Mar 14
Marathon man charged with animal cruelty

A Marathon man is in jail, charged with cruelly abusing a pit bull terrier named “Wally” in front of witnesses.

At 12:45 a.m. last Thursday, Deputies Garrett Brag, Garrett Test and Deanna Torres responded to the Marathon Grill and Alehouse to a disturbance. When they arrived, they found the suspect, 21 year old Benjamin Check, pacing in the parking lot, visibly agitated. Witnesses in the parking lot said they’d seen Check violently abusing his dog, a pit bull terrier named “Wally”.

The witnesses said they saw Check pick Wally up by the ears and slam him into the ground repeatedly. They also saw him thrust his knee into Wally’s side. They said during the entire attack, Wally was crying out in pain.

A search of Check turned up a wallet in his pocket that did not belong to him. The wallet’s owner was on the scene. He said he did not give Check permission to take his wallet.

Animal Control was called to the scene and took Wally into their custody for his protection and for treatment of any injuries he may have sustained.

Check went to jail on charges of petit theft and animal cruelty.

Mar 07
Detective needs help identifying suspect

Detective Dave Chavka would like the public’s assistance identifying a man who broke the glass door on a convenience store cooler, and stole a pack of beer.

The incident took place February 18 at the Dion’s Quik Mart on Big Coppitt Key. A man wearing just dark colored basketball shorts and no shirt entered the store just before 5 p.m. First, he walked to coolers on the back wall of the store. He struck the glass door of one of the coolers, shattering it. He then walked up to the counter where another customer had placed a four pack of Natural Ice beer. The suspect took the four pack of beer and fled the store without paying for it.

He left driving a silver colored four door sedan, possibly a Nissan Sentra with a Florida license plate.

Anyone with information about this crime should contact Detective Chavka at 305-292-7060. Callers may also contact Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Crime Stoppers 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

Mar 07
Big Pine man faces gun charges

A Big Pine man was arrested on a warrant for being a felon in possession of a firearm and for failing to register as a convicted felon.

Deputy Aaron Coller responded to a fight at Sea Horse Campground on Big Pine Key Friday night at 11 p.m. When he arrived, he found a group of neighbors gathered around two men fighting. He broke up the fight, and one of the men began to walk quickly away. 42 year old Ronald Jacobs was detained until Deputy Coller could determine what took place.

Witnesses said Jacobs had attacked his girlfriend. When several people intervened, the fight broke out. A witness to the fight said he’d seen Jacobs with a long gun – either a rifle or shotgun. Another witness said Jacobs had a large knife.

A shotgun was, indeed, found inside the home where Jacobs is living with his girlfriend. A check of his background revealed he is a convicted felon who has not registered in Monroe County.

As Jacobs was in the process of being arrested Friday night, he began to have medical problems and paramedics were called to the scene. Jacobs was eventually transported to Lower Keys Hospital where he was admitted for treatment.

A warrant was obtained for the charges. After he was discharged from the hospital, he was arrested and was booked into jail for failing to register as a convicted felon and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Mar 07
Stock Island man arrested for stabbing

A Stock Island man is under arrest, charged with stabbing another man in a fight over a woman.

Witnesses and the victim say 32 year old Keeney Diaz and the victim were fighting over the victim’s girlfriend. The fight took place Monday at 11 a.m. on Robin Lane on Stock Island. During the fight, Diaz reportedly pulled out a knife. When the victim saw the knife he turned to flee. Diaz then allegedly stabbed him in the lower back with the knife.

Deputy Matt Dowling was nearby when the victim approached him to report being stabbed. Paramedics were called. Deputy Dowling responded to Robin Lane, to the rear of a home on 5th Avenue. He asked a man he found there if Diaz was inside. The man said Diaz was inside.

Diaz then stepped outside the home and he was taken into custody and placed in the rear of Deputy Dowling’s patrol car. When Deputy Dowling told Diaz he was being arrested, Diaz began to struggle in the back of the vehicle. Deputies David Lariz and Kim Trullender were on scene to assist and they attempted to calm Diaz, who kicked and struggled with them violently.

Diaz was transported to jail. He was booked on charges of aggravated battery and resisting arrest with violence. The victim was treated for his injuries.

Mar 07
Woman charged with aggravated child abuse

A 32 year old woman was arrested last Wednesday, charged with throwing boiling water on a 14 year old girl.

Detectives say no one seems to know why Nadeige Pluviose threw the boiling water on the victim in the early morning hours, about 6 a.m. Wednesday. Pluviose herself refused to make a statement about the incident. The victim suffered second and third degree burns on her face, neck and shoulder.

A witness told Detective Manuel Cuervo he heard the victim screaming and saw Pluviose running from the room where the victim had been sleeping, carrying a plastic cup. He said he checked the kitchen and found the stove still hot. The victim was treated with home remedies until someone reported the incident to the Child Abuse Hotline. Once detectives responded at 1 p.m. Wednesday, she was transported for professional treatment at Lower Keys Hospital.

Pluviose was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center on charges of aggravated child abuse – a first degree felony crime.

From the Florida Department of Children and Families website:

The Florida Abuse Hotline accepts reports 24 hours a day and 7 days a week of known or suspected child abuse, neglect, or abandonment and reports of known or suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult. To make a report you can:

·If you suspect or know of a child or vulnerable adult in immediate danger, call 911.

Florida law requires any individual who suspects that a child has been abused by any person to report that to the Florida Abuse Hotline.

Penalties for those who suspect a child is being abused but fail to report it have been increased from a misdemeanor to a felony. Financial penalties also have increased.

Mar 07
Woman arrested for knife threats

A Big Pine Key woman who stole towels from the laundry room of a trailer park threatened the owners of the towels with a knife when they tried to get them back from her.

When a 19 year old man went to the laundry facility just after 8 p.m. Sunday to get bath towels his mother left in one of the dryers, he found they were missing. Another man in the laundry told him he’d seen 52 year old Robin Grabey take them. The 19 year old and a 27 year old friend confronted Grabey asking for the towels back. Grabey then pulled a folding knife from her pocket, opened it and told them she would stab them.

A witness who saw Grabey make the threats told Deputy Aaron Coller he saw the entire chain of events. He gave the same account of events as the two victims.

Grabey was found at her trailer at lot #101 and she was arrested. She was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and she was booked into jail.

Feb 28
Big Pine man charged with fleeing from deputy

A Big Pine Key man was arrested last Thursday after he fled from a deputy who was trying to stop him for speeding.

Deputy John Gabay was northbound at the 24 mile marker of the highway just after midnight Thursday when a vehicle passed him at a high rate of speed southbound. Deputy Gabay’s radar measured the car’s speed at 73 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone. He turned around and attempted to stop the vehicle – a 2005 Chevrolet Equinox.

The driver – later identified as 27 year old Anthony Velez LLanes – failed to stop and instead, turned off the highway onto Cutthroat Drive, then onto Jolly Roger Drive where it stopped on the front lawn of a home. Velez LLanes jumped out of the car and ran behind the house, where he was apprehended hiding behind some garbage cans. He attempted to flee from the deputy a second time during his apprehension, but Deputy Gaby caught up with him and took him into custody.

Deputy Gabay and back up officer Kendall Bailey could both smell marijuana while near Velez LLanes, but could not find any in his possession. After he was booked at the Monroe County Detention Center, corrections officers found a small amount of the illegal substance in one of his pockets.

Valez LLanes was charged with fleeing and eluding law enforcement, resisting arrest, possession of marijuana, introduction of contraband to a corrections facility. He also received citations for speeding and running a stop sign.

Feb 28
Teen charged with molesting small children

A 19 year old man who has recently been staying in the Stock Island area was arrested for molesting young children.

Jason Patrick McCain acted as caregiver for both of the victims – aged 6 and 7 – at various times.  In December, one of them disclosed to her mother that McCain had molested her. A short time later, the second child’s mother called the Sheriff’s Office to report she believed her son had also been molested by McCain.

Major Crimes Detective Rosa DiGiovanni was assigned to investigate.  Following her investigation into the allegations,  warrants were issued for Jason Patrick McCain.

On February 10, McCain was arrested on the outstanding warrants in Broward County. He was returned to Monroe County where he is currently charged with four counts of lewd and lascivious molestation on small children.

Feb 28
Two arrested for boat burglaries, vehicle burglary

An alert neighbor who called the Sheriff’s Office and a rapid response from deputies resulted in the arrest of two teens for multiple counts of burglary.

A man who lives on 27th Street in Marathon called the Sheriff’s Office at 5:30 a.m. Monday to report suspicious activity in his neighborhood. He said he heard people walking up and down his dock, looked outside and saw two people climbing into a vessel across the canal from him.

Deputies responded and saw flashlights going on and off inside a boat docked at a home on 28th Street. They surrounded the vessel and boarded it, giving commands for anyone on board to come out with their hands visible. A young man and a young woman walked out of the boat. The man is 19 year old Hunter Bradley of Marathon. The woman is a 17 year old from Marathon.

The woman told the deputies she had permission to be on the boat. The boat’s owner was contacted. It turned out his daughter did tell the girl she could sleep on the boat. The girl did not, however, have permission to take any belongings from the boat and she was found to have two GPS Units from the boat in her purse.

Further investigation revealed a number of items on the boat that did not belong there, including a guitar, a steel bracket, four fishing rods and a fire extinguisher. On the dock nearby was a large speaker. Deputies began contacting people who lived in the area. All of the items except the guitar and speaker had been taken from nearby vessels.

The guitar and the speaker turned out to have been stolen from a car parked on 28th Street. A matching speaker was still inside the car.

Both Bradley and the girl were arrested. They were charged with five counts each of burglary and grand theft in connection with the vessel burglaries. They were charged with one count each of burglary and grand theft in connection with the vehicle burglary.

Feb 28
Drug charges added to warrant arrest

Deputies attempting to arrest a man on an outstanding warrant for sale of cocaine found 35 grams of cocaine hidden in the man’s boxer shorts.

Deputies Ian Cooper and Wendy Negron went to 31251 Avenue E on Big Pine Key at 1 a.m. today looking for 26 year old Jerome Durham Jr. Durham was wanted for sale of cocaine within 100 feet of a public park. When they arrived, Durham came out of the house and he was taken into custody.

During a routine search of Durham, Deputy Cooper felt two lumps underneath the rear of his shorts. The lumps turned out to be two plastic bags hidden in his boxer shorts. Inside the bags was white powder which tested positive as cocaine.

Durham was further charged with trafficking in cocaine and he was booked into jail.

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