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 highlighted headlines to hear an audio recording of the story


December 29, 2006

Homestead man to be charged with Marathon bank robbery

Marathon - A Homestead man has admitted to robbing the Orion Bank in Marathon.

Marathon detectives say Alexis Perez-Herrera rode the JGT bus to Marathon on December 7th, bringing his bike with him. He randomly selected Orion Bank and robbed it, rode his bike back to the bus stop, and caught the JGT bus back to Homestead. Key West Police Detective Diane Lipinsky was contacted by Homestead Police Detective Lazaro Guererra, who had arrested Perez-Herrera for seven robberies in Homestead. He called Lipinsky because she was investigating a robbery in Key West and he thought she should consider Perez-Herrera as a possible suspect. She saw a picture of Perez-Herrera and, comparing it to a photo of the Marathon bank robber featured on the Sheriff's Office web site, she realized Perez-Herrera might be the same man. She contacted Marathon detectives with the information.

On Thursday, Detective Lipinski drove to Homestead with a detective from the Marathon Sheriff's Office. They questioned Perez-Herrara and he admitted to robbing Orion Bank. He is currently being held in the Dade County jail on multiple robbery counts with no bond allowed. A warrant will now be obtained for the robbery in Marathon and he will be returned to Monroe County to face those charges.

December 27, 2006

Woman battered in her home on Stock Island; ex-boyfriend arrested

Stock Island - A Stock Island woman called 911 twice to report being beaten and robbed in her home by her ex-boyfriend.
Detective Donnie Catala, the investigator on the case, says the suspect, 22 year old Jean Altenor of Key West was arrested Tuesday night on Big Coppitt Key. Charges against him include two counts of burglary with battery on the occupant and robbery.
The victim first called the Sheriff's Office on December 18th to report Altenor broke into her trailer and beat her legs with a metal mop handle. While the investigation into those charges was still going on, she called 911 again on Christmas Eve. She said she was in her trailer on 5th Avenue, Stock Island at 7 p.m. She had just gotten out of the shower and was dressing in her bedroom when she said she heard a noise. Suddenly, she says Altenor grabbed her from behind in a choke hold, threw her down on the bed and bit her twice on the back through her shirt, leaving clear bite marks. She said she couldn't scream because the choke hold made it hard to breath. She says he grabbed a night stand drawer and hit her over the back and legs with it, breaking the drawer in the process.
At that point, the victim was able to break free and run to a neighbor's house where she called for help. When deputies arrived, they found the house ransacked, with much of the furniture broken. The victim's bank ATM card and her cash had been taken from her purse as well. The victim was taken to the hospital for treatment of her injuries.
Detective Catala obtained warrants for Altenor on Tuesday. Tuesday night he was found on Big Coppitt key by Deputy Henry Amole. He was transported to the Stock Island Detention Center where he was booked into jail. Bond on the warrants is set at a total of $175,000.00.

December 26, 2006

Big Pine flea market vendors burglarized

Big Pine Key - Sheriff's detectives are investigating four break ins and two attempted break ins at Big Pine Flea Market vendor trailers.

The crimes were discovered Christmas Day by a vendor who was checking on his trailer about 9:30 a.m. His trailer was fine, but while he was there, he noticed that locks had been cut off of six others. When Deputy Richard Bellon arrived he discovered four of the six trailers had items missing. In all, approximately $10,000.00 worth of property was taken, including jewelry and several large spools of fishing line. The victims said the last time they checked their property was Christmas Eve.

Anyone with information about this crime should call the Sheriff's Office or call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward if their information leads to an arrest. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

Clerk at convenience store reports attempted robbery

Big Coppitt Key - The clerk at a Big Coppitt Key convenience store reported a man attempted to rob him in the early morning hours Friday.

The victim told Deputy Henry Amole the suspect entered the store the first time and attempted to steal a bottle of wine. The clerk saw it in his pocket and confronted the man, who left the store. He returned a short time later at about 4 a.m. Another customer was at the counter and witnessed the suspect with his hand underneath is shirt. The suspect indicated he was armed, and told the witness he was going to rob the clerk. He also threatened to punch him in the face.

After making the robbery threats, the suspect abruptly left, driving away in a red colored Ford pickup truck. The victim says he's seen the man in the store before and says he will be able to identify him if Sheriff's detectives find him.

December 20, 2006

Man wanted for stabbing his cousin is caught

Key West - A 31 year old Stock Island man who stabbed his cousin with a kitchen knife was arrested today after Sheriff's detectives received two anonymous tips.

Two separate tipsters who saw the information in the newspaper this morning called to report that Francisco Marquez was working at a construction site on William Street in Key West. One of the tipsters called the Crime Stoppers hot line with the information and will be eligible for a reward. Marquez was picked up by Key West Police Sgt. Pablo Rodriguez. He was charged with an outstanding warrant for aggravated battery.

Marquez is accused of stabbing his cousin multiple times with a nine inch long kitchen knife after an argument in the early morning hours Monday. The stabbing took place at their aunt's house on El Monte Lane, Big Coppitt Key. The victim underwent surgery at Lower Keys Hospital for his wounds.

Marquez was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center. His bond is set at $75,000.00.

December 19, 2006

Man involved in accident arrested for attempting to bribe a deputy

Ramrod Key - A Little Torch Key man was finally arrested Monday night after he refused to listen to an officer's safety advice, then tried to bribe the deputy to avoid being issued a citation.

When Deputy Juan Martin-Reyes arrived on the scene of the single vehicle accident at the 27.8 mile marker of the highway at 11:15 p.m., a witness said that 21 year old Matthew Gunderson had passed him recklessly at a high rate of speed right before the crash. The deputy asked Gunderson if he needed any medical attention and he said no. Gunderson said he couldn't afford a tow truck and asked the deputy if he could call a friend to pull his car out and the deputy agreed. The car was nose down into the mangroves, almost in the water.

Gunderson walked away from the scene and was talking on his phone, standing on the white line of the highway, in danger of being hit. The deputy warned him repeatedly to stand out of the roadway, but Gunderson kept walking back to the white line. At one point, Gunderson walked to the deputy's patrol car and sat on the hood. Deputy Martin-Reyes told him sitting on the car was not a good idea and instructed him to get off. Gunderson then walked to his car and sat down in it. The deputy, concerned the car would slip further toward the water, told him to get out of it for his own safety. At that point, Gunderson became agitated, yelling and cursing at the deputy.

Deputy Martin-Reyes then handcuffed Gunderson and sat him in the back of the patrol car, explaining to him the laws regarding reckless driving, speeding and the trouble he could get into refusing to listen to a law enforcement officer. He told Gunderson he was going to write him a citation for refusing to obey his instructions. Gunderson, at that point, asked the deputy how much he would have to pay him to avoid a citation. He said a citation would violate his probation and he'd have to spend a year in jail.

Deputy Martin-Reyes told Gunderson he was not for sale, and placed him under arrest, charging him with resisting a law enforcement officer and bribery. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Marina security guard victim of attempted robbery

Tavernier - A marina security guard, the victim of an attempted armed robbery with a knife, ran away and yelled for help. The suspects fled and were caught by deputies Monday night.

The security guard at Mangrove Marina on Florida Avenue in Tavernier told Deputy Robert Dosh he was working at 8:30 p.m. when he stopped to speak with two men who were fishing on a boat. As he was leaving to resume his rounds, he said one of the men, later identified as 23 year old Joseph Hernandez of Key Largo, said, "wait up." Hernandez walked up to the victim, allegedly pulled out a knife and held it to his throat. Hernandez reportedly told him not to scream or set off an alarm, and told him to walk to the security office and hand over whatever money was in the office.

The victim broke away from Hernandez, began running, yelling "He has a knife, call 911." Several witnesses in the area later reported seeing Hernandez and hearing the victim yelling about the knife.

Hernandez and the man with him both were seen fleeing northbound on the highway in an older model black or gray pickup truck. Deputy Ryan Cowart, on patrol in Key Largo, spotted the truck and stopped it. Hernandez was the passenger; 32 year old Donald Boley was driving. The knife described by the victim was found on the floor boards by Hernandez' feet. Hernandez was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and robbery; Boley was charged with driving without a valid license.

Domestic dispute turns into stabbing

Francisco Marquez, 31, wanted for stabbing his cousin
Monday in the early morning hours.

Big Coppitt Key - A domestic dispute between two cousins escalated to a stabbing Monday just after midnight on Big Coppitt Key.

The aunt of the two men involved called the Sheriff's Office at 12:15 a.m. Monday to report her nephews were arguing. When Deputy John Underwood arrived, the two men had fled, but he saw blood drops leading out of the house onto the front porch. There was evidence of a struggle inside the house, which was on El Monte Lane. The woman could not tell Deputy Underwood where the blood drops came from, however, and a search of the area failed to turn up the two men.

The following day, Detective Henry Hamilton was called to meet with the same woman who told him her nephew, 25 year old Walter Flores, was in the hospital being treated for stab wounds to his torso. She said her other nephew, 31 year old Francisco Marquez, was the one who stabbed him. She told the detective Marquez used a nine inch long kitchen knife, and threatened to stab her as well. Detective Hamilton met with the victim at the hospital, where he is in the intensive care unit. The victim confirmed his cousin did stab him. He refused to say what the two were arguing about.

A warrant was obtained for Marquez and he is currently wanted for aggravated battery. Anyone with information as to his whereabouts should call the Sheriff's Office or call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward if their information leads to an arrest. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

December 18, 2006

Marathon man arrested after standoff with law enforcement

Marathon - A Marathon man was arrested in the early morning hours after a four and a half hour stand off with law enforcement officers Monday.

Deputies Jacek Szymanski and Jerry Jagoda were dispatched to a domestic dispute at 11 p.m. The incident took place at a residence on 63rd Court in Marathon between 48 year old Ronald Snyder and the woman he lives with. When deputies arrived, they found the victim in her residence, crying and bleeding from a cut on her ankle. She said the two argued after going out to a Christmas party. She said Snyder punched her in the face, then kicked a glass vase which broke and cut her ankle. Snyder had left the residence.

They found him at Herbie's Restaurant nearby. He was sitting inside with two handguns on a table in front of him. He told the deputies he had two loaded guns and that they should leave the area. They backed off and called for backup. Sgt. Jake Brady arrived and spoke with Snyder, advising him to come out and give himself up. He refused. At that point, the sergeant called for the Special Weapons and Tactic's team and for Negotiators.

SWAT team members arrived and set up a perimeter around the restaurant. The negotiator attempted to talk Snyder out. Snyder finally walked out the front door carrying his guns at about 3:30 a.m. He was apprehended as he walked through a wooded area toward the Highway. He was disarmed without incident by SWAT team members and was taken into custody. He was carrying two fully loaded .38 caliber handguns and more ammunition was recovered from inside the restaurant.

Snyder was booked into jail on charges of domestic battery, resisting arrest, carrying a firearm and use of a firearm while intoxicated.

Fight in bar parking lot leads to aggravated battery arrest

Key Largo - A fight in the parking lot of the Paradise Pub in Key Largo led to the arrest of a man for aggravated battery.

Deputy Greg LaRochelle says 46 year old Danny Grimes stabbed the 47 year old victim in the arm Friday just after 4 p.m. When the deputy arrived, he found the victim sitting outside the bar in the parking lot, bleeding profusely from his arm. He was taken to Mariner's Hospital where he received 14 stitches to close the cut. Numerous people in the bar said the victim had been kicked out of the bar by the bartender because he was drunk and was rude. No one could identify the man who stabbed the victim in the parking lot.

A short time later, Sgt. David Carey received a phone call from Grimes who admitted to stabbing the victim. He said he followed the man outside to make sure he did not damage the bartender's car. He said the victim grabbed him by the neck and so he stabbed him in the arm. Grimes was taken into custody and was charged with aggravated battery. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Teen charged with molesting two young boys

Key Largo - A 16 year old Key Largo boy was arrested Thursday and charged with molesting two young boys.

The victims, aged 9 and 10, said they were riding their bikes in their neighborhood on December 3rd when 16 year old James Guyer approached them and asked them if they wanted to go to the "bridge to nowhere". They agreed. When they got there, Guyer allegedly challenged them to a game of "truth or dare". While playing the game, Guyer touched the genitals of both boys. The boys told their parents who called the Sheriff's Office to report the incident.

Detectives Linda Mixon and Terry Smith investigated. After interviewing both victims, who picked the suspect out of a photo line up, Detective Mixon obtained a warrant for Guyer's arrest. The detectives interviewed the suspect who admitted to touching the two boys. He was charged with two counts of lewd and lascivious acts on children under the age of 12 and he was booked at the Plantation Key Detention Center.

December 14, 2006

Key Largo man charged with aggravated battery

Key Largo - A Key Largo man has been charged with aggravated battery for his participation in a bar fight that took place September 7th at the Paradise Pub in Key Largo.

Deputy Kris Sivak responded to a report of a medical call at the bar. When she arrived, she found the 26 year old victim bleeding from a large laceration on the side of his face. The victim said he and the suspect, whom he only knew as "Miguel" had argued. The argument escalated and the victim threw a punch at the suspect who responded by grabbing a bottle from the bar and hitting the victim on tech head with it. The bottle broke and cut him on the face. Witnesses at the bar told the same story. The victim was treated at the hospital where the cut required 30 stitches to close.

No one in the bar could provide the officers with the suspects full name. In October, however, the victim came to the Sheriff's substation in Plantation Key to say he had finally identified his attacker. He gave investigators the name Jose Augustin Liriano. He later picked Liriano out of a photo line up. Sgt. Eric Mixon subsequently obtained a warrant for Liriano for the charge of aggravated battery.

On December 13th, Deputy Ryan Cowart stopped a white Acura for speeding and driving erratically. The driver was Liriano. He was arrested on the outstanding warrant and booked into the Plantation Key Detention Center. Bond is set at $20,000.00.


December 12, 2006

Homeless Marathon man charged with stealing wallet, using credit card

Marathon - A Homeless man was arrested Monday after he admitted stealing a man's wallet out of a car at the City Park on Sunday and using a credit card to buy beer and cigarettes.

The victim reported the stolen wallet on Monday morning. He told Deputy Ken Fricke someone entered his car Sunday and took his wallet from his glove box. He showed the deputy a list of transactions on the card after it was stolen. It had been used at the Fairway Market and at the Exxon Mobile Convenience Store. Deputy Fricke was able to obtain a surveillance video and transaction records from Exxon Mobile showing the man who used the card at the store. A short time later, Deputy Fricke saw the same man southbound on the highway on a bicycle.

When Deputy Fricke, backed up by Deputy Jon Huff and Detective Michael DiGiovanni confronted 54 year old Gregory Kniseley with the video taped evidence of his crime, Kniseley admitted to stealing the wallet. He said he entered the victim's vehicle at the City Park Sunday, rifled through the glove box and stole the wallet. He said he took the credit card and discarded the wallet in the bushes. He said he used the card at the Fairway Market to buy beer and cigarettes which he shared with friends. He said he tried to use the card at the Tom Thumb, but when they asked for identification he left and went to the Exxon Mobile where he purchased more beer and cigarettes.

Kniseley was arrested. A crack pipe was found in his backpack when it was searched. He was charged with burglary, theft, fraud, forgery and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

December 11, 2006

Thilo Thomas, 33 of Boynton Beach. Wanted for escaping
from trustee detail on Stock Island December 9th, 2006.

Trusty inmate walks away from his job

Stock Island - A Trusty inmate working at the safe zone walked away from his job Saturday afternoon.

33 year old Thomas Thilo, of Boynton Beach was in jail for driving under the influence of alcohol, careless driving and theft of a vehicle. He was arrested October 29th by Key West Police and at the time of his arrest, he had a Pennsylvania identification card and was driving a vehicle stolen from Riverdale Georgia. He was assigned a work detail at the safe zone on Stock Island when he escaped. Deputies searched the area surrounding the safe zone but did not find him, or any sign of him.

Thilo is a white male, six foot three inches tall, 200 pounds with brown eyes and brown hair. At the time of his escape, his hair was short and he was clean shaven.

Anyone with information about the location of Thilo should call the Sheriff's Office or call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward if their information leads to an arrest. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

Four homes on Conch Key damaged by fire

Conch Key - Two houses were destroyed by fire and two others damaged after a barbecue fire got out of control Friday night.

According to Deputy Gregg Johnson, the owner of 83 North Conch Avenue says he was barbecuing on his porch when he realized he needed to go to Home Depot for something. He says he thought he extinguished the barbecue before leaving, but while he was gone it apparently flared up, catching his house on fire. The fire spread to 93 North Conch Avenue, destroying that house. The houses at 73 and 95 North Conch Avenue sustained damage from the flames as well.

Firefighters from Islamorada, Conch Key and Marathon responded after the fire was reported at 6:15 p.m. High winds kept emergency personnel on the scene until after 11:30 p.m. making sure the fire was completely extinguished. The Red Cross responded to assist those families who needed a place to stay.

Fire Marshall Wally Romero was on the scene.

Key West man charged with DUI, drug possession

Cudjoe Key - A Key West man is in jail after another driver reported seeing him drive erratically Saturday evening on Cudjoe Key.

The other driver called the Sheriff's Office to report he was behind an F-150 pickup truck that was northbound on Cudjoe Key, driving erratically. He said the truck had crossed the center lane several times forcing oncoming traffic off the road. As deputies were dispatched to the area, the driver gave dispatchers an update: the truck was now stopped in the middle of U.S. One in front of the Square Grouper restaurant and the driver was slumped over the wheel as if asleep.

A few minutes later, the truck's driver apparently woke up and began to drive again, turning off of the highway onto Jolly Roger Lane. That is where the truck was found by Deputies Walter Kirchner and Juan Martin-Reyes.

The driver of the truck, 28 year old Donald Trujillo of Key West, failed field sobriety exercises so he was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. When he was questioned, he admitted to drinking beer and smoking marijuana. A search of the truck turned up an empty bottle and three full bottles of Corona beer and a bottle of liquor as well. Deputies also found a marijuana pipe with marijuana residue in it and some rolling papers and an ecstasy pill along with some ground up ecstasy in a plastic bag. He was charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Once at the jail, corrections officers found Xanax, Valium and Marijuana in the pocket of Trujillo's pants. He was further charged with two more counts of possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana and smuggling contraband into the jail.

Couple arrested after argument, false 911 call

Big Coppitt Key - A Big Coppitt Key couple both went to jail after a false call to 911 reporting a stolen truck Friday night.

Dispatchers received a call from 29 year old Erica Blankenship at 9:30 p.m. She said a man named John Roberts had just stolen her Ford Explorer and was on his way to Marathon. Deputy Juan Martin-Reyes began looking for the truck, spotting it parked at Dion's Quik Mart on Big Coppitt Key. After Roberts exited the store, got into the Explorer and began to drive away, Deputy Martin-Reyes, assisted by Deputy Caridad Bellon, pulled the vehicle over.

The deputies explained to Roberts that he was driving a vehicle that had been reported stolen by Blankenship. Roberts told them he and Blankenship were girlfriend and boyfriend and had been living together for a year. He said the vehicle is hers, but they share it. He said they had gotten into an argument earlier because a woman had flirted with him in a bar. He said Blankenship told him she wanted some beer, so he'd gone to the store to get her some.

Blankenship was called to the scene. She admitted calling 911 and reporting her vehicle stolen because she was mad at Roberts. She said she did not want to get him in trouble or to press charges against him.

Roberts, who was intoxicated, was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. Blankenship was charged with misuse of the 911 system and with a misdemeanor warrant for failure to appear in court. They were both booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

December 8, 2006

Who said you can't take a club to a gun fight?

Stock Island - A Stock Island man, the victim of an attempted armed robbery outside his house, chased the armed robbers away with a club Thursday night.

The victim told Deputy David Cruz he was sitting in his home watching television at 11:30 p.m. when he heard a noise outside. When he stepped out on his porch, he saw two men. Each of the men reportedly pointed a gun at him and demanded money. The victim told them to wait a minute and went back inside. He returned with a club in his hand. He chased the two robbers away. As the suspects were fleeing the scene, they reportedly continued to threaten to shoot him.

Detectives will be investigating.

Suspicious package in Tavernier under investigation

Tavernier - A suspicious package found inside a mailbox near the TIB Bank at the 92 mile marker of the highway is under investigation.

A United States Postal Service employee opened the mailbox just before 2 p.m. to collect the mail and found a styrofoam box inside. As he was examining the box, he discovered wires sticking out of it, so he carefully set it down, backed away and called the Sheriff's Office for help.

When Lieutenant Mitch Horn and Sgt. David Carey arrived on the scene, they evacuated the bank because of it's proximity to the mailbox. They then secured the area and called for assistance from the Sheriff's Bomb Squad. Bomb Squad technician Sgt. Bobby Randolph responded. The package was safely disrupted by Sgt. Randolph using specialized equipment. Subsequent examination of the package led officers to believe it may have been a hoax device meant to look like an bomb.

Investigators from the Postal Inspector's Office are investigating the case. Anyone with information about this crime should call the Sheriff's Office or call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward if their information leads to an arrest. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

December 7, 2006

Photo of man who robbed Orion Bank in Marathon

Bank Robbery in Marathon
Marathon - There was a bank robbery at Orion Bank in Marathon just before 1 p.m. today.
According to witnesses, a Hispanic male walked into the bank, indicated he had a gun in a black bag he was carrying, and demanded money. He is described as 5' 7" to 5' 9" tall, 190 - 200 pounds, in his mid 30s to 40 years old with short, dark hair and no beard or mustache. He had sunglasses on, possibly with orange tinted lenses, a reddish or pink colored t-shirt and blue jeans with a red white and blue hat that said "Cuba" on it. He left the bank riding a bicycle southbound. Deputies and Detectives are searching the area.

Anyone with information call 911 or contact Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys at 1-800-346-TIPS. Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward if their information leads to an arrest.

December 6, 2006

Escort Service owner arrested for prostitution

Marathon - The owner of an escort service was arrested Tuesday night for prostitution.

An undercover operative for the Sheriff's Office called the Summer's Dream Escort Service, out of Key Largo, and asked that a woman be sent to his hotel room in Marathon. The person who answered the phone said her name was "Summer". She said she was the owner of the escort service and would be happy to come to his hotel room for $260.00.

When she arrived, he asked for the money and the operative gave it to her. She took off her clothes and climbed into bed. The operative asked if she had any condoms. She said no, and suggested he use the plastic bag from the ice bucket instead.

Summer, later identified as 26 year old Christine Marine Cast, was arrested and charged with prostitution. She was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

December 4, 2006

Prostitute from escort service arrested

Plantation Key - A prostitute working for an escort service was arrested Thursday night after she offered sexual favors to an undercover operative in exchange for money.

The operative called AAA Aaliyah's Escorts out of Key West and asked for a woman to meet him at a motel room in the upper Keys. The service told him a woman named "Crystal" would be arriving later in the evening and her services would cost $250.00. "Crystal", later identified as 39 year old Monica Martin, arrived at 9 p.m. At her request, the operative gave her the $250 fee. She then told him she would not perform until she got a tip of $50. He asked what she would do for the money. She described the sexual acts she would perform and he handed over the $50.00. At that point, Martin was arrested and charged with prostitution..

Traffic stop leads to burglary arrest, possession of alcohol by a minor

Cudjoe Key - Sgt. Andrew Ensminger was southbound at the 20.5 mile marker of the highway at 4:20 a.m. today (Monday) when he spotted a car northbound with it's high beams on. He flashed his headlights several times in an effort to get the driver to turn his lights down. The other driver failed to do so. The sergeant turned around and pulled the 2003 Honda over. Deputy Brian Luth arrived as back up.

The driver, 19 year old Michael Nicholas, appeared to be impaired by alcohol and he failed a number of field sobriety exercises so he was arrested. In his pocket, Sgt. Ensminger found Xanax pills. The car was searched prior to it being towed. In the trunk of the car, Deputy Luth found numerous containers of alcohol.

There were three young girls aged 13, 14 and 16 in the car as well as another male aged 17. All the passengers denied knowing about the alcohol. Nicolas, who was handcuffed in the back of a patrol car, called Sgt. Ensminger over to the car and told him he'd taken all the alcohol from the Sugarloaf Lodge. Deputy Luth responded to the Sugarloaf Lodge where he found signs of a break in. An employee of the lodge confirmed the alcohol was stolen.

Nicholas was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, possession of liquor by a person under 21 and possession of a controlled substance. Burglary charges are pending.

Man and woman arrested on drug charges

Marathon - A deputy checking out a suspicious vehicle arrested the two people inside on drug charges.

Deputy Ken Fricke was on patrol on 41st Street in Marathon at noon on Sunday when he saw a Ford SUV in a park in that vicinity. The deputy saw what looked like a drug transaction between a man on a bicycle and the driver of the SUV so he decided to investigate further. As the deputy approached, he looked inside and saw two bottles of Budweiser, one of them was open. He asked the driver for his license. 31 year old William Flingos of Cudjoe Key told the deputy he had no license. Instead, he handed him a state prison ID card. A check through computers revealed Flingo's license was suspended at least ten times with at least three convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol. He was arrested. A search of his pockets turned up a plastic bag of marijuana. When the deputy found it, Flingos said, "I forgot about that. I'm a big pot head." Flingos was charged with open container, driving with license suspended and possession of marijuana.

As Deputy Fricke was arresting Flingos, he saw the passenger, 43 year old Kim Baiamonte of Homestead, move the beer bottles to the back seat. Further investigation inside the SUV turned up another bag of marijuana between the front seats along with a partially smoked marijuana cigarette in the ashtray. In Baiamonte's purse, deputies found two crack rocks and a package of rolling papers.

Baiamonte was also arrested. She was charged with possession of marijuana, cocaine and drug paraphernalia. They were both booked into the Monroe County Detention

Traffic offense leads to fugitive arrest

Key Largo - A traffic stop for failing to stop at a stop sign led to the apprehension of a fugitive from Georgia Sunday in the early morning hours.

Deputy Eric Thomas stopped the red Ford Crown Victoria just before 2 a.m. for running a stop sign in the vicinity of the 100 mile marker of highway U.S. One. Deputy Keith Albert responded as back up. The driver of the car, 40 year old Shannon Graham of Key Largo had no driver's license so he was cited for failure to stop and for having no license.

The passenger said he had no identification, but gave the name of Vincent Boriello. A check through computers turned up no record found. A check of the interior of the car turned up a pay stub with the name Vincenzo Salerno. The passenger then admitted that was his name. At that point, he was arrested for giving the officers a false name. Deputy Thomas began running the two names the man gave through his computer and discovered the two names were sometimes used by a wanted person by the name of Jason Halliburton, of Key Largo. Halliburton was wanted in Forsyth County, Georgia for violation of probation for forgery. The warrant said that Halliburton had two scars, one on his right shoulder and one on his right elbow. The man in custody had both. Once at the Monroe County Detention Center, his identity was further confirmed with a booking photo from Georgia. Halliburton was booked into jail and will be returned to Georgia to face the fraud charges.

Stolen auto recovered; woman arrested

Stock Island - A woman was arrested on Stock Island after a traffic stop revealed she was driving a stolen car.

The car, a rental vehicle, was stolen from the parking lot of the Dion's Quick Mart in Marathon on November 27th after the driver left it running and went into the store. On Friday night just before 10 p.m., Deputy Henry Amole stopped the car because the driver failed to dim the headlights. The driver, 31 year old Anisha Quick of Virginia, was under the influence of alcohol. Deputy Edgar Pineiro arrived on the scene to assist.

A check of the car's registration revealed it was stolen. In addition to DUI, Quick was charged with grand theft. Marijuana and pills were found in the car, so Quick was also charged with possession of marijuana and possession of a controlled substance. She was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Robbery reported on Stock Island

Stock Island - A Stock Island woman reported being robbed in her home. She says the robbers took a diamond worth over $100,000.00.

The 51 year old victim told Deputy Brian Luth she was home caring for her sick father Sunday at 2 a.m. when someone knocked on the door. She said it was a man whose voice she recognized, but she cannot remember his name. He asked her to open the door. When she did, two men wearing black masks over their faces forced their way in. She said one of them had a gun and they tackled her to the ground and held her down. One of them men pulled the diamond ring off of her finger, injuring the finger in the process. They left and she said she ran outside screaming for help. She said she saw a black pickup truck backing out of the driveway and heading toward Fourth Avenue. A neighbor told deputies she heard the victim scream, came outside and also saw the black pick up truck leaving.

Investigations are continuing.


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