Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Daily Crime and Information Report

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

 July 27, 2001

Bank Robber in custody in Jacksonville

Monroe County – The man who robbed TIB Bank in Marathon June 21st is in custody in Jacksonville, Florida.

49 year old Chris Alan Peak was arrested July 10th in Jacksonville. He reportedly faces charges in two separate cases, one for kidnapping and robbery, and another for robbery. His bond in Jacksonville is set at $150,000.00.

Once those cases are settled, he will be returned to Monroe County to face charges of armed robbery.

July 19, 2001

Key West man charged with sexual battery

Key West – A Key West man is in jail today charged with sexual battery on a young girl.

Detective Chris Scott, with the Sheriff’s Crimes Against Women and Children’s Unit, arrested 39 year old Addy Alejandro Romero of Key West Wednesday, charging him with two counts of sexual battery. Romero is accused of having sexual intercourse with a girl who was between 10 and 11 years old at the time the crimes occurred.

Romero was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

July 18, 2001

Search Warrant leads to drug arrest

Marathon – A search warrant served at a Marathon residence today (Wednesday) resulted in the arrest of one man on drug charges.

The Sheriff’s Special Investigations Division arrested 47 year old Jose Perez of 10703 2nd Avenue Gulfside in Marathon. He was arrested after a search warrant was served at his home at 6:45 a.m. The search turned up 14 grams of powdered cocaine and drug paraphernalia. Perez was booked at the Monroe County Detention Center on charges of possession of cocaine and paraphernalia.

The warrant was issued after detectives received information about drug sales at that residence.

July 16, 2001

Drug sting nets one arrest

Key Largo – A reverse drug sting in the Hibiscus Park neighborhood of Key Largo Friday night netted only one arrest, showing that a major drug operation two weeks ago was tremendously successful at bringing drug traffic in that neighborhood to a virtual standstill.

Undercover operatives tried for six and a half hours to sell crack cocaine to buyers, but found that drug purchasers were virtually non-existent in the neighborhood that has a long history of being a high drug traffic area.

Only one man was arrested for purchasing drugs during the operation. 43 year old Rinaldo Lucchesi of Tavernier was arrested and charged with purchasing the illegal drug after he approached an undercover operative and paid him $60.00 for three crack cocaine rocks. He was transported to the Monroe County Detention Center.

“Calling one arrest in six and a half hours a ‘success’ sounds strange,” said Lieutenant Bill Moran, Station Commander for the upper Keys sector that includes the Hibiscus Park neighborhood. “But this operation clearly shows that the joint local-federal drug operation conducted two weeks ago in Hibiscus Park was an unqualified success at slowing drug traffic in this area. Now, if we can keep the pressure on, we stand a chance at a long-term solution to the problem.”

Retail theft turns into armed robbery when suspect shows a knife

Key Largo – What started as the theft of some cigars at an upper Keys drugstore turned into a potentially deadly armed robbery Sunday when the clerk confronted the suspect, who then pulled out a knife.

The incident occurred Sunday just before 11 a.m. at the Walgreen’s drug store at the 103.4-mile marker of highway U.S. One in Key Largo. The clerk told Deputy Andrew Leird she saw 18-year-old Blaise Fontenot of Key Largo take two cigars from a box of cigars in the store. When he tried to leave the store with the stolen cigars, she confronted him, asking if he was going to pay for them. Fontenot then allegedly told her he had a knife, then reached into his pocket and pulled one out, showing her the knife with an open 3-5 inch blade. Fontenot ran out of the store and was seen by the store’s manager getting into his black Nissan truck.

Deputies were dispatched to the robbery. Deputy Leird responded to the store to take a report, and a notice to be on the lookout for the truck was issued over police radios. Deputies Flo Williams and Lisa King spotted the truck parked on Ocean Drive, a short distance away. A further search of the area turned up Fontenot, who was on board a boat located at #50 Shoreland Drive. Fontenot fit the description given by the clerk and the manager as the person who stole the cigars.

He was positively identified by the victim and he was placed under arrest. Fontenot was charged with armed robbery and he was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.


July 12, 2001

Grassy Key man charged with burglary

Marathon – A Grassy Key man has been arrested. He is accused of breaking in to two vehicles and stealing tools and electrical equipment.

39 year old Hector Diaz was arrested Tuesday after an investigation by Detective’s Rick Martin and Lionel Vargas revealed he stole over $3,000 worth of tools and electrical equipment from two vans belonging to Holding Electric Inc., of Marathon.

The owner of the company called the Sheriff’s Office on July 5th to report the equipment was missing from the vans. The detectives received information that Diaz might be a suspect. They discovered he’d been staying at a friend’s trailer, located adjacent to the Holding Electric property on Aviation Boulevard. They contacted the owner of the trailer and she gave them permission to search it. Inside, they found all of the stolen equipment. She said she’d let Diaz stay there for a while.

Diaz was found staying in a trailer on Grassy Key Tuesday. When he was questioned, he admitted to stealing the equipment. He was arrested and charged with Burglary and Grand Theft. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Deerfield Beach man charged with burglary

Key Largo – A man from Deerfield Beach was arrested after he entered a woman’s residence without her permission, took the keys to her car, and was sitting in the car when deputies arrived.

The victim told Deputies Jim Ford and Matt Koval she was upstairs in her home on Atlantic Boulevard in Key Largo at 4:30 a.m. She said she heard men’s voices downstairs and heard someone walking around. She called the Sheriff’s Office, then went downstairs to check the house.

She said she found the lights on in the house and the keys to her rental vehicle gone. When the deputies arrived on scene, they found 31 year old Scott Benson sitting on the driver’s side of the rental vehicle, in the driveway. The victim said she had no idea who he was, and did not give him permission to enter her house and take her keys.

Benson was arrested and charged with burglary. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Key Largo neighborhood plagued by auto burglaries

Key Largo – Deputies responded to reports of eight vehicle burglaries in a Key Largo neighborhood Tuesday morning.

The burglaries took place in Largo Sound Village. Suspects entered eight unlocked vehicles, removing loose change and a few other items from them.

The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind everyone to lock their cars, and remove valuable items from inside. Even if the car is parked in a driveway, or in front of a residence, it is a target for crime if it is left unlocked, or if valuable items are left in plain sight.


July 10, 2001

Two of America’s Most Wanted arrested on Long Key

Long Key – Two criminals profiled on the “America’s Most Wanted” television show were arrested at a trailer where they’d been living on Long Key.

Martha and David Crowe were reportedly living in a trailer at Outdoor Resorts on Long Key. Sheriff’s detectives received information they might be in that area and did surveillance Monday on the trailer to confirm their presence. The Crowe’s were taken into custody Monday afternoon and were turned over to the custody of the United States Marshall’s service. They had been living at Outdoor resorts for some time, under the names Clint Jackson and Ali Spencer.

According to the America’s Most Wanted web site, the two were convicted of money laundering and mail fraud in January of 1996. Martha was sentenced to ten years in prison and David to eleven years. The couple operated a pyramid scheme that bilked 96,000 people out of a total of 48 million dollars. They were allowed to go home to get their affairs in order prior to serving their sentence. They never showed up for their first day of prison.

Checkpoint scheduled for Friday

Islamorada – Sheriff’s deputies will be manning a DUI checkpoint this Friday, July 13th.

The checkpoint will be held on Plantation Key, in the city of Islamorada beginning at 10 p.m. Deputies will be stopping cars and checking driver’s for signs of alcohol consumption. They will also check for safety violations, and any other violations that might apply.

Girl charged with false bomb threat

Sugarloaf Key – An eleven year old Bay Point girl was arrested Monday and charged with making a false bomb threat.

The incident occurred May17th at Sugarloaf School. The school was evacuated of all students after a note was found scribbled on the wall of the girl’s bathroom. According to a report by School Resource Sgt. John Barber, the note said “there is a bomb hidden in this school and will go off when I say/fuck you soon you’ll all be dead!”

Three students later gave information to school administrators identifying a suspect in the case. A warrant was obtained for 11 year old Joycelyn Alonso of Bay Point and she was arrested Monday for making a false bomb threat, a second-degree felony. She was booked at the Monroe County Detention Center on Stock Island.

July 9, 2001

Big Pine Key teen dies while free-diving

Monroe County – A Big Pine Key teenager died Saturday afternoon while free-diving off-shore with a friend.

Sheriff’s dispatchers spoke with 16 year old Michael Montalto of Summerland Key at 5:15 p.m. Montalto said he and his friend, 16 year old Steven Jones were free-diving and spear fishing in 90 feet of water. Montalto said he got tired and climbed into the boat. Jones took the spear gun for another dive, but when he failed to surface Montalto dove in to check on him. He said he could see his friend near the bottom, but could not reach him.

United States Coast Guard and Florida Marine Patrol were en route to the boy’s location, 7 miles off shore of the Bahia Honda Bridge, when another boater stopped to help. Ramrod Key resident Linda Vanaman, a certified rescue diver, put on dive tanks and dove to recover the boy’s body. She brought him to the surface and began attempts to revive him. When the Coast Guard arrived, they transferred Jones to their vessel and started for shore, continuing CPR as they traveled. When the boat arrived at Bahia Honda State Park, paramedics met the boat, but he was declared dead on his arrival at shore. It is estimated he’d been under water in excess of 45 minutes before being pulled out by Vanaman.

According to reports, Vanaman said Jones had a spear gun with him. She said she found a small fish on the spear, and the line from the spear to the gun was wrapped around the boat’s anchor line and Jones’ swim fin.

Failure to pay for gas leads to drug arrest

Key Largo – Deputies stopped a man who stole gas from a station at the 102 mile marker Sunday in the early morning hours. A search of his pockets turned up cocaine.

Sgt. Tom Kiffney was parked at the Circle K Convenience store and gas station at 5:30 a.m. when he saw a man pump gas into his car, then leave northbound. Just then, the store clerk ran out of the door yelling that the man had not paid for the gas he pumped.

Sgt. Kiffney caught the man about a mile away and stopped him. The car, a 1984 Pontiac Firebird, had no tag on it. The driver, 35 year old Scott Maggs, admitted to taking the gas without paying. He also told Sgt. Kiffney the car was not registered with the state of Florida. He was placed under arrest for retail theft and driving a non-registered vehicle.

A search of his pockets turned up four plastic bags of cocaine in his right front pants pocket. A check of his name through Sheriff’s Office computers revealed he had no driver’s license. He was further charged with possession of cocaine and driving with no license. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Sugarloaf resident attacked outside his home

Sugarloaf Key – A Sugarloaf Key resident was attacked outside his home by an armed, masked man in the early morning hours Sunday.

The victim told Deputy Patrick Scribner he arrived home at 2:40 a.m. and went inside. He let his dogs outside, then heard them begin barking at something. He went out to check on them and a man with gauze wrapped around his head, carrying a gun jumped out of the bushes. He charged at the victim but the victim fought back, hitting him in the chest and face and ripping his shirt. The suspect hit the victim in the back of the head with the gun and knocked him to the ground. The victim said his attacker yelled at him to get up and let him in the house so he could rob him. The victim refused to comply with the demands and instead, yelled for help. A friend who was staying in the house with him ran outside and the suspect fled.

The victim described his attacker as a white male, 18 to 25 years old, five foot nine inches tall, approximately 165 pounds wearing a blue shirt, possibly torn, and khaki pants. The victim said his dogs may have bitten the suspect prior to or during the attack.

July 5, 2001

Marathon man charged with Sexual Battery

Marathon – A Marathon man has been arrested and charged with raping a woman after threatening to shoot her with a gun.

The 21 year old victim told Detective Sgt. Trish Dally she was walking home from a local bar to her home on  37th Street June 28th. She was at the intersection of 37th Street and Highway U.S. One when a man confronted her and said he had a gun. He showed her a small black handgun, then picked her up, carrying her to a covered porch on a nearby business. He allegedly said “shut up or I’m going to shoot you.” He then raped her, told her not to tell anyone, and left the area on foot.

The victim called the Sheriff’s Office to report the crime. The investigation was assigned to Sgt. Dally, who is with the Sheriff’s Crimes Against Women and Children’s Unit. The victim identified her attacker as a man she knows as “Hollywood”. He was later identified by Detective Sgt. Dally as 29 year old David Holmes of Marathon.

Deputy Jeremy Davy spotted Holmes at 7 p.m. Tuesday on 41st Street in Marathon. He was arrested on an outstanding warrant and was charged with sexual battery. Bond on the warrant was set at $50,000.00.

Stock Island man arrested for drugs, fleeing from officers

Stock Island – A Stock Island man was arrested Tuesday night, charged with possessing drugs, fleeing from officers, and fighting with the officers once they caught him.

Sheriff’s dispatchers received a call reporting a man selling drugs near the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Fifth Street on Stock Island just before 10:30 p.m. Deputy Cynthia Garcia responded and spotted a man fitting the caller’s description in that vicinity. When she got out of her patrol car to confront 49 year old Juan Tornas , she noticed he was carrying plastic bags containing money, a white substance resembling small pebbles and a green leafy substance. Tornas jumped on his bike and fled from the area with the deputy following in her patrol car, with her lights and siren activated.

Tornas rode into the parking lot of Stock Island apartments and fell off his bike. Deputy Garcia jumped out of her car and attempted to take Tornas into custody. He fought with her until back-up officer Sgt. Joe Passerelli arrived on the scene. The two officers were finally able to subdue him and place him in handcuffs. Both officers sustained minor injuries during the struggle.

The plastics bags Tornas was carrying were recovered. Inside, Deputy Garcia found crack cocaine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia, along with cash. Tornas was charged with possession of the illegal drugs and paraphernalia. He was also charged with fleeing and eluding police, battery on a law enforcement officer and two counts of resisting arrest with violence. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.


July 3, 2001

Two search warrants served in Marathon

Marathon – Sheriff’s detectives from the Special Investigations Division served search warrants Tuesday at two Marathon residences.

Detectives served the first warrant at 6:50 a.m. at 300 83rd Street in Marathon. The warrant was the result of an investigation into Marijuana sales at the residence. The search turned up 172 grams of Marijuana hidden in a bedroom, and in two storage sheds in the back yard. Various items of drug paraphernalia were also found in the house.

28 year old Eduardo Perez was charged with possession of Marijuana an drug paraphernalia. His mother, who also lived in the house, was also arrested. 51 year old Nery Duran was charged with possession of less than 20 grams of Marijuana after a small amount of the drug was found in her bedroom.

The second search warrant was served at 10:05 a.m. at 6525 Oceanview in Marathon, after a month long investigation into drug sales. The search turned up 500 grams of Marijuana inside a safe in a bedroom closet. The drugs included a 370 gram “brick” of Marijuana, with the rest in 15 separate bags, packaged as if for sale.

Two more small bags of the drug were found in a purse belonging to the resident of the house, 47 year old Sidney Owen. Owen was arrested and charged with possession of Marijuana with intent to deliver. A number of items of paraphernalia were also found in the house, including a “Seal-a-Meal” used to package the Marijuana, scales used to weigh the drug, and pipes used to smoke it.

Assisting in service of the search warrants was a K-9 unit from United States Border Patrol.


July 2, 2001

Suspect arrested in Stock Island robbery

Stock Island – A Stock Island man is in custody today, charged with robbing a gas station convenience store. He is also charged with attempting to rob the same store four hours earlier.

Sgt. J.B. Flatter and Deputy George Morffi arrested 28 year old Miguel Guzman. He is charged with armed robbery, attempted armed robbery, theft and fleeing and eluding police. The clerk at the Chevron gas station convenience store said she was working behind the counter at 8 a.m. when Guzman entered the store. He allegedly showed her a knife in his waistband, then took two cartons of cigarettes and left the store on foot. He was caught a short distance away on Sunshine Street, still holding the cigarettes.

Guzman has also been charged with attempting to rob the same store earlier in the morning. Just before 4 a.m. Guzman walked into the store and pulled out a knife. He reached over the counter attempting to open the cash drawer and demanded money from the clerk. The clerk pushed the panic alarm button and stepped back from the counter, refusing to give him anything. Guzman then fled from the store, jumped on a bicycle and rode away. According to Detective Henry Hamilton, the store clerks involved in the two incidents were able to positively identify Guzman.

Man charged with rooster killing

Stock Island – A Stock Island man has been arrested and charged with shooting his neighbor’s pet rooster.

The rooster was shot May 22nd. The rooster’s owner found him in the backyard, with a wound on the side of his neck. He said he saw his neighbor shoot the chicken.

Detective Henry Hamilton investigated the case. A warrant was obtained for the arrest of 34 year old Danny Garcia. On Friday Garcia turned himself in to the Detention Center. He was booked on misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty.

The rooster was treated for it’s injuries and was turned over to the custody of Wildlife Rescue of the Florida Keys.

16 year old girl charged with burglarizing, damaging vehicle

Key Largo – A 16 year old Key Largo girl was arrested after she entered a truck belonging to her ex-boyfriend, destroyed paperwork and used a Key to scratch the vehicle’s hood.

The victim told Deputy Mike White his ex-girlfriend Laura Lacarowicz entered his 1993 Nissan Pathfinder at 5 a.m. Saturday and destroyed his personal papers inside. She then allegedly used a key to damage the hood of the vehicle. Damage to the vehicle is estimated at $1,500.00.

The victim said she did the damage because he’d broken off their relationship. Lacarowicz was arrested and charged with burglary and criminal mischief. She was booked at the Monroe County Detention Center.