July, 2000 - September, 2000

For more information, contact Deputy Becky Herrin, Public Information Officer for the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. Her contact numbers are: office: (305)292-7116, digital pager: (305)334-0956, FAX: (305)292-7070 and e-mail: beckyherrin@keysso.net.

September 14, 2000

Detective looking for more help locating stolen jewelry

Upper Keys – Detective David Carey says his first appeal for assistance in locating stolen jewelry was so successful; he wants to ask for more help from the public.

The first appeal for the public’s assistance, issued August 29th, asked for help recovering over $20,000 worth of jewelry stolen from a home on the old highway in Islamorada sometime between July 7th and August 7th. 39-year-old Timothy Lightwine was charged with the crime, but was not talking to detectives about where he disposed of the stolen items.

After local newspapers and radio stations carried the story, Detective Carey received two calls from people who had been contacted by 39-year-old Timothy Lightwine in relation to the stolen jewelry. As a result of those calls, Detective Carey was able to recover a diamond and gold tennis bracelet, a set of Rosary beads, a diamond earring and a velvet pouch. He also received information that might lead him to other people who have some of the stolen jewelry. He is continuing to investigate.

He would like to appeal for assistance one more time.

“Anyone who has any of this stolen jewelry should come forward as soon as possible. I think some people who have some of these items are afraid of coming forward because they are afraid they will be arrested. I just want to let them know that all I am interested in right now is recovering the jewelry that is still out there. I am not interested in putting anyone else in jail,” Carey said.

Anyone with information should contact Detective Carey at the Plantation Key Substation, 853-3211. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can contact Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If the tip leads to the recovery of more jewelry the tipster could be eligible for a monetary reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

Some of the items that have yet to be recovered include:

       Gold ring, heavy, wider on top, small rope edge, about 6 small diamonds.

       Gold wedding band with 4-7-78 engraved

       Gold/amethyst ring (purple stone) surrounded by diamonds

       Gold nugget bracelet, with security chain

       Gold bracelet with heart of diamonds

       Gold bracelet made of “C’s” with one “C” in diamonds

       Man’s heavy gold herringbone necklace – had ship’s wheel with sailboat in the center, gold cross with diamonds.

       Rectangle pendant for necklace (gold) with blowing palm tree – this is of Islamorada Hurricane Monument (#19 on the back)

       Ship’s wheel pendant with sailboat in center

       Men’s tie pins – diamond “CEL”, gold, gold with “C” in diamonds

       Triangle gold and black Barry College 1978 Nursing pin

       Silver bracelet POW/MIA with “Robert _____?” on it.


August 29, 2000

Detective looks for help in recovering stolen jewelry

Islamorada – Detective David Carey is looking for the public’s help in recovering thousands of dollars worth of jewelry stolen from an Islamorada residence.

Detective Carey has obtained a warrant for the arrest of 39-year-old Timothy Lynn Lightwine for burglary, grand theft and dealing in stolen property. Lightwine is currently in a medical facility and will be arrested upon his release. Lightwine allegedly entered the home, located on the old highway in Islamorada, sometime between July 7th and August 7th and stole approximately $20,000 worth of jewelry.

Lightwine sold some of the stolen items to people on three separate occasions. Those items have been recovered, and Detective Carey believes Lightwine may have sold more of the jewelry to other people. He is asking anyone who has information about the stolen jewelry, or who has been approached recently to purchase jewelry in an unusual fashion, to come forward.

Detective Carey would like to remind everyone that purchasing and possessing stolen property is against the law. Anyone who has this stolen jewelry has the opportunity now to return it without penalty. If someone chooses not to do so, he or she runs the risk of being identified and prosecuted.

Anyone with information about this case should contact Detective Carey at 853-3211. 

August 22, 2000

Owners of abandoned cars to be prosecuted

People who abandon their cars in the lower Keys should beware. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office will now prosecute you for a felony – illegally dumping trash that weighs over 500 lbs. 

From now on, the Sheriff’s Office will send a letter to the owner’s of abandoned vehicles. The letters will outline three options. Remove the car from the right of way on your own; take a $100.00 check to Arnold’s Towing or G&M Towing on Stock Island, along with the title to the car, and they will remove it for you; or go to jail. This effort is part of the SMARTCOP program implemented by the Sheriff’s Office last summer. Officers are assigned to permanently patrol a particular area. They are charged with getting to know their assigned community and take care of that communities problems, no matter how big or how small. Deputy Genie Hernandez spearheaded this abandoned vehicle effort in the lower Keys after seeing what a growing problem abandoned cars are on Stock Island, her assigned Zone.

“We need to keep the streets from becoming a dumping ground,” Deputy Hernandez said. “This is a message to everyone – we will not allow you to discard your junk on public right of ways. You must dispose of your property legally, or we will put you in jail.”

August 15, 2000

Scam surfaces....again

Once again, a scam letter is being faxed to local businesses. At least two, and probably more, businesses in the Keys have received the letter, which asks for a person's bank address, fax number, telephone number and telex number; bank account number; private telephone number and private fax number.

The letter, purported to be from an accountant with the Heritage Petroleum Corporation in Nigeria, claims to have gotten the business's contact information through the "Nigeria Chamber of Commerce". The sender asks for assistance in transferring $30 million to the receiver's private bank account. The receiver will then be allowed to keep 30% of the money in exchange for the assistance rendered.

The Sheriff's Office would like to remind everyone never to give out personal information to strangers, either over the telephone, over a fax or through your computer. Be very careful when someone asks for such information to ascertain, before giving it, that the person or company asking for it is legitimate.

This particular scam surfaces every few months, and most people recognize it for the phony solicitation that it so obviously is. There are more subtle, trickier scams out there, however, so it always pays to be on guard.

Date: August 15, 2000

Sheriff’s employees take medals in International games

Monroe County – Employees of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office took home 11 medals from the International Law Enforcement Olympics last week, including three gold medals for shooting and for bowling.

The International Law Enforcement Olympics was held in Cocoa Beach, Florida and pitted law enforcement employees from around the world against each other in both single and team events such as shooting, bowling, ping pong, golf, arm wrestling, weight lifting and the toughest cop alive event. The Toughest Cop event includes a 5-k run, shot put, 100-meter dash, 100-meter swim, 20-foot rope climb without using legs, bench press with free weights, chin-ups and an obstacle course.

Every year, employees of the Sheriff’s Office are allowed to participate in either Florida Law Enforcement Olympics, National Law Enforcement Olympics, or the International games, whichever Olympics are being held in the State of Florida. This year, 21 employees attended the games. Employees who took home medals include:

 Information Management Director Jim Painter      Silver Medal        Toughest Cop Alive

Detention Deputy Jim Shegren                                Gold Medal          Shotgun Trap shooting

                                                                                Gold Medal          Skeet Shotgun shooting

                                                                                Silver Medal        Riot Shotgun Trap shooting

Detention Deputy John Whortenbury                      Bronze Medal        Three Point Shooting

                                                                               Bronze Medal         2 man team, Three Point Shooting

Detective Sgt. Donnie Elomina                               Silver Medal          Arm Wrestling

Detention Financial Asst. Dorothy Child                Gold Medal            Singles Bowling

Training Div. Secretary Lynn Christian                   Bronze Medal        Singles Bowling

Lynn and Brian Christian                                          Silver Medal         Doubles Bowling

Detention Dep. Liz Heiter and husband, Kurt            Bronze Medal       Team Bowling


Date: August 14, 2000

Body identified as Cuban refugee by family in Miami

Monroe County – The body found floating in the water’s off of the Florida Keys last week has been identified as a 23 year old Cuban man. The second body spotted nearby but not recovered was most likely his 20 year old brother.

Family members who live in the Miami area called the Florida Marine Patrol concerned because they believed the two men were en route from Cuba and they hand’t shown up. They were referred to Special Investigations Detective James Norman, who is working on the case. The family told Detective Norman that 23 year old Juan Carlos Rodriguez-Bueno and 20 year old Alex Rodriguez-Bueno were last seen by relatives in Cuba Sunday, August 6th. 

Detective Norman met with a step-brother of the two men, who lives in Miami. He showed the step-brother a picture of the recovered body’s face, but he was unable to make a positive identification because of the decomposed state of the remains. The step-brother, in turn, took the picture to his father, who lives in Hialeah. The father, 59 year old Carlos Rodriguez was able to identify the photo as his son. He told detectives his son also had partial dentures and was known to wear an earring in his left ear, matching the description of the recovered body. Approximate height and weight of the son also matched those of the remains found last week.

The family told Detective James Norman the two men wanted to come to the United States and had talked about it a number of times. Their mother, who still lives in Cuba, told family members in the U.S. she hadn’t seen them since Sunday and thought they might be on their way together.

Date: August 10, 2000

Advisory Committee to meet

Marathon - The Sheriff’s Shared Asset Fund Advisory Committee will hold an initial organizational meeting Wednesday, August 23, 2000, at 6:00 p.m. at the Marathon Government Center, 2798 Overseas Highway, Marathon, Florida. 

The Advisory Committee was formed to assist with the distribution of 15% of the $25 million asset forfeiture money received by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office last year. A county ordinance was passed which outlines the criteria that will be used to determine who will be eligible to receive money. County Ordinance 030-2000 says, “The Board may only entertain proposals that relate to law enforcement, crime prevention, drug and alcohol abuse prevention and treatment, the mental and physical health of minors and adults, and cultural, artistic, educational, recreational and sports programs for Monroe County youth.”

The initial intent is to allow the principle to gain interest in perpetuity, and primarily spend the interest gained from the principle, although the committee does have authority to spend the principal if necessary.

The committee is made up of one person chosen by each County Commissioner and two chosen by Sheriff Rick Roth. The committee will receive and review all applications and make recommendations to the County Commission and the Sheriff about who should receive funds.

Members of the committee include  Richard Casey, Jr. of Big Pine Key, Alexsandra Corsi Leto of Key West, Nick Mulick of Tavernier, David Paul Horan of Key West, Roberta Loudenslager of Summerland Key, Lynn Mapes of Marathon, and Jane Daniels of Marathon.

The meeting agenda will include discussion of grant award criteria and development of application, review, and approval procedures.  No grant applications will be accepted or reviewed at this meeting.  Public notification of grant application procedures and deadlines will be made after grant application packages are prepared. About $220,000 will be available for the coming year.

Any person requiring special accommodation or assistance to participate in this meeting should contact the Sheriff’s Office by calling Monica Galvan at (305) 292-7020 (TDD compatible) or via e-mail: mgalvan@keysso.net

August 10, 2000

Deputy suggests mile markers for upper Keys roadway

Key Largo – A Sheriff’s deputy’s suggestion will make it easier for law enforcement officers and citizens alike to tell where they are when driving State Road 905 and Card Sound Road in the upper Keys.

With the assistance of Monroe County Public Works employee Jim Medallion, Deputy Tim Hurd has seen his idea become a reality. There are now mile markers lining the roadway on State Road 905 and on Card Sound Road in the upper Keys. The mile markers, installed recently by Public Works, will make it easier for law enforcement officers to tell their dispatchers where they are when patrolling the road, including the location of traffic stops, disabled vehicles and accidents. It will also allow a citizen who breaks down or has an accident to better communicate his or her whereabouts to the Sheriff’s Office when they call for assistance.

“I don’t know why no one thought of this before,” said Sgt. Pete Johnston, Zone Commander in the Key Largo area, who supervises Deputy Hurd. “It was a relatively simple thing to do, and will really help with finding locations on the road.”

The new mile markers are designated with a “C” and the mile number on State Road 905 and with a “CS” and the mile number on Card Sound Road.

August 3, 2000

Detectives need the public's help to solve vandalism case

Detectives are asking for the public's help to solve a case of vandalism at Key Largo School over the weekend. Crime Stoppers will pay a substantial cash reward to anyone offering information which leads to an arrest in the case.

On Saturday, July 29th, Deputies responded to reports of extensive damage to school buses, other vehicles and windows at the school. When they arrived at the school, they found thousands of dollars worth of damage had been done by vandals, who broke windows and damaged air conditioning vents at the school sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning.

Three maintenance vans and a truck had broken windows and one van had sand and rocks in the gas tank. Three school buses were also damaged. Rocks were thrown through school windows, and someone climbed on the roof and threw several air conditioning vents onto the ground. Trees were also pulled out of the ground on the side of one of the buildings. It appeared that someone entered the school through a gym door by breaking out a window in the door, but nothing inside appeared to be missing or damaged. Someone also broke a window and entered the school's cafeteria, stealing two public address system speakers.

Anyone with information about the case could be eligible for a monetary reward from Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Callers may remain anonymous when they call. IF the information leads to an arrest, they will receive the reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

August 2, 2000

Victims should come forward

Residents who live in the area of Venetian Shores in Islamorada should check their cars and boats to make sure they aren't missing any valuables.

Sheriff's detectives say their investigation into a group of auto and boat burglaries has turned up a large amount of property believed to be stolen. Much of the property has yet to be matched to a crime or a victim, however.

Detectives have identified more than 18 vehicles they believe two teenagers burglarized between Saturday night and Sunday morning in that subdivision. Much of the property stolen from those vehicles has been returned to the owners. 

Investigators think the boys might have committed other burglaries prior to that time, however, which would account for the property they have recovered and believe to be stolen, but which has not yet been matched with a crime.

Anyone in that general area who discovers they have been a victim of a crime, or who knows they are a victim but failed to report the crime when it was initially discovered, should contact the Sheriff's Office to see if any of the recovered property belongs to them. Call the Plantation Key Substation at 853-3211 and ask for the Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU).

Date: July 25, 2000

Sheriff’s Web Site offers budget info, crime statistics

Monroe County – Citizens interested in the Sheriff’s Office budget, or on monthly crime statistics can now find the information on Sheriff’s Office web site. The site offers other information as well, including special events, job listings, e-mail and phone contact information within the Sheriff’s Office and crime prevention tips.

The proposed budget for fiscal year 2000/2001 is posted on the site. For those interested in general information, a simplified table form of the budget is available with budget totals for Law Enforcement, Corrections and Court Security. A more detailed version is also on-line, including two-year comparisons, and details about the cost of incorporated and unincorporated areas of the Keys.

The actual budget passed for 1999/2000 is also available in simplified form, and in the more detailed form as well.

Major crime statistics are now on line. They are available on a monthly basis, with each month compared to the same month the previous year. Each month’s statistics are broken down further by the area of the Keys the crime occurred in, either upper, middle or lower Keys. Each crime listing also details how many arrests were made and how many of the crimes are still actively being investigated, as well as the numbers of crimes which were cleared, or which were unfounded. Major crimes include murder, rape, robbery, burglary, theft, assault and arson. Crime statistics for 1999 are also available, broken down by month and by district.

The web site is located at www.keysso.net. Some of the other information available on the site includes:

How to contact the Sheriff’s Office - Find a listing of phone numbers, addresses and e-mail contact information for specific divisions and departments.

Jurisdictional area, organizational charts and other information - Find out all about the Sheriff’s Office, it’s patrol area and it’s organizational structure.

Press Releases - Read Sheriff’s Office press releases on crime and other happenings.

Jobs and Employment - See a listing of jobs currently open in the Sheriff’s Office, along with salary information for those positions.

Crime Prevention Programs - Find out what Crime Prevention Programs are offered by the Sheriff’s Office.

Publications - Read newsletters published by the Sheriff’s Office, including the employee newsletter “The RapSheet”, the Crime Watch Newsletter “The WatchWord” and the “Legal Update” with up-to-date law changes and court opinions about law enforcement related issues.

Crime Prevention Tips - See detailed crime prevention information on-line, including burglary prevention, how to prevent violent crimes, and other safety related information.

Hurricane preparation tips - Find links to the best sites for hurricane preparation tips. Get up-to-date information on storms as they happen complete with protective action orders direct from the Emergency Operations Center when it is activated due to a storm’s approach.

Complaints against officers - Find details about how to make a complaint against a law enforcement officer.

History of the Sheriff’s Office - Read about the history of the oldest law enforcement office in the Florida Keys and see photos of past Sheriff’s. Also, read about law enforcement officers who have died in the line-of-duty.

General Orders - Read the specific general orders that govern how the Sheriff’s Office conducts its daily business, from road patrol and traffic enforcement to administrative orders.

Date: July 20, 2000

Sheriff’s Sgt. chosen as American Legion Law Officer of the Year

Monroe County – A Monroe County Sheriff’s Office sergeant has been chosen as the Florida American Legion Law Officer of the Year. He accepted his award at their  Annual Convention in Kissimmee, Florida July 15th.

Sgt. Lou Caputo was chosen for the award after being recommended by the upper Keys American Legion Post. Some of the qualities he was chosen for include:

       Exceeding the duty requirements expected of his position

       Exemplifying the virtues of professionalism and dedication

       Demonstrating a distinct pattern of service to the community, state and/or Nation

       Proving personal dedication to societal security and protection

       Being well rounded

Sgt. Caputo began working for the Sheriff’s Office as a Reserve deputy in 1984. He became a full-time deputy sheriff in 1991 and was promoted to sergeant in June of 1999. He was chosen as the Sheriff’s Office Sworn Officer of the Year for 1999.

Sgt. Caputo is currently one of three Zone Commanders in the upper Keys Sheriff’s Office District. He was chosen for this position because he has a terrific attitude, is always willing to go above and beyond the call of duty and has proven himself to be a positive law enforcement role model as well as an active community member.

Sgt. Caputo came to the Keys with his mother as a teenager in 1968. He joined the Army in 1968 serving in Vietnam for 19 months of his three years in the service. He has been married to his wife, Anita for 30 years and has three children; two sons 27 and 28 years old and a daughter who is 23 years old.

“I only wish we had more officers like Lou,” said Sheriff Rick Roth. “He can always be counted on to do the right thing, and to do more than is expected of him in his job. He is a terrific example to us all,” the Sheriff said.

Recently, Sgt. Caputo spearheaded an effort to install house numbers on upper Keys homes that didn’t have them. He also instituted “Project Good Samaritan”, a program that puts together care packages for homeless people, including food coupons, water and other necessary items. He also is the Sheriff’s Office advisor to the upper Keys Reserve Deputy group. Under his leadership, the reserves spend their weekends patrolling on bikes and on foot and addressing crime prevention and quality of life issues in the community.

Date: July 6, 2000

Crime Stoppers 5 k race results

Key West - This year’s Crime Stoppers Fourth of July Run/Walk broke a record for participation and for fundraising. Over 150 people participated in this year’s event held at Smather’s Beach in Key West. The race raised over $3,000.00 which all goes toward the Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys Anonymous Tip Reward Fund.

“This year’s run was the best ever. We not only had a record number of participants, but we gave away amazing prizes including airline tickets and vacation packages,” said Sheriff’s Office Crime Stopper’s Coordinator Greg Artman. “We’re very excited about the amount of money we raised. It means we will have more, and bigger rewards for people calling in tips to our Crime Stoppers hot line.”

Crime Stoppers is an anonymous tip hot line where callers can report information about crimes they either see happen, or know something about. Callers to the hot line may remain anonymous and receive a monetary reward if their information leads to an arrest. Crime Stoppers is coordinated by area law enforcement agencies, but is actually run by a civilian board of directors that is charged with raising money for the Anonymous Reward Tip Fund, and with determining how much reward money each successful tipster receives.

The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.


In the attached photo:

Kneeling:  Whit Morgan, who won the Sheraton World Orlando vacation package; Kathy Jewel won first place in the women’s walker division.

Standing, left to right:  Susan Gallas was the overall winner in the female division;  Auddie Gundling won the thousand dollar airline ticket from U.S. Airways; William Hemmelgarn, first place in the men’s walker division; Andre Van Rooyen was the overall men’s running champion and Judith Curlock was 2nd place in the women’s walking division.  Other race participants won major prizes, including a stay at Wyndam’s Casa Marina Resort in Key West, airline tickets on Gulfstream Airlines, car rental from Dollar Rent a Car and a South Beach Miami vacation at Brighton Gardens Guest Suites.


Race Results:


Overall Male Winner:  Andre Van Rooyen, Key West, 17:16.

13 and under: Colin Gundling, Murrysville, Pa., 22:47

14-19:   Jason Cooke, Key West, 25:32

20-29:  Ryan Gundling, Murrysville, Pa., 18:22

30-39:  Jim Reish, Rancho Santa, Calif., 17:26

40-49:  Claude Lucas, Key West, 20:41

50-59:  Don Nelson, Cudjoe Key, 20:05

60-69:  Ed Anderson, Key West, 22:51

First Place Male Walker:  William Hemmelgarn, Key West, 35:19.


Overall Female Winner: Susan Gallas, Seattle, Wash., 20:56

13 and under:  Ashley Gordon, Boca Raton, 30:48

14-19:  Sara Meyer, Little Torch Key,k 25:05

20-29:  Jennifer Haggard, Key West, 23:33

30-39:  Robyn Hughes, Key West, 21:29

40-49:  Nancy Muller, Hebron, Conn., 21:12

50-59:  Michele Weeks, Greensboro, N.C., 26:09

60 and over:  Patricia Guidry, Slidell, La., 29:20.

First Place Female Walker:  Kathy Jewell, Key West, 36:33.