November 24, 2014

Graffiti eradication

Deputy Nancy Roberts, who is currently in training with Deputy Vicki Fleck, spotted graffiti on the Geiger Key Bridge on Old Boca Chica Road. They  gathered the necessary supplies and painted over the graffiti. Great job keeping our community clean!

Sheriff’s Office remembers fallen officer

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is remembering this week an officer who died in the line of duty six years ago, November 26th, 2008.

Sheriff's Deputy Nick Pham was killed in the line of duty in a traffic accident. Deputy Pham was working traffic patrol for the Sheriff’s Traffic Enforcement Unit when his patrol car collided with a semi-tractor trailer truck at the 62 mile marker of highway U.S. One at 12:20 p.m.

Deputy Pham was hired on September 15, 2004. He was initially assigned to road patrol in the upper Keys in Sector 7 – the Key Largo area. In July of 2006, he transferred to the Traffic Enforcement Unit, working traffic enforcement county-wide.

November 23, 2014

Highway cleanup

This small but mighty group took care of our adopted stretch of highway from the 88 to the 89 mile marker of U.S. One this week.

Conversation helps bring kids, law enforcement closer

A “Bridging the GAAP” conversation held at Marathon High School recently. GAAP stands for Gaining Appreciation by Adjusting Perspectives. The conversation was organized by the Department of Juvenile Justice and attended by DJJ, the Sheriff’s Office and area young people. Its aim was to bring law enforcement and youth together to discuss key issues of concern between the two groups. The hope is by having such a dialogue, we can reduce youth arrests and reduce minority over representation in the juvenile justice system.

Deputy cleans up on Big Pine

Deputy Jon Riggs spent some time recently cleaning up the area around Walgreen’s Pharmacy on Big Pine Key.

November 22, 2014

Man arrested for burglarizing neighbor’s shed

A Sugarloaf Key man was arrested Friday for burglarizing his neighbor’s shed.

The victim said he went to his tool shed at around 5:30 p.m. Friday and caught the suspect, 42 year old Lester Farias, inside. Farias fled and the victim followed him, calling 911 as he walked behind Farias. He told Deputy Spencer Curry he saw Farias dropping items as he fled.

Detective Dave Chavka responded followed by Deputy Curry, Deputy Ian Cooper and Sgt. Ken Fricke. A search of the area turned up a number of items taken from the shed and subsequently dropped by the suspect as he fled. The recovered items included a knife, a pair of gloves and a plastic storage container full of tools. The victim identified all of the items as coming from his shed.

Farias was taken into custody. He was armed burglary and grand theft and he was booked into jail.

November 21, 2014

Fugitive taken into custody in Homestead

36 year old Horkene Cade, wanted for multiple felony charges and facing a prison sentence, was safely taken into custody tonight in Homestead. Participating in the arrest were Homestead Police and the Monroe County Sheriff's Special Investigation's Unit.

November 20, 2014

Wanted felon may be armed and dangerous

A man who is facing a prison sentence failed to show up after he was granted a furlough from jail. Detectives say since he will be heading for prison he may feel he has nothing to lose.

When 36 year old Horkene Cade was arrested in July by the Florida Highway Patrol, he was charged with being a felon in possession of a weapon. At the time of the arrest, he was already facing felony charges of possession of a weapon and possession of cocaine.

On November 12th, he was furloughed by a judge prior to going to prison on his charges. He was due to return to custody on November 17th and he didn’t show up. On November 18th, new warrants were issued for his arrest. He is now wanted for additional charges of failure to appear in court for the following charges: failing to register as a career offender, two counts of possession of a weapon by a convicted felon and possession of cocaine. There is no bond allowed on the warrants.

Due to the weapon related charges, and the fact that he is facing prison time, Detectives are warning people to be careful not to confront him and to call 911 if he is spotted.

Cade is from Marathon. He is described as a black male, six foot eight inches tall, 260 pounds. He may be in the Florida City area. He may be driving a 1999 Lincoln Continental, white and tan in color. The vehicle has a Miami Dolphin fan Florida license plate D4ACG.

Anyone with information about Cade’s whereabouts should contact law enforcement. 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.

Two reports of frightening email scam

The Sheriff’s Office has had two reports of a frightening email scam sent to local residents. We would just like to make people aware of this scam and warn people not to reply to it.

The email purports to be from a professional “hit man” hired by a “friend” to kill the person receiving the communication. The scammer cautions against contacting the police and wants a return email: “Contact my email if you want to live”.

The email warns “Your life is going to end as soon as you don’t comply”, says “I have sent my men to track you down in location and have carried out the necessary investigation needed for the operation on you”. It says that the victim is being watched and ends with “Warning: do not think of contacting the police or even telling anyone, or else I will extend it to your family, in case I notice something funny. Good luck as I await your reply.”

While this is obviously a scam, it is certainly a frightening one. The next step in the scam is most likely to extort money from the people who choose to reply to it.

November 19, 2014

Deputy asks for help identifying suspect

A deputy investigating a credit card fraud case is asking for help identifying the woman believed to have committed the crime.

The victim, a Marathon resident, reported someone used her Mastercard credit card on October 9th at 11:30 a.m. to make a purchase at the Marathon Home Depot for $996.44.  She reported the purchase to the credit card company and her card was canceled. Deputy Leon Bourcier was assigned to the case. The credit card company said the item purchased was a Makita saw.

Deputy Bourcier worked with management at Home Depot to obtain more information about the purchase. He was able to obtain still photos from their video surveillance system of the purchase. The photos showed a woman with dark hair buying a saw at a self-checkout counter at the store.

Deputy Bourcier would like the public’s assistance identifying the suspect. Anyone with information or anyone who thinks they recognize the woman in the photos 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.

Holiday Shopping Safety Tips

The holiday season can be distracting, with lots of holiday decorations and crowds of people. When you are out shopping for the holidays, make sure you pay attention to what is happening at all times.  There are always people who will try to take advantage of distractions to commit crimes and you don’t want to become a victim during the holidays.
Stay alert and aware of what is going on around you.
Deter pickpockets.  Carry your purse close to your body or your wallet inside a coat or front trouser pocket.
Tell a security guard or store employee if you see an unattended bag or package. The same applies when taking mass transit: report any unattended packages to security or staff.
ALWAYS leave yourself extra time. People in a hurry tend to pay less attention to what is going on around them.
If you see anything suspicious, call 911.

Vehicle safety
Park in a well-lighted area and be sure to lock your car doors.
Have your keys in hand when approaching your vehicle. This will allow you to open the car door quickly, and keys can always be used as a weapon if necessary.
Check the back seat and around the car before getting in.
NEVER leave doors unlocked or windows open.
Hide shopping bags and gifts in the trunk so they aren’t visible to those passing by your car.

Be smart about your purchases
Avoid carrying cash if at all possible. Use credit cards instead. Credit cards are much safer than cash or debit cards because they leave you less vulnerable to thieves. Many cards offer increased warranties, and other protections for your purchases as well.
Double check that you have your credit cards and wallet after you pay for your items.
Check receipts to see whether your full credit card number appears. If a receipt has your full number on it, take a pen and thoroughly scratch it out.
Save all receipts.  Print and save all confirmations from your online purchases.   Start a file folder to keep all receipts together and to help you verify credit card or bank statements as they come in.
Be extra careful with purses and wallets. Don’t put your purse down, and carry your purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Put your wallet in an inside pocket or in a front pants pocket. This will deter pickpockets and purse snatchers.

Shopping with children
If you are shopping with your children, talk to them ahead of time about what to do if they get lost in the crowd. Have a central meeting place or teach them to go immediately to a store clerk or a security guard and ask for help.
If they are old enough, make sure they know your home phone number, your cell phone number and that your name is not just “Mommy” or “Daddy”.
Ensure that any children with you know your cell phone number. Give cards with contact information to any who don’t.

Shopping Online
Before shopping on the Internet, secure your personal computers by updating your security software. Everyone’s computer should have anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-spam software, as well as a good firewall installed.
Keep your personal information private and your passwords secure. Do not respond to requests to “verify” your password or credit card information unless you initiated the contact. Legitimate businesses will not contact you in this manner.
Beware of “bargains” from companies with whom you are unfamiliar—if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Shop with companies you know and trust. Check for background information if you plan to buy from a new or unfamiliar company.

November 18, 2014

Click it or Ticket starts state-wide

The state-wide Click it or Ticket campaign began on Monday and will run through the end of November. Sheriff’s deputies – and particularly traffic enforcement deputies – will be out county-wide keeping an eye out for people who are not wearing safety belts.

This is just a reminder: they are called “safety” belts for a reason.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 2.2 million adult drivers and passengers were treated in emergency rooms as a result of being injured in motor vehicle accidents in 2012.  And safety belts in automobiles reduce serious crash related injuries by about half.

Always wear your safety belt, even if you are only going a short distance in your car. And make sure young drivers in your family wear them as well. It could make the difference between life and death if you are involved in an automobile accident.

Sheriff's Animal Farm open this Sunday

 The Sheriff's Animal Farm will be open this Sunday November 23rd, between 1 - 3 p.m. Bring the family and come visit the animals at the farm, including horses, a cow, pigs, goats, bunnies, alligators, tropical birds, Kinkajous, Sloths, a Lemur, Kramer the Emu, a family of Patagonian Cavys, a skunk, an opossum, tortoises and turtles, snakes and many more. It is free of charge, but donations are welcomed because that is how the farm is sustained.

The farm is located just off of College Road, on Stock Island, at the Sheriff’s Office Headquarters complex. Groups may schedule special tours at the farm by calling Farmer Jeanne Selander at 305-293-7300. Visits to the farm are free, and donations are welcome.