May 02
Woman charged with burglary, dealing property

A Marathon woman was arrested Monday for allegedly stealing jewelry from her roommate and then pawning it at a local pawn shop.

The victim called the Sheriff’s Office on April 23 to report her roommate, 27 year old Allison Peryam, took jewelry from her bedroom. Investigations revealed Peryam then took the jewelry to a Marathon pawn shop and pawned it for cash. The victim rents a room in the same house as Peryam.

A warrant was issued for her arrest. On Monday she was booked into jail on charges of burglary, grand theft, dealing in stolen property and fraud.

She is he daughter of former Monroe County Sheriff Bob Peryam.

May 02
Marathon man charged in road rage incident

A Marathon man was arrested after he showed another driver a gun during the course of a road rage incident.

The victim called the Sheriff’s Office just before 9 p.m. Monday to report the incident. He said a man in a blue Ford minivan had pointed a black colored handgun at him in the parking lot of the Mobile gas station on Big Coppitt Key. He was able to give dispatchers the vehicle’s license tag number.

The van was stopped on Stock Island by Deputies Andrew Hudson and Donald Stulken. 26 year old Andrew Bermudez of Marathon was driving. When the deputies questioned Bermudez, he admitted to having a handgun in the van. He said he was driving on highway U.S. One when a Mercedes was behind him, following closely. He said he put on his brakes to let the car’s driver know he was following too closely. He said the Mercedes then passed him and did the same thing in front of him. He said later in the incident, he took his gun out of his glove compartment and tapped it against his driver’s side window to let the other driver know he had a gun.

The victim said he was southbound at the 16 mile marker when a blue van in front of him pulled off the road, then pulled back in behind him. He said the van was following closely behind him so he pulled off the roadway into the parking lot of a Big Coppitt gas station. He said the van pulled in as well, so he got out and approached it. That is when he said the driver of the van pointed a handgun at him.

Bermudez was arrested. He was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and he was booked into jail.

May 02
Search Warrant yields drug arrests

A search warrant was served Tuesday at a Stock Island residence.

Detectives from the Special Investigations Unit, along with Lower Keys Criminal Investigation detectives and agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration served the warrant at 6529 Maloney Avenue, Lot 6, on Stock Island just before 2 p.m. Inside the trailer, detectives found 30 year old Delila Bryant, 57 year old William Kirkpatrick, 37 year old Eric Mylesand 43 year old Elizabeth Ebinger.

The search of the residence turned up 5.3 grams of methamphetamine, 19 Dronabinol pills, 2 grams of cocaine, 3 grams of powdered amphetamine, over 50 miscellaneous prescription pills, a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Additionally, inside the residence was equipment and precursor chemicals required for a portable methamphetamine lab. A search of a vehicle on the property turned up two methadone pills, more marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Kirkpatrick was charged with the production of methamphetamines, possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell\manufacture\deliver,  possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, possession of drug paraphernalia and providing a false name to a law enforcement officer. Kirkpatrick originally told detectives his first name was “Jack” and gave a different date of birth to them when they asked for his identification information. Myles was charged with the possession of cocaine, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Bryant was charged with marijuana possession. Ebinger was charged with possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, marijuana possession, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

They were all booked into the Key West jail.

May 02
Corrections officer arrested in Miami-Dade County

A Monroe County Sheriff’s Office corrections deputy was arrested Saturday morning by Miami-Dade police.

19 year old Juan Morales Jr. was booked into the Miami-Dade County jail with two other men on charges of grand theft and criminal mischief. According to a report by Miami-Dade police, they were caught with a tire and rim they had allegedly stolen off of a vehicle on S.W. 149th Avenue.

Morales Jr. has been employed by the Sheriff’s Office since September of 2013.

May 02
Make sure you lock up your fishing equipment

Every year, as spring and summer approach, the Sheriff’s Office begins to see more crimes related to boats, boating and fishing. Recently, detective units county-wide have seen an uptick in the theft of various types of fishing equipment – particularly rods and reels.

Since February, there have been approximately 30 reports county-wide of fishing equipment stolen. Most of the stolen equipment has been rods and reels, with some dive equipment and one small outboard motor. In virtually all these cases, the thefts have been easily preventable. The items have virtually all been unsecured, either easily accessible on board a boat, stored underneath a home outside, or in an unlocked downstairs enclosure.

Thefts that have occurred in close geographic areas may or may not be connected. Many of the cases have similarities with others or are very close in time and place to each other. Detectives do not believe, however, that this is an organized “ring” of thieves.

“I think we have a few here and a few there being committed by the same people,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “Do I think they are all connected county-wide? No, I don’t,” he said. “We are working hard on these cases. We could use citizens’ help both when it comes to preventing these crimes and when it comes to solving them.”

These crimes are most likely crimes of opportunity, detectives say. Someone just decides to go door to door in a neighborhood looking for things of value to steal. It just so happens we are a marine centered community and many times the things they find to steal that are easily accessible include rods, reels and other fishing equipment.

  • In the Lower Keys, there have been eight such thefts between Cudjoe Key and Big Coppitt Key; four on Cudjoe, two on Sugarloaf and one each on Summerland Key and Big Coppitt Key. In four of those cases, property has been recovered and returned to the owner.
  • In the Middle Keys there have been nine cases, three in Duck Key, three in Layton and three on Conch Key.
  • In the Upper Keys, there have been 13 cases, seven in Islamorada and six in Key Largo.

Fortunately, there are steps everyone can take to avoid becoming a victim of this type of crime. Do not leave your equipment unsecured. Take your rods and reels off your boat at the end of a fishing trip. Make sure these valuable items are locked up securely.

There are also things you can do to help with our investigation of such crimes. First of all, you should be aware of suspicious vehicles, vessels or people in your neighborhood and shouldn’t hesitate to call the Sheriff’s Office if you see something suspicious. In addition, make sure you document any valuables you own. Take photographs and record serial numbers. If possible, engrave items with your driver’s license number or mark them with some kind of identifying mark you will remember. This will help us when and if we recover property to sort out who it belongs to and return the property to the rightful owner.

If you hear about anyone trying to sell rods and reels or fishing equipment, call the Sheriff’s Office right away. Anyone with information about this type of 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.

Apr 25
Two arrested in connection with rod and reel thefts

A Big Pine Key man and a Cudjoe Key man have been arrested in connection with recent rod and reel thefts in the Lower Keys.

On April 13 at 6 a.m., deputies were called to a home on Cudjoe Key. 33 year old John Farley said he’d just seen someone take rods and reels from underneath his home on Cutlass Drive. He gave dispatchers a description of the car the man fled in, along with a license tag number. Just minutes later, the car was stopped by Deputy Linda Kohout. The driver was identified as 32 year old Joshua Causey. In the car, deputies found 11 rod and reel combinations, along with a radio controlled boat motor.

Farley identified Causey as the man he saw stealing his rods and reels. He identified six of the rods and reels as his along with the boat motor. The property was returned to him. He said he did not want to press charges against Causey. The other items in the car were taken by the deputies for further investigation. At the time of the traffic stop, Causey told deputies he and Farley were friends. He said he’d been at Farley’s house and they’d argued. He said Farley told him to take the fishing equipment and to leave. He said Farley must have called the Sheriff’s Office after he left. Due to conflicting stories, Causey was not arrested and the case was assigned to detectives.

The case began to get more complicated after three more reports of rod and reel thefts came in over the next two days. A man on Big Coppitt Key, a man on Summerland Key and a man on Sugarloaf Key all reported their fishing equipment stolen; two of  from storage areas under their residences and one  from a porch area where they had been propped up to dry. Detectives from the Lower Keys Criminal Investigative Unit were assigned to all the cases and began to unravel the details.

Some of the rods and reels reported stolen from the other residences turned out to be the ones seized in the traffic stop. Some of the stolen rods and reels turned out to be ones returned to Farley after he identified them as his. Some of the stolen rods and reels turned up at Farley’s house when detectives went to talk to him as they investigated.

Both men were arrested last Thursday. Causey was charged with two counts of grand theft in connection with the crimes in Summerland Key and Sugarloaf Key. Farley was charged with two counts of grand theft in connection with the crimes on Big Coppitt Key and on Sugarloaf Key. Investigations are continuing.

Apr 25
Man arrested for molesting young girl

A Sugarloaf Key man is in jail charged with having sexual relations with a young girl.

The victim’s mother came home on April d and found 32 year old Emanuel Llama naked in her 13 year old daughter’s bedroom. A confrontation ensued and Llama left her house.

At that point, the victim confided to her mother and to a friend that 32 year old Emanuel Llama forced her to have sexual relations with him on numerous occasions between July of 2012 and now. She said he also forced her to watch pornographic movies with him.

Major Crimes Detective Lissette Zuelch obtained a warrant for Llama’s arrest after investigating the case. On Wednesday, Llama was charged with lewd and lascivious behavior with a victim between the ages of 12 and 16 and lewd and lascivious molestation of a victim between the ages of 12 and 16.

Apr 25
Caller threatens bombing in apparent scam call

A caller to the Big Pine Key CVS pharmacy threatened to blow the store up last Wednesday.

A man called the business at 7 p.m. and told the clerk who answered the phone to fill a Green Dot card with $500 or he would blow up the store. The clerk handed the phone to a co-worker and the man repeated his threats to her. The two hung up the phone and called the Sheriff’s Office.

They told Deputy Kendall Bailey they think the caller intended to have them load the card with $500 and then give him the number off the back so he could use the money.

The two employees handled the situation properly, according to Sheriff Rick Ramsay.

“This call threatening to blow up the store is a bit extreme, but there are many scams around that are similar. Generally someone is trying to force you to send them money quickly so you don’t have time to think about it,” he said. “If someone calls and tells you to do something and it just doesn’t feel right to you, it probably isn’t. Take the time to check it out – call us and we will help you find out if the situation is a scam or not.”

Some other examples of scams being reported locally:

Some businesses are currently getting calls from people claiming to be from utility companies, threatening to turn off electricity if they don’t pay their bills using green dot money cards or other types of prepaid cards. Oftentimes, they are using phone “spoofing” technology so it appears the call is coming from the utility company.

A person will get a phone call about a friend or family member who is in trouble. That friend or family member needs money quickly to get out of whatever trouble they are in. Typically, the scammer asks for you to go to the store and get green dot prepaid card and give them the number on the card; they may also ask that a money order be wired to a certain location.

Apr 18
Miami man charged with vehicle burglaries

A Miami man was arrested Sunday after surveillance video in a parking lot helped to identify him as the suspect in two vehicle burglaries.

Deputies Chuck Kellenberger and Rosary Ponce responded to a vehicle burglary at 4 p.m. at Island Fish Company in Marathon. When they arrived they met with the victim, who said someone smashed the window of his car and stole his Ipad Mini from inside. He said it happened between 3:40 p.m. when he’d parked and 4 p.m. when he discovered the crime. He described a distinctive image on the lock screen of the Ipad as a way to identify it. A second burglary was also discovered by deputies who were checking the parking lot and found it’s window smashed. The car’s owner was found inside the business and she confirmed her wallet had been stolen..

Surveillance video of the parking lot showed a Dodge Charger pull up beside the first vehicle. It showed a man later identified as 40 year old Nelson Gonzalez of Miami beside the vehicle walking around it. A second person was in the car with him. A notice to be on the lookout for the charger was issued, along with a description of the suspect.

Key Colony Beach Police Officer Colleen Gonzalez was dispatched to a disabled vehicle across the street from KCB City Hall a short time later. She found a red Charger with a flat tire. A woman was with the car. She said her boyfriend was getting a new tire for the car. Officer Gonzalez notified the deputies about the car and they responded to the scene.

When the boyfriend returned, he fit the description of the suspect in the vehicle burglaries. An Ipad Mini was found underneath the driver’s seat of the Charger. The lock screen image identified it as the one stolen in the first vehicle burglary. Gonzalez then admitted he’d burglarized the two vehicles. He assisted deputies in recovering items stolen in the second burglary as well.

Gonzalez was arrested. He was charged with two counts each of vehicle burglary and grand theft. He was booked into jail.

Apr 18
Man almost shot in confrontation with sergeant

A disturbed man who pointed what looked like a real firearm at a Sheriff’s sergeant last Friday was almost shot. He later told deputies he was “protecting 110th street from drug dealers and prostitutes.”

Sgt. Dennis Coleman was on patrol on Highway U.S. One at 12:45 p.m. near Marathon City Hall when he saw 44 year old Wayne Michaelson waving a handgun around. He pulled up behind Michaelson and, with his own firearm at the ready, told him to put down the gun. Michaelson did lay down on the ground, but he kept the gun and a plastic bag at his side. As the sergeant continued to give him orders, Michaelson brought the firearm in front of him and pointed it at Sgt. Coleman. At that point, Sgt. Coleman said he began to put pressure on the trigger of his gun in preparation to shoot Michaelson. Suddenly, Michaelson put the gun down, placing it in the plastic bag and saving his own life.

Other officers arrived as back-up and Michaelson was taken into custody. Michaelson told Deputy Vince Weiner he’d just purchased what turned out to be an airsoft pistol to “protect 110th Street from prostitutes and drug dealers”. He also said he felt threatened by passing cars when the “passed him at 55-60 miles an hour and made noises.”

Michaelson was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and resisting arrest with violence. He was taken to jail.

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