Sheriff’s Crime Report

Key Largo man arrested for fleeing from deputies

A Key Largo man is in jail after fleeing from Sheriff’s deputies in his vehicle to avoid an arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol.

At 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sgt. Scott Ward was on patrol and noticed a black Dodge Charger, running, parked at a business that has been closed for several months at the 102.2 mile marker. He stopped to see what the vehicle was doing there. The driver was identified by his driver’s license as 51 year old Johnny De Brule. Sgt. Ward could smell the odor of alcohol coming from the car and De Brule showed signs of being impaired. Sgt. Ward asked him if he would perform field sobriety exercises to ensure he was in good shape to operate a vehicle.

De Brule refused. He was informed that he could be arrested if he refused. Sgt. Ward asked him to step out of his vehicle. At that point, De Brule locked his car doors. When Sgt. Ward attempted to reach inside the car to unlock it, De Brule slapped his hand away.

At that point, De Brule put his car in drive and sped away, heading southbound. As he drove away, he said “I’m not doing this.” Deputy Chris Kilmurray had arrived as back up on the scene and he and Sgt. Ward followed De Brule southbound with lights and sirens.

De Brule drove to Atlantic Avenue at the 99 mile marker of the highway, where he turned left. He finally stopped his car at his home on Bahama Avenue. As the officers pulled up behind him, he got out of his car and began to walk toward the house. He ignored all the officers commands to stop.

They tackled him in front of the house, handcuffed him and took him into custody. He was charged with fleeing and eluding law enforcement, resisting arrest, and driving under the influence of alcohol. He was booked into jail.

Human remains found on Big Pine Key

Human remains found on Big Pine Key Tuesday may be those of a man reported missing in July of 2014.

An employee of Mosquito Control called the Sheriff’s Office at 3:30 p.m. He was in the area of Industrial Road on Big Pine Key checking for standing water in a wooded area when he found bones he believed to be human. When Deputies Ken Fricke and Josh Gordon arrived, they confirmed the remains were human and found a man’s wallet nearby as well as what looked like the remains of an old homeless campsite.

The wallet had identification in it belonging to a man reported missing in July of 2014. At the time of the report, a friend of the missing man said he was worried because his friend was homeless and diabetic and was having trouble obtaining medication for his illness. The Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit investigated. As part of the investigation, they did obtain DNA from the missing man’s family members. That DNA was entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUS).

The remains were turned over to the Medical Examiner to see if they can be positively identified as belonging to the missing man. His family has not yet been notified that he may have been found and his name is being withheld pending that notification.

Woman scammed in RV purchase

A Marathon woman was scammed out of $8,500 in a scam involving a fake eBay website and the sale of a recreational vehicle using gift cards.

The 67 year old female victim told Deputy Ryan Chlebanowski she contacted a woman who had listed an RV for sale on the eBay motors website. The two women agreed on a price of $10,000 for the vehicle. The suspect, who gave her name as Juliana Thompson, told the victim to use the eBay Vehicle Purchase Protection program as a protection against fraud.

The victim was directed to a special eBay web page with a “Buy it Now” option. The web page gave her given instructions in how to set up the vehicle protection plan and how to make payments using eBay gift cards. She was instructed to purchase $10,000 worth of eBay gift cards and she was given an email address to send the gift card information to, in order to make payment on the purchase. The instructions said once all the payments were made, the RV would be shipped to her and that if anything went wrong, eBay would refund the money under the protection program.

She made the payments using multiple cards and never received the RV. When she contacted eBay customer support, they told her she’d been scammed. She was able to cancel three of the gift cards before they were cashed, but is still out $8,500.00.

EBay told her the eBay Motors page used in the scam was a fake page and did not belong to them. It is easy to set up a fake web page and often, the web addresses used in frauds are similar to the real thing. Fake web pages often use real looking logos and page layouts similar to the real pages.

There is a warning on the eBay web site that the vehicle protection plan they offer is ONLY for vehicles purchased directly on eBay; not for any other type of vehicle purchase. Many fraud schemes utilize payment by gift cards and this should always be red flag. If anyone asks you to pay in advance using a gift card, green dot card, a money order or a money gram, be extremely cautious; there is a good chance you are dealing with a scammer and once they cash out these methods of payment, it is nearly impossible to get the money back.

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