Monroe County Sheriffs Office
Key Largo – A 63 year old Arizona man died while diving in the waters off of Key Largo Saturday morning.
David Nelson, of Phoenix, Arizona was on a dive trip out of the Atlantis Dive Center in Key Largo when the incident occurred. He was diving in about 100 feet of water when he indicated to other divers that he was having trouble. He began to ascend, but by the time he reached the surface he was not breathing.
He was pulled on board the dive boat and CPR was started. The rest of the divers were collected from the water and the boat brought Nelson to shore in Port Largo where an ambulance picked him up. He was transported to Mariner’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
An autopsy was performed Sunday. More tests are necessary to determine the cause of Nelson’s death.
Marathon – A Marathon man was arrested Saturday in the early morning hours for stabbing another man in the back with a sharp object.
The victim said he was trying to break up a large fight outside the Brass Monkey Bar just before 3 a.m. He said a man he only knows as “Chino” walked up behind him and stabbed him with a sharp object, then ran away.
“Chino” was later identified by the victim and by witnesses as 38 year old Bernardo Fernandez of Marathon. Fernandez was located a short time later at his residence, 240 Sombrero Road #11-D. He was arrested and charged with aggravated battery.
The victim was treated for his injury by paramedics at the scene. Detective Bob Voss was the investigating officer on the case.
Key Largo – A Key Largo bank was robbed at gunpoint at 9:25 a.m. today (Wednesday). Two male suspects, both armed with semi-automatic handguns, entered the Community Bank in Key Largo, tied up employees with flex ties, then stole an employee’s car to make their get-away.
The robbery was reported to Sheriff’s Office dispatchers by an employee of another of the bank’s branches. She just happened to be on the phone with a Key Largo employee at the time the robbery occurred. Deputies Steve Kalogaras and Joe Moran responded within minutes and spotted the suspects fleeing in a white Chevrolet Camaro stolen from a bank employee during the robbery.
The suspects, both reported to be white Latin males, abandoned the Camaro a mile away at the end of Point Pleasant Drive on the bayside of the 99-mile marker in Key Largo. The fled on foot from the car, then allegedly kidnapped a neighborhood man, 81-year-old Raymond Warner, who was on board his 20-foot boat behind his residence. They forced the victim to accompany them on the boat to Coconut Grove in Miami-Dade County. They left Warner and his boat at the Pan American Charter House Restaurant, telling him not to contact police. They reportedly got in a taxi at the restaurant and left the area.
Both suspects are described as white Latin males, clean shaven, with small to medium builds, possibly in their 40s. The amount of money taken during the robbery is not being released.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation will be the lead-investigating agency on the case. Sheriff’s detectives are also investigating, and were assisted in the search for suspects by the Fish and Wildlife Commission, the Florida Highway Patrol and the U.S. Coast Guard.
Key Largo – A Key Largo man was arrested Friday evening and charged with holding a handgun to his step-son’s head during a domestic dispute.
55 year old Edison Bailey was charged with aggravated assault and domestic battery and booked into jail Friday night. His wife told Deputy Jim Ford she arrived home Friday to find some of her belongings in the front yard of their house. When she asked her husband what was going on, he told her he wanted her, her daughter and her son out of his house. Her son is 25 years old and her daughter is 27 years old.
Her son was outside, and was using the hose to rinse a vehicle off. Bailey turned off the water to the hose, became even angrier, and then said he was going to the bedroom to get his gun. She followed him and saw him get a revolver from a dresser drawer and load it with bullets.
He walked to the front door with it. A confrontation ensued with the son, and Bailey allegedly pointed the gun at the son’s head threatening to shoot him. During the course of the confrontation, he allegedly shoved his wife down the front steps. At that point, the daughter went to a neighbor’s house and called the Sheriff’s Office.
Bailey’s wife asked him for her purse, but he shut the front door refusing to give it to her. Her son walked around the house to a window. Bailey allegedly pointed the gun at him again through the window. The son reached through the window, breaking the glass, and tried to grab the gun. Bailey then allegedly fired the gun one time in the direction of the ceiling.
After the shot was fired, Bailey called Sheriff’s Office dispatchers himself to report having a dispute with his family. Deputies arrived while he was on the phone, and Sheriff’s dispatchers convinced Bailey to leave the gun inside and exit the house with his hands in clear view. He followed those instructions and he was taken into custody without further incident. The gun, a Smith and Wesson .38 caliber handgun, was taken as evidence.
Islamorada – Two Tavernier men were arrested Sunday in the early morning hours after a witness saw them steal a purse from a car parked at a nightclub in Islamorada.
The witness said he saw 26 year old Christopher Roberts and 27 year old Jesus Ginjauma pull up to the 1996 Jeep Cherokee, parked at the Wave Nightclub at the 82 .5 mile marker of highway U.S. One at 1 a.m. They were in a black Ford F150 pickup truck belonging to Roberts. Roberts got out of the truck, urinated in the parking lot, then opened the back passenger door of the Jeep and removed what the witness said looked like a black bag of some sort. Roberts then got back in the truck and it turned northbound onto the highway. The victim, who discovered the theft just minutes later, called the Sheriff’s Office for assistance. She told responding deputies her purse had been taken from the Jeep, with a large amount of cash inside.
After deputies listened to the victim’s and witnesses statements, they put a notice out over police radios to be on the lookout for the truck. It was found a short time later, parked at Hog Heaven Bar at the 85 mile marker. The two men who allegedly committed the vehicle theft were found inside. The witness later positively identified them.
Roberts and Ginjauma were both arrested. Roberts was charged with vehicle burglary and grand theft. Ginjauma was charged with being a principle in the first degree to both crimes. The victim’s wallet, driver’s license, credit card, cell phone, sunglasses and other personal items were found in Robert’s truck. The cash she said was in her purse was not recovered.
Marathon – A Homestead man caught dumping a stolen newspaper box by the side of a Marathon bridge Saturday is a possible suspect in as many as 20 other newspaper box thefts in the last few weeks.
A witness called the Sheriff’s Office on his cellular phone at 3:30 p.m. Saturday and told dispatchers he was currently detaining a man he’d caught dumping a newspaper machine beside the Vaca Cut Bridge. Deputies responded and found the witness, holding a can of pepper spray on another man later identified as 41 year old Robert Wayne Meadows of Homestead, Florida.
The witness said he’d seen Meadows back his Ford truck into the bushes at the north end of the bridge and dump a Key West Citizen Newspaper machine out of the back. Several other newspaper machines had been found dumped in that location earlier.
A representative of the newspaper, who distributes the papers and services the boxes, was contacted. He identified the box as belonging to the Citizen. He said four other Citizen boxes had been stolen from the Marathon area as well over the past 24 hours.
Meadows was arrested. He was charged with grand theft and illegal dumping. More charges are pending against him and detectives in the middle and upper Keys will be continuing their investigations in an effort to tie Meadows to additional newspaper box thefts in those areas.
Little Torch Key – A traffic operation at the intersection of Highway U.S. One and state road SR4A (Little Torch Key) netted traffic citations and arrests on Thursday.
The location was chosen because of frequent citizen complaints of speeding and other traffic infractions. Traffic Enforcement deputies worked in the area between the hours of 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Thursday. They handed out 48 citations, 14 warnings and made two arrests during that period.
This effort to target selected problem traffic areas will continue throughout the Keys. Anyone who wishes to make a complaint about a particular problem area may do so by calling Traffic Enforcement Sgt. Glen Test at (305)289-2410.
(Information provided to the Sheriff’s Office by Bell South Network Manager for the Florida Keys, Sergio J. Garcia)
Lower Keys - Traffic was backed up on Stock Island today due to continuing work by BellSouth as they place new fiber optic cable throughout the Keys.
During the course of the work, it has been necessary to periodically shut down one lane of the highway. They have done this by hiring off duty Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies and using various DOT warning devices for traffic control.
The work will be continuing, and on January 23rd and possibly the 24th BellSouth will be closing the south bound lane of US1 at the Rockland Channel Bridge. Work will start around 9:30am and should take about four hours. Two off-duty deputies and additional warning devices will be used to direct traffic and keep it flowing as much as possible under the circumstances.
Upper Keys – A man who told his probation officer he was going to “blow up the courthouse and the judge” if he was put back in jail for violating probation was arrested for threatening a public servant, a third degree felony.
Joseph William Breslin was arrested on his 54th birthday after his probation officer called the Sheriff’s Office to report his threats against Judge Reagan Ptomey. According to reports by Deputy Adrian Youngblood, Breslin met with his probation officer Wednesday to discuss the terms of his probation. At that meeting, she told Breslin he was required, as part of his probation, to attend a domestic safety program and has failed to do so. She told him if he did not complete the course, Judge Ptomey would put him back in jail. Breslin told her if he was put back in jail it would “put him over the edge” and that he would blow up the courthouse and the judge.
Deputy Youngblood went to Breslin’s Key Largo residence later that afternoon and confronted him. Breslin said he was angry when he made the remarks, and that talking was not a crime. Then, he told the deputy that “Judge Ptomey has been on his back and that he better back off or he better watch his back.”
Breslin was arrested for threatening a public servant and he was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.
Monroe County – The holiday weekend was a relatively quiet one when it comes to traffic related offenses.
Ten people were booked into the Monroe County Detention Center for driving under the influence of alcohol between Friday and Tuesday. Four of those were arrested by Key West Police, five by the Sheriff’s Office and one by the Fish and Wildlife Commission.
Six deputies from the Sheriff’s Traffic Enforcement squad worked a traffic enforcement operation from Big Coppitt to the city limits of Key West on New Year’s Eve. During that operation, the six officers wrote 56 tickets, issued 15 warnings, arrested three people for driving under the influence of alcohol, made one other felony arrest and two other arrests for misdemeanor crimes.
Sheriff’s dispatchers received calls about 45 accidents which occurred on Monroe County roadways during the same period (not including those in the city of Key West). Only five of those involved any injuries. One accident, on December 30th at the 97 mile marker of Highway U.S. One, involved a fatality and was investigated by the Florida Highway Patrol.
In all, Sheriff’s deputies investigated 21 accidents; the Florida Highway Patrol investigated 22; one accident in the Higg’s Beach area of Key West (county property) was referred to Key West Police and the Park Service at John Pennekamp State Park handled one minor accident in a parking lot.
Big Coppitt Key – The ex-girlfriend of a Big Coppitt Key man was arrested New Year’s Day, along with her new boyfriend. They are accused of stealing a large amount of cash from the victim’s home while he was working.
The victim said he left for work New Year’s Eve, around 9 p.m. and returned at 3:30 a.m. New Year’s Day to find his home burglarized and cash taken. Two guns were also stolen from the residence. He called the Sheriff’s Office to report the crime. He told Deputies David Lariz, Jr. and Patrick Scribner that his ex-girlfriend, 34 year old Tina Beth Ramlow, knew where the cash was kept. He told them where she was living and the type of car she drives, a gold Chrysler Convertible.
Detective Chris Scott was called out to investigate, along with Crime Scene Investigator Gary McCullough. The deputies then left the residence in an attempt to find Ramlow and her new boyfriend, 38 year old Clinton Jeffrey Noble in order to question them about their possible involvement.
When they arrived at Ramlow’s residence, they saw the gold convertible with Noble at the wheel. When Noble saw them, he took off at a high rate of speed on the highway. A notice to be on the lookout for the car was broadcast over Sheriff’s Office radios.
A short time later, Deputy Paul Shultz spotted the car on Stock Island and pulled it over. Noble, who was driving, fled from the car on foot. The stolen cash was found in the car.
A warrant was obtained for his arrest on charges of burglary and grand theft. The search for Noble and for Ramlow continued. Ramlow was found Tuesday night at the Radisson Hotel in Key West by Detective Chris Scott and Deputy Pat Scribner. She admitted to telling Noble where the cash was kept in the victim’s home. She was arrested and charged with being an accessory to grand theft. She was further charged with possession of drug paraphernalia after a glass pipe was found in her possession.
While Deputy Scribner was on the scene at the Radisson, he spotted a cab driver he was acquainted with behind the wheel of a taxi in the parking lot. He said hello to the driver, then noticed Noble in the back seat. Noble got out of the car and swung a beer bottle at the deputy’s head. The deputy blocked the swing with his arm, and was hit several times there before he could call for back up.
Deputies Shultz and Lariz arrived to assist. Noble was taken into custody. A search of his pockets turned up 11 grams of powdered cocaine, $535.00 in cash and three syringes. He was charged with burglary, grand theft, fleeing and eluding a law enforcement officer, aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, possession of cocaine and resisting arrest and he was taken to jail.