Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Daily Crime and Information Report

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

Click on the headline to hear an audio recording of the story

May 26, 2004

Man found passed out in stolen vehicle

Islamorada - An Islamorada man was arrested after deputies found him passed out behind the wheel of a stolen Monte Carlo Tuesday night.

Deputy STeven Pitts responded to the parking lot of Coral Shores High School at 11:45 p.m. after someone reported seeing a car sitting there with it's lights on for over an hour. When he arrived, he found a 1996 Chevy Monte Carlo with it's lights on, engine running and radio playing. A man was passed out in the driver's seat with a can of Miller Lite between his legs. A check on the car's license revealed it had been stolen from Pinellas County.

After initial difficulty waking the man, Deputy Pitts finally was able to rouse him. He asked for the man's name and he identified himself as Todd Sheffield. The Deputy found a Social Security Card with the name Jerry Worley, Jr. on it. Although the man denied his name was Worley, the deputy was able to check the driver's license database on his in car computer. The license photo revealed the man's real identity as Worley.

Worley was arrested and charged with grand theft, and falsely identifying himself to a law enforcement officer. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Two men charged with stealing, pawning tools

Rockland Key - Two lower Keys men have been arrested for stealing a large number of tools from a locked storage container on Rockland Key and pawning them for cash.

The victim called the Sheriff's Office to report the theft on May 18th. He told Deputy Albert "Butch" Albury he was keeping his tools in the storage container, which was on a vacant lot on Rockland Key. When he checked on it May 18th, he found the lock had been cut off and all his tools were missing.

Detective Henry Hamilton was assigned to the case. His investigations revealed some of the stolen tools had been pawned at a Key West pawn shop by 46 year old Richard Hill of Stock Island. When he questioned Hill, he admitted to taking the tools and pawning them. He said that 46 year old Phil Riltop told him to cut the locks off the shed and take the tools.

Deputy Hamilton then questioned Riltop, who also admitted to pawning the tools. Hill was arrested on May 20th and Riltop was arrested Tuesday, May 25th. Both were charged with burglary, theft and dealing in stolen property. Most of the tools were recovered and returned to the owner.


May 25, 2004

Islamorada residents charged with dealing drugs

Islamorada - Detectives with the Sheriff's Special Investigations Division arrested two people Monday night for dealing cocaine and marijuana out of their Islamorada residence.

Detectives received tips that 44 year old Curtis Hubbard and 47 year old Yevonne Mason were selling cocaine and marijuana from their home on Carroll Street. They knocked on the door and Hubbard answered. The detectives identified themselves, and told him they heard he was dealing drugs. They asked him if he had any in the house. He admitted to having marijuana and showed them where it was, in a nightstand drawer in his bedroom.

They asked if he had any more drugs, and he pulled a blue ziplock baggie out of the drawer with cocaine inside. At that point, the detectives read Hubbard his miranda rights. They asked him if the bedroom was his. He said he lives in the house with his girlfriend, Mason. They asked him for consent to search the room. He agreed to the search. They again asked if he had more drugs in the room and Hubbard reached into a safe in his closet and pulled out a bag with 146 grams of marijuana, a bag with 17 grams of cocaine and a bank bag containing $3,700 in cash.

A further search of the room turned up a black bag in a dresser drawer belonging to Mason, along with a bank bag with more cash inside. The investigators then questioned Mason, who was also in the house at the time of the search. She voluntarily led the investigators to more cocaine, and admitted the cash they found was proceeds from the sale of drugs.

Both Mason and Hubbard were arrested. Hubbard was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to deliver, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. Mason was charged with trafficking in cocaine. Detectives seized $11,000 in cash, 49 grams of cocaine, 142 grams of marijuana and various items of drug paraphernalia.

May 24, 2004

Deputy on routine patrol finds building on fire

Big Pine Key - A deputy on routine patrol Saturday in the early morning hours found a building on fire on Big Pine Key. His quick action in notifying the fire department most likely saved the building from further damage.

Deputy Craig Sparrow was on patrol at 4:20 a.m. near the 30.5 mile marker of the highway when he smelled smoke. He began looking for the source, and discovered a small fire in a hedge in front of the Conch and Stein restaurant. He got out of his patrol car to investigate further and saw smoke coming from the restaurant itself. When he put his hand on the door, he found it was hot to the touch. When he notified Sheriff's dispatchers of the situation, they sent firefighters to the scene.

When firefighters entered the building they found a wall and a hanging lamp on fire. They were able to extinguish the blaze quickly, avoiding further damage to the building. The fire marshall's office was notified and will be investigating the cause of the fire.

Detectives investigating auto burglaries and stolen auto in Marathon

Marathon - Deputies and Detectives are investigating a rash of vehicle burglaries possibly connected to a stolen van. The incidents took place in the early morning hours Saturday.

A woman who lives on Sombrero Beach Road called Sheriff's Office dispatchers at 2:45 a.m. to report seeing a man trying to gain entry to a car outside her house. She said she went outside to confront him and saw him riding away on a bicycle. When deputies arrived, they began canvassing the area and discovered a total of 20 vehicles on Sombrero Beach Road and on Angler's Drive which had been entered. All the vehicles were left unlocked. The suspect rifled through center consoles and glove compartments, taking a few small items including cash, sunglasses and prescription drugs.

At 8 a.m., dispatchers received another call from a resident of Angler's Drive. The caller reported his white Chrysler Van stolen from his carport. He said he went inside his house at 10 p.m., leaving the van unlocked and the keys inside. When his wife looked outside at 8 a.m., she realized the van had been stolen. A bicycle was found abandoned nearby and is presumed to have belonged to the suspect in the van theft, and possibly, the suspect in the vehicle burglaries as well, due to their close proximity and the coincidental time frame.

The stolen van was found abandoned later the same day in the Aloha Trailer Park. It was processed for possible evidence and was returned to it's owner. Detectives and deputies are continuing to investigate the rash of crimes.

Arrest made for safe stolen in March

Upper Matecumbe - A Key Largo man has been arrested, charged with breaking in to an Upper Matecumbe residence in March and stealing a safe with a large amount of jewelry inside.

37 year old John Perry has been charged with burglary and grand theft for breaking in to a house near the 80 mile marker of highway U.S on March 17th. Investigations of the crime led to Perry, who, according to detectives, has been known to brag that he has committed burglaries in 18 states and can "open any safe." Perry was at one time married to the victim's daughter and had knowlege of the safe. Perry eventually admitted to committing the burglary and theft of the safe.

Perry said he and another man broke in to the house through a jalousie window and took the safe from inside. They then allegedly transported the safe to Miami where they forced it open to reach the valuables inside. Perry claims his accomplice then took all the valuables, leaving him with the empty safe.

Perry admitted to disposing of the safe behind a gas station in Miami, concealed underneath a garbage can. it was later recovered by Miami-Dade Police, who called the Monroe County Sheriff's Office after finding some papers inside with the Upper Matecumbe address on them.

On Friday, Perry turned himself in to Detective Don Dalton, who transported him to the Monroe County Detention Center. His bond is set at $50,000.00.  None of the stolen property has been recovered.

May 12, 2004

Crime Rate down in Monroe County

The 2003 crime index rate in Monroe County areas patrolled by the Sheriff’s Office was down 13.4 percent compared to 2002, according to statistics released by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. In addition to the significant decrease in crime, the Sheriff’s Office improved its clearance of criminal cases to 24.1 percent in 2003. Sheriff Richard Roth was pleased with the report, attributing the decrease in the crime rate to the hard work and dedication of the deputies, detectives and all Sheriff’s personnel. Sheriff Roth said that an emphasis on community oriented policing that creates a partnership with residents and businesses is also helping to reduce crime.

Driver arrested for brandishing gun

An altercation at a fast food restaurant in Marathon Tuesday resulted in one man jailed for reportedly pointing a pistol at another driver in the drive through lane. The victim stated that the incident started when a driver of a yellow SUV just ahead of him in the line would not move from the service window after getting his food. The victim admitted that he became “impatient” and beeped his horn at the other driver. The victim said he then exchanged obscene gestures with the other driver, who finally moved. The victim stated that while he was at the service window, the other driver who had stopped just ahead of him, turned around and pointed a handgun at him. The victim said he dialed 9-1-1 to report the incident and to provide a description of the suspect vehicle and the direction of travel. Sheriff’s deputies stopped the suspect vehicle near 46th Street in Marathon. The victim positively identified the suspect and wanted to press charges, telling deputies that he was in fear for his life and that he clearly saw the barrel of the gun being pointed at him. After interviewing the suspect and a passenger, Sheriff’s deputies arrested the driver, identified as 45-year old William Bornman, of Ft. Myers. Deputies confiscated a pistol, found in the glove box of Bornman’s vehicle. Deputies charged Bornman with aggravated assault and booked him into the Marathon jail. Bornman admitted to deputies that he handled the gun while in the drive through, but denied pointing the gun at anyone.

Deputy involved in traffic wreck

A Sheriff’s deputy was involved in a traffic accident last night while on patrol near the 97-mile marker of Key Largo. Deputy Jason Keith’s patrol car collided with a Honda Sports Utility Vehicle shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday. The impact reportedly totaled both vehicles. Deputy Keith was not injured, but the driver of the other vehicle and a passenger were taken to Mariner’s Hospital for treatment. The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the traffic accident.

Three arrested in drug sting at Key Largo

Sheriff’s Special Investigations detectives arrested three Florida City residents in Key Largo Tuesday night after arranging a drug buy. Undercover detectives agreed to purchase four thousand dollars worth of crack cocaine from a suspect identified as 18-year old George Wiggins. Wiggins met the undercover officers at a Key Largo Resort. After making the deal, officers moved in and arrested Wiggins. However, a test of the drugs he sold proved negative for cocaine. Wiggins had sold “fake” cocaine, which is still a felony offense. After his arrest Wiggins told the lawmen that it was only “candle wax.” Officers also searched Wiggins’ vehicle and turned up small amounts of cocaine and marijuana. The passengers in the car were charged with possession of illegal drugs. 20-year old Kelsey Sims and 19-year old Michael Martinez were charged with possession of cocaine. Officers booked the three suspects into the Plantation Key jail.

Hospitality expo results in heavy law enforcement activity

The annual hospitality expo in the Islamorada area ended at noon today, but not before producing heavy law enforcement activity. Capt. Joe Leiter, of the Islamorada Sheriff’s Office, reported that 32 people were arrested, including nine by the FWC for boating under the influence. Capt. Leiter said the Sheriff’s Office responded to 55 calls for service in and around the Holiday Isle area and that the Coast Guard, FWC and Sheriff’s Office made over 200 vessel stops on nearby waters. There were also two vehicle crashes reported in the party area, however no fatalities or serious injuries reported.




May 10, 2004

Stolen boat recovered fleeing from Cuba

Key Haven - A boat, stolen from a Key Haven home last week was recovered Saturday in international waters by the United States Coast Guard. The driver of the boat, which appeared to be fleeing from Cuba when it was intercepted, was arrested for grand theft.

The boat, a 35 foot Wellcraft with twin 225 horsepower Evinrude engines, was reported stolen Friday morning by it's owner, William Murray. Murray told Deputy Evan Calhoun someone stole the boat between 11 p.m. on May 6th and 7 a.m. on May 7th from the dock behind his Key Haven home. The boat is valued at approximately $140,000.00.

Detective Henry Hamilton was assigned to investigate the case. According to Detective Hamilton, the Coast Guard received information Saturday afternoon from Cuba that the boat was fleeing from Cuban waters. The Coast Guard moved to intercept the boat and took the boat's driver into custody, taking the boat to Key West for processing. The Cuban Government also reportedly said they have a man's body. They reportedly suspect the man was run over and killed by the boat at some point as it was fleeing. The U.S. Customs Service and the FBI are investigating that case, as well as a possible smuggling operation the boat and driver may have been involved in.

Detective Hamilton arrested the boat's driver,  27 year old Noel Valle, of Key West, charging him with grand theft of the boat. The boat was processed for evidence at the Coast Guard base in Key West, then was returned to it's owner.  Investigations continue into the incident.

May 5, 2004

Corrections Officer arrested for sexual battery of an inmate

       Robert Malopolski

Stock Island - A Corrections Officer at the Stock Island Detention Center was arrested Tuesday evening for sexually battering a female inmate being held in the jail.

46 year old Robert Malopolski has been charged with sexual battery and with sexual misconduct. The Sexual Battery charge is enhanced to a first degree felony because he was, according to the statute, "in a position of control or authority in a .... detention setting" and was "acting in such a manner as to lead the victim to reasonably believe that the offender (was) in a position of control or authority as an agent or employee of government." As a first degree felony, it is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

According to reports, the victim initially called an attorney about the crime who in turn called the Sheriff's Office Internal Affairs Division. Once investigators with that division heard the nature of the allegation, they called detectives with detectives with the Crimes Against Women and Children's Unit, who  began an investigation. The victim said Malopolski was working as a corrections officer in the unit she was assigned to. She said he entered her cell and forced her to have oral sex with him. She turned over evidence of the crime to detectives, who, after interviewing her and Malopolski, arrested him.

Malopolski was booked into the Stock Island Detention Center. He was also terminated from his employment with the Sheriff's Office. Malopolski started working for the Sheriff's Office in 1984. He resigned in 1994, then returned to work in 1995, working in the Detention Facility on Stock Island as a Detention Deputy.

Three drug arrests wrap up "Operation County Line"

Elizabeth Bateman, Chad O'Neal and Joseph Riley were arrested today in the parking lot
of a Key Largo hotel on drug charges.

Key Largo - The arrest of three drug suspects in Key Largo today wraps up  a week long series of arrests on charges of possession and sale of crack cocaine.

"Operation County Line" involved a three month long investigation into Florida City and Homestead residents who regularly sell drugs in the Florida Keys. The investigation was planned and implemented by Detectives with the Sheriff's Special Investigations Division.

"We are determined to stop these people from coming to the Keys to sell their illegal substances. This operation rounded up a large number of people who traveled to the Keys with their primary objective being to sell significant quantities of crack cocaine and powdered cocaine," said Sheriff Rick Roth. Some local residents were also arrested during the course of the investigation. Sheriff's detectives say they will continue to target these out-of-county drug dealers in an effort to cut off one of the main supply routes into the county for crack cocaine and the powdered form of the drug.

A total of 13 people were arrested in the past week."Operation County Line" took three months to complete, during which detectives used undercover operatives to set up significant drug deals throughout the Keys. During the course of the investigation, over $20,000 worth of cocaine was seized, and approximately $5,000 in cash. Last week, the final round up began. One by one, detectives arranged meetings where the dealers would deliver drugs in exchange for money. When the exchange took place, the dealers were arrested.

Today, a final drug deal was set up for the parking lot of a Key Largo hotel. Three people showed up in a red Dodge pickup truck which turned out to be a rental vehicle. A female passenger got out and began walking into the hotel. 31 year old Elizabeth Bateman of Key Largo was immediately arrested because detectives recognized her as having six outstanding warrants for sale of cocaine from previous drug deals set up during the lengthy operation. The second passenger, Joseph Tyrone Riley of Miami was also arrested on an outstanding warrant for sale of cocaine. The driver, 19 year old Chad O'Neal was arrested after he admitted that crack cocaine and drug paraphernalia found in the truck was his. He was later taken to Mariner's Hospital for treatment after he admitted to swallowing a significant quantity of crack cocaine prior to his arrest.

All three suspects were booked into the Monroe County Detention Facility.