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 31st, 2007

Wisconsin man dies diving

Key Largo - A Wisconsin man died while diving off shore of Key Largo today.

The 51 year old man, whose name is being withheld pending notification of his family, was out on the Gulf Stream Eagle out of the Atlantis Dive Center. It was his second dive. His first dive was on the Duane wreck, and the second on the Bibb wreck.

His dive buddy said they'd been down for about 25 minutes and were surfacing. They did a safety stop and the dive buddy said the victim left the safety stop about a minute before he did. He said he surfaced and a crew member from the boat was assisting him with removal of his equipment when they noticed the victim, face down near the surface.

The victim was pulled on board and crew members began CPR. The Coast Guard responded to a distress call and took the victim to shore, where he was pronounced dead, at approximately 12:30 p.m.

Sheriff's Homicide Detective Terry Smith has been assigned to investigate. The victim's dive gear and his body are both in the possession of the Medical Examiner's Office. The gear will be examined, and an autopsy will be done to determine the cause of the victim's death.

Maryland woman dies while diving

Key Largo - A Maryland woman scuba diving with her family off shore of Key Largo died Sunday afternoon.

According to her husband, David Clissold,  50 year old Nancy Kreiter of Bel Air, Maryland wanted to learn to dive for ten years so she, her husband and their two children traveled to the Keys to fulfill that dream. They all took scuba diving lessons together and became certified just two days prior to her death. On Sunday, they went out on board a commercial dive vessel out of John Pennekamp State Park. They were diving on the Benwood Wreck. Kreiter was diving with her son and her husband was diving with their daughter.

Witnesses told Deputy Kyle Page Kreiter and her son surfaced and swam back to the boat. She took off her fins and began climbing onto the boat. He returned to the water to continue diving. On the boat's ladder, Kreiter reportedly collapsed and stopped breathing. She was brought on board the boat and crew members began CPR. The Captain called for help from another dive boat which was nearby. He asked that boat - which was reportedly smaller and faster - to take her to shore for medical assistance while he stayed and picked up the remaining divers from both boats and returned them to shore.

Paramedics met the boat at Port Largo Homeowner's Park, on Marina Avenue. She was pronounced  dead shortly after. Homicide Detective Terry Smith was assigned to the case and took her dive gear into custody for examination. An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of her death.

December 30, 2007

Two Keys residents charged with threats with weapons

Key Largo - A Big Pine Key woman and a Cudjoe Key man are in jail today after they pulled a knife and a gun, threatening another man in an apparent case of road rage.

The incident took place just before 2 p.m. near the 107 mile marker of the highway, in Key Largo. The victim called the Sheriff's Office to report he'd been threatened with a gun and a knife. He said the suspects were currently following him on the highway in a red colored Hummer. Deputy Robert Dosh spotted the Hummer, and was about to pull it over when it stopped and the driver, 37 year old Robbie Roberts, got out. He and the other suspect, 23 year old Monica Harper, were ordered to the ground for officer safety. Meanwhile, Sgt. David Carey made contact with the victim a short distance away.

The victim told Sgt. Carey he was stopped for traffic when Roberts got out of his Hummer and walked up to his car. He said Roberts knocked on his window and told him to "quit fooling around". Roberts began walking back to his car and the victim said he got out of his vehicle. He was standing in the roadway when he saw a woman, later identified as Harper, get out of the passenger side of the Hummer with a knife in her hand which she pointed at him. Roberts then reportedly got a gun out of his car, pointed it at the victim and pulled the slide back, as if chambering a round of ammunition.

Roberts 15 year old son was in the car at the time. He told Deputy Robert Dosh he saw an altercation between his father and the victim. He also said he saw his father point the gun at him. The gun was found under the front seat of the car. Ammunition clips were in the glove compartment. The knife was found in Harper's possession. Both Roberts and Harper were arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. They were booked into jail.

Key West man arrested for firing gun

Boca Chica - A Key West man was arrested Saturday, charged with discharging a firearm while traveling in a pickup truck on the Boca Chica four lane.

The incident took place December 23rd. Deputy Evan Calhoun was parked in his patrol car at the 7.75 mile marker of the highway. He was facing southbound, with his window down when he heard what sounded like a gun shot. He saw a car about 200 yards away form him which had slowed almost to a stop. As he watched the car, he heard more gunshots and saw the interior of the car light up each time he heard a shot.

The vehicle then accelerated northbound. Deputy Calhoun called for back up then pulled the car over with his lights and siren. As Deputy Danielle Malone arrived on the scene, the two deputies removed the two men from the vehicle.

As the driver, 23 year old Russell Simmen exited his door, empty shell casings from bullets fell onto the ground, along with an empty box which had contained .45 caliber bullets. More empty shell casings were fond in the back the truck and inside the truck on the driver and passenger's sides. Live rounds were found piled in the open glove box. A handgun was found underneath the passenger seat.

Both men denied knowing anything about gunshots. Gunshot residue tests revealed residue on the hands of both men. Because Deputy Calhoun couldn't prove who had actually been shooting the gun, he let them go and turned turned the case over to detectives.

Detective Henry Hamilton was assigned to the case. The passenger consented to an interview and told the detective he'd been at a party in Key West and was getting a ride home from Simmen. He said he fell asleep and was awakened by a loud noise. He said he wasn't sure what the noise was, but Simmen put something under the passenger seat. He said he knew Simmen had a handgun because he'd shown it to him earlier.

A warrant for Simmen's arrest was obtained and on Saturday he was arrested. He was charged with discharging a firearm from a vehicle and he was booked into jail.

Checkpoint was busy in Marathon

A Sobriety checkpoint set up between Saturday night and Sunday morning in Marathon kept deputies busy.

A total of 222 vehicles were stopped and checked for safety violations, and for drivers who were impaired. Out of those, three drivers were arrested for being under the influence of alcohol. One person was arrested for having no valid driver's license; 18 received citations for various violations and one warning was issued.

Boating accident results in the airlift of one

A jet ski accident in Tavernier Creek Saturday left two people injured. One person was transported to Mariner's Hospital then airlifted by the Sheriff's Trauma Star helicopter to Ryder Trauma Center in Miami. The accident took place just after 2 p.m. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is the investigating agency. Also assisting in the incident was the United States Coast Guard, the Sheriff's Office and Monroe County Fire Rescue. Call FWC for details, please.

December 29, 2007

Fight leads to arrest of teen

Big Pine Key - A fight between two teenaged boys led to the arrest of one for aggravated battery.

The fight took place December 3rd on Bigonia Drive at 6 p.m. The victim was playing with friends when the suspect, 14 year old Craig Veitinger approached him. The two got into a fight. The victim's mother said she heard people yelling and got into her car to see what was happening. When she arrived, she saw a group of boys scattering and saw her son walking toward her with what she described as a "blister" around his eye.

She called paramedics who transported the victim to Lower Keys Hospital. The boy reportedly was referred to an eye specialist who said he might lose some sight in his eye as a result of the injury.

The victim told Detective Henry DelValle the two of them had a verbal disagreement about a week before, and that Veitinger told him he was going to beat him up.

After interviewing all the witnesses, Detective DelValle got a warrant for Veitinger's arrest. He was picked up Friday and was booked at the Monroe County Detention Center on charges of Aggravated Battery.

December 28, 2007

Search warrant leads to drug arrest

Sheriff's detectives from the Special Investigations Division arrested a Key Largo man after serving a search warrant at his residence Thursday.

The warrant was served at 6 p.m. at #4 Avenue C in Key Largo. The suspect, 27 year old Hal Pickering, was home at the time. Inside the residence, detectives found a pound of marijuana and 20 grams of cocaine in the master bedroom. They also found 70 grams of cocaine in a dresser drawer in a bedroom belonging to Pickering's four year old son. Pickering has two children who normally reside with him. The children were not at home at the time the warrant was served.

Pickering was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell and trafficking in cocaine. He was also charged with two outstanding arrest warrants for sale and trafficking in cocaine. He was booked into jail. His wallet contained $1,129 in cash which was seized for possible forfeiture.

Islamorada woman arrested for stabbing boyfriend

Islamorada - An Islamorada woman is in jail charged with stabbing her boyfriend in the chest with a steak knife.

Deputies responded to a stabbing call at Cheeca Lodge employee housing at 8:45 p.m. When they arrived, they found 37 year old Antoinette Walters holding a towel to the victim's wound. Ulric Bodie of Florida City (age not available) was bleeding profusely from a cut on his upper left chest. He was transported by ambulance to Mariner's Hospital and subsequently flown to Ryder Trauma Center by the Sheriff's Trauma Star helicopter. As of Thursday night he was listed in critical condition.

When Walters was interviewed by Deputy David Minor, she admitted to stabbing him with a steak knife, which was found at the scene. She said she'd invited him for dinner. She said he began going through her things, and was tearing pages out of a notebook she had in the room. A confrontation began. She said he poked her in the head with his finger, then hit her and knocked her against the wall. She said she grabbed the knife and stabbed him.

As he was being transported by ambulance, the victim told paramedics he fell on the knife.

Walters was arrested and charged with aggravated battery. She was booked into jail.

December 18, 2007

Two charged with breaking into home, attacking man

Plantation Key – Two men are in jail, charged with breaking in to a Plantation Key home and attacking the man who lives there.

The attack took place just before 11 p.m. Monday at a home on Apache Street. 18 year old Daniel Lombardo and 22 year old Jeffrey Campbell threw a lobster trap through the front door of the house, kicked the remainder of the door in and rushed inside. The attacked the victim, hitting him, kicking him and breaking things over his head. Also present during the attack was Lombardo’s mother, who said she’d been watching television with the victim when her son and his friend broke in.

Neighbors also saw and heard the attack. They said they saw the two men drag the victim out onto a second floor balcony and try to throw him over the railing. The neighbors shouted that they were calling the police, and Lombardo and Campbell fled in a dark colored pickup truck.

Responding deputies spotted the truck and stopped it as it pulled up to Lombardo’s residence on Iroquois Street. Lombardo was driving and he jumped out of the truck as the deputies approached. He initially refused to follow the officer’s orders, but eventually complied when they threatened to use a Taser on him. He was handcuffed and placed into a patrol vehicle. Campbell was also taken into custody. Both men had copious amounts of blood on their clothing, arms and hands. They also both smelled strongly of alcohol.

The victim was transported to Mariner’s Hospital for treatment of his extensive injuries. He suffered facial damage, and head injuries. All of the witnesses identified Lombardo and Campbell as the attackers. Both were charged with aggravated battery, burglary with battery on the occupant and criminal mischief. They were booked into jail.

December 17, 2007

Two charged with conspiring to bring drugs into the jail

Stock Island - Attendees at the Sheriff's Office Animal Farm Christmas celebration may not have been aware of it, but an undercover drug bust took place during the festivities.

Jail officials became aware of a plan for the sister of an inmate to smuggle him drugs using the Animal Farm Christmas event as a cover. 33 year old Julio Machado told his sister, 39 year old Natividad Machado, to bring Seroquel, to the event Sunday and hide it in the port-a-let at the farm. According to WebMD's web site, Seroquel is an anti-psycotic drug used to treat mental and mood disorders. Julio Machado has been in jail since July, charged with violation of probation and failure to appear in court.

Undercover officers were on hand as she entered the farm with her daughter. The watched her enter the port-a-let and, when she left it, they searched and found eight tablets in a piece of a plastic glove. They allowed her to leave the event in her car and she was stopped a short distance away by Deputy Tom Walker. She was arrested and charged with possession of contraband on the grounds of a Corrections facility and possession of the drug with intent to deliver. She was booked into jail. Machado was moved to the jail's high security unit and was charged with conspiracy to introduce contraband into a Corrections facility.

December 14, 2007

Two charged with burglarizing vehicles on Sugarloaf

Sugarloaf Key - Two teens have been arrested, charged with at least four counts of burglary and theft.

Sugarloaf Key - Thursday morning, Sheriff's dispatchers received three reports of vehicle burglaries on Alamanda Drive and LaBrisa Lane on Sugarloaf Key. Deputies took reports from the victims, who said someone had gone through their vehicles and taken cash, credit cards and electronic equipment sometime between Wednesday night and Thursday. A bicycle was also taken from in front of one of the victim's houses.

Deputy David Chavka was on patrol and responded to two of the burglaries. Shortly after taking the reports, he went to the area of the Sugarloaf Lodge. While there, he spotted the two teens on bicycles near the bus stop. He approached and noticed one of the bikes matched the description of the one stolen. Subsequent investigation revealed the teens had some of the items stolen from the cars.

17 year old Detrick Rainge of Sugarloaf Key and 18 year old Jack Young of Key West admitted to committing the crimes. Young also admitted to using one of the stolen cards to charge over $300 worth of purchases on the internet. In fact, Rainge told Deputy Chavka he and Young committed as many as 10 car burglaries overnight, before being caught. Both teens were booked on multiple counts of burglary and theft. Young was additionally charged with fraud.

December 13, 2007

Deputy killed in  traffic accident

Marathon – Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputy Robin Tanner was killed this morning in a single vehicle automobile accident as she was responding, on duty, to a medical call.

Deputy Tanner was assigned to the Marathon area as a patrol officer. She was 47 years old at the time of her death.

She first came to work for the Sheriff’s Office in January of 1987 as a Records Clerk. She attended the Law Enforcement Academy at Florida Keys Community College’s Institute of Criminal Justice in 1988 and shortly thereafter became a patrol officer. She worked in the lower Keys until she resigned in June of 1991. She returned to work for the Sheriff’s Office in June of 2004 and has worked in the middle Keys as a patrol officer since then.

At 7 a.m., Deputy Tanner was responding to a report of a woman not breathing in the vicinity of 119th Street. The single vehicle accident took place near 90th Street. She was rushed to Fisherman’s Hospital where she was declared deceased a short time later.

“We will miss Robin. Her death is truly a tragedy,” said Sheriff Rick Roth. “She was a member of our law enforcement family and we are all feeling her loss,” he said.

Please contact the Florida Highway Patrol for details of the accident. A photo of Deputy Tanner is attached.

Link to photos of the accident

Link to information about funeral arrangements, and about other officers killed in Monroe County

December 11, 2007

Spools of copper wire stolen

Monroe County - Detectives are investigating the theft of a total of 29 spools of copper wire worth more than $4,300.00.

Three 200 pound rolls of the wire was reported stolen between the 8th and the 10th from Bay Ridge Road in Ocean Reef. The rest of the rolls of copper wire were stolen from two separate locations at the Key West Airport. Florida Keys Electric reported two 2500 pound spools, 15 250 pound spools and 150 feet of lighting protection wire stolen from their job site at the new airport terminal. The owner of the Conch Flyer Restaurant reported 8 spools of wire taken from his job site at the terminal. Both of those thefts were reported early Monday.

Anyone with information about these cases should contact the Sheriff’s Office or call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and may receive a reward if their information leads to an arrest. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

December 10, 2007

Miami men in custody for attempted murder

Islamorada - Two Miami men are in custody, charged with attempted murder. One is accused of stabbing a man; the other one of helping him commit the stabbing.

Deputies responded to the Coconut Cove Resort at 6 p.m. Sunday to reports of a stabbing. The victim, a 23 year old Islamorada man who works for a jet ski rental company, was not on the scene. He was being driven to Mariner's Hospital by the owner of the company he works for. He was later airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center or treatment of a stab would in the middle of his chest. Doctors at Mariner's Hospital said the knife which caused the wound missed hitting his heart by an inch.

According to witnesses, a group of people from Miami who were staying at Coconut Cove Resort rented jet skis that day from Islamorada Water Sports. When they returned them, one of them reportedly had extensive damage. When they refused to pay for the damage to the jet ski, rental company employees called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to complete an accident report. Officers from FWC did a report, but informed the rental company that the incident was civil in nature and would have to be worked out civilly.

Three employees of the rental company, along with the owner, went to Coconut Cove Resort to try to resolve the issue with the renters. After an initial discussion, the owner and one of the employees left to assess the damage so they could give the renters an estimate of what they owed. While they was gone, the two other employees stayed by the room They continued to talk with the group and, during the ongoing discussion, two of the Miami men retrieved knives from their hotel room. One man, 39 year old Michel Martin Zuaznabar, swung his knife at the 23 year old victim. He jumped back and was not injured by Zuaznabar. Just minutes later, though, 39 year old Hiram Ulloa Opisso lunged at the victim, stabbing him in the middle of his chest.

The victim and the other employee then ran from the area. The Sheriff's Office was called and the owner of the rental company drove the victim to the hospital.

When deputies arrived, the two suspects were still on the scene. Both men were arrested. Opisso was charged with attempted murder; Zuanznabar was charged with being a principal in the first degree to attempted murder and with aggravated assault. They were both booked into the Monroe County jail.

Bank Robber arrested in Puerto Rico

The man accused of robbing TIB Bank in Tavernier was picked up late last week in Puerto Rico.

According to Sheriff's detectives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) took 53 year old Kenneth Franciose into custody and he will be returned to Monroe County to face the charges. He is charged with robbing the bank on August 21st of this year.

December 9, 2007

Accident on Card Sound Road

Key Largo – Card Sound Road was briefly closed tonight (Sunday) due to a single vehicle accident.

One person was airlifted from the scene, which was just north of the Card Sound Bridge. A motorcycle reportedly hit a guard rail, ejecting the rider who was injured and was the one person airlifted. The road was closed between 6:36 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Florida Highway Patrol is the investigating agency.

Islamorada man in jail for cutting another man

Islamorada – An Islamorada man is in jail charged with cutting another man with a knife during a fight.

On Saturday, just after noon, Detective Don Dalton was called to the Sea Breeze Trailer Park to investigate a report of a fight where a man was cut with a box cutter type knife. After interviewing several people, he arrested 53 year old Gary Manning, charging him with aggravated battery.

According to the victim and a witness who was present, the two of them and Manning  were playing a video golf game when an argument erupted during which the victim hit Manning in the leg, knocking him down. Manning then left and went to his trailer. He returned with a small box knife and told the victim if he ever hit him in the “bad leg” again, he would “gut him like a pig”.

The victim told Manning to leave, then pushed him several times. At one point, both men fell. A struggle ensued and Manning cut the victim on the side with the knife. Manning then left and, when he reached his trailer, he attempted to throw the knife into the water. The knife was later retrieved from the mud near the shore.

The victim was treated for his injury at Mariner’s Hospital. Manning was arrested and booked into the Monroe County Jail.

Big Pine men charged with stolen vessel

Big Pine Key – Two men were arrested after they were found at a boat ramp on board a stolen boat.

The two men were on boar a large go fast boat at a boat ramp on Big Pine Key. The boat was grounded, half in and half out of the water when Sgt. Andrew Ensminger arrived. When he asked 33 year old Javier Herrera of Big Pine Key for documentation for the boat, he produced a laminated card. The information on the card did not match a decal on the side of the boat so Sgt. Ensminger called for assistance from Border Patrol and Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

When the officers began checking hull identification numbers and other identifying factors on the boat, they noticed more inconsistencies. The boat, which turned out to be a Sea Hunter, had been disguised with false markings as a Yellowfin. A check on the twin 250 hp Suzuki engines revealed they had been sold with a Sea Hunter. Hull Identification Numbers were in the wrong place and the boat’s decal, when checked, came back to a Sea Hunter vessel. The Sea Hunter which was sold with the engines and which belonged to the decal number, had been reported stolen from Miami in October.

Both men, Herrara and 29 year old Alex Ortega of Middleburg, Florida were arrested. They were charged with counterfeiting a hull Identification plate, fraud – concealing a vessels identification, and theft. They were both booked into jail.

December 5, 2007

Islamorada man caught breaking in to a car

Islamorada - An Islamorada man is in jail today after he was caught breaking in to a car on Tampa Drive this morning.

When the son of the victim walked outside at 6 a.m. to check the weather, he found 20 year old John Layton in the process of burglarizing his mother's vehicle. He detained Layton until Sgt. Roy Bogue arrived. In his pocket, deputies found cash, a cell phone and four blue pills identified as Xanax. Layton has no legal prescription for the pills and said he stole them from his mother.

Layton was charged with burglary of the vehicle and he was booked into jail.

December 3, 2007

Father and son charged with aggravated battery

Big Pine Key - A father and son were both arrested Saturday, charged with hitting their tenants with a hammer when they were too slow to pay rent.

Deputy Freddy Rodriguez was called to Mac's Court at 11 a.m. on Saturday to a report of a fight in progress between a landlord and a tenant. When he arrived, he found two people bleeding from head wounds. The victims said their landlord, 52 year old Larry Shatzer and his son, 21 year old Andrew Shatzer, had come to their house several times that morning to collect rent. On this occasion, they were getting cash together to pay Shatzer and were writing out a receipt for the money when both Shatzers burst into the house, agitated.

The victim's tried to assure the Shatzers the rent would be paid, but the son attacked one of the victims, knocking him to the ground. The father, who had a hammer in his hand, then began to swing the hammer at the victim hitting him several times in the head. He then hit the second victim on the head with the hammer also, causing a laceration on the top of her head.

Both victims were taken to the hospital for treatment of their injuries. The Shatzers, who are from Winter Garden, Florida, were both taken to jail, charged with two counts each of aggravated battery.

After fighting with another man, arrestee threatens officers family

Summerland Key - A Summerland Key man was arrested Saturday after he hit one of his roommates several times in the head. On his way to jail he threatened a deputies family, so he was further charged with that crime.

At 6:45 p.m., Deputy David Brummer responded to a house on Shore Drive. When he arrived, the victim told him that 48 year old Paul Burns had hit him in the head numerous times for no reason. He said Burns left the residence to buy cigarettes. When he returned, he was reportedly intoxicated. According the victim, he walked up to him and hit him in the head. When the victim asked why, Burns reportedly told him, "Because I don't like you."

The victim's step father was there and intervened in the altercation. When Burns tried to attack the victim again, the step father called the Sheriff's Office.

Burns was placed under arrest for battery. When Deputy Brummer asked him for his name, he gave false information so he was also charged with giving false information to a law enforcement officer. On the way to jail, Burns told Deputy Brummer when he got out of jail he would kill him and rape his children. Once at the jail, he threatened corrections officers, then fought with them. He had to be subdued with pepper spray and, even after the use of the pepper spray he continued to fight with them. He was further charged with three counts each of assault and battery on law enforcement officers.

Boater found off upper Keys may have drowned

An autopsy on the body of a boater found floating offshore of Key Largo shows the possibility that he died from drowning.

The Medical Examiner’s Office says 48 year old Rafael Hernandez appears to have died of saltwater drowning, although those results are preliminary and are pending the results of toxicology tests. According to Homicide Detective Terry Smith, there were no other signs of trauma in evidence on the body when it was examined.

Detectives still don’t know what happened to Hernandez. He was last seen near midnight November 24th by friends. He was in his boat, a 16 foot open fisherman with a 75 HP outboard engine, after dropping off a friend off near her residence in Key Largo. She said she thinks he was enroute back to where he’d launched the boat, at Sexton Cove Homeowner’s boat ramp. His vehicle and trailer were found still parked at the boat ramp.

On Friday, at 5:30 p.m., a boater found Hernandez’ body floating in Blackwater Sound, offshore of Key Largo. Clothing, jewelry and other identifying features helped detectives to identify Hernandez.  His boat has still not been located.

December 1, 2007

Two accidents sent at least three people to hospitals overnight.

Note: Please contact the Florida Highway Patrol for further details of these accidents.

At 7:36 p.m., a motorcycle and truck collided near 38th Street in Marathon. The motorcycle driver was severely injured and was airlifted to Miami by the Sheriff’s Trauma Star helicopter.

Just minutes later, at 7:48 p.m., two vehicles collided at the 89 mile marker of the highway in Islamorada. Northbound lanes of the highway were blocked for almost an hour and traffic was diverted onto the old highway. Two people were transported to Mariner’s Hospital.

Man flees police in stolen car

A Bartow, Florida man was arrested in the early morning hours today, charged with fleeing from police in a stolen jeep.

Deputy Tony Conde was on patrol just after midnight when dispatchers told him someone had just reported a hit and run near Bahama Avenue and Caribbean Drive. The caller reported seeing a jeep hit a dead end sign, then leave the scene. Minutes later, Deputy Conde spotted the jeep near Laguna Avenue and U.S. One. He turned on his lights and siren, but the jeep refused to stop. Instead, the driver headed northbound, then cut through a parking lot and onto Ocean Drive. At the end of Ocean Drive, the vehicle hit a palm tree, finally coming to a stop.

A check on the vehicle revealed it had been stolen a short time before from Coconuts Lounge. The driver, 21 year old James Hatfield of Bartow, Florida was arrested. He was charged with fleeing and eluding police, grand theft auto, leaving the scene of an accident and careless driving. He was booked into jail.

Miami man charged with burglary to boat

Tavernier – A Miami man was caught attempting to steal a boat from a home in Tavernier Friday evening, thanks to alert neighbors.

On November 26th, neighbors in the area of Bristol Court in Tavernier called the Sheriff’s Office to report seeing two men tampering with davits holding a 36 foot vessel with triple mercury outboard motors on it, behind a home on Bristol Court. The witnesses said the men drove away in a blue Toyota Tacoma pickup truck. Patrol officers failed to find the truck, but told the neighbors to call if they saw anything similar in the future. That same night a 39 foot vessel was stolen from a home less than a mile away. In past months approximately ten similar vessels have been stolen in the upper keys. Most of them had multiple high powered engines on them.

On Friday at 6 p.m., the same witnesses called to say the truck had returned, this time with one man who had climbed on the boat and was doing something to the center console. When Deputy Edgar Piniero arrived in the area he saw the blue truck speed past him toward the highway. Deputy Robert Dosh was also en route, and he stopped the truck on the highway. The driver, 51 year old Roberto Cabrera-Martin of Miami claimed he was looking at the house because it was for rent. He admitted to being at the same house several days earlier. In his truck, deputies found a brochure for Yamaha outboard engines. Tucked in the brochure was a photo of the boat with directions to the house written in Spanish.

Cabrera-Martin was charged with burglary of the boat after the witnesses identified him as the man they saw in the boat minutes earlier. Deputies investigating the case believe he was attempting to steal the vessel. He was booked into jail.

Detectives make drug arrest

Marathon – A Homestead man was arrested Thursday charged with cocaine possession.

Detectives with the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Division received information that 44 year old John Davis was dealing cocaine. An undercover operative made contact with Davis, arranging to purchase some of the illegal substance from him. Davis agreed to meet with him in a parking lot in Marathon. The operative got into Davis’ car and the car left the parking lot with Davis driving. Davis has a suspended driver’s license, so a traffic stop was conducted on the car. As Deputy Ken Fricke conducted the stop, Davis threw something out of the car’s window. The thing he tried to discard turned out to be a plastic bag with 7.5 grams of crack cocaine and 2 grams of powdered cocaine inside. A search of Davis’ car turned up another plastic bag containing 11 grams of crack cocaine.

Davis was arrested and charged with driving with his license suspended and possession of cocaine. He was booked into jail.


 Labelled with ICRA