Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Daily Crime and Information Report

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

Click here to read press releases on other Sheriff's Office events and occurrences

August 31, 2012

Corrections deputy arrested for doctor shopping

Thanks to an alert doctor’s office and pharmacist working together, a corrections deputy who was doctor shopping has been arrested.

Dr. Andrew Wolczack’s office suspected 34 year old Jason Kroening might not be telling the truth about prescriptions he was receiving for narcotics. The doctor’s office contacted a pharmacist at the Marathon CVS pharmacy. The pharmacist consulted a database listing pharmaceuticals prescribed for individuals and discovered Kroening had obtained 13 prescriptions from four different doctors between April 1st and May 21st. – a 141 day supply of the drugs he received. The pharmacist contacted the Sheriff’s Office to report the activity.

Sheriff’s detectives began investigating, obtaining Kroening’s medical records from the different doctors and obtaining the records of the narcotics he’d been prescribed.

As a result of the investigation, Kroening was arrested today. He was charged with obtaining  prescriptions by fraud, also called “doctor shopping”. He was booked into jail.

Kroening worked for the Sheriff’s Office from June of 2000 until May of 2008. He resigned and was rehired in June of 2009. He has worked, since then, in Corrections.

In May, after the Sheriff’s Office became aware of his alleged crimes, he was removed from having any direct contact with inmates; he was also removed from any contact with department issued weapons or vehicles. He has been working in the main control room at the Stock Island Jail. The Sheriff has taken the issue of his employment under consideration and a decision about his status will be made soon.

Keys Energy worker electrocuted

Sheriff’s deputies and detectives responded to a home on Lundy Lane, Big Pine Key Thursday night to an electrocution.

Deputies Jaime Miranda and Andrew Hudson arrived at 7:20 p.m. at 29510 Lundy Lane. 29 year old Michael Euliss, Jr., who also works for Keys Energy Services, was on the roof of the home, administering cardio pulmonary resuscitation to the victim, 28 year old Joshua Yarbrough. The deputies climbed to the roof and took over performing CPR until rescue units arrived.

Using the Keys Energy bucket truck on the scene, Yarborough was brought down from the roof. Deputy Hudson continued CPR as Yarborough was lowered to the ground. The victim was then transported to Fishermen’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Major Crimes Detective Manuel Cuervo was assigned to investigate the circumstances of Yarbrough’s death. Yarbrough and Euliss were on duty, working for Keys Energy Services at the time the electrocution took place

August 23, 2012

Tow company operator arrested for fraud

A Lower Keys tow company operator was arrested today, charged with committing fraud by billing AAA Auto Club South for fictitious tows.

According to Detective David Cruz, between July of 2011 and April of 2012, 49 year old Frank Sciortino, owner of Scott Brother’s Towing, defrauded AAA out of over $60,000.00 by falsely billing them for long distance tows that never took place. The fraud scheme was reported to the Sheriff’s Office by a former employee of the tow company.

Detective Cruz, during his investigation, identified 156 long distance tows of 70 miles or more. The tows were attributed to AAA memberships from 17 different household addresses in Key West, Big Coppitt Key and Cudjoe Key. All 17 addresses were contacted and there were no actual AAA members at any of them. Detective Cruz contacted 35 final tow destinations, none of which had a record of the vehicles in question.

Sciortino was arrested today on a warrant charging him with grand theft and fraud. He was booked into jail.

Housekeeper arrested for stealing, cashing checks

A Fort Lauderdale woman, hired by a Key Largo man to perform housekeeping duties in June, stole two checks while working for him.

The victim was contacted by Capitol Bank after a teller became suspicious when 52 year old Carol Barrett tried to cash one of the checks for $1,000.00 on July 2nd. The victim told the teller not to cash the check. She fled before the victim could arrive at the bank to confront her, but not before the teller saw her driver’s license and wrote the DL number on the back of the check.

Detective Robert Dosh was assigned to investigate. The bank teller told him Barrett had cashed another of the victim’s checks for $300.00 several days before. The victim told Detective Dosh he never paid Barrett by check; only by cash. He said he’d terminated her employment on June 27th but didn’t realize two of his checks were missing.

Both the victim and the bank teller made a positive identification of Barrett from a photo lineup. A warrant was issued for her arrest. On Wednesday, she was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center on charges of two counts of uttering a forged check, two counts possessing a forged check and grand theft.

August 22, 2012

Two Marathon women charged with stealing fishing equipment

Marathon – Two Marathon women are under arrest after being caught on video tape stealing fishing equipment from Ocean Isles Fishing Village.

The victim called the Sheriff’s Office Friday to report his fishing rods and reels were missing. He said he left them outside on the deck at the back of his apartment. He told Deputy Sydney Whitehouse he last saw them on the 14th, and noticed they were gone on the morning of the 17th.

On Monday, the victim called back with more information. Deputy Nicholis Whiteman responded back to ocean Isles Fishing Village. The victim and the property manager showed Deputy Whiteman video tape of two women taking the fishing equipment. Deputy Whiteman recognized the two women from previous contacts as 22 year old Sandra Day and 28 year old Carlie Rivera, both of Marathon.

After Deputy Whiteman confronted Rivera about the video, which clearly showed her and Day taking the items, she returned the stolen equipment which was identified by the victim as his.

Rivera and Day were arrested and charged with grand theft. The property was returned to the owner.

Key West man charged with stealing, pawning jewelry

Big Pine Key – A Key West man is in jail charged with stealing three gold rings from his employer and pawning them.

The victim called the Sheriff’s Office August 1st and said the rings were missing from his house. He told Deputy Martin Harbin he kept them in a desk drawer. He said one of his employees, 28 year old Kenny Hoage, stayed with him for a while and he believed he may have taken them.

Detective Diane Mimosa was assigned to investigate. She began checking local pawn shops and found that Hoage had, indeed, pawned the rings at a Big Pine Key pawn shop. He told the pawn shop owner they belonged to his uncle who had recently passed away.

A warrant was obtained for Hoage and on Tuesday, he was charged with fraudulently pawning the jewelry and with grand theft. He is currently in the Monroe County jail.

Alert deputies arrest man near upper Keys business

Key Largo – A 27 year old man from Palmetto Bay, Florida is under arrest after he was caught in the early morning hours today, dressed all in black, walking around an upper Keys business which had been closed for hours.

Deputy Brian Cross spotted Yandy Hernandez Aguado in the vicinity of Boats Direct at 12:30 a.m. Hernandez Aguado was dressed all in black and, when he saw the deputy, he tried to hide from him.

Sergeants E.B. Askins and Jason Madnick responded to back up Deputy Cross. They confronted Hernandez Aguado, asking what he was doing there. The suspect said a girl, whose name he didn’t know, had dropped him off there. He claimed to be staying at a hotel next to a Home Depot – the closest Home Depot in the Keys is in Marathon, 50 miles away.

Due to his inconsistent and improbable explanations, the officers continued to investigate. They found a key in his pocket which was found to operate a vehicle parked at a nearby convenience store. In the vehicle they found gloves, wire cutters, pliers and other tools. A backpack was also found near where the officers encountered the suspect, hidden behind a concrete partition. In the backpack were more tools including a pry bar, wire cutters, screw drivers and one red and black glove. A second matching glove was found in the suspect’s back pocket.

Hernandez Aguado was arrested. He was charged with loitering and prowling and  possession of burglary tools. He was booked into jail.

August 20, 2012

Man, woman arrested for fraudulently selling advertising

A man and woman from Okeechobee, Florida are in custody, charged with fraudulently selling advertising to Monroe County businesses.

47 year old Timothy Lee Smith and 48 year old Melinda Joiner sold advertising on pizza boxes through a company they called Melinda Joiner Publications. They would solicit businesses to buy the ads; Smith would then take a sample box and a contract into each business and have company representatives sign a contract and write a check for the advertising up front. The checks, written to Joiner, would then be cashed by her.

Detective Yunier Galvez was assigned to investigate six Upper Keys cases. He found, during his investigation, that his suspects were in Okeechobee, Florida. He called the Okeechobee Sheriff’s Office for assistance. A detective with that agency interviewed Joiner in connection with the Monroe County cases. During the interview, she admitted to taking money from the businesses and spending it on hotels, restaurants and other personal expenses; she admitted to never producing the advertisements the businesses paid for.

Detective Galvez obtained warrants for both Joiner and Smith. Joiner was arrested in Texas earlier this month and was returned to the Keys over the weekend to face six grand theft counts. Smith is currently in custody in Sarasota, Florida and he will also be returned to the Keys to face six counts of grand theft and six counts of fraud.

Detective Galvez is still investigating, along with detectives from the lower Keys and Key West, where there may also be pending cases. Anyone with information about any potential victims of these two people should contact the Sheriff’s Office or Key West Police.

August 19, 2012

Two Miami men arrested for molesting traps, illegal lobster

A Sheriff’s Office marine deputy on patrol arrested two Miami men Saturday who stole a trap filled with illegal lobster.

Deputy Mike Cofield was on the water shortly after noon, on patrol offshore of the 78.5 mile marker when he spotted a small vessel painted in brown camouflage. The boat was traveling at a high rate of speed in an “idle only” zone in the vicinity of Indian Key Fill, on the gulfside.

When Deputy Cofield conducted a vessel stop, he saw a lobster trap on the boat. Inside the trap were 17 undersized lobster and one legal sized lobster. Deputy Cofield contacted the trap’s owner who told him no one had permission to have his trap and that he wanted to press charges.

37 year old Alain Carrazana and 49 year old Gilberto Carrazana, both of Miami, were arrested. They were charged with trap molesting, 17 counts possession of undersized lobster and possession of lobster over the legal limit. They were both booked into jail. The lobster were returned alive to the water.

Upon interviewing them, the men said they found the trap on the bottom and were bringing it back to shore. They said they intended to call law enforcement and ask if they could keep the trap. They said they intended to return the undersized lobster to the water later.

August 18, 2012

Brawl at Key Largo restaurant sends one to jail

Key Largo – A 43 year old Key Largo man is in jail after striking a man with a rock and throwing another rock at a waitress at Sharkey’s Restaurant in Key Largo Friday night.

According to witnesses, Carlos Ponce got into a fight with another man inside the restaurant at 9 p.m. after pushing people around and “bullying” them away from the pool tables inside. The fight moved outside into the parking lot where Ponce picked up two large coral rocks.

Two young men who saw the fight tried to intervene. Ponce pushed one of them to the ground and hit the other one in the face with the rock. He threw the second rock at a waitress who had approached the area where the fight was taking place. He then fled the scene before deputies arrived.

Ponce was  found at a nearby bar and was returned to the scene, where he was identified by witnesses and victims. He was placed under arrest, charged with aggravated battery, aggravated assault and disorderly conduct. He was booked into jail.

The victim was treated at the scene for injuries from being hit with the rock.

August 15, 2012

Islamorada man arrested with marijuana

Deputies arrested an Islamorada man who had a large quantity of marijuana after a report he was driving recklessly.

Deputy Luis Gomez was at the 78 mile marker of the highway dealing with a disabled vehicle at 4:30 p.m. when dispatchers received a report of a reckless driver in a red van at the 76 mile marker northbound. Deputy Gomez spotted the van, got behind it and saw it cross the with line on the side of the road several times.

When he pulled the van over, he approached the driver, identified as 60 year old Steven Andrews of Islamorada. Deputy Gomez smelled the distinct odor of marijuana coming from the van, so he asked Andrews for permission to look inside the van for weapons or drugs.

Andrews denied having either drugs or weapons, and gave the deputy permission. Inside of a backpack Deputy Gomez found plastic bags filled with marijuana. As he found the marijuana, Andrews said, “I can’t believe you checked. Cops always ask to check bur they never do!” He then asked Deputy Gomez to “help him out” and to let him throw the drugs away. He said some of it was his and some he was delivering to a friend of his. He told the deputy if he was arrested, he would lose his new job.

Gomez arrested Andrews. The marijuana, which was packaged in eight separate bags, weighed a total of 163 grams. He was charged with possession of a felony amount of marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. He was booked into jail.

August 14, 2012

Hawks Cay Resort victim of attempted robbery

Sheriff’s detectives are investigating an attempted armed robbery at Hawk’s Cay Resort early Monday.

Employees working at the resort’s front desk say two men wearing black and armed with a handgun entered the building at 2 a.m. The suspects pointed a handgun at them, demanding keys to the safe. When none of the employees could produce the keys, the suspects unsuccessfully tried to pry the safe open with a crowbar they brought with them.

During the confrontation, two of the employees were pushed to the ground. One received a cut on her head and the other was hit in the face. Suspects stole an Iphone from one of them. When suspects walked away, one of the employees was able to call for help.

The suspects are described as young black males, wearing all black clothing including black hats and black bandanas over their faces. Both suspects were wearing gloves.

Anyone with information about the case should contact the Sheriff’s Office immediately. 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 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may also be submitted on line at tipsubmit.com.

August 13, 2012

Two Miami men arrested for robbing traps

Islamorada – Two Miami men were taken to jail Sunday, after a Sheriff’s Office marine officer caught them robbing traps offshore of Lower Matecumbe Key.

Deputy Nelson Sanchez was on patrol on the water at 3:40 p.m. when he spotted the two men diving near a power pole without a dive flag. As he drove closer to them, they spotted him and began acting nervously.

Deputy Sanchez spotted a a couple of traps near where the men were diving, and saw a white bag on the bottom near the traps. When he pulled the bag to the surface with his boat hook, he saw small lobster tails inside.

An Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officer arrived as back up. As Deputy Sanchez kept an eye on the two men, the FWC officer jumped in the water and saw clear hand prints in the thick silt covering the traps, indicating someone had been recently tampering with them.

The men at first claimed they’d gotten the tails from the base of the power pole. When Deputy Sanchez asked them if they’d “at least closed the trap” after taking the lobster, one of the men assured the deputy he had closed the trap after removing the lobster from it.

Both men were arrested. 25 year old Alejandro Chao-Garcia and 41 year old Hugo Diaz-Gallardo were both charged with possessing undersized lobster and possession of wrung tails on the water. Garcia was further charged with tampering with evidence for dropping the bag as the officer approached. Gallardo was further charged with molesting traps after he admitted to taking the lobster from the traps.

Marathon teen charged with breaking windows, pushing man who confronted him

Marathon – A Marathon teen was arrested Sunday in the early morning hours for throwing rocks through the windows of occupied apartments.

Deputies were dispatched to apartments at 240 Sombrero Road just before 6 a.m. Dispatchers received two separate phone calls from that location. One caller said someone had just broken a bunch of windows in the apartment complex. The other caller said he was being confronted by two men, one who was armed with a handgun.

When they arrived, a crowd had gathered. People told deputies someone had thrown rocks through several windows; one woman said she was sleeping and a rock came through a window right next to her bed. Two men said they had gone to the apartment of a teenager named Bryan Echevarria who they believed had broken the windows. They said when they confronted Echevarria, he pushed one of them. One of the two men admitted to being armed during the confrontation. He said he was carrying a handgun in his waistband, but never pointed it at anyone. That man produced a current concealed weapons permit allowing him to carry the gun.

Witnesses described a young male wearing white shorts seen hiding behind some stairs in the area at the time the windows were broken.  A surveillance camera belonging to one of the victims showed a male wearing white shorts and black shoes walk by the back window of their apartment at the same time the window was broken by a rock

Deputies Nancy Torrios and Nicholis Whiteman interviewed 17 year old  Echeverria, who lives at the complex and who was wearing the same clothing seen in the video. When confronted, Echeverria admitted to throwing rocks through the windows. He also admitted to pushing the man during the confrontation about the windows.

Echeverria was arrested. He was charged with two counts of breaking the windows of occupied dwellings, one count of breaking a vehicle window and one count of battery for pushing the man. He was booked at the Marathon Detention Center.

August 3, 2012

Canadian man arrested for exposing himself

Key Largo - A Canadian man was arrested late Thursday for exposing and fondling himself in front of two young girls.

The girls reported the incident to their parents, who called the Sheriff’s Office. Deputies Brian Cross and Vaughn O’Keefe arrived at Key Largo campground just before midnight. They met with the victims, who described the man to them. The girls said they were riding a bike and a scooter around the campground when 23 year old Philippe Charron walked up to them. He had his pants down and he was fondling himself. The girls said they were afraid and they fled the area. The waited several hours to tell their parents because they said they were afraid of the parent’s reaction to the information.

Charron was found at his campsite. He was positively identified by the girls and was arrested. He was charged with two counts lewd and lascivious behavior and he was booked into jail.

Man charged with fondling girl

Key Largo – A Fort Pierce man is under arrest, charged with fondling a young girl at a Key Largo campground Thursday night.

The 16 year old victim was traveling to the Keys with the suspect, 45 year old Ronald Clark. She and her mother were  reportedly not getting along and Clark agreed to take her on a weekend trip to give both of them a break from each other.

The victim told Detective Geni Hernandez they were setting up camp at Calusa Campground when the incident occurred. She said he asked her to sit in his lap. She said he then put his hand in her pants and fondled her.

She said she got up and moved away from him; she said she told him she wanted to go to Publix because she was hungry. He took her to the store and, once there, the victim told store employees what happened and they called police at 10:15 p.m.

Deputies and detectives responded and placed Clark under arrest. He was charged with sexual assault on a minor and child cruelty and he was booked into jail.

Search warrant served on Stock Island

Stock Island - Sheriff's Special Investigations Detectives served a search warrant at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at a residence on Stock Island.

The warrant was served at 5507 5th Avenue, Lot B. As Detectives were approaching the residence, they encountered 47 year old Ramon Fernandez driving a scooter and he was detained. Inside the residence, Detectives located Alexis Benitez. Inside Benitez’ wallet was approximately one gram of suspected cocaine. A search of Fernandez’ vehicle that was parked outside turned up a wrapped kilogram of suspected cocaine with an estimated street value of $25,000.00. In the house, detectives turned up  $1,241.00 cash, digital scales for weighing illegal substances, baggies for packaging and cutting agents commonly used to dilute cocaine.

Fernandez’ scooter, vehicle and currency were seized as part of the investigation.

Ramon Fernandez, 47, was charged with trafficking in cocaine, possession of cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia, attaching a registration plate not assigned to the scooter, and possession of a vehicle with an altered/removed VIN number.

Alexis Benitez, 39, was charged with possession of cocaine.