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

April 28, 2006

Marathon man charged with fleeing from deputies

Key Largo - A Marathon man was charged with fleeing from deputies in the early morning hours Friday.

Deputy Gustavo Helago was monitoring southbound traffic at 2 a.m at the 107 mile marker when he spotted a small Chevy with it's tag light out. He pulled out and put on his lights and siren to pull the car over. The car turned left into a nearby convenience store and stopped momentarily, then took off, crossing the median back into the southbound lanes and speeding up. The deputy followed, still attempting to pull the car over, and he radioed for assistance.

More deputies arrived and followed the car, which was traveling at about 70 miles per hour southbound. At the 101 mile marker, the car did a U-turn into the northbound lanes, then turned right onto Hibiscus Lane. It pulled into a vacant lot and the driver, later identified as 43 year old Timothy Holmes, fled on foot, hiding behind a nearby trailer.

Deputies found him and placed him under arrest. They found a small amount of marijuana and a pipe used to smoke crack cocaine in his possession. He said he fled because he had been smoking crack for three days and because he is on probation. He was charged with fleeing and eluding police, driving with a suspended license, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia; he also received citations for speeding and for driving a vehicle in unsafe condition.

He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Stock Island man charged with stealing motor bikes, fleeing police and threatening witness

Key West - A Stock Island man was apprehended in a Key West motel Thursday and charged with stealing motor bikes, fleeing from deputies in a paddle boat, and threatening a witness.

20 year old Javier Felix Gonzalez is in the Monroe County Detention Center charged with a long list of crimes. He is accused of stealing motor bikes from Big Coppitt Key. One was reported stolen on April 21st, and the other on the 23rd.

The owner of one of the bikes saw it at a residence on 10th Avenue, Stock Island. Deputies responded and found both of the stolen bikes parked under the house.They questioned the person who lives there, Bryan Huerto. He told them Gonzalez left the bikes at his house. The deputies then went looking for Gonzalez.

They were given information that Gonzalez was at a home on Sapphire Drive, Big Coppitt Key. When they went to that location, Gonzalez fled from the home and jumped into a paddle boat, fleeing down the canal. He refused to stop when ordered to, and eventually escaped apprehension by swimming away and hiding in a mangrove area.

On April 25th, while detectives were obtaining warrants for his arrest, Gonzalez went to the 10th Avenue residence and got into a confrontation with Huerto. He hit him in the face, and threatened to kill him for telling the Sheriff's Office about the motor bikes. Huerto fled in a vehicle, and called the Sheriff's Office to report the threats.

On April 27th, after obtaining warrants for his arrest, Detectives got information he was staying at the Blue Lagoon Motel in Key West. They found him in a room at that location and placed him under arrest for grand theft, resisting arrest, fleeing and eluding police, tampering with a witness and battery. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

April 24, 2006

Elderly man beaten for eleven dollars

Key Largo - An elderly man was airlifted to a Miami hospital Friday night after he was beaten and robbed. A Key Largo man is in custody for the crime.

Deputy Nick Pham was on his way to work in his patrol car Friday at 6 p.m. when he saw a man in the median of the road near the 106 mile marker of the highway. He was lying on the ground, trying to get up. Deputy Pham stopped to help him and discovered he was extremely intoxicated. Further investigation revealed that 43 year old Terrence Eisel had taken a number of Xanax pills. He had 37 more in his possession, so he was booked into the Monroe County Jail for possession of a controlled substance.

A short time later, deputies and detectives responded to the Subway restaurant to reports of an elderly male severely injured. When they arrived, they found Jose Perez lying on the ground. It appeared he'd been beaten with a beer bottle - there were pieces of glass imbedded in his ear and part of his ear was missing- and with a cane. He had severe head injuries and was airlifted to the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. Detectives say they know very little about Perez because he had no identification or other personal information when they found him and he's been unable to communicate much information since then.

He was able to tell officers he'd been hit and robbed at a nearby gas station. When Detective Mike Wilkinson went to the gas station, the clerk told him she'd seen Perez in the store earlier. She said Eisel was there and talked Perez into buying a six pack of Budweiser in bottles. She said the two men then left the store together. She said a while later, Eisel came running back to the store, in a panic. She said he had blood on him and asked her to help him wash it off, which she did. She said he also wanted her to help wash off some money he had, and she did.

A search of the area around the gas station revealed the apparent scene of the crime. Deputies found several broken beer bottles and a wooden cane broken in three places with blood on it.

Detective Wilkinson went to the Detention Center and confronted Eisel. Eisel admitted to "getting into a fight with his friend." His description of his "friend" fit that of Perez. When he was booked, Eisel had possession of $11.00 in currency, which was wet. At the jail Eisel also asked detention deputies where his cane was. Eisel was further charged with aggravated battery and robbery.

Head and partial spine found

Islamorada - Fishermen visiting the Keys recovered a human head and part of a spine in the waters off of Islamorada Sunday afternoon.

Three men fishing off shore saw something floating in the water near Alligator Reef. When they motored closer, they discovered it was a human head with a small portion of the spine still attached. They brought it onto their boat, then notified the U.S. Coast Guard. Sheriff's Marine Deputy Nelson Sanchez was dispatched to the area and took custody of the partial remains. He took them to shore and handed them over to the Monroe County Medical Examiner's Office.

The body could not be readily identified, and there was no obvious sign of the cause of death. There are no missing persons reported in the area, but detectives say they have issued a bulletin to adjacent law enforcement agencies about the remains in case they have any such reports. Detectives and the Medical Examiner's Office will be investigating further.

April 20, 2006

Men charged with burglarizing bar

Key Largo - Two men have been arrested on outstanding warrants for burglary. They are accused of entering Coconut's Bar in Key Largo April 11th and attempting to steal a large amount of alcohol.

The burglary was interrupted by the bar's security guard who was patrolling the area at 4:45 a.m. when he heard bottles clinking together in the bar. He went in to investigate and saw two men fleeing. He called the Sheriff's Office and Deputies Keith Albert, Edward Askins and Sgt. Eric Mixon arrived. In the bar, they found a locked liquor cabinet had been broken into. They also found two backpacks containing 16 bottles of liquor, apparently dropped by the suspects. Inside one backpack, they found a Northwest Airline's boarding pass in the name of 20 year old Jeremy Lincoln. There was also a name tag from John Pennekamp State Park with the same name on it. The suspects also left two bicycles behind.

Further investigation led Detective Mike Wilkinson to the state park, where he spoke with the park concession manager. He said someone named Jeremy used to work for the park. He couldn't find employment paperwork on Jeremy, but gave the detective the address for Jeremy's best friend and roommate, 21 year old Brian Gallagher.

Detective Wilkinson went to the residence on Tarpon Basin Drive in Key largo. Both Lincoln and Gallagher were there. He confronted them with the evidence he had showing Lincoln had been there during the burglary. Both men then admitted to breaking in to the bar. they said they wanted to steal the alcohol so they could "have parties".

Warrants were issued for the two men and on Wednesday, they were arrested and booked into the Monroe County Detention Center on charges of Burglary, Grand Theft and Criminal Mischief

April 19, 2006

Citizen report leads to auto theft arrest

Deputies, acting on information from a citizen, arrested an Alabama man for stealing a van from Alamo Rent a Car in Key West.

Sgt. David Carey responded to the Circle K store in Tavernier where he met with a witness who said a man had just told him he'd stolen a van in Key West. The witness was able to give Sgt. Carey a detailed description of both the man and the van.

A short time later, Deputy Gustavo Helago spotted the van at the Circle K store at the 102 mile marker. He stopped to investigate. He discovered the suspected auto thief inside the store and detained him. 46 year old Percy Hall admitted to taking the vehicle from the parking lot of Alamo Rent a Car in Key West. He said he was going to use it to go home to Alabama.

Deputy Helago called the manager of the Key West rental car company and he said he didn't even realize the car was missing. Hall was charged with Grant theft auto and he was taken to jail.

April 10, 2006

Man stabbed on Stock Island

Stock Island - One man was stabbed and another was hit with an unknown object in a confrontation at the Morgan Shrimp Docks on Stock Island Saturday night.

Just after 10 p.m., Deputy Kristina Parisi responded to the Shrimp Docks to reports of a stabbing. The 55 year old male victim was still on the scene. He had minor stab wounds to his left arm and his back. He was transported to Lower Keys Hospital for treatment of his injuries. Several other men were there with him when it happened. They told the deputy the victim got into a confrontation with two men they only know as "Pancho" and "David". During the confrontation the victim was stabbed and when a second member of their group tried to come to his defense, he was hit with an unknown blunt object.

Detective Rick Martin will be investigating.

Business burglaries in Marathon

Marathon - Three businesses in a strip mall, adjacent to one another, were all burglarized overnight on Friday.

Employees arrived to work at Island Girl Hair Salon Saturday monring to find a large hole in the wall of the business adjoining a Chiropractor's Office. Cash was missing from the salon, and, upon further investigation, cash had also been taken from the Chiropractor's office. A hole in the other side of the Chiropractor's office led to the office's of Suburban Propane. Cash and a small safe were taken from that office.

Detective Rick Martin is investigating the case. Anyone with information about this case should call the Sheriff's Office. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If the information leads to an arrest in the case, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.


April 7, 2006

Teens charged with burglary, possession of alcohol

Marathon - Two Marathon boys were arrested overnight, charged with entering an unoccupied home and drinking beer inside.

Deputies Ken Fricke, Gregg Johnson and Ken Lantigua responded to 24th Street just before midnight Thursday after the caretaker of the residence called to say there were people inside who didn't belong there. They found two 17 year old boys sitting at a table inside drinking beer. The boys were taken into custody after they admitted to entering the home through an unlocked sliding glass door.

Mason Ellis and Michael Vandelinder were charged with burglary. The deputies asked where they got the beer and at first, they said a guy bought it for them at the store. Later, they both said Vandelinder's mother bought the beer for them. They were additionally charged with possession of alcohol by a minor. Vandelinder also admitted to the deputies that he had marijuana in his car, parked outside. Ten grams were recovered from a hiding place under the gear shift cover of the car and he was charged with possession of marijuana.

The deputies confronted Vandelinder's mother, Christine Thompson. She denied buying the alcohol for the boys. The investigation into these allegations is continuing with the possibility of a warrant being issued in the future.

Traffic stop leads to drug arrest

Big Pine Key - A Sarasota man, stopped for running a red light, had no valid driver's license and a number of illegal substances in his car Thursday night.

Deputy Brian Luth was on patrol at 9 p.m. when he saw a silver Pontiac van run the red light at highway U.S. One and Key Deer Boulevard. When he pulled the car over, the driver, 45 year old Dan Grinderslev, admitted that his license was suspended. He was arrested for driving with a suspended license.

His car was inventoried prior to it being towed. Inside, Deputy Luth found a small silver container with marijuana inside. He also found a pill bottle with hydrocodone and methadone inside. Grinderslev was charged with possession of marijuana and two counts of possession of a controlled substance and he was taken to jail.

Stolen items recovered during search warrant

Stock Island - Stolen property, recovered when detectives served a search warrant Wednesday, led to charges against a Stock Island man for possessing and dealing in stolen property.

During a search warrant served Wednesday afternoon at D-15 Tenth Avenue on Stock Island, detectives found marine equipment at the home which matched the description of property reported stolen Tuesday morning from boats at Powell Custom Fiberglass on Stock Island. According to investigating Detective Henry Hamilton, the property was stolen from three separate vessels and included GPS units, marine radios and stereo equipment. 32 year old Jorge Garmas, arrested during the search warrant on drug charges, admitted to detectives that he bought the items from a friend he refused to identify. He said he knew the items were stolen.

Garmas, who is still in jail, was further charged with three counts each possession and dealing in stolen property.

April 6, 2006

Four people charged after cocaine found in Stock Island residence

Stock Island - Four Stock Island residents were arrested Wednesday evening after a search warrant was served at D-15 Tenth Avenue. The warrant was obtained after an investigation of illegal activity at the residence and with the assistance of a number of Crime Stoppers Tips.

Detectives from the Sheriff's Special Investigations Division served the warrant at the home of 30 year old Gina Hernandez at 4:45 p.m. Hernandez was there, along with three other people. In the house, the search turned up seven crack cocaine "cookies" weighing a total of 106 grams with an approximate street value of $10,000.00; two plastic bags of powdered cocaine in two separate bedrooms; marijuana, Xanax and a number of miscellaneous unidentified pills, along with multiple items of drug paraphernalia and several substances commonly mixed with cocaine prior to it's sale on the street.

28 year old Christine Kozak, who also lives at the residence, was found to have powdered cocaine in her pocket and hydrocodone in a baby sock in her purse. Her year old child was also in the residence and was handed over to the Department of Children and Family Services after her arrest. 32 year old Jorge Garmas and 18 year old Yarian Hernandez were also staying at the home and some of the illegal items found were in bedrooms used by them.

All four people were arrested. Gina Hernandez was charged with possession and trafficking in cocaine, and possession of paraphernalia; Kozak was charged with possessing cocaine, possession of a controlled substance and possession of paraphernalia; Yarian Hernandez was charged with possession of cocaine and Garmas was charged with possession of a controlled substance and with paraphernalia. They were all booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

April 4, 2006

Reckless driver call turns into grand theft

Summerland Key - Two vehicles chasing each other on the Niles Channel Bridge turned into something more complicated when the driver of one vehicle called Sheriff's dispatchers to report the people in the other vehicle had stolen his money.

Dispatchers first received reports of two sport utility vehicles chasing each other near the 26 mile marker of highway U.S. One at 4:20 p.m. Monday. Then, the driver of one of the vehicles - a Chevrolet Suburban - called to say he was chasing the other vehicle - a Ford Explorer - because the two people inside had stolen money out of his safe at his house on Big Pine Key.

Detective Paul Schultz was in the vicinity and was able to get behind the Ford Explorer, which he pulled over using his lights and siren. The Suburban pulled over as well. Deputy Charles Bon arrived as a back up officer.

The victim said 29 year old William Stokes of Big Pine Key brought 25 year old Kari Clayton of Key West to his house. He said they were all outside feeding the fish in the canal when Clayton excused herself and went inside. She came back out a short time later and told Stokes they "had to leave". The to then quickly got into their Ford Explorer and drove away. The victim went inside and noticed his safe was open and his cash was missing. He jumped into his Suburban and pursued them to try to get his money back.

Detective Schultz found a large amount of cash in the possession of Clayton. He found a small amount of cocaine in the possession of Stokes. Both Stokes and Clayton were arrested and charged with grand theft. Stokes was additionally charged with possessing the cocaine and they were taken to jail.

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