A Stock Island woman is in jail, charged with using a business’s credit card to make purchases without permission.
24 year old Paij Ellender told Detective Dave Chavka she found the credit card in a driveway on 6th Avenue on Stock Island. She admitted to using the card at a number of local businesses. Records show she used it 14 times on November 19 to charge over $1,200 at various local businesses and at ATM machines.
On November 20, the owner of the business noticed the fraudulent activity on his account and reported it to the Sheriff’s Office. Detective Chavka was able to obtain video from one of the businesses where the card was used. The video showed Ellender using the card. The video also showed another woman with her who the detective was also familiar with.
When he confronted Ellender’s friend, she said she was not aware the card was stolen. She said Ellender was the one who had the card. When Detective Chavka spoke with Ellender, she admitted to using the card. On Tuesday she was arrested. Ellender was charged with fraudulent use of a credit card, using the identification of a person without consent and grand theft. She was booked into jail.
Detectives say they have confirmed the identities of two people found dead in a car on Big Pine Key Monday. They say the circumstances of the deaths appear to be a murder-suicide.
The bodies of 49 year old Jim Ovecka and 54 year old Michelle Chapman were discovered by an employee of the Mosquito Control District at 8:15 a.m. Monday. They were inside of a 2004 Honda Element, parked in a wooded area past the end of 5th Avenue on Big Pine Key. The car was running. A hose was taped to the tailpipe and run into a back window of the car.
It appears from initial investigations that Ovecka used a handgun to first shoot Chapman in the head, then shoot himself.
Ovecka and Chapman were identified from Arizona driverís licenses found in the car, and by fingerprints which were compared to a set of fingerprints from Corpus Christi, Texas. The couple were past owners of a restaurant in that town and were arrested for stealing a large amount of money from credit cards belonging to customers. According to news reports from Texas, the two were given 10 years probation recently for stealing $200,000 and were required by the courts to pay back a large portion of the stolen money.
The vehicle was parked at the end of Fifth Avenue in a wooded area on Big Pine Key. Sheriffís dispatchers received a report there were two people inside the car who appeared to be unconscious. When deputies arrived on the scene, they found the car running.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement yesterday released crime statistics for counties and cities, showing an impressive decrease for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office for the first half of 2013.
Between January and June of this year, areas of the county patrolled by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office showed a decrease in major crimes of 7.8% over the same time period in 2012. Most of that decrease was in “Larceny” crimes also known as theft or grand theft. Larcenies went from 694 in 2012 to 592 this year.
And the Sheriff’s Office saw a significant increase in the number of cases cleared. In 2012, the clearance rate for crimes was 23.4%. During the first half of this year the number jumped to 27.4%. Statistics published on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement web site going back to 1991 show this to be the highest clearance rate ever for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
There are two ways to clear a case: by arrest or “Cleared by Exception”, which means an offender has been identified but there is something beyond the agency’s control which keeps that offender from being arrested. An example would be that the offender is dead, extradition from another jurisdiction is denied, or the case involves a juvenile offender who cannot be charged for some reason.
“I am very happy to see such positive numbers in the first six months of my term as Sheriff,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “I am also happy to say our agency is clearing more cases than we ever have. Our efforts at cleaning up our community and making it more safe is having a visible affect on our crime and clearance numbers,” he said.
A Miami man was arrested Wednesday on outstanding warrants for multiple charges. He is accused of stealing property from a friend, purchasing items with bad checks, then pawning all the items for cash, giving false ownership information to the pawn shops.
In January, 50 year old John Golden purchased a large amount of fishing equipment from Jig’s Bait and Tackle and from Underseas, Inc. on Big Pine Key. He wrote checks for all the items he was purchasing. He then pawned the items at various pawn shops in the Keys.
he owner of one of the pawn shops called the owner of Jig’s Bait and Tackle and asked him if he was missing any fishing equipment. He said someone had just pawned a number of items, new and still in the box. The owner of Jig’s recognized the items as the one’s he had just sold to Golden and became suspicious. He called the Sheriff’s Office.
Detective Diane Mimosa confirmed the checks written to both stores were written on a closed account.
While she was investigating these cases, she discovered other items which had been pawned by Golden. When she checked on them, she found they belonged to a Miami man who has a house in the Keys. The man said Golden had helped him move some property from Miami to his house on Little Torch Key. He said he gave Golden a key to his home and let him stay there. While staying there, Golden had taken property belonging to him and had pawned it, telling the pawn shops it was his own property.
Warrants were obtained for Golden’s arrest. He was arrested in Miami-Dade County on the warrants and returned to the Keys Wednesday to face the charges, which include five counts of grand theft, two counts of theft and four counts of fraud.
A friendly visit turned violent Friday with a man cut by a machete and arrested for burglary and criminal mischief.
Deputy Ian Cooper responded to Sawyer Drive on Cudjoe Key at 9:20 p.m. Saturday night to reports of a disturbance. When he arrived he found a man standing in the yard of the home bleeding from a cut on his arm and screaming at three others standing on a balcony. The bleeding man was 46 year old Douglas Ney of Key West.
The other three said Ney was at their house visiting when he became drunk and angry. An argument ensued. Ney grabbed a bottle of liquor, took it outside and threw it at the windshield of a van parked outside, breaking the windshield. He then left.
Ney returned a short time later. The others described him as “in a rage”. He began to push and shove one of the victims, who grabbed a machete in defense and struck Ney on the arm with it. Ney continued to go after the other man until all of the others finally fled the residence and went to a neighbor’s house for help. That is when Deputy Cooper arrived.
Ney was arrested. A bag of marijuana was found in his pocket. He was taken to Lower Keys Hospital where his arm was stapled. He was then booked into jail on charges of burglary with battery on the occupant, criminal mischief and possession of marijuana.
A Miami man was caught by the employees of a Marathon deli entering the business through a back door and stealing a steak from inside Saturday.
The employees of Lauri’s Deli were working in the front of the business at 1 p.m. when they heard a door close in the rear. Since no one was supposed to be in the back, one of the employees went to check and found 49 year old Jeffery Hunter running out the back door with a large frozen steak and a loaf of bread in his hands.
The employee caught him by the back of his shirt and pulled him back inside. He then told other employees to call the Sheriff’s Office.
Deputy Anthony O’Dea responded. He took Hunter into custody. The employees said a second man had come into the deli at the same time and tried to sell them fake gold chains. They told Deputy O’Dea they thought the second man might have been trying to distract them.
The second man was found nearby. Investigations revealed he was, indeed, with Hunter. He said he and Hunter came to the Keys to sell the fake gold chains. He denied knowing Hunter was going to steal from the deli.
Hunter was arrested. He was charged with burglary and theft and he was booked into jail.
A Big Pine man is in jail charged with threatening his wife with a gun.
The victim told deputies she and her husband, 45 year old Matthew Sutton, got into an argument at their home on Avenue E at 7:30 p.m. last Thursday. She said during the argument, he pointed a handgun at her and told her he had “perfect aim”. She said he told her she had three choices – him, her son, or her life.
She said she was in fear that he would kill her, so she left the residence and went to a friend’s house. Sutton left their home and went to his place of business, AARGH Golfcart Maintenance and Service in Marathon.
Deputies responded to the business and found him sleeping in his office. He admitted to having a gun in his hand when he argued with his wife and said it was possible he had pointed it at her. Sutton was charged with aggravated assault with a firearm and he was taken to jail.
A Stock Island man was arrested Sunday, charged with battering his girlfriend, then robbing her.
The victim first called the Sheriff’s Office on Friday afternoon to report her boyfriend, 28 year old Alberto Diaz, had battered her. She said on November 6th he became angry about phone calls she made. She said he shoved her to the ground, injuring her arm. He then reportedly choked her.
Deputy Lazaro Valdes took a report of the incident.
Hours later, at 9:40 p.m., Deputy Spencer Curry responded to the Rusty Anchor restaurant where the victim works. She was holding a bag of ice to the back of her head, where she had a large lump.
She told Deputy Curry she’d left the restaurant to ride her bike to the store for cigarettes. She said Diaz rode his bike into hers, knocking her onto the ground. She got up and tried to run, but he grabbed her by the hair, throwing her down. He punched her several times, then stole her money and cell phone from her back pocket and fled.
Warrants were issued for Diaz and on Sunday he was arrested by Deputy Valdes. He was charged with two counts of battery, domestic battery, robbery and grand theft. He was booked into jail.
A Stock island man, found passed out in his car with the vehicle running, was arrested Tuesday after deputies found cocaine and a large amount of marijuana in his possession.
Deputy David Lariz was on bike patrol at 9 p.m. in the area of 9th Avenue and Cross Streets when he saw a black Infinity parked half in the roadway with the motor running. When he looked inside he saw a man passed out, lying on the front seat.
He got no response when he knocked on the window so he opened the door to check on the man and immediately smelled an odor similar to burnt marijuana in the car. There were amounts of a green leafy substance found a number of different places inside the car, along with a plastic bag with cocaine in it. The man in the car was identified as 29 year old Orlando Grimon.
Deputy Ian Cooper responded as back up. A tow truck was called to tow the car and Grimon was placed under arrest. As the tow truck driver was hooking up the vehicle, Deputy Cooper noticed two large plastic bags in the driver’s side wheel well of the car. The bags were filled with a total of 8.8 ounces of marijuana.
At the jail, when Grimon was informed about the finding of the hidden marijuana, he said “I was hoping they did not find that.” He was charged with possession of cocaine and a felony amount of marijuana.
Sheriff’s Major Crimes detectives brought more child pornography charges against a man arrested earlier this year.
39 year old Robert Pearl, AKA Robert Trotter, was originally arrested in February for driver’s license fraud. He and his wife gave fake driver’s licenses as ID when they applied for work at Gilbert’s Resort in Key Largo. They were found to have outstanding warrants in California under their real names.
Pearl was further charged with multiple counts of possessing child pornography in May of this year after an examination of a computer in his possession turned up a number of illegal images.
The investigation has continued, along with further examination of the computer’s hard drive. On Saturday, Pearl was further charged with seven more counts of sexual performance by a child because he possessed videos of underage children performing sexual acts.
Pearl remains in the Monroe County Detention Center.