June 30, 2015

Pirate charged with disorderly conduct

Deputies responding to a “shots fired” call on the old Seven Mile Bridge Monday night arrested a man in a full pirate costume, complete with operational black powder pistols in holsters on each hip, a sword and two knives.

Dispatchers received a call at 8:20 p.m. The caller wanted to report a pirate firing a gun on the bridge. When Deputy Garrett Bragg arrived, he found 58 year old Jamie Spering, who said he is an entertainer. He said he was on the bridge with friends for sunset. He admitted shooting both of his black powder pistols. He said there was no projectile loaded in the pistols, just the powder. He said he shot the guns safely,  toward the water. Witnesses contradicted his story, saying he fired one shot toward the water and one toward cars traveling on the bridge.

Spering was taken into custody, charged with disorderly conduct and booked into jail.

Deputies investigate mailbox damage

Sheriff’s deputies took numerous reports in the early morning hours today of someone damaging mailboxes on Duck Key.

A witness saw a gold colored Dodge truck speeding away from the area just before 2 a.m. He said he believes the occupants of the truck are responsible for the damages to the damaged mailboxes. At least 17 mailboxes were found to have been damaged with an object – possibly a baseball bat. Most of the mailboxes were located on South Indies Drive, with others on Bimini Drive, Antigua Street and Bahama Drive.

Anyone with information should contact the Sheriff’s Office.

June 21, 2015

Update on the deadly house fire on Ramrod Key this morning:

The people who died in the house fire were 46 year old Robin Ferrer; her son, Roman, age 7 and her daughter Hazel, age 5. Robin Ferrer’s older son, 18 year old Jacob Shores, was burned attempting to save his family. He is at Ryder Trauma Center in Miami where he is expected to recover from his injuries. Robin Ferrer’s older daughter, 19 year old Courtney Shores, also attempted to save her family. She was not injured.

Neighbors, other family members and deputies who arrived minutes after the call was dispatched also attempted to rescue those inside the burning house, but the flames and smoke were spreading too quickly for them to be able to enter the building.

The State Fire Marshal and Sheriff’s Major Crimes detectives are investigating the cause of the fire.

House fire kills three

A mother and her two small children, ages 5 and 7, died in a house fire in the early morning hours this morning on Anguila Lane, Ramrod Key.

Sheriff’s Office dispatchers began receiving calls reporting the fire at 12:35 a.m. When deputies and firefighters arrived on scene, the home was fully engulfed. An older male sibling of the two children who were killed was airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center for severe burns he sustained from the fire. A female sibling escaped from the burning home without injury.

The State Fire Marshal and Sheriff’s detectives are working together to determine the cause of the deadly blaze. Detectives are also working to notify family members of those who died. Names will be released as soon as they are able to do that.

June 20, 2015

Marathon man faces gun charges

A Marathon man is in jail, charged with pointing a gun at another man in a confrontation over a woman.

Deputies responded to Trailerama Trailer Park at 8:15 a.m. to reports of a man with a gun. When they arrived, the 38 year old victim said he was walking through the trailer park when 37 year old Chris Cortes came out of a trailer at lot #57 and began yelling at him about a woman. Cortes then walked underneath a nearby trailer and came back out with a gun. He pointed it at the victim, who thought Cortes was going to shoot him.

The victim told Cortes he was calling the Sheriff’s Office. Cortes then fled toward the trap yard at the rear of the trailer park.

Deputy Rosa DiGiovanni spoke with a witness who said she saw Cortes take the gun from under a washing machine at a trailer at the trailer park. She said she saw him point the gun at the victim.

The gun was recovered from under a nearby trailer, where the suspect is believed to have discarded it. A check on the serial number revealed it was reported stolen in April from Stock Island.

A warrant was obtained for Cortes and he was found later that afternoon. He was charged with aggravated assault and grand theft of a firearm. He was also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm – he has over ten felony convictions in the state of Florida and is currently on active felony probation with the Florida Department of Corrections.

Tip leads to arrest on Miami murder warrant

A tip called in to the Sheriff’s Office led to the arrest of a Miami man on a warrant for second degree murder.

33 year old Steve Singleton of Homestead was apprehended Friday at 7 p.m. at 20 High Point Road in Tavernier. At the time of his arrest, he had a Smith and Wesson semi-automatic handgun in a backpack which turned out to be stolen in April of 2013 from Miramar, Florida.

Singleton, who is a convicted felon, was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and with the warrant for second degree murder from Miami-Dade County. Miramar police were notified of the recovered stolen weapon.

June 19, 2015

Cleaning up Stock Island

Deputy Sean Moran, cleaning up a camping area near the Lighthouse Christian Academy on Stock Island.

Cleaning up in Marathon

Lt. Derek Paul periodically walks 15th Street in Marathon to keep the area clean. He also talks with residents about assisting with his efforts.

June 18, 2015

Search warrant leads to drug arrests

Five people were arrested after a search warrant was served at a Big Pine residence this morning.

The search warrant was served at 31036 Avenue D, Big Pine Key at 6:15 a.m. by the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Unit with assistance of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security and Sheriff’s detectives. Five people were on the property at the time.

A search of the property turned up over 28 grams of cocaine, marijuana, various prescription pills and drug paraphernalia. All five people were arrested. They face charges stemming from the search warrant, and two of them face charges from outstanding warrants as well.

·        Jacob Sterling, 32, arrested for trafficking in cocaine, possession of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance, possession with intent to sell Oxycodone and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was also charged with a warrant for violation of probation and New Jersey warrant for failure to appear in court on drug charges.

·        Nicholas Donofrio, 61, was arrested for outstanding warrants for three counts sale of cocaine and three counts use of a two way communications device to facilitate a felony crime and one count possession of drug paraphernalia.

·        Naivis Meulener, 33, was arrested for possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia.

·        Michael Hendricks, 41 was arrested for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

·        David Lamaster, 58, was arrested for possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Dive death, Upper Keys

A 65 year old Texas man died today just after surfacing from a dive on the wreck of the Spiegel Grove offshore of Key Largo.

According to witnesses, 65 year old Arne Berg of Dallas, Texas surfaced from a dive this morning and became unresponsive. He was brought on board the dive vessel, operated by Rainbow Reef Dive Center, and CPR was administered as the boat returned to shore. Paramedics met the boat at the Port Largo Subdivision and transported the victim to Mariner’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead just before noon.

An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of his death. 

Man arrested for stolen truck

Sheriff’s deputies arrested a Key West man Wednesday evening for stealing his girlfriend’s truck.

The clerk at the Tom Thumb Food Store at the 88 mile marker called the Sheriff’s Office at 4:50 p.m. to report two men who were intoxicated and were trying to leave the store in a Silverado truck. She provided the license number of the truck which, when checked through computers, turned out to have been reported stolen from Key West.

As Deputy Todd Wyatt arrived, he saw the two men standing by the truck. The suspect, 53 year old Stephen Heredia was in the driver’s seat. He told Deputy Wyatt the truck belonged to his girlfriend.

Heredia was arrested. He was charged with grand theft and he was booked into jail.

Man working on garbage truck is killed in accident

An employee of Key Sanitation was killed while working on a garbage truck yesterday in Key Largo.

59 year old Stanley Salatowski of Tavernier died from injuries he sustained while working on the truck. There were no witnesses to what happened, so the circumstances are unclear. The driver of the truck said they were at the Hampton Inn at the 102.4mm just before 10 a.m. He said he was in the driver’s seat and could not see his co-worker. He said when he didn’t hear anything from him, he exited the truck and found the victim on the ground, next to a dumpster, unresponsive. He said he does not know what happened.

Salatowski was transported to Mariner’s Hospital where he was pronounced deceased. An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of his death. Deputies responding indicated the victim may have sustained some sort of “crushing” injury.

Boat burglaries, Islamorada

Four boats were burglarized Tuesday night at Bud and Mary’s Marina in Islamorada.

Deputy Ray Jodlowski responded to the marina Wednesday just before noon. He spoke with the victims. One boat owner said a GPS was taken from his boat. The other three owners were missing large Yeti brand coolers from their boats.

Anyone with information about these crimes 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 www.tipsubmit.com or via a text message to 274637 using the keyword TIP136.

June 17, 2015

Man arrested after offering Marijuana on Craigslist

A 23 year old Miami man who offered Marijuana for sale on Craigslist is in jail after he sold an ounce of the drug to Sheriff’s detectives.

Detectives saw the advertisement on Craigslist which offered “medicinal high grade top shelf” marijuana, along with a picture of a green leafy substance that appeared to be cannabis. They communicated with the email address provided in the ad, asking if the seller could come to Monroe County to make a sale.

The seller, later identified as Rhamses Silva of Miami, responded that he did have “fire” for sale, a common street name for high quality marijuana. He eventually agreed to sell an ounce of marijuana for $320.

On Tuesday just after noon, detectives met with Silva in the parking lot of a convenience store at the 106.5 mile marker of the highway. Silva handed over a bag containing two packages of marijuana. The detectives handed over cash.

Silva was arrested. More marijuana was found in his car, along with one Adderall pill and various items of drug paraphernalia.

Silva was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell, possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, use of a cell phone to facilitate a felony and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was booked into jail.

Dog rescued from owner who beat, starved and hung him by his leash

A small Chihuahua mix named “Batman” is in a better place today after being rescued from his abusive owner.

 At 6:10 p.m. Tuesday, Deputy Garrett Bragg responded to City Marina in Marathon to reports a drunk man was abusing his dog. Witnesses told Deputy Bragg that 51 year old David Gross picked his dog up by its leash and was hanging him, bouncing the dog up and down and hitting him. Gross was threatening to throw the dog into the water and threatening to kill him. The dog was reportedly crying and choking as he was being abused.

A check on Gross in computers revealed he is a convicted felon in both Michigan and that he failed to register in Monroe County as such.

Animal Control officers responded. They told deputy Bragg Batman is very thin, malnourished and that his right front leg appears to have been broken and not reset properly. They took custody of the dog. Gross was booked into jail on charges of Felony animal cruelty, causing an animal pain and suffering and failing to register as a convicted felon.