April 17, 2015

Cat rescued from tree

The Sheriff’s Office and Florida Keys Electric Coop worked together yesterday to rescue a cat stuck at the top of a tree on Nautilus Drive in Islamorada. The owner was frantic and couldn’t find anyone to help her save her cat. She found a sympathetic ear in Captain Corey Bryan and Lt. David Carey, who noticed an FKEC crew in the neighborhood and asked them help with the task. The cat was brought down without any injuries – to the cat or to the Coop crew. Here are a couple of pictures.

Corrections Academy learns about bomb squad

The Corrections Academy learning about the Bomb Squad and hazardous materials.

Explorers learn CPR

Lt. Charlene Sprinkle-Huff and Traffic Deputy Tom Hill taught Lower and Middle Keys Explorers CPR last week.

Graffiti eradication

Deputy Bryan Cross identified and eradicated graffiti on a sewer exhaust vent at the 98 mile marker next to the bike path. Deputy Gil Gonzalez found and eradicated graffiti on a cement wall at the 97 mile marker in Key Largo.

Upper Keys - Alcohol Compliance Checks

On April 16, 2015, The Sheriff’s Special Investigations division was in the field checking to make sure businesses that sell alcohol in the Upper Keys were in compliance with the law when it comes to the sale of alcohol to minors.

A total of sixteen businesses were checked including restaurants, convenience stores and bars.  Eleven of the businesses complied with the law; five of the businesses were not in compliance and served alcohol to a minor during the checks.  The five clerks who sold the alcohol were issued notices to appear before a Monroe County judge.

The following are a list of the Businesses, and attendants who sold the alcohol to a minor:

• Walgreen’s - 99501 Overseas Highway, Key Largo.  Attendant: David E. Dimmel, 62 years of age.
• Speedway (Hess) - 99601 Overseas Highway, Key Largo.  Attendant: Guetyms K. Pierre, 21 years of age.
• Valero Gas - 99675 Overseas Highway, Key Largo. Attendant: Cherrelle D. Herron, 31 years of age.
• Marathon Gas - 98210 Overseas Highway, Key Largo. Attendant: Surama M. Diaz Cabrero, 35 years of age
• Payfair Supermarket – 90164 Overseas Highway, Tavernier. Attendant: Margaret M. Courtney, 66 years of age

The Sale Clerk violations are punishable by up to 60 days in jail, a $500.00 fine, $235.00 in court cost, $75.00 in cost of prosecution, and $40.00 in cost of investigation. The Licensee Violations are punishable by:

1st-Offense $1000 fine and 7 day suspension.
2nd-Offense $3000 fine and 30 day suspension.
3rd-Offense Revocation of license.

This operation was conducted in cooperation with the Monroe County Coalition for a Safe and Drug Free Community.

April 16, 2015

Key Largo cleanup

 Sheriff's Office, Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority, County Public Works and many others helped out Tuesday with a clean up at Magnolia and U.S. One in Key Largo. Here are some pictures, taken by Sgt. Tom Kiffney.



Detectives are looking for information about Stock Island Fire

Sheriff’s detectives and the Fire Marshal’s Office are working together to investigate a fire that took place at a Stock Island business last Thursday.

Detective David Cruz says the investigation has turned up evidence Todd’s Garage and White’s Welding shop on Second Avenue was burglarized just prior to or at the same time the fire started.

Investigators say someone in the community may have information about this crime, or may have seen or heard something which could indicate who the suspect might be.


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 www.tipsubmit.com or via a text message to 274637 using the keyword TIP136.

Man airlifted after altercation

A man from Cape Canaveral, Florida was airlifted to a Miami hospital after he sustained injuries in an altercation with another man.

Detectives say the 31 year old man was outside the Waffle House in Key Largo in the early morning hours Monday when deputies responded to a call of a fight at 2 a.m. The man was reportedly unresponsive and appeared to be highly intoxicated, lying on the ground in front of the restaurant.

Witnesses gave differing information about what happened but said the man had been in an altercation with another man.


Detective Ian Barnett has been assigned to investigate the circumstances under which the man was injured. He is still at Jackson Memorial Hospital, reported to be in critical condition.

April 15, 2015

Clean up in Islamorada!

We are going to spend some time cleaning up Sea Oats Beach on Lower Matecumbe Key May 16th. We would love for community members to come out and help us! Mark your calendars.

Marathon woman arrested for stealing drugs

A Marathon woman was arrested today, charged with stealing drugs from a neighbor.

The victims and the suspect live at Galway Bay Trailer Park in Marathon. The victims said on April 1st, they let 49 year old Jodi Wagner into their home to use the bathroom. While she was there, the victims caught Wagner trying to steal prescription drugs from them.

They said several days later they left the home and returned to find 100 of the pills missing. Shortly after that, they received an anonymous hand written note. In the note the person apologizes, asks for forgiveness and asks them not to send the person to jail.

Deputy Matthew O’Neill responded to take a theft report and to investigate. He spoke with Wagner’s boyfriend. He told them Wagner admitted to stealing the pills. Deputy O’Neill then spoke to Wagner who was inconsistent in her statements. She said she is often under the influence of alcohol and drugs and does not remember what she does much of the time. She admitted the note was in her handwriting, but does not know why she wrote it.


Wagner was charged with burglary and theft and she was booked into jail.

Coral Springs woman faces drug charges

A Coral Springs, Florida woman faces numerous drug charges after a traffic stop on Tuesday.

Deputy Gil Gonzalez was on patrol at the 103 mile marker at 1:45 a.m. when he spotted a dark colored sedan with a partially obscured license tag and a tag light out. He pulled it over at the 102 mile marker. There were two people inside. The female passenger, 29 year old Alexandra Martorano, said she was the owner of the vehicle.

Deputy Gonzalez could smell the odor of marijuana from the car’s windows as he spoke to the two people inside. As he asked the two to exit the vehicle, he noticed Martorano was very nervous and her hands were shaking.

Martorano produced a plastic bag with a white powder inside from inside her bra. The powder tested positive for cocaine. A search of the vehicle turned up many different types of pills, along with drug paraphernalia. Some of the pills could be identified, and included Xanax, Adderall and Benstropine Mesylate. More cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana were found as well as drug paraphernalia including ten different types of rolling papers and a digital scale. Many of the pills found in the vehicle could not be identified and will be sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for testing.


Martorano took responsibility for all of the illegal substances and illegal items. She was arrested. She was charged with possession of a harmful new legend drug without a prescription; possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, possession of cocaine, possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, possession of a felony amount of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

April 14, 2015

Seven Mile Bridge Run will impact traffic

On Saturday, April 18th the Seven Mile Bridge Run will shut down traffic both north and south for two and a half hours at the Seven Mile Bridge. Travelers should plan to be across the bridge by 6:30 a.m. to avoid being stuck on one side or the other. Traffic flow will resume at 9 a.m., but usually takes at least an hour after that to get back to normal flow.

April 12, 2015

Man arrested for fleeing, other charges

A man who said he’s been in Marathon for three or four weeks after being released from prison was arrested Saturdaynight on various charges including failing to register as a convicted felon.

Deputy Garrett Bragg was on patrol at 11:30 p.m. Saturday. He was checking behind Gulfside Village in Marathon when he spotted 21 year old Leith Wiese sitting behind one of the businesses.

As the deputy approached, Wiese began walking quickly away. Deputy Bragg stopped him and asked what he was doing there. Wiese said he’d been smoking marijuana and produced a pill bottle with a green leafy substance inside. He also admitted to having a knife concealed under his shirt, tucked in his waistband.

As Deputy Bragg continued speaking with Wiese, he learned Wiese had just been released from prison, where he’d done time for robbery with a weapon. A check in Sheriff’s Office computers revealed Wiese had not registered in Monroe County as a convicted felon, as he is required to do.

Deputy Bragg told Wiese he was under arrest. Wiese took off running. As Deputy Bragg chased him, Wiese tripped and fell into some bushes. He was handcuffed without further incident. He was charged with failing to register as a convicted felon, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, resisting arrest, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Man charged with making a false kidnapping report

A Kentucky man was arrested after he falsely reported being kidnapped.

Deputies Matt O’Neill and Kendall Bailey responded at 1:45 p.m. Saturday to meet with 26 year old Joshua Burke who said he’d just escaped from his kidnappers. He said he’d been kidnapped in Key West by two men and a woman driving a white car. He said they drove him to Marathon where he was able to escape and hide from them in a wooded area.

Burke said he was in the Keys with a friend, his friend’s mother and another man. When the deputies interviewed those people, Burke’s story began to unravel. They all said Burke had been with them in Marathon up until 11 a.m. that day. They said they were checking in to a motel in Marathon; Burke and his friend were in the car outside the motel when Burke got out of the car, walked into a wooded area and disappeared.

When confronted with the inconsistencies in his story, Burke finally admitted he’d not been kidnapped. He was charged with making a false police report and he was taken to jail.

Marathon man arrested for burglary, battery

A Marathon man forced his way into his ex-girlfriend’s apartment and attacked the man she is now dating. He was arrested.

The ex-girlfriend of Christian Banos Ortiz said she saw him Saturday night while she was out with her new boyfriend. She said Ortiz was visibly upset.

She told Deputy Garrett Bragg she was at home on Tingler Lane in Marathon in the early morning hours Sunday. She said her boyfriend was asleep in the bedroom. She said Ortiz knocked on the door and when she opened it, he forced his way inside. She said he hit her, then went into the bedroom and attacked her boyfriend. The boyfriend suffered a number of minor injuries from the attack.

Ortiz was found at his residence on Knight’s Key. He was arrested. He was charged with burglary with battery on the occupant and two counts of battery. He was booked into jail.

Marathon man charged with attempted burglary

A Marathon man was arrested after he damaged surveillance cameras at the Trailerama Trailer Park laundromat in Marathon, and tried to steal money from the bill changing machine inside.

45 year old Henry Perez was captured on video at 4:30 p.m. Saturday as he destroyed the cameras both inside and outside the laundromat using a hammer. When the trailer park owner noticed the cameras were not working, he notified the person who works on them to find out what happened. That person accessed the camera footage and saw what happened. The owner then called the Sheriff’s Office just after midnight Sunday.

Deputy Ben Elmore responded to take a report. He found evidence that Perez had, while in the laundromat, tried to pry open the bill changing machine, but was not successful.

Deputy Elmore and Sgt. Chuck Kellenberger looked at the video footage. It showed a man using a hammer to break the cameras. The man was clearly depicted, as was his clothing and the hat he was wearing. Sgt. Kellenberger recognized Perez from an earlier contact. A short time later, Sgt. Kellenberger found Perez on 15th Street. He was wearing the same clothing as in the video, was riding the same bike as in the video and had a hammer in his pocket.

Perez was arrested. He was charged with attempted burglary, criminal mischief, and possession of burglary tools. He was taken to jail.

April 10, 2015

Job Opportunity

Landscaping Specialist


High School/GED required, some experience in landscape design and horticulture. This requires maintaining Monroe County Sheriff’s Office facility grounds. This is a Part-time position. Hourly rate of $ 14.78 per hour working 3 to 10 hours per week. Applicants must fill out the online pre-application at: www.keysso.net Contact Charles Slebodnick at (305) 292-7044. EEO/AAP

Generous donation from West Marine

Sheriff Ramsay presented an award to West Marine Upper Keys Store Manager Ivan Martinez. Mr. Martinez was very generous in donating the bottom paint and supplies for one of our Patrol Boats. In the picture is David Campbell, Ivan Martinez, Sheriff Ramsay and Lt Ramirez.

Felony arrest by boat

Detective Scott Ward, Deputy Rosary Ponce and Sgt. Tom Walker head out with an FWC officer to serve a felony arrest warrant in Boot Key.

Speeding enforced

Sgt. Mike Digiovanni and his squad conducting traffic enforcement in a residential area of Islamorada.

No excuses for speeding now!

 This speed limit sign at the 105 mm in Key Largo was obstructed until Traffic Deputy Jason Keith took care of it. He says there are now no excuses for speeding in that area!

Dive team recovers two cars

 The dive team recently helped bring to the surface two sunken cars offshore of a Big Coppitt neighborhood. In one photo, Arnold’s Towing hauls one out of the water. In the other, diver and Detective Sheila Seago consults with dive team member Bob Smith.

Woman charged with throwing rock into residence

A 55 year old Key Largo woman was arrested after she was caught on video throwing a large rock into a residence on Largo Road.

The victim told Deputy Brian Cross he returned home the evening of March 3rd to find someone had thrown a large rock into his home, through a window. There was also damage to another window, where it looked like someone may have tried to do the same thing, and damage to a television on a covered patio.

Deputy Cross spoke with neighbors who had a surveillance camera. The video showed a woman – later identified as 55 year old Ofelia Lopez – walking up to the house, entering the covered porch and committing the crime.


A warrant was obtained for her arrest. On Thursday, she was booked into jail on charges of burglary and criminal mischief.

April 9, 2015

Fire destroys Stock Island business

 Photos taken by Sgt. Evan Calhoun

Fire destroyed a Stock Island business in the early morning hours today.

A man on his way to work drove by Todd’s Garage and White’s Welding shop on 2nd Avenue just before 4 a.m. and saw the fire. He called to report it and, when Deputy Aaron Coller and Sgt. Evan Calhoun arrived they could see visible smoke and flames. Monroe County firefighters responded and extinguished the blaze.

The fire marshal’s office responded and will be investigating the cause of the fire.