Be very careful of scams involving police — no Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputy would EVER ask you for cash

Adam Linhardt, Public Information Officer with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this week to talk about what’s been going on in the county. 

Scams and cyber attacks are on the rise in the country, and people should be careful. 

Linhardt said, “When we do get hit, it seems like we get hit really hard and that is the case right now. We’ve even had people call posing as Sheriff Rick Ramsey. Right now the county, unfortunately, it’s just being inundated with these scam phone calls. So we’re urging everybody, talk to your friends, your neighbors, and not just your older friends and neighbors, but everybody. These scams now are getting very, very complicated. These criminals are going online and they’re finding real people that work here, calling your phone number using that name, and then they’ll use a ghost phone number. In other words, a phone number from a real substation, from our real headquarters. Then they might even use voice software technology to make their voice sound like Captain David Smith or Adam Linhardt or Sheriff Ricky Ramsay. So that technology is out there. These criminals are operating in a much more sophisticated manner. I saw a warrant the other day, a fake warrant, from my colleagues in Broward County who some of their residents are reportedly getting, it’s the same old story, you missed jury duty, you didn’t pay a traffic ticket, we’re coming to arrest you unless you pay us over the phone. If you look at this fake warrant that they’re texting people, it looks real. I look at this stuff every day, as you could probably imagine, and just glancing notice, I would maybe perhaps be convinced by it. This is something that if they catch you on a bad day, if you’re not thinking clearly, if your mind somewhere else, stop, take a deep breath, hang up. If you’re really concerned about it, give us a call, come by the substation, we’d love to see, you get to know the people here, we can look your information up. It’s such an important case where, this is something that affects millions of folks nationwide, and we’re talking tons of money, probably in the millions, I’m sure. It’s just very hard to prosecute. So we’re out to prevent the crime. Prevention is the key with this.”

The sheriff’s office will never ask you for money. 

Linhardt said, “Absolutely, absolutely. It used to be we tell people, just try to use some common sense. Well, nowadays, unfortunately, the criminals, the folks who are in and out of the justice system, they know how it works. It’s scary. You don’t want somebody coming to your house. The bottom line is this: if you have a warrant out for your arrest with a hundreds of thousands of dollars in bail, we’ll find you. We’re not going to call you up and ask for some gift card information over the phone. We are very good at at following court orders when it comes to getting folks before the judges when they need to be.”

Call the sheriff’s office with any concerns or questions at 305-292-7000

A 60-year-old Key West Florida woman recently bit an officer while under the influence. 

Linhardt said, “A woman who just had way too much to drink, and made a very bad decision at the jail facility. One bad move, one bad decision often leads to another. There’s a woman who she was in enough trouble as it is, dealing with DUI, which can be a serious financial blow, and it’s a serious, serious matter in and of itself. Now she’s looking at battery on a law enforcement officer on top of that. So this was a situation where she was pulled over, it was a pretty rudimentary stop and it turns out, she was kind of weaving and was behaving in the vehicle kind of abnormally. We’ve traditionally thought that maybe she had a medical issue, which is often the case. This was about 3:15. So middle of the day, on Saturday. Just goes to show that these kinds of traffic stops can often turn a little weird or strange if our people are not ready for them and are prepared for whatever can happen next, but hopefully this woman can get some help and then realizes that maybe the events of that day could have been prevented.”

Earlier this week, a 31-year-old man from Tavernier threatened another person with a shotgun. 

Linhardt said, “This is another instance where alcohol was a big part of this case. We had a vessel offshore. Two gentlemen I believe on board called for a tow. I think we the Coast Guard was notified. At the end of the day, the tow boat company goes out there, tows this gentleman and these two guys back to their residence in Tavernier. They are clearly intoxicated, bottles of alcohol, onboard the vessel. The tow boat operator gets back to the residence, looking for this gentleman’s information, membership, can’t find it. He gets agitated, runs into the house. The other gentleman who was on the boat is talking now to the tow boat guy trying to figure out what how this could be resolved. Our prime suspect comes out of the house with a shotgun and racks it or loads it and points it at the tow boat operator and basically tells them and a few $5 words to get off his property, which he does. So we show up. We find the weapon and live shells and so forth. This person was taken to Sheriff Rick Ramsay’s bed and breakfast where he will be facing from some very serious charges. I think people again with the alcohol not thinking clearly. I mean, this is just a classic. Not sure what jumped into this gentleman’s mind, but pointing a loaded firearm at somebody is never a good idea. I think a lot of folks, by and large, don’t understand how serious of a charge that is. This is a very serious crime that could potentially lead to some severe uncomfortable convictions. This is somebody who probably wasn’t thinking clearly I hope. If not, if this is just a violent individual, well, he’s off the street, and he’s in jail where he needs to be and the court system will deal with him as it deems appropriate.”

Harvesting tarpin became an issue recently.

Linhardt said, “This is one we don’t see every day. Folks who peruse our social media probably see that Sheriff Ramsey has a pretty aggressive policy when it comes to wildlife violations. We are out there to help our brothers and sisters with the FWC every chance we get. We want to be good law enforcement partners and just like the sheriff says we don’t care who gets the credit just as long as we’re keeping the community clean and safe. With this one, we’re out there doing mandatory resource checks a lot, but we don’t often see these tarpin cases. I don’t know why that would be. I suspect it’s because most folks don’t enjoy eating tarpin. These gentlemen apparently do. This is a rare case. I think we’re on Bahia Honda Bridge, right around mile marker 35. This is early in the morning, 2:30 in the morning, and a couple of our deputies noticed there was a be-headed, scaled tarpin already roped off in the water while they were just chatting and conducting a normal check. Two individuals from Hialeah were given mandatory notices to appear in court for that violation. It’s a good reminder to know the rules. I think that the day of well, I just didn’t know what the regulations were are coming to a pass. If you open up your phone, I think there’s about a half a million fishing regulation apps you can download. There’s just so much information there. I know that the state puts up signage on the bridges down here in terms of fish and what kind of fish that are not legal to harvest. The information is out there. It’s pretty prevalent. These folks should know better.”

Last week a gentleman from Miami was arrested for stealing a pickup truck.

Linhardt said, “That was an interesting one. Why that gentleman didn’t just keep driving. He was trying to get back to Miami Dade County and why he stopped and decided to I guess panhandle and get some cash I guess en route but he could have kept going. Who knows? Sometimes I think our deputies during roll call and during shift change, they kind of turn around and they go what was this guy thinking? That was one of those chalk that up to you just never know what you’re going to come across out there.”

Another arrest for possession of fentanyl and a lot of other drugs happened in Marathon for a stopped vehicle recently.

Linhardt said, “Shout out to our training division and our law enforcement agencies that we train with down here for these kinds of situations. This was a gentleman who was parked. It was night or early morning I think, 1 a.m., and a business that was closed in Marathon. He was sitting in a vehicle that was not moving and we saw this as suspicious activity and approached. No idea who’s in the vehicle, no idea whether that person is armed or what their intentions are or what they might do. But turns out sadly, this gentleman looks like he was in and out on some of the drugs he had on in his possession. We’re seeing a lot of this too. I would just give a shout out to all teachers and everybody who works with kids across the board and the county know that we’re seeing fentanyl now mixed with just about everything. They’re cutting it with everything and the danger level is just, it’s scary. I don’t know what other word to use. This is something that’s a drug that could kill a big, grown man within minutes if things get out of hand and it’s used incorrectly. It’s just an awful, awful drug. It’s insane to me that it’s out there and people are using it and dealing it and to all the listeners out there who knows somebody who has what I would call a casual maybe drug habit to wise up. Educate themselves. You don’t know what you’re getting. This stuff could be in anything that’s sold at the street level and quite frankly could kill you. And we are seeing that the sheriff has been very proactive the last two years and prosecuting folks who are dealing this stuff.”