Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Daily Crime and Information Report

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

Click here to read press releases on other Sheriff's Office events and occurrences


December 31, 2010

Key West man charged with sexually molesting young girl

Key West – Detectives with the Sheriff’s Crimes Against Women and Children’s Unit have arrested a Key West man, charging him with sexually molesting a young girl.

The girl told Detective Sgt. Linda Mixon she was between the ages of 8 and 9 when the alleged abuse took place. She is now 15 years old. She said she stayed at 64 year old Florentino Cubria’s house on South Street in Key West and that is where the incidents took place.

She said the abuse took place on numerous occasions. Her mother told detectives the girl’s behavior had recently changed, and when she asked the victim about it, the girl told her Cubria had sexually molested her.

Cubria was arrested today (Friday) and charged with two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation of a child under 12. He was booked into jail. His bond is set at $1,000,000.00.

December 30, 2010

Marathon man charged with battering sister, trying to steal her car

Marathon – A Marathon man fled from deputies after he battered his sister and tried to steal her car Wednesday night.

The victim told deputies she had taken her brother, 21 year old Tommy Alo, out to dinner and was driving home at about 8 p.m. when they began to argue. She pulled over and told him to get out of the car, but he refused. She said she drove to her mother’s house on Manor Lane and got out of the car. Her brother reportedly stayed in the car. While she was talking with her mother he tried to drive away. She said she opened the car door to try to stop him and he shoved her. She said they both fell to the ground and he continued to try to attack her until her mother intervened.

When officers arrived, Alo had fled the scene on foot. While Deputy Chuck Kellenberger was interviewing the victim, he saw Alo a distance away, running away. Sgt. Joel Slough and Deputy Christian Galls were on the scene and began to chase him. He refused to listen to orders to stop, and swam across a canal twice to escape officers. He was finally apprehended. He fought with officers and was pepper sprayed, then taken into custody.

Alo was charged with battery, carjacking and resisting arrest. He was booked into jail.

December 26, 2010

Man kills friend in dispute over woman

Stock Island – One homeless man is dead and another is in jail for killing him. The motive: an dispute over a woman.

According to reports by deputies and detectives, 47 year old William Millstead killed 49 year old Clay Ratcliff Saturday by hitting him in the head with a hammer repeatedly. Millstead was angry because he found out Ratcliff and 26 year old Nina Pintowski were having sexual relations. Millstead said he thought he and Pintowski were in a relationship, and he was upset that his “best friend” Ratcliff had betrayed him.

The incident took place at 6:30 p.m. at a camp set up by the two men on a piece of property commonly called “Enchanted Isle”, just off Highway U.S. One near the entrance to Key Haven. When Deputies Martin Harbin and John Gabay arrived, Pintowski was in the median strip of the highway, flagging them down. After she told them what happened, Sheriff’s Sgt. Charlene Sprinkle-Huff called for assistance from Key West Police, who responded to the scene as well.

Paramedics arrived and declared Ratcliff dead at the scene. Ratcliff had multiple head wounds. Officers from KWPD located Millstead a short distance away and took him in to custody. He was charged with first degree murder and he was booked into jail. The hammer he allegedly used to kill Ratcliff was located in some bushes, where Millstead told detectives he’d thrown it.

Detective Sgt. Linda Mixon and Detective Kim Trullender responded to investigate, and Detective John Underwood responded to process the crime scene.

December 23, 2010

Security Guard charged with burglary

Stock Island – A man who worked as a Security Guard at a Stock Island marina has been arrested for burglarizing a business he was supposed to be guarding.

The incident took place on August 24th at the Old Island Marina on Shrimp Road, Stock Island. A witness told Deputy Todd Jones and Detective Juan Llera he saw 32 year old Peter Ortiz leaving a business at the marina carrying a Rubbermaid tub. When the witness confronted Ortiz, he returned the tub to the business he took it from.

The owner of the business told Detective Llera he keeps several guns in a Rubbermaid container. He said the container was inside his business when he checked it, but he could tell it had been rummaged through.

Ortiz worked as a nighttime security guard, and had access to keys for the business. A warrant was issued for his arrest and on Wednesday, he was arrested and charged with burglary and grand theft. He was booked into jail.

December 19, 2010

************Record redacted due to expungement*********

December 15, 2010

Chase of burglary suspects ends with ramming of two patrol vehicles

Key Largo - A chase with burglary suspects in the early morning hours today ended after the suspect vehicle turned around and rammed two Sheriff's Office patrol cars; all three suspects were injured in the accident. No deputies were injured.

Three burglaries in the Ocean Reef community in the last two days had Ocean Reef Public Safety and deputies on high alert. The homes - two on Torchwood Lane and one on Harbor Drive - had been broken into and ransacked. A little after 11 p.m., officers noticed a suspicious vehicle - a Honda Civic - inside the entrance to the John Pennekamp Ocean Reef State Park. No one was in the vehicle, but it was still warm to the touch. Investigating Deputy Peter Garcia found a hole in a nearby fence, which would allow someone to enter Ocean Reef property. He called for back up officers to investigate inside the community to see if any suspicious persons or suspicious activity was taking place. In the mean time, he and other officers waited in the vicinity of the car for suspects to return.

Officers searching in Ocean Reef reported seeing two suspects fleeing in the direction of the car. As officers were manning perimeter in an effort to catch the suspects, they heard a car's door slam and the Honda started up. Before deputies could converge on the vehicle, it pulled quickly out onto Sate Road 905, fleeing southbound. Deputy Garcia, Detective Jason Madnick and Sgt. Derek Paul jumped into the patrol vehicles to give chase. The Honda ran the stop sign at the three way stop at Card Sound Road and State Road 905, continuing southbound at a high rate of speed. When it got close to the intersection with Highway U.S. One, it began to lose control, fishtailed, and turned around 180 degrees. Deputy Garcia said he saw the vehicle head right toward his patrol car, in an attempt to ram him but he managed to avoid a collision. The Honda then rammed the other two patrol cars and continued northbound on State Road 905. The Honda was forced to stop a short distance later, however, because it had a flat tire. A male suspect, later identified as 29 year old Juan Tavarez of Homestead, jumped from the vehicle and fled into the woods. Two females also in the car, were apprehended. 18 year old Princess Jones and 24 year old Nicole Martinez were arrested, then taken to Mariner's Hospital for treatment of minor injuries sustained in the crash.

A perimeter was set up and officers began searching for Tavarez. Several hours later, around 6 a.m., he was found near the Jewfish Creek Bridge. He'd suffered head trauma in the crash, and hypothermia from exposure to the cold weather. He was airlifted to Miami's Ryder Trauma Center for treatment of his injuries.

A burglary was discovered at a home located on North Bridge Lane in Ocean Reef following the chase; several rooms inside had been ransacked. Items stolen from the home were found inside the Honda driven by Tavarez. This incident was not the first time officers encountered Tavarez. In May of 2010, Tavarez was arrested in Key Largo after he was caught cruising slowly through a Key Largo neighborhood in a vehicle with two other men. Deputies had just responded to a burglar alarm in that neighborhood and found a home with broken glass near where Tavarez was arrested.

Tavarez faces charges of fleeing and eluding police, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated battery and resisting arrest. The two women face numerous charges as well.

Assisting in the incident was Key Largo Fire Rescue, Ocean Reef Public Safety, Homestead Police Department, Customs and Border Protection (their plane, equipped with FLIR, located the male suspect) and
Florida Highway Patrol

December 14, 2010

Key Largo man charged with burglarizing business

Key Largo – A Key Largo man is in jail, charged with burglarizing a business he used to work for.

On November 29th, deputies responded to Paradise Pub because the owner had come to work and discovered it had been broken into. Someone entered through a broken window and stole bank bags with cash, and cash from a vending machine. The suspect also removed a Digital Video Recorder which was hooked up to cameras inside the business.

The DVR and some receipts from the bank bags were  later found a short distance away, discarded behind a cement wall behind the business. When Detective Mike Wilkinson plugged it in and viewed the footage with the owner and several other employees, it showed a man they identified as 26 year old Michael Vanderwyden. Vanderwyden had worked at Paradise Pub for several years, leaving his employment there just four weeks before.

A warrant was issued for Vanderwyden’s arrest. He was already in jail on charges of violation of probation and on Monday, he was further charged with the warrant for burglary and grand theft. Bond on the warrant was set at $25,000.00.

December 11, 2010

Statistics from Islamorada Sobriety Checkpoint

A checkpoint in Islamorada Friday night into Saturday morning stopped 147 vehicles and found no drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs.

Sgt. Eric Mixon, who coordinated the effort, said there was a “noticeable increase in taxi traffic during the checkpoint.” He also reports no traffic accidents in the entire patrol district (mm72 – mm92) during the time of the checkpoint.

During the checkpoint, officers wrote 8 traffic citations for various safety violations; issued 8 written warnings and 46 verbal warnings and conducted 3 driving under the influence investigations, none of which resulted in an arrest.

Assisting in the operation was ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and Florida Highway Patrol. ICE detained three suspected illegal immigrants during the checkpoint.

December 10, 2010

Two more charged with stealing copper wire from Summerland business

Summerland Key - Two more men have been arrested after deputies caught them stealing copper wire from a business located on Summerland Key.

Deputy David Chavka was on patrol when he spotted a white van parked across from the Shrimp Farm. He was aware of previous instances of copper wire theft from that location, with the most recent being just before Thanksgiving, with two arrests made. He decided to call for back up and check the premises. When Deputy Jon Riggs arrived, the two did a walk through and found two men removing copper wire from inside. The men claimed to have permission to do so. Deputy Chavka contacted the caretaker of the property, who denied giving anyone permission to remove copper wire.

40 year old Rodger Green and 45 year old Francisco Lopez Alejandrez, both of Stock Island, were arrested. They were charged with burglary, possession of burglary tools and theft. They were booked into jail.

Man charged with battering his ex-girlfriend, stealing her money

Stock Island - A Stock Island man is in jail, charged with battering his ex-girlfriend, flattening her tires, then taking money from her bank account without permission.

Officers responded to an apartment on 9th Avenue. They found the victim upset and shaking. She told them 29 year old Isaac Ashe had come to her house. She asked him to leave, but he hit her in the face, then grabbed her hair and threw her across the room. She said she tried to leave the house, but he wouldn't let her. She said he grabbed a knife, went outside and flattened all her tires. He then allegedly took her cell phone and her debit card, telling her he was going to empty her bank account.

A short time later, Ashe called the Sheriff's Office to ask for help getting a restraining order. When officers met with him, they found $500 in cash in his jacket pocket; the money was all in new, crisp $20 bills, neatly stacked as if they just came out of an ATM machine. The victim's cell phone and debit card were also found in his pocket. Although Ashe denied all the charges against him, detectives were able to get pictures from First State Bank of Ashe using her card to take the money from the bank just a short time before.

Ashe was arrested. He was charged with battery, false imprisonment, criminal mischief, grand theft and fraudulent use of credit cards. He was booked into jail.

Search warrant in Marathon

Marathon - Sheriff's Special Investigations Detectives served a search warrant at 6:30 AM today on a residence in Marathon.

In response to numerous citizen complaints about drug activity, detectives served the warrant at 491 84th St Ocean in Marathon. Inside the residence detectives found eight people, three of whom had outstanding warrants for drug related charges. A search of the residence turn up a small amount of marijuana. A search outside the residence turned up a small amount of crack cocaine and Glock model 23 handgun buried in the back yard. This evidence will be sent to the crime lab to be checked for fingerprints.

32 year old Jerry Lewis Anderson of Marathon was served with two warrants for sale of cocaine. 48 year old Dorothy Lee Howard of Marathon was served with one warrant for sale of cocaine. 31 year old Jerome Larnel Tubbs of Marathon was served with two warrants for sale of cocaine. More charges may be pending. All three were booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

December 8, 2010

Homestead man charged with marijuana

Plantation Key – A Homestead man who passed a stopped school bus illegally was arrested after deputies found marijuana in his car.

Deputy Andrew Leird was at the 86 mile marker at 3:30 p.m. when he saw a 1991 Honda sedan pass a stopped school bus. The bus had its stop sign extended and it’s flashing lights on and was stopped to let children get off.

When Deputy Leird pulled the vehicle over, he could smell a strong odor of marijuana coming from inside. He confronted the driver, 50 year old Reinaldo Olivencia, with this information. Olivencia admitted to having marijuana in the car.

Five small bags of marijuana were in a duffle bag in the back seat. Olivencia was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell and he was booked into jail.

Gun discharges accidentally in McDonalds

Tavernier – A Miami man with a small caliber handgun in his pocket accidentally shot himself in the leg Tuesday morning.

44 year old Rafael Ubeda was in line for breakfast at McDonalds Restaurant in Tavernier. He has a concealed weapons permit issued by the State of Florida and was carrying a .22 caliber Derringer handgun in his coat pocket. He told Detective Mike Wilkinson his hands were cold and when he put them in his pockets, he must have hit the trigger and the gun fired.

He said no one in line with him reacted, but the manager of the restaurant asked him to leave, so he did. The manager then followed Ubeda out to the parking lot, got a description of his vehicle, and reported the incident to the Sheriff’s Office.

Lt. Mitch Horn and Capt. Don Fanelli stopped the car about six miles south. Detective Mike Wilkinson responded and was interviewing Ubeda when he noticed blood on the man’s pants leg. He pointed this out to Ubeda, who was not aware of the fact that he’d shot himself in the leg.

Paramedics responded and transported him to Mariner’s Hospital, where he was treated for his injury. Ubeda will not be charged in connection with the accidental discharge of his firearm because Florida State Statute specifically requires the discharge of a firearm to be done “knowingly” in order for it to result in an arrest.

December 3, 2010

Marathon woman charged with fleeing police

Marathon – A 28 year old Marathon woman refused to stop for deputies Thursday night and was arrested.

Deputy Chuck Kellenberger was on patrol at 8:15 p.m. when he saw the maroon colored Chrysler sedan in front of him, northbound at 109th Street in Marathon. The license plate was bent up so it could not be seen.

When he turned on his lights and siren to pull the car over, it refused to stop. It continued to travel at 57 miles per hour; the driver occasionally put on her brakes, but did not stop.

When the vehicle got to the red light at Key Colony Beach, the deputy turned off his emergency equipment and began following at a safe distance. He saw the vehicle run the red light and then pull into a nearby parking lot and he saw a woman – later identified as Sarah Fogarty – get out and run into a wooded area. A few minutes later, she walked out of the woods and denied driving the car, saying she was just “cutting through the woods” and wasn’t in the car at all.

Fogarty was handcuffed. She was charged with fleeing and eluding police. Her driver’s license – from Pennsylvania – was suspended. She had a glass pipe tucked in the waistband of her pants, like those commonly used to smoke crack cocaine. Her license tag was expired. She was also charged with those violations and she was taken to jail.