Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Daily Crime and Information Report

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

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February 27, 2015

Detectives look for home invasion robbery suspect

Note: The suspect, Rettich, was apprehended by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on Saturday, February 28th.

Sheriff’s detectives are investigating a case where suspects tied up a Key Largo man in his home, pointed a gun at him and threatened to kill him. They then stole cash and guns and fled the scene. The victim was able to identify one of the men who robbed him, even though both men used hoods and masks to hide their faces.

The victim said he was sleeping on his couch at his Drury Drive apartment at 3 a.m. Thursday when the two suspects entered through an unlocked door. He said they pointed a pistol at him and one suspect tied his hands behind his back using zip ties.

The victim said they took him from the apartment to his parent’s house nearby and they all entered the home through a window. Once inside, he said the two suspects used a Taser on him and ransacked the home. He said at one point, one of the suspects told the other to “pop” him, which he took to mean “kill” him. He said he was afraid he was going to die.

The suspects found cash hidden in his parent’s house. They also found four rifles and two shotguns. They took the cash and the guns and left the house. The victim said he heard them leave in a vehicle. He said after he heard them leave, he ran to a neighbor’s house for help.

The victim was able to identify one of the suspects as a man he is acquainted with, 37 year old Brandon Rettich. An arrest warrant has been issued for Rettich for kidnapping, robbery, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and battery. When the second suspect is identified, he will most likely face similar charges.

Anyone with information about this crime should contact the Sheriff’s Office. Callers may also contact Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Tipsters can remain anonymous and, if a tip 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. Tips may also be submitted on line at or via a text message to 274637 using the keyword TIP136.

Burglary in Islamorada results in two arrests

A burglary in Islamorada Thursday afternoon resulted in the arrest of two people and the recovery of jewelry stolen from the home.

The victim came home to his Preston Street residence about 12:35 p.m. and found his front door locked. He said he knew something was wrong because he never locks his doors. He walked around and entered through the back door, and saw a man inside his house. When he yelled at him, the man fled from the house.

The victim said he saw the suspect – later identified as 28 year old Keith Knespler – ride a “long board” style skateboard to the nearby Dion’s convenience store. The victim followed on a bicycle. An employee in the store told him Knespler met up with a woman wearing a red shirt. Another witness said she had seen the two flee in a silver colored PT Cruiser.

A notice to be on the lookout for the vehicle was issued over police radios. Deputies Dave Campbell and Cody Kerns spotted the car northbound on the highway, but were unable to catch up to it due to traffic. They lost sight of it, but found the car a short time later parked in Harry Davis Circle. It appeared to be unoccupied, but when the deputies checked inside, the two suspects had reclined the front seats and were hiding.

Knespler and 26 year old Stacey Legate, both from Jupiter, Florida were identified by the victim and by one of the witnesses. They were arrested. The jewelry they stole – including four Rolex watches – was recovered and returned to the owner. Knespler was charged with burglary and grand theft; Legate was charged with being a principle to the crime of burglary and with grand theft. They were both booked into jail.

February 24, 2015

Woman arrested for drugs

A Key Largo woman was arrested on Sugarloaf Key on drug charges after she passed out behind the wheel of a running vehicle Monday.

Sgt. Ken Fricke spotted the Pontiac Vibe on the side of the road at Lower Sugarloaf Channel at 10:30 a.m. Monday. 23 year old Kayla Gregg was behind the wheel, passed out. She was partially dressed, with a breast exposed and her skirt pulled up around her waist. He was concerned about her so he knocked on the window.

When she woke up, he asked for her identification. As she reached into her purse, he saw a plastic bag with what appeared to be marijuana in it. He asked her what the substance was in the plastic bag. At that point, she pulled a plastic bag out of her purse, but not the one with marijuana in it. The one she pulled out had a white powder inside which tested positive as cocaine. She was placed under arrest.

In her purse, Sgt. Fricke found Oxycodone, Morphine, Vyanse and Tramadol. She also had a smoking pipe. When he asked her why she had all the drugs she said it was because her back hurts from being an adult dancer. She was charged with possession of marijuana, cocaine drug paraphernalia and four counts possession of controlled substances.

Motorcyclist charged with drugs, fleeing officers

A Key Largo man was arrested early today after he fled from pursuing officers on his motorcycle and was found to be in possession of cocaine.

Sgt. Jason Madnick was southbound at the 100 mile marker at 1:30 a.m. when he saw a motorcycle pull onto the highway from Kay Drive, running a stop sign. The motorcyclist accelerated northbound and passed the sergeant at a high rate of speed.

Sgt. Madnick turned around to pull the motorcycle over. He also radioed to other deputies to watch for the motorcycle. Deputy Derick Velez was in the area and spotted the motorcycle. He got behind it in an attempt to pull it over. The motorcycle finally turned off the highway into the parking lot of the Waffle House. The driver traveled through the lot and onto the property of Centennial Bank. Sgt. Madnick and Deputy Velez pulled up to him as he was trying to restart his motorcycle. He was taken into custody.

24 year old Ilias Agelis appeared to be impaired and admitted drinking alcohol. When he arrived at the detention center, six plastic bags containing cocaine were found in his wallet. He was charged with fleeing and eluding police, possession of cocaine, introduction of contraband to a corrections facility, driving under the influence of alcohol, reckless driving, having no brake lights, no proof of insurance, no registration, no approved eyewear, running a stop sign, and improper passing.

February 17, 2015

Sex offender who failed to register is arrested

A man designated as a sex offender and a convicted felon failed to register in Monroe County as required by law. He was arrested.

Sheriff’s Office dispatchers received a call from a woman who said she was driving in the vicinity of the 12 mile marker of the highway shortly after 8 p.m. Monday and almost hit someone dressed all in black and walking very close to the highway.

Deputy Wendy Negron responded to that area and made contact with 43 year old Victor Purdue, who was indeed walking close to the highway and not on the Heritage Trail, which runs alongside the highway, but at a safe distance from the lanes of vehicle traffic.

A check of his name though computers revealed he was designated a sex offender, having been found guilty of lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 16 in Martin County, Florida. Sex offenders are required to register when they relocate from place to place. Purdue had not registered in Monroe County as required. As a convicted felon, he is also required to register and he had not done that either.

Purdue was booked into jail on both counts of failing to register.

February 16, 2015

Man charged with knife threats

A Stock Island man is in jail after threatening his ex-girlfriend and her boss with a knife.

The victims told Deputy David Lariz 36 year old Yoandry Noa Vega confronted them at their place of work, the CVS store on Stock Island. The ex-girlfriend said she had recently broken up with him and he came to the store at 11:15 a.m. Sunday because she was not answering his text messages. She said he confronted her outside the store and pulled out a knife. She said he cut himself on the arm with the knife.

She retreated into the store, into a back storeroom. He came inside and confronted her there as well. When the store manager and her husband tried to intervene, Noa threatened to hurt them as well.

The victims called the Sheriff’s Office for help and Noa left the scene.

Deputy Matt Dowling went to Noa’s brother”s apartment to look for the suspect and left a card, asking the brother to contact him if he saw Noa. A short time later, Noa contacted the deputy and asked to meet with him. Deputy Dowling met with Noa at apartments on 5th Avenue. He was taken into custody for aggravated assault, battery and trespassing. He was booked into jail.

February 15, 2015

Man beaten, robbed near Bernstein Park

A homeless man was beaten and robbed by two other men, one of whom he knows from the homeless shelter. The attack took place at Bernstein Park on Stock Island Friday just after 6 p.m.

The victim told Deputy Boyd Williams a man he knows as “Mario” and another man he does not know jumped him and threw him to the ground. He said they kicked him and hit him numerous times. “Mario” then took his wallet from his pocket, took cash and credit cards from the wallet and demanded the PIN numbers for the cards. The two men continued to hit and kick him while demanding the PIN numbers. He gave them the numbers, they took his cell phone and his bicycle and left him lying on the ground. They told him not to call the police or they would kill him the next time they saw him.

The victim was taken to Lower Keys Hospital where he was treated for his injuries. Further investigation identified one of the suspects as 45 year old Mario Salazar, Jr. Deputy Williams was at the Sheriff’s Headquarters building Saturday morning when Salazar rode up to the homeless shelter on a bicycle. He was arrested and charged with robbery and he was booked into jail. Investigations continue into the identity of the second robbery suspect.

February 13, 2015

Homestead man charged with kidnapping, raping woman

A Homestead man is in jail, charged with kidnapping and raping a woman in Key Largo.

Witnesses called the Sheriff’s Office just after 4 p.m. to report that a man had forced a woman into a car. The witnesses told dispatchers the woman was asking for help and the man threatened them with a baseball bat when they tried to help her. They said the man forced the woman back into the vehicle and they left southbound on the highway in a black colored sport utility vehicle.

Deputy Matt Koval spotted the vehicle at the 102 mile marker. He followed the car as it turned in to Tradewinds Plaza. The vehicle parked and the deputy pulled in behind it. As he approached the vehicle, Deputy Koval could see a man and woman inside. The man was holding the woman’s head by the hair and was forcing her head up and down in his lap.

Deputy Koval ordered the man out of the vehicle at gunpoint. The woman, crying and obviously afraid, began to thank the deputy profusely for saving her. The 34 year old victim said 33 year old Duglas Hernandez Morel kidnapped her from her ex-boyfriend’s house in Homestead. She said he drove south into the Keys, stopping several times to force her to have sexual relations with him.

She said when they stopped in the vicinity of Gilbert’s Resort she convinced him to let her get out of the car to take off her pants. She said when she got out of the car she ran to a man fishing nearby asking for help. She said the man was trying to help her but Hernandez threatened him and her with a baseball bat, forcing her back into the car.

The suspect was arrested. He was charged with kidnapping, sexual battery and aggravated assault. A check on his driver’s license revealed it had been suspended 22 times so he was also charged with driving with his license suspended.

Homestead police are also investigating the case and more charges are pending regarding the crimes which took place in that jurisdiction.

Stock Island man charged with burglary

Deputies arrested a Stock Island man after he was caught on video tape burglarizing a residence on Miriam Street Thursday afternoon.

The victim told Deputies Vicki Lockwood-Fleck and Lazaro Valdes she came home at 4 p.m. and found someone had taken her jewelry and cash from her home. She has video cameras on the property and showed the deputies the tape from that day. The tape showed a man exiting her front door. Deputy Valdes recognized the man as 29 year old Rigoberto Morales Jr.

The deputies knew Morales lives with his grandmother on Cross Street. They went to that location and found Morales. He had some of the stolen jewelry in his possession. He also had several pills they identified as Vicodin, for which he did not have a prescription.

Morales was arrested. He was charged with burglary, grand theft and possession of a controlled substance and he was booked into jail.

February 9, 2015

Woman dies while on dive trip

A Lakeland, Florida woman died while on a dive trip offshore of Islamorada Saturday.

41 year old Andrea Moody was visiting the Keys with a group from Lakeland. They were on board the boat “Lost Continent” operated by Captain Slate’s Diving Adventures. The dive boat was chartered by the company Deep Six Divers, Inc. The dive was to take place at Pleasure Reef on Saturday morning.

The group was getting into the water for their dive just before 10 a.m. when the incident took place. Moody jumped into the water and witnesses say she began panicking almost immediately. By the time they got her onto the boat she was unconscious. She stopped breathing and the boat crew started CPR.

The boat brought her in to the Islamorada Coast Guard station where paramedics were waiting. They transported her to Mariner’s Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of her death.

February 7, 2015

Sheriff’s deputy arrested

A Sheriff’s deputy was arrested early today by the Florida Highway Patrol.

23 year old Jon Doughtry was arrested in the early morning hours after being involved in an accident at the 9 mile marker of the highway, northbound. Florida Highway Patrol charged him with driving under the influence of alcohol and driving under the influence of alcohol with damage to property.

He was booked into jail. He was released shortly after noon after attending a first appearance hearing.

Details of the accident should be obtained from the Florida Highway Patrol, the investigating agency in this case. Doughtry, a deputy who works at the Key West Courthouse, has been suspended without pay pending a review of the case.

Homestead man faces charges for stealing from Key Largo store

A Homestead man is in jail accused of stealing items from a Key Largo store and for stealing rods and reels from a boat.

The clerk from the Family Dollar store at the 105.6 mile marker of the highway called the Sheriff’s Office shortly after 2 p.m. Friday. She said a man just left the store with a bag full of items he had not paid for.

When Deputy Jean Gonzalez arrived at the store, he viewed a video of the theft and radioed a description of the suspect to Sheriff’s dispatchers. Deputy Dave Campbell was in the area and began looking for the man. The clerk told Deputy Gonzalez the man entered the store with two women. She said one woman stood outside while the other bought cigarettes. She said the woman who bought the cigarettes then gave the Family Dollar bag to the man. She said the man filled the bag with items from the store, including dozens of CDs, DVDs and XBOX games. He then left the store with the items without paying.

Deputy Campbell spotted a man fitting the suspect’s description on Grassy Road. He was stuffing fishing rods and reels into the rear of a vehicle. When the deputy confronted him, he dropped the rods and reels and ran. He was apprehended a short distance away.

Investigations revealed the rods and reels had been taken from a nearby boat belonging to a woman who lives in the neighborhood. The items stolen from the Family Dollar store were inside the car. The two women and a young girl were also in the car.

30 year old Darrin Galarza of Homestead was arrested. He faces charges of vehicle burglary, two counts of theft, trespassing and resisting arrest. Charges may be brought against one or both of the women with him as accomplices. That investigation is continuing.

February 5, 2015

Man arrested for Key Largo business burglary

A 22 year old homeless Key Largo man was caught in the act of burglarizing a Key Largo business early today.

Sgt. Jason Madnick was in the area of the Dollar Tree at the 101 mile marker at 1:45 a.m. doing a business check on the property because of recent business burglaries in the area.  As he checked the building, he found glass doors on the side of the building ajar. He called for backup and stood by where he could see inside. He saw someone in the store walking around. The suspect – later identified as Wayne Baer – was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and something white covering his hands. As Sgt. Madnick watched, Baer entered a locked office by climbing through a slotted aluminum vent in the door.

Backup officers arrived and they made entry to the building. Baer was taken into custody without incident. Inside the office, officers found a floor safe. It appeared Baer had obtained a saw from the store and had begun cutting through the hinges on the safe. On the floor by the safe were two white socks which may have been what Baer was wearing over his hands. A pink sticky note was stuck over the lens of a surveillance camera in the office which Baer admitted to placing there.

Baer was charged with armed burglary; he was also charged with possession of burglary tools and theft. He was booked into jail.

Four boats burglarized on Cudjoe Key

The Sheriff’s Office received reports Wednesday that four boats had been burglarized on Cudjoe Key.

All four boats were stored on lifts behind homes on 6th Avenue, 7th Avenue and on Hamilton Avenue, in the vicinity of the 21 mile marker of the highway. Electronic equipment was stolen from all of the boats, including a total of 4 Garmin GPS units and three Garmin chart plotters, a Garmin radar array. A SeaStar helm, a steering wheel, four batteries and some rods and reels were also taken.

Man uses fraudulent credit card to pay traffic tickets

A Miami man was booked into jail Wednesday, charged with using a fraudulent credit card to pay traffic tickets.

In October of 2014, a Key Largo couple called the Sheriff’s Office to report a fraud. They told Detective Bob Dosh someone had used their identifying information to open a checking, savings and credit card account at a Wells Fargo Bank in Oregon. They caught the fraud after the suspect transferred $4,000 from their local account to the fraudulent account. They reported it to the bank and were reimbursed for their loss.

Detective Dosh began investigating and discovered the fraudulent credit card had been used to pay traffic fines on line to the Miami-Dade Clerk’s Office. The person whose fines were paid was 20 year old Maurice Ables of Miami. During a phone conversation, Ables admitted to Detective Dosh he had used the fraudulent card to pay the fines.

A warrant was issued for Ables’ arrest. On Tuesday, he was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center for four counts of fraud - utilizing personal information without consent; four counts of fraud – using fraudulent information to obtain goods, property or services, and four counts of fraud – engaging in schemes to defraud ty utilizing electronic transfer of data.

February 1, 2015

Drug arrest in Marathon

A search warrant was served Saturday morning at a Marathon residence.  Detectives from the Special Investigations Unit, served the warrant at 6900 Overseas Highway, Lot-53W, in Marathon.  It was the home of 39 year old Abel Jesse O’Dwyer. O’Dwyer had been arrested just before midnight Friday during a traffic stop in Marathon.

O’Dwyer had been driving his Ford truck on Grassy Key when he was stopped because neither he nor his passenger were wearing a seat belt. After smelling marijuana in the truck, deputies located marijuana and a digital scale in the truck. They also found 211 Xanax pills and over $3,000 in cash. O’Dwyer went to jail, charged with possession of marijuana, drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance.
The search of O’Dwyer’s residence turned up approximately four pounds of Marijuana, over three hundred and forty more Xanax pills, drug paraphernalia and over thirty one hundred dollars in cash.

O’Dwyer was further charged with possession of Marijuana with the intent to sell, possession of controlled substance without a prescription and possession of drug paraphernalia.