April 20, 2007

Reward voted by Crime Stoppers Board - tipsters need to call in

The Crime Stoppers board has voted a reward for tipsters who helped Sheriff's detectives arrest a Stock Island for burglarizing a bus on Stock Island in January.

On January 15th, a Key West city bus broke down on 5th Street on Stock Island. While the bus sat waiting to be towed, it was burglarized. A surveillance camera on the bus caught a picture of the man who committed the crime. Detective Henry Hamilton was assigned the case. Since the suspect was unknown, a copy of the surveillance picture was circulated among law enforcement officers in the county and was posted on the Monroe County Sheriff's Office web site.

Visitors to the web site registered numerous crime stoppers tips identifying the picture as 37 year old Harold Martin of Stock Island. Detective Hamilton began looking for Martin in an attempt to positively identify him as the suspect. On March 13th, Martin was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center on an outstanding warrant for failure to appear in court. He bonded himself out of jail immediately on the FTA charges. At that time, Detective Hamilton spoke with him, and compared his appearance with the surveillance photo. Martin himself agreed that the surveillance photos looked like him, but denied breaking in to the bus. Detective Hamilton obtained a warrant and arrested Martin on charges of burglary.

The tipsters who identified the suspect should call Crime Stoppers at 800-346-TIPS for information on picking up the reward.

April 17, 2007

Sexual Predator registers address in Key Largo

Click here to see a flyer about this Predator

A man designated by the courts as a Sexual Predator has registered with the Sheriff's Office and will be living in Key Largo.

27 year old Todd Price, who is currently under the supervision of the State office of Probation and Parole, has registered his address as 43 Garden Cove Drive in Key Largo. State law requires the Sheriff's Office to notify the community when  a sexual predator registers in the county.

Price has been in Florida State prison since August of 1999. According to the Department of Corrections web site, he served time for aggravated assault, burglary with assault, intimidating a witness, burglary of an occupied conveyance, grand theft and sexual battery.

A flyer, produced by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, is attached.

April 17, 2007

Trauma Star transported a man injured in a fall Monday.

Photos are courtesy of Sgt. Ronald Roberts, Monroe County Sheriff's Office

The man was reportedly working contruction on Egret Lane, Big Torch Key at about 5 p.m. when he fell approximately 11 - 12 feet onto his back. He was airlifted by the Sheriff's Trauma Star helicopter to Miami's Ryder Trauma Center for treatment of his injuries.

April 17, 2007

National Victim's Rights Awareness Week

Click here to see a Victim's Rights brochure

Next week, April 22 - 28th, is National Victim's Rights Awareness Week, and the Sheriff's Office Victim Advocates would like to remind everyone of the importance of Victim's Rights.

According to United States Office of Victims of Crime (OVC), 23 million Americans are victims of crime each year and, of those, 5.2 million are victims of violent crime. All fifty states and the District of Columbia grant crime victims certain legal rights, including the right to be a participant in the criminal justice system. The Sheriff's Office Victim Advocate Unit exists to ensure that Monroe County crime victims know what their rights are, and they help victims make their way through a sometimes confusing and convoluted justice system.

There are five Victim Advocates in Monroe County who work for the Sheriff’s Office. There is one stationed at each Sheriff’s sub-station (Plantation Key, Islamorada, Marathon, Cudjoe Key) and one assigned to the Key West Police Department.

Victim Advocates assist crime victims - particularly victims of violent crimes- and two are on call in the county at all times. The Advocates are funded by a grant from the office of the Attorney General,  and in 2006 Advocates assisted 914 crime victims locally. 

The Victims Advocates are supervised by Detective Sgt. Trish Dally. The Victim Advocates in the Keys are: Sally Ann Crawford, Debbie Shepherd, Carol Albury-Johnson, Josh Peters, and Elaine Woodson.

Each year, Victim Advocates in Monroe County use this week to increase awareness of victim's rights. This year, they have contacted local Salons to get them involved in a program called "Cut it Out - Salons Against Domestic Abuse". This program is dedicated to mobilizing salon professionals and others to fight the epidemic of domestic abuse in communities across the United States. "CUT IT OUT" builds awareness of domestic abuse and trains salon professionals to recognize warning signs and safely refer clients to local resources.

More information is available about Crime Victim's Rights and about the Victim Advocate Unit on the Sheriff's Office web site, at http://www.keysso.net/patrol_ops/specializedunits/Victim_Advocates/index.htm

April 17, 2007

Sheriff to begin enforcing masted vessel regulations in Pine Channel

Click here to see a map of the area affected

Big Pine Key - Sheriff's Office Marine Enforcement Officers will begin this week enforcing a new law which prohibits the anchoring of masted vessels in Pine Channel.

For a period of approximately a month, officers will be issuing warnings to people who have masted vessels anchored in the Pine Channel area. After the grace period, those warnings will become citations.  The Uniform Boating Citations issued for violation of this statute is a fine of $61.00. After the citation is issued, if the boat is not removed immediately, the Sheriff's Office will have the boat towed and the owner will have to pay to claim their vessel from the towing company.

The law, Florida Statute 370.028, falls under the Florida Vessel Safety statute and was passed in October of 2006. The purpose of the law is to remove masted vessels from the area so that they won't pose a threat to public safety during hurricane season in the Florida Keys. Masted vessels in Pine Channel have the potential, during a storm, to break loose from their moorings and to become entangled in the main electrical transmission line which brings electricity into the Keys from the mainland. In the past, such entanglements have knocked out power to a significant portion of the Keys during storms.

"Our goal here is to make sure all masted vessels be removed from Pine Channel before hurricane season begins," said Colonel Rick Ramsay. "We will continue enforcing the statute to make sure the channel remains clear of masted vessels. This is a matter of public safety, and as such, is of importance to all of us."

April 16, 2007

Volunteers needed for Seniors versus Crime program

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office is looking for volunteers to help start a new crime prevention program in the Florida Keys. Called "Seniors vs. Crime", the goal of the program is "to reduce the victimization of senior citizens who are often targeted for specific crimes or scams based on their age."

Seniors vs. Crime was founded in Broward County in 1989 and is endorsed by the Florida Attorney General's Office. It uses senior volunteers (defined as over 50, but anyone who wishes to volunteer will be considered) who provide educational programs in crime prevention to senior groups, investigate complaints by seniors and help senior victims seek restitution for crimes committed against them.

Volunteers will be asked to participate in two days of instruction - free of charge - to learn how to recognize these types of crimes, and to learn about resources available to seniors who are victims. They will also be asked to spend time each week manning desks at Sheriff's Office substations to be available to seniors needing assistance.

Sheriff's Deputy Emil LaVache will be coordinating the program, so anyone interested in volunteering or who just wants more information about the program can call him at 305-292-7116 or send him email at elavache@keysso.net

April 11, 2007

Bike event to effect traffic in Key Largo April 21 - 22

An annual bike event scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, April 21-22, 2007 is expected to cause traffic delays in the upper Keys. Travelers should plan extra time if they are going to be driving through the Key Largo area on those days.

Lt. Corey Bryan is coordinating security for the event, which is expected to attract 2,500 bicyclers to the upper Keys. Event organizers pay for officers to work the special duty detail.

He says the Maroone MS 150 Bike Tour, which raises money for Multiple Sclerosis, usually causes the most problems with traffic in the afternoon, between noon and 5 p.m., but people will begin seeing bicyclers in the Keys around 9 a.m. that day. Deputies working the event will be specifically stationed on Card Sound Road, and at the 106 and 102 mile markers of the highway.

The riders travel from Miami-Dade County on Card Sound Road, then on Highway U.S. One to John Pennekamp State Park. They leave the Keys the following morning, April 22nd, beginning at 7 a.m. and travelers can expect delays on that morning as well, until about 9:30 a.m. with heavy bike traffic on Card Sound Road until about 11 a.m.

The following information is taken from the event's web site, located at http://bikefls.nationalmssociety.org/site/PageServer?pagename=BIKE_FLS_homepage:

"The MS 150 Bike Tour brings over 2,000 cyclists, of all skill levels and abilities, together to raise funds to end the devastating effects of Multiple Sclerosis, the number one disabling disease of young adults."

"These extremely dedicated and determined riders begin and end their journey at Miami Dade College, Kendall Campus with an overnight stop on the white sandy beach of Key Largo’s John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. The route is fully supported by volunteers; amateur radio operators, motorcycle escorts, nurses, bike mechanics, and support & gear vehicles. Nine rest stops are located along the route, where riders are greeted by energetic volunteers and have the opportunity to grab a snack and hydrate themselves. Cyclists pedal across the overnight finish line to the roaring cheers of friends and family. The excitement doesn’t end here!"

"Saturday evening, following a delicious catered dinner, riders and guests participate in a sentimental candle lighting ceremony and dance the night away at a beach party featuring live music. Early Sunday morning, cyclists begin their trek back to Miami Dade College. At the 35 mile marker, riders have the once in a life time opportunity to ride a lap around the Homestead - Miami Speedway NASCAR style! At the finish line riders are presented with a medal by our Pedal Partners and other individuals with MS."

April 9, 2007

2007 Torch Run set for this Friday

Representatives from various local law enforcement agencies will be coming out in force this Friday for the 2007 Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics.

The run, which will carry the torch from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office all the way through town to the Southernmost Point and finally ending at Mallory Square, is an annual event to show law enforcement's support of and to raise awareness for the Special Olympics.

Though a law enforcement event, anyone is welcome to join in the run. Runners will stop at Poinciana Elementary, Key West High and Horace O'Bryant Middle School where they will meet and briefly run with young Special Olympics Athletes at those schools. The first stop on the run is at Publix, the main Torch Run sponsor statewide.

The run is this Friday, April 13, with an 8:30 a.m. Opening Ceremony at the Sheriff's office on Stock Island and 9 a.m. start time. Anyone who needs more information can contact Coordinator Jim Painter at jpainter@keysso.net or 305-292-7027.

Every year, law enforcement officers from around the state participate in the run as a kick-off to the Florida Special Olympics Summer Games. This year's 35th Annual Special Olympics Florida State Summer Games are in Tampa, Florida on April 27-28. For more information on the run, Florida Special Olympics, and on participating agencies, go to:

http://www.specialolympicsflorida.org.

Please come out and cheer the runners on for a good cause.