burglaries

Big Pine Key – Sheriff’s detectives arrested a Big Pine man and charged him with committing six burglaries which were reported over the past week.

19 year old Christopher Cosgrave has been charged with four counts of vehicle burglary, two counts of residential burglary and six counts of theft. He is accused of breaking in to three cars on Cypress Drive and one car on Buttonwood Drive, Big Pine Key. He is also accused of breaking into two homes, one on Cypress Drive and one on Buttonwood Drive.

Investigations into the crimes led Sheriff’s detectives to Cosgrove, who admitted to being involved in the crimes. He said he’d given some of the stolen property to 20 year old Steven McClelland in return for drugs. A search warrant served at McClelland’s home on Magnolia Lane, Big Pine Key turned up the stolen property, along with marijuana and Xanax. McClelland was arrested and charged with possession of the drugs, and with dealing in stolen property.

Detective Lynn McNeill was the detective assigned to investigate the cases. She was assisted by Det. Sgt. Bobby Randolph, Detective’s John McGee and Scott Robinson and by the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Division.

 

January 8, 2001

Detectives ask for help solving business burglaries

Upper Keys – Sheriff’s detectives are asking for the public’s help solving a string of business burglaries.

The burglaries have occurred over the past two months in Tavernier and Islamorada. Eight businesses were broken into. In every single case, the suspect(s) threw a rock or another item through the front window of the business, entered and took any cash from the premises.

Businesses hit during the string of break ins include Tavernier Lawn Mower Sales and Service, Island Paging and Cellular, Ace Hardware, Scotty’s Hardware, Dairy Queen, Papa John’s Pizza, Angelo’s Country Store and the Islamorada Bakery.

Anyone who has information about these cases should contact Detective Adrian Youngblood at the Plantation Key Substation, 853-3211. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a tip leads to an arrest in the case, the caller would be eligible for a monetary reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

 

January 5, 2001

Burglary Arrest leads to search warrant

 Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputies and Detectives served a search warrant at a Magnolia Avenue house on Big Pine Key Thursday afternoon.  Arrested on felony marijuana and possession of stolen property charges was 20-year old Steven McClelland.  Officers recovered a car stereo and camera that had been taken in an auto burglary earlier Thursday on Big Pine.  McClelland obtained the stolen property in a trade for drugs with 20-year old Christopher Cosgrave, also of Big Pine.  Cosgrave received marijuana and a prescription drug in exchange for the stolen goods which he had taken during the car burglary. 

These intertwined cases came together for investigators after Deputies Manuel Cuervo and Frank Gianino spotted Cosgrave carrying a large bag in an area where several car burglaries were reported.  Gianino was carrying burglary tools, a portable drill, a small amount of marijuana and a controlled substance that he did not have a prescription for.  After questioning, Gianino admitted to committing the car burglaries.  He also told detectives that he went to McClelland’s house and traded the stolen property for the drugs. 

Detectives obtained a  search warrant for McClelland’s residence, resulting in the recovery of the stolen goods and the seizure of more illegal drugs.  McClelland was taken to county jail and booked on charges of possession of stolen property and felony possession of marijuana.  Cosgrave was jailed on three counts of burglary and theft, and possession of marijuana and controlled substance charges.

 More Charges filed against Louisiana duo

 Two Louisiana men, arrested Tuesday on Big Pine Key for driving stolen cars and possessing stolen property, have been charged in connection with burglaries in Ft. Lauderdale and Miami.

 The incident started when Sheriff’s Detective Mike Langston observed the drivers of a Chevrolet Malibu and a Jeep Wrangler making an improper turn on Avenue A of Big Pine Key.  Detective Langston made a traffic stop on the vehicles with an assist from Sheriff’s Sgt. Daryl Hull.  A check of the license tags of the two stopped vehicles revealed that they were stolen from the Miami area.  The drivers, identified as 29 year old Mark A. Dunaway and 26-year old Paul N. Ledet, both of Louisiana, were arrested on charges of auto theft.  A check of the two stolen vehicles turned up over 60 items of suspected stolen property.  The recovered items ranged from cell phones to suitcases filled with clothing to cameras and prescription medication. One of the vehicles was stolen from a couple who owned property on Big Pine Key.  Sheriff’s detectives speculate that the two suspects may have driven to Big Pine in an alleged effort to burglarize the couple’s property.

Sheriff’s detectives today (Friday) charged both suspects with grand theft in connection with the stealing of over 1,300 dollars worth of goods from a vehicle in Ft. Lauderdale.  Detectives also connected the suspects to a car burglary at a luxury hotel on Miami Beach.  A cell phone, golf clubs and clothing –all valued at over 2,500 dollars – were taken in that incident.

The case is still under investigation and more charges are pending.

 January 3, 2001

Two arrested: Stolen cars and property recovered

 (Big Pine Key)  Two Louisiana men, driving stolen cars loaded with stolen property, were apprehended by Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputies on Big Pine Key Tuesday afternoon.  The incident started when Sheriff’s Detective Mike Langston observed the drivers of a Chevrolet Malibu and a Jeep Wrangler making an improper turn on Avenue A of Big Pine Key.  Detective Langston made a traffic stop on the vehicles with an assist from Sheriff’s Sgt. Daryl Hull.  A check of the license tags of the two stopped vehicles revealed that they were stolen from the Miami area.  The drivers, identified as 29 year old Mark A. Dunaway and 26-year old Paul N. Ledet, both of Louisiana, were arrested on charges of auto theft.  A check of the two stolen vehicles turned up over 60 items of suspected stolen property.  The recovered items ranged from cell phones to suitcases filled with clothing to cameras and prescription medication. One of the vehicles was stolen from a couple who owned property on Big Pine Key.  Sheriff’s detectives speculate that the two suspects may have driven to Big Pine in an alleged effort to burglarize the couple’s property.  The case is under investigation. Further charges are pending against Ledet and Dunaway, who were booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

 

 

January 2, 2001

Checkpoint results in two DUI arrests

 (Plantation Key) A DUI checkpoint set up at mile marker 88 by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Enforcement Unit resulted in two impaired driving arrests and 62 traffic tickets issued.  The checkpoint was operated from ten p.m. until 2 a.m. on Friday, December 29, 2000.  Officers diverted traffic from U.S. One to the checkpoint area where the drivers were observed for any signs of impairment.  Officers also checked drivers’ licenses and made a quick safety inspection of the vehicles. The Officers also gave out 52 warning tickets and one notice to appear on a misdemeanor possession of marijuana charge.  Assisting with the checkpoint were units from the Florida Highway Patrol, Sheriff’s Reserve Officers and the Islamorada Fire Department. 

Detectives seeking help in solving business burglary 

Sheriff’s Detective Dave Carey is asking for help in solving the burglary of the Blockbuster Video Store at Key Largo that occurred during the early morning hours on December 16, 2000.  Deputies responded to an audible alarm at the store around 2:30 a.m.  The rear door was open.  Burglars had entered the store through the front door, escaping with bank bags containing over two thousand dollars in cash.  Anyone with information should call Detective Carey at 853-3211.  Crime Stoppers will pay cash for information leading to an arrest in this case.  Callers may remain anonymous.  The Crime Stoppers hotline is 1-800-346-TIPS.