January 29, 2004
Key Largo man charged with burglary to business
(MP3 file - 37 sec)
Key Largo – Deputies arrested a Key Largo
man for burglarizing a business in the early morning hours today (Thursday).
38 year old Michael Howley was still in the vicinity of
the Paradise Pub at the 102 mile marker of the highway when he was
apprehended for the crime just before 5 a.m. A janitor at the business said
he arrived in the parking lot to find Howley walking around carrying a lamp
from the business. Further investigation revealed a window broken on the
side of the business.
Howley was arrested by Deputy Jason Keith and Sgt. Joe
Passerelli and he was charged with burglary. He was booked into the Monroe
County Detention Center.
Sheriff reminds people to lock car doors
(MP3 file - 60 sec)
Monroe County – The reporting of four
automobile burglaries over the past two days should serve as a reminder to
everyone in Monroe County to always lock a vehicle’s doors when you are not
In all four cases, one in Key Largo and three in the
lower Keys, the vehicle owners left them parked overnight, unlocked. A cell
phone, charger, stereo, scanner and a handicap placard were stolen in the
Even if you are only exiting the vehicle for a few
minutes, it doesn’t take much effort to lock it. You should also remove any
valuable items from sight, putting them under a seat, in a glove
compartment, in the trunk, or taking them with you. And remember – no place
is really safe - many of these crimes take place in residential areas, when
the vehicles are parked in driveways, or on the street in front of the
Save yourself the trouble of dealing with the loss of
your belongings, and save us the trouble of doing all the paperwork and
investigation associated with a burglary. Lock your car doors and secure
your valuables before you become a victim.
Big Pine man charged with burglary and theft
(MP3 file - 99 sec)
Big Pine Key – A Big Pine Key man was
arrested Wednesday, charged with burglarizing a man’s trailer and stealing
his tools and plants while the man was in the hospital.
The victim told Deputy David Chavka he was in the
hospital from December 3rd until January 23rd and when
he returned to his trailer at the Seahorse Campground on Big Pine Key, he
found it had been burglarized. He said he found his refrigerator empty, his
television packed up as if it were about to be removed, several potted
plants gone and a large number of expensive tools missing. Further
investigation revealed some of the stolen plants in front of a nearby
Upon questioning, 68 year old Gordon Bell, who lived at
the trailer where the plants were found, admitted to Deputy Chavka that he’d
removed the items from the victim’s trailer site. He said he also put his
own padlock on the door of the victim’s trailer, and had his electricity and
water turned off.
He agreed to give the tools and plants back to the
victim. In an effort to find where he put them, Bell took the deputy into
his trailer, which was reportedly piled high with various items, including
tools which Bell claimed belonged to him. He then took the deputy to a
warehouse on Industrial Road on Big Pine Key. At the warehouse, Bell showed
Deputy Chavka another mobile home, a trailer and several vehicles all
stuffed with various items, including dive gear, tools, electronics and
other things. Finally, he took the deputy to a van parked at his trailer
which was packed with boxes. In the boxes were various items marked as if
for sale. In a box in the van, he finally uncovered the tools taken from the
The tools and plants were returned to the owner. Bell
was arrested, charged with burglary and grand theft and he was booked into
the Monroe County Detention Center.
January 27, 2004
Florida City man charged with fleeing from officer
(MP3 file - 82sec)
Islamorada – A Florida City man was
arrested Monday after he failed to stop and tried to elude a law enforcement
officer in Islamorada.
Captain Joe Leiter was parked in his patrol vehicle at
the 90 mile marker Monday at 3:15 p.m. when he saw a 1992 Cadillac stop in
the middle of the roadway, apparently for no reason. The car, stopped in the
southbound lanes of the highway, was causing a traffic obstruction, so
Captain Leiter activated his lights and siren and pulled up behind it to see
what was wrong.
The driver, 47 year old Phil Harris of Florida City,
looked in his rear view mirror, saw the patrol car, and took off,
accelerating southbound. Captain Leiter followed him, still trying to stop
Finally, at the 88 mile marker, the passenger in the
Cadillac reached over and grabbed the steering wheel, forcing Harris to pull
the car to the side of the road. Captain Leiter, backed up by other
deputies, had to struggle with Harris, who refused to let go of the steering
wheel. They finally removed him from the car and placed him under arrest.
A check on his name revealed he had a suspended driver’s
license. In fact, the license had been suspended three times: once for
failing to complete court ordered substance abuse treatment, once for being
a habitual traffic offender and once for failing to pay a traffic fine.
Harris was charged with fleeing and eluding police,
driving with a suspended license and resisting arrest without violence. He
was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.
Key Largo man arrested for stolen auto, warrants
(MP3 file - 55 sec)
Islamorada – A Key Largo man was arrested
after he was found sleeping in a stolen car parked at a bridge in
Deputy Chuck Kellenberger was on patrol today (Tuesday)
in the early morning hours when he spotted the white 1992 Saturn parked at
the north end of the Channel 2 Bridge in Islamorada. He noticed someone
sleeping inside, and when he ran a check on the car’s license tag, the car
turned out to be reported stolen out of Palm Beach County.
Deputy Alvin Burns and Sgt. Tim Hurd responded as back
up and the man inside the car, 49 year old Steven Stanke, was arrested
without incident. He was charged with grand theft auto.
A check on Stanke through law enforcement computers
turned up six outstanding warrants, five for violation of probation ref.
various charges, and one for making a fraudulent insurance claim. All the
warrants were from Palm Beach County.
Stanke was booked into the Monroe County Detention
January 23, 2004
Orlando man arrested for stolen boat
(MP3 file - 72 sec)
Key Largo – A Kissimmee, Florida man was
arrested Thursday for possessing a stolen boat. He told deputies and Border
Patrol officers the boat was going to be used to pick up his brother in
34 year old Adalberto Castillo-Martinez told the
officers several different stories Thursday after he was stopped by Border
Patrol officers at 5:45 p.m. on Card Sound Road pulling the stolen boat. The
boat, a 1987 Chris Craft Scorpion, is valued at $80,000.00 and was reported
stolen from St. Petersburg, Florida in September of 2003.
Deputy Nelson Sanchez responded to assist Border Patrol
with the case. Upon questioning, Castillo-Martinez told several different
stories about what he was doing with the boat, which was carrying 16 barrels
on board, each containing 15 gallons of fuel.
He said another man he only knows as “Francisco” was
traveling with him in a different vehicle, but took off when Border Patrol
pulled him over. He said he was paying “Francisco” to go to Cuba to pick up
his brother. He said “Francisco” was the one who had the boat. He said
“Francisco” just asked him to tow it to an unknown location in the Keys to
Castillo-Martinez was arrested and charged with grand
theft and he was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.
January 22, 2004
Traffic stop leads to drug arrest
(MP3 file - 73 sec)
Marathon – Deputies on routine patrol in
Marathon Tuesday arrested a Marathon man for possessing cocaine and
Deputy Wilfredo Guerra spotted a man driving a car near
39th Street in Marathon and he knew the driver had a suspended
driver’s license. He pulled the car over and confirmed that the driver, 25
year old Jerry Anderson, was driving with a suspended license.
Two other men were in the car. The front passenger got
out and offered to drive, saying he had a valid license. The rear passenger,
39 year old Elkanah Hepburn, also exited the car. At that point, Deputy
Andrew Ensminger arrived as backup.
The deputies noticed a plastic bag with white substance
inside sitting on the rear passenger seat, where Hepburn had been sitting. A
plastic bag with a green, leafy substance was found on the rear floorboards,
along with a pill bottle with a white substance inside. A search of
Hepburn’s pockets turned up another plastic bag with white powder inside.
Hepburn was arrested and charged with possession of 13
crack rocks, possession of one gram of powdered cocaine and possession of
marijuana. He was taken to the Monroe County Detention Center. Anderson was
charged with driving with his license suspended. He was issued a notice to
appear in court and he was released.
Couple arrested for selling prescription medication
(MP3 file - 96 sec)
Key Largo – A man and a woman were
arrested Wednesday after they sold prescription medication to an undercover
Detectives with the Sheriff’s Special Investigations
Division received information the two were selling the prescription
medication. They were reported to be staying at a small motel near the 95
mile marker of the highway. On Tuesday, an undercover operative with the
Sheriff’s Office purchased 15 Oxycodone pills from the woman, 55 year old
Joann Weinman of Coral Springs, Florida.
The following day, Weinman called the undercover
operative and asked if he was going to buy any more drugs from her. At that
time, the operative arranged to make another purchase of drugs. He told her
he’d meet her at the motel at 10 a.m.
When he arrived, Weinman greeted him at the door. He
entered, and, once inside, met a man who identified himself as “Giovanni”.
Giovanni retrieved a small safe disguised as a dictionary from under the
bed. Inside was a plastic bag with Methadone tablets inside. He gave the
operative four pills, and took $80.00 in exchange. The operative then gave
Weinman $400.00 in exchange for 50 Oxycodone pills.
At that point, detectives entered the room and both
Weinman and Giovanni were arrested. Giovanni was later identified as 29 year
old John Wolter, also from Coral Springs.
A search of the room turned up more Oxycodone and
methadone, along with Xanax, and some unidentified pills. Weinman was
charged with two counts sale of a controlled substance; Wolter was charged
with sale of a controlled substance, being a principle in the first degree
to sale of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Both
were transported to the Monroe County Detention Center.
January 19, 2004
Man shot twice in lower Keys robbery
(MP 3 file - 111 sec)
Cudjoe Key – A man in town for a short
time looking for work is now in the hospital, shot twice in a robbery which
took place on Cudjoe Key Sunday morning.
45 year old Osmel Gonzalez told Detective Manuel Cuervo
he’s been in Key West for about 12 days looking for work. He said he was
unable to find a job, so he was hitchhiking to Miami to try his luck there.
He was on Cudjoe Key near the 23 mile marker just after 9 a.m. when two men
approached him on foot. He said they asked him for a cigarette. He pulled
his cigarettes from his pockets along with his cash. That is when the two
men robbed and shot him.
The victim said they asked for his money and he refused
to give it to them. The older of the two men then pulled out a small caliber
handgun and shot him in the upper left chest. When Gonzalez fell to the
ground, they shot him again, hitting him in the right ear. They took his
money and cigarettes and left on foot.
Gonzalez got up and began walking back southbound. He
said he remembered seeing the Sheriff’s Office substation two miles back. He
was waving down cars, hoping someone would help him. That is when a pickup
truck driven by 51 year old Lawrence Burns pulled over.
Burns helped Gonzalez into his truck and called 911 for
help at 9:45 a.m.. Paramedics arrived, along with Deputy Diane Mimosa.
Gonzalez was taken to Lower Keys Hospital for treatment.
Gonzalez describes his attackers as black males, both
with heavy Jamaican or Haitian accents. One was between 20 and 25 years of
age and had short hair. The other was between 30 and 35 years of age and had
longer hair, with dreadlocks. He said the two men were on foot as far as he
could tell – he saw no vehicles which might have belonged to them.
Anyone with information about this case should call 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 would
be eligible for a cash reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is
Two teens charged with theft of motor scooters
(MP 3 file - 39 sec)
Rockland Key – Two boys were arrested
Friday afternoon after a citizen saw them hiding mopeds in a wooded area at
the end of Rockland Drive.
Thinking the mopeds might be stolen, the witness called
the Sheriff’s Office at 1:15 p.m. to report the activity. When deputies
arrived, they found the two scooters in the bushes. The two teens were found
walking nearby. The witness identified them as the ones he saw with the
mopeds. A check on the two vehicles revealed they had been stolen from Key
14 year old Robert Lopez of Rockland Key and 16 year old
Dalvis Perez of Big Coppitt Key were both charged with grand theft auto and
they were booked at the Monroe County Detention Center.
Sheriff’s Office to hold Vehicle Safety Equipment Check
Stock Island - On January 23rd,
from 8 p.m. until midnight Sheriff’s deputies will be holding a vehicle
safety and equipment checkpoint on Stock Island.
The checkpoint will be held in the vicinity of Fifth
Street and Fifth Avenue, and at Fifth Avenue and Cross Streets on Stock
Island. Cars will be stopped and inspected to make sure all safety equipment
is functioning properly. Citations will be issued for safety equipment
violations. Any other observable violations of the law will also be
enforced, including the arrest of anyone driving while under the influence
of alcohol or drugs.
January 16, 2004
Marathon man charged with attempted murder
(MP3 file - 88 sec)
Marathon – A Marathon man was arrested
today, charged with attempting to murder his girlfriend.
40 year old Walter Dieter is accused of holding his
girlfriend against her will, beating her, threatening to kill her with a
screwdriver and holding his hand over her mouth and nose so she couldn’t
breath. He was arrested by deputies at his apartment on 91st
Street in Marathon at 5:30 a.m.
According to the 38 year old victim, Judith Bannon, she
and Dieter were at a bar drinking when he began to threaten people in the
bar and the bartender kicked him out. She stayed for a while, then went home
at about 2 a.m. When she arrived home, he became violent, hitting her
several times in the head and throwing her against the wall, where she cut
her head. He threatened to stab her with a screwdriver several times, and
held her down with his hand over her nose and mouth so she couldn’t breathe.
When she said she was going to call the police, he said he would kill her.
At one point, he told her “You will not get out of this house alive
He left her in the house, removing the door knobs so she
couldn’t get out. The victim said her head was bleeding profusely and she
pleaded with him to let her go to the hospital, but he refused. He finally
let her out of the house shortly after 5 a.m. and she went to the hospital
for treatment. That is when the Sheriff’s Office was notified about the
The victim told deputies it was not the first time he
was violent with her. She said last week, he threatened to kill her with his
pocket knife if she fell asleep before he did.
Dieter was charged with attempted murder, aggravated
battery, and false imprisonment. He was booked into the Monroe County
January 14, 2003
Woman flown to Miami after fight with boyfriend
(.wav file - 113 sec)
Marathon – A Missouri woman was airlifted
to a Miami hospital after she and her boyfriend were involved in a fight in
Marathon Tuesday afternoon.
27 year old Carrie Gray, from Rogersville, Missouri
suffered numerous injuries, including head trauma, during her fight with 31
year old Lance Tinsley, also from Missouri. Tinsley told Deputy Sonya Morgan
he and Gray went on a fishing trip Tuesday, and were drinking for most of
the day. He said they began arguing on the boat, and the argument continued
after they left the boat. It became a physical confrontation once they got
to their car and continued as they drove. The victim insisted that Tinsley
pull the car over and he did, pulling in to the parking lot of the Marathon
jail facility just off of U.S. One in Marathon. He said they both got out of
the car and continued fighting.
A witness, who called the Sheriff’s Office at 5:45 p.m.
to report the fight, said he saw Tinsley and Gray. He said Gray was on the
ground and Tinsley was kicking her. Tinsley then got into his vehicle and
left the scene. Deputy Sonya Morgan was first to arrive in the area and
found Tinsley a short distance away.
When Deputy Dennis Coleman arrived on the scene he began
looking for the victim, who had left the area. He spotted her running away
from the area. She got into a cab in the parking lot of the Overseas Lounge
in Marathon, and the deputy caught up with her, stopping the cab. According
to Deputy Coleman, the victim had numerous injuries, including bruises on
her body, an injury to her wrist and an injury behind her left ear.
She was transported to Fisherman’s Hospital, where she
began losing consciousness, perhaps due to the head injury. She was
airlifted to the Ryder Trauma Center in Miami, where she was reported to be
in critical condition.
Tinsley was arrested and charged with Aggravated
Battery. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center. Gray’s two
young children, who were present when the fighting occurred, were turned
over to the custody of the Department of Children and Families.
January 12, 2004
Husband and wife arrested for sexually abusing teen
(.wav file - 49 sec)
Cudjoe Key – A husband and wife were arrested
by Sheriff’s Office detectives Monday, charged with sexually abusing a teenage
girl at their home on Cudjoe Key.
25 year old Jennifer Arnold and her 29 year old husband
Jeffery allegedly had sexual relations with the 16 year old victim in the early
morning hours Saturday. She told her boyfriend and her father about the
incident. Her father called the Sheriff’s Office.
Detectives from the Sheriff’s Crimes Against Women and
Children’s Unit investigated the report. The victim told the detectives the two
adults showed her pornography, gave her Xanax, Valium and alcoholic beverages
and had sex with her. Detectives placed the two adults under arrest at their
Cudjoe Key home at 8:15 a.m. Monday. They are both charged with having sexual
activity with a minor and delivery of a controlled substance to a minor.
They are currently in the Monroe County Detention Center.
Man arrested for reckless driving
(.wav file - 65 sec)
Big Pine Key – A Miami Beach man was arrested
Saturday afternoon for reckless driving. He was finally stopped on Big Pine Key.
Deputies estimated his speed to be in excess of 100 miles per hour.
Sheriff’s dispatchers began receiving calls at 3:30 p.m.
about a man driving an older model Cadillac recklessly at a high rate of speed
northbound at the 22 mile marker.
Deputy David Chavka was in the vicinity and spotted the car
as it sped past him at the 29 mile marker. The deputy turned around and caught
up with the car a short time later. The car continued through the business
district of Big Pine Key passing cars on the right and left sides, and driving
in the center of the roadway.
Deputy Chavka managed to pass the car and get in front of
it. He began to slow down in front of the Cadillac, which finally came to a stop
on the Spanish Harbor Bridge. The driver, 26 year old Christopher Miller, was
laughing when he exited the car. He said he’d run from the police before and
always got caught.
According to Deputy Chavka, Miller was charged with reckless
driving and fleeing and eluding police. The deputy said Miller laughed all the
way to the Monroe County Detention Center.
January 2, 2004
Fleeing driver apprehended
County Sheriff’s Deputies finally apprehended a fleeing driver in the Upper Keys
New Year’s Eve after the driver avoided two attempts to spike her tires. The
incident started shortly after 11p.m. on Dec. 31 when Deputy Thomas Kiffney
clocked a southbound vehicle doing over 70 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour
zone near the 78 mile marker on U.S. Highway One. Deputy Kiffney turned on his
emergency lights and pursued the speeding car. The driver turned into a parking
lot, drove through a grassy area and then proceeded northbound on the highway.
Deputy Kiffney radioed for assistance and requested deputies to set up the
stinger spike system at the 85-mile marker. Deputy Kiffney reported that the
fleeing driver tried to get from U.S. One to the old highway on Islamorada by
driving through a grassy area. After almost hitting several palm trees, the
driver stopped the vehicle. Deputy Kiffney reported that he jumped out of his
patrol car, drew his pistol and ordered the suspect to get out of the car. The
driver fled again, driving through a grassy tree-filled area back to the main
highway. Deputy Kiffney continued to follow the fleeing driver at a safe
distance and observed the fleeing driver forcing other vehicles off the road and
almost hitting several pedestrians. An attempt to spike the fleeing vehicle’s
tires at mile marker 85 failed, as did a second attempt at the 90-mile marker.
The chase finally ended when the fleeing driver lost control of his car, spun
out and crashed into another vehicle. Deputies surrounded the vehicle, but the
suspect refused to get out of the car. Deputies used pepper spray on the suspect
and had to forcibly remove her from the vehicle. 23-year old Amy Lyn Bohnstedt,
of Tavernier, was taken into custody and charged with aggravated fleeing and
eluding law enforcement with property damage and injury. She was also charged
with resisting arrest and booked into the jail at Plantation Key.
Sheriff’s Deputies Thursday arrested a suspect in connection with a business
burglary on Key Largo. Deputies responded to a report that two suspects were
fleeing northbound in blue Honda automobile. Deputy Edward Askins spotted the
suspect vehicle at the 103-mile marker and initiated a traffic stop. One of the
suspects, 42-year old Raymond J. Swiech, of Casselberry, Florida, admitted that
he jumped the fence at the Key Largo business and took a metal grate. Deputies
arrested Swiech on burglary charges. A check of his background showed he also
had an outstanding warrant from Orange County, Florida.
Woman jumps from fourth story window
Sheriff’s Deputies responded to call early today (Friday) that a woman was
severely injured after jumping from a fourth story window at an Islamorada
motel. The 42-year old victim was taken to Mariner’s Hospital and airlifted to
a Miami trauma center for further treatment. Sheriff’s deputies are
investigating the incident as an attempted suicide.
Drug arrest at Key Haven boat ramp
on complaints about drug dealing at the boat ramp near Key Haven in the Lower
Keys, Sheriff’s officers from the Special Investigations Division arrested
63-year old Miguel A. Gil, of Stock Island, on multiple drug charges. The
officers conducted a surveillance of the boat ramp on Wednesday afternoon. Gil
was observed making a suspected drug transaction. The officers moved in and
asked Gil if he had any narcotics on him. Gil replied that he did not, but
stated that the officers could search the bag he was carrying. The officers
found nine crack cocaine rocks hidden in a boat engine part inside the bag. Gil
was booked into county jail on charges of possession and intent to sell cocaine.
Law Enforcement busy over New Year’s holiday
Year’s holiday resulted in lots of activity for Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputies
and Communications Officers. From six p.m. December 31 to nine a.m. January 2,
Deputies responded to numerous calls including 11 traffic accidents, four hit
and run traffic accidents with property damage, 26 complaints about fireworks
and 31 complaints about reckless drivers. Deputies also ticketed 64 motorists
for various traffic offenses and issued 32 traffic warnings along with arresting
two impaired drivers.