Please, please, please remember NO law enforcement officer will EVER ask you for money or gift cards

Captain Lee Ann Holroyd of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM yesterday morning to talk about what’s been going on in the county.

Scams have been on the rise, especially using artificial intelligence to sound like officers.

Captain Holroyd said, “It’s definitely important for us to talk about these issues with scams, the fire marshal’s office, the sheriff’s office. I can’t encourage you enough, our citizens to verify with these agencies believe me, the Monterey County Fire Marshal’s Office will answer any questions from any citizen. They serve the public just as we do. There’s been scams where people are approaching residents and businesses and offering these fire marshal inspections and that they’re legally required and people have paid money and in fact, it’s nothing but a scam. There is no inspection from the fire marshal’s office and there is in fact no inspection done by them. So, please make sure that you reach out if someone approaches you. Remember, if they’re doing an inspection at your business or your residence, you’re giving them access to both of those places. So let’s make sure that doesn’t happen.”

One Key Largo resident lost $265,000 to a scam.

Captain Holroyd said, “Part of the issue is that we can’t we just can’t stress this enough, the sheriff’s office does not ask for gift cards or money from citizens. There’s absolutely no time whatsoever that the sheriff’s office asks for that and that’s exactly what is happening here. The use of AI is part of it. Believe me, they’re utilizing the voices, the names, the positions of people that work in the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and a Key Largo resident lost more than $265,000 for a gift card scam on Facebook. That’s another thing. Why would anybody ever agree to do any kind of business with an individual they only know from Facebook? Not a good idea. They’re posing as government officials, family members or friends instructing victims to purchase gift cards to try to stop some sort of fake, illegal billing issue as something like a warrant or a missed jury duty. This county does not charge anybody for missing jury duty, unpaid utility taxes, property taxes. Anyone that’s requesting you to buy gift cards for payment, it should be an immediate red flag. Please call us.”

A 34-year-old man from York, PA, was arrested on Saturday for speeding in excess of 80 miles per hour.

Captain Holroyd said, “Always in the top two calls for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and local and out of towners, for some reason believe that it’s a wise decision to run from law enforcement and everything from a scooter out of Key West, yes, it’s interesting that you think that you should run from law enforcement on a scooter to this vehicle that ended up nearly causing crashes. Thank goodness the public has become so well educated and calls us for all of these reckless drivers. It’s hard to measure the prevention of a crash or the loss of life, but thank goodness the public does call, and we do everything we can to possibly get those vehicles stopped. We use Stinger spikes, we have, thank goodness, the radio to transmit and we’ve got the assistance of other agencies here in this area.”

An 18-year-old Key West man did try to flee from sheriff’s deputies on a scooter recently.

Captain Holroyd said, “I have to say in that particular case, again, thank goodness for a phone call. That scooter, we don’t spikes for scooters or any kind of motorcycles. That scooter actually turned into a business and fortunately, again, the public comes to the rescue for law enforcement, and in fact, notified us of this individual who was on private property and parked in the parking lot of a business and we were able to apprehend this gentleman who had fled from us.”

A 58-year-old Marathon man was arrested on 20th Street in Marathon on Saturday after hitting another man with the butt of a knife and threatening another woman with the same knife. 

Captain Holroyd said, “I have to say first and foremost, there were no serious injuries reported, thank goodness. But yes the man was arrested and charged with aggravated battery, aggravated assault and simple battery. Unfortunately, sometimes those areas are frequently places that we respond to and we did, we responded regarding a fight and came across a male victim that was bleeding due to injuries to his head and the victim and a witness stated that, that the man punched him several times and hit him in the head with a butt of a knife and also threatened a female who was attempting to break up the fight with the same knife. So he was charged for those incidents.”

A Key West Florida man was arrested for battery on an adult female and child neglect as well as DUI, no serious injuries reported, but also kidnapping and false imprisonment.

Captain Holroyd said, “He’s in a world of travel at this point in time. He did, in fact, go to the residence of a female whom he knew, and he was arrested for false imprisonment of this female. He did all this by driving from his Key West residence, and falsely imprisoning this woman and committing a battery, as well. What we discovered upon contact with him was that he left his two children at home neglectfully and he was charged with that and the children were safely placed with a family member, thank goodness. He was arrested for DUI, the false imprisonment and battery and child neglect so not a good night for him and some very poor decision making that occurred.”

Another man was arrested for boat trailer theft in Key Largo. He stole a boat trailer that belongs to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

Captain Holroyd said, “Not a good idea when the victim happens to be the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. But I will say this man did do the right thing by admitting to the crime immediately when questioned, so there was video evidence and in fact, we were able to identify the subject pretty quickly as soon as the theft of the boat trailer was realized. We actually made that arrest, it had been reported missing from John Pennekamp State Park and returned to the original location about four days after it was taken and there was evidence that had been used.”

In Little Torch, a man was found inside another person’s car. 

Captain Holroyd said, “He is a 28 year old Little Torch resident. He was arrested for burglarizing a vehicle and then later it was learned also burglarized the home. The gentleman did confront him, not something that we truly recommend. I understand it, but 911 is always your best option. In this particular case, fortunately, we were able to find the man and he was taken to jail. Always important to remember that your life and the protection of your life is first and foremost and property, second to that. You have a right to protect your property, but remember, 911 is always your best option.”