September 12 — The Monroe County Sheriff’s Department never knows what a day in the Keys will bring and recently, the crimes have run the gamut.
Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about what’s been going on in the county.
The upper Keys have seen some cars that have been broken into.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “When we talk about auto burglaries, people think about break ins, smash and grabs, most of our auto burglaries really are not. They’re left unlocked cars that people rifle through looking for cigarettes, change and different stuff like that. These are all crimes of opportunity that could be easily avoided.”
One case at Mike’s Auto Repair saw a man inside a truck. Two people saw the man going through the truck and they confronted him. He was a 37-year-old man who recently came to town and he was a career criminal, a convicted felon and sexual offender.
The two people made him empty his pockets of everything he had stolen.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “We’re thankful. Inside the unlocked truck in the center console was a firearm. A loaded weapon that this guy had not yet found before he was confronted by the witnesses, so we’re glad about that.”
After he emptied his pockets, he took off. The Sheriff’s Department was notified and they found him. He was arrested for burglary and theft charges.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “You shouldn’t be leaving these cars unlocked, but you surely shouldn’t leave a weapon inside a vehicle. We just thank God the weapon didn’t get on the streets.”
Another burglary case saw the criminals using jet skis. A neighborhood was experiencing theft of coolers, fishing rods and reels and unlocked vehicles rifled through.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “We thought it was someone living relatively close. Guys and gals here at the office did a really good job. We had a pretty good image, a picture of the jet ski that we thought was being used.”
Putting out the photo resulted in a citizen contacting the Sheriff’s Office about who was using the jet ski. It was tracked to a 22-year-old son of a local resident and an investigation discovered the stolen items.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “We’re going to be making an arrest on him on a couple of burglaries and he’s a suspect in multiple other burglaries that occurred on land and sea, again, by way of jet ski, which he borrowed from a friend. So, kind of unusual, but we say a lot of times when we see rods and reels missing from boats that it’s done by a small vessel.”
The suspect has been continually kicked out of his mom and dad’s house because of causing mischief in the neighborhood.
Residents are reminded to put property away to avoid crimes of opportunity.
A 40-year-old Key West man was discovered with 5.4 grams of fentanyl last week.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “We’re seeing more of this fentanyl popping up left and right. Fentanyl is just so deadly. It’s becoming just a craze. We’re seeing so much of it coming across the southwest border. It’s scary for our officers to have to deal with the fentanyl because just touching it can be absorbed through your skin.”
It could actually kill police if it’s absorbed through the skin. So the officers are encouraged to wear latex gloves. The Sheriff’s office has NARCAN to keep their officers safe as well as revive citizens who overdose.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “So 5.4 grams is a lot of fentanyl. It has the ability to kill a lot of people. Every time we can make this case and hold someone accountable and keep sending the message that we’re not going to tolerate this down here is a good thing. This war on drugs is a difficult war. The United State’s government has been trying to win the war on the drug war for as long as we can remember. It’s like a needle in a haystack. When there’s such a demand, there’s always going to be a big supply. There’s so much money involved for people that don’t want to have real jobs. We struggled before I was the sheriff and we’re going to struggle when I’m no longer the sheriff. The Sheriff’s Office will still be dealing with illicit drugs in our communities.”
A Missouri man who came to the Keys as a tourist created havoc in Ocean Reef last week. The visitor had too much alcohol and at 1:30 in the morning started acting up. He dropped his pants and urinated at the bar and on the bar.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “Really a sad situation. The Sheriff’s office got called out and responded right away. We ultimately did arrest him, a very disorderly, violent individual. He was taken to jail in Plantation Key. It doesn’t matter where you’re at. It doesn’t matter what community you’re at. You have people that can’t hold their alcohol and make poor decisions while under the influence of alcohol. I always tell our listeners not much good happens after midnight.”
On the same night as the disorderly conduct, Sheriff’s deputies were handling a high speed chase.
A 43-year-old man from Miami was speeding in an excess of 100 miles per hour on US 1 to get away from the deputies. He was found to be intoxicated.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “Most of these things are stopped because of our Stinger Spike System.”
The deputies have the ability to stop motorists with the Stinger Spikes by deflating tires. The spikes are kept in patrol cars and on the highways seven miles apart.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “So we’re able to mobilize and get these deflation devices out pretty quickly and shut these things down and arrest people and hold them accountable. Our goal is to get the bad people but not create more havoc or more danger for our citizens, which is a difficult balance sometimes. They’re scary times for our people because when these people are doing an excess of 100 miles per hour, we have to drive very fast and it’s dangerous for our men and women and the public as well. So it’s a tough balance to know when to pursue, when to stop and have plans in place to control and get a hold of these people and stop these people. Our record’s pretty good and successful to stop and arrest these people.”
Sometimes even people within the department find out the hard way they are not above the law. A former Monroe County Fire Rescue chief flight nurse for the Trauma Star helicopter program was arrested for stealing narcotics.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “It doesn’t matter who it is we’ll hold people accountable and we’re not going to tolerate this. It’s a shame to see someone at her level and her professional background to get apparently hooked on painkillers. But the only good thing we can say is the program was uninterrupted, but it still sends a message that we’re going to hold people accountable no matter who you are, where you are, who you work for or what you do.”
A 30-year-old man in Key West was arrested recently for lewd and lascivious behavior and indecent exposure as a result of his actions with a minor.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “We received information about him inappropriately interacting with an 8-year-old male. He’d taken some pictures of him touching this 8-year-old male. Had them on his cell phone. We went to recover these pictures images, obviously get him to admit to these pictures. We did hold him accountable, did arrest him. It’s sickening to see these adults who are doing this improper conduct with minors and forever affecting these kids’ lives. These kids will never be the same so any time we can stop someone like this, it’s a good thing. If they’ve done it now, they’ve done it in the past and if they do it now, they’re going to do it in the future, so we’ve got to stop this crisis from occurring.”