Tag Archives: Police

Streetlife – 06-05-2019

Anna Maria

May 22, 700 block of N. Shore Drive, fraud. A man went to the MCSO to submit a sworn statement about a scheme to defraud of more than $50,000.

May 22, 300 block of North Bay Boulevard, found property. A bike was found by an officer at Bayfront Park. The owner later identified the bike and it was returned.

      May 24, 100 block of Crescent Drive, mischief. A woman reported someone drove into the yard and knocked over potted plants.

Anna Maria is policed by MCSO.

Bradenton Beach

May 20, Circle K, 103 Gulf Drive S., trespass warning. An assistant store manager called Bradenton Beach police and reported a man loitering on the benches next to the entrance for several hours. BBPD assisted the manager issue the warning and advised the 52-year-old man that if he returned to the store, he would be arrested.

May 22, Historic Bridge Street Pier, 200 Bridge St., trespass warning. Between 7:30-8:30 p.m., people on the pier began calling police appalled about a 29-year-old man horsing around, using foul language and throwing fish. The man was issued a trespass warning.

May 24, Circle K, 103 Gulf Drive S., trespass warning. Responding to a report from the convenience store, Bradenton Beach police assisted with a trespass warning to a 33-year-old man who had remained at the store after being told to leave by a store employee. Police were told the man’s ex-girlfriend worked at the store, however, she was not working at the time.

May 25, 1600 block of Gulf Drive South, domestic battery. Bradenton Beach police responded to a report of a man beating a woman near the Coquina Beach Park bathrooms. The man left before officers arrived. The woman told police her boyfriend had dragged her through the sand, pushed her to the ground and kicked her in her stomach. BBPD, with other area law enforcement, searched for the man to no avail. BBPD submitted a request for the state attorney to pursue possible charges.

May 25, 300 block of Gulf Drive South, erratic driver. A 72-year-old man in a pickup was pulled over by police after an officer observed him swerving on Bridge Street, failing to yield the right of way in the roundabout, cutting off another vehicle, and driving into the bike lane. The man admitted he’d been drinking, exited the vehicle and fell on the sidewalk. The officer called for emergency medical services, which transported the man to Blake Medical Center in Bradenton. He was ticketed for failing to maintain a single lane and failure to yield the right of way at the roundabout.

Cortez

      No reports.

      Cortez is policed by MCSO.

Holmes Beach

      May 24, 6800 block of Palm Drive, theft. A woman unloading luggage at a rental house reported a carry-on bag with content valued at $475 was not in the driveway after it was left at the rear of the vehicle.

May 25, 4000 Gulf Drive, Manatee Public Beach, seat belts, possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana. A woman was stopped after making an illegal turn into the parking lot from Gulf Drive. She was cited for no seat belt, a child not properly belted in a carrier seat and possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana.

May 25, 100 block of 42nd Street, warrant arrest. A vehicle was stopped after a hit on a license plate reader and the driver was found to not have a license. A passenger was identified as having an outstanding warrant for domestic battery, was arrested and transported to Manatee County jail.

May 27, 400 block of Clark Drive, disorderly intoxication. A man was reported standing in the street with a bottle of tequila and yelling. A neighbor said he was an acquaintance of her son and she tried to take the tequila. An altercation ensued. Police found the man lying in the street. The man was taken into custody and transported to Manatee County jail, after receiving medical clearance for a bump on his head and alcohol toxicity.

Holmes Beach is policed by HBPD.

            Streetlife is based on incident reports and narratives from the BBPD, HBPD and MCSO.

Eyes on the road – 05-29-2019

The Florida Department of Transportation and Manatee County posted the following notices for the week of May 27:

Coquina Beach: Manatee County is paving the south end of the Coquina Beach parking lot in Bradenton Beach. The south lot will be closed during the work.

Bradenton Beach: Milling and paving continues, with work planned on 10th Street North east of Gulf Drive; 26th Street North from Gulf Drive to Avenue C; and Avenue C from 26th Street to Gulf Drive.

Holmes Beach: Milling and paving continues, with work planned on 39th Street from Gulf Drive to Fourth Avenue; Fourth Avenue from 39th to 35th streets; 35th Street from Fourth Avenue to Sixth Avenue; and Avenue E from Gulf Drive to 28th Street.

Manatee Avenue/SR 64 over Palma Sola and Perico Bay bridges: Crews are working on the bridges. Expect nighttime intermittent lane closures 8-11 p.m. Thursday, May 30.

Looking ahead

Longboat Pass Bridge: Save the date for the start of major repairs to the Longboat Pass Bridge on Gulf Drive between Bradenton Beach and Longboat Key. Overnight work will begin June 10 and continue through the fall.

For the latest road watch information, go online to www.fl511.com or dial 511.

Toddler’s killer sentenced to life in prison

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Luca Sholey. Islander Photo: Melissa Wolfe
Friends and family of Luca Sholey, including his mom, Melissa Wolfe, and dad, Eric Sholey, await the sentencing of David Vickers May 20 in the gallery of a Manatee County courtroom. Vickers killed their son. Islander Photos: Kathy Prucnell
Represented by attorney Joe Campoli and guarded by a Manatee County sheriff’s deputy, David Vickers pleads no contest May 20 to two counts of dealing in stolen property and two counts of pawn fraud as a result of thefts from Luca Sholey’s mother.

Claps and sounds of relief erupted in a Manatee County courtroom when friends and family heard the man who killed a 17-month-old Holmes Beach toddler would spend the rest of his life in prison.

In April, a jury convicted Vickers for the second-degree murder and neglect of Luca Sholey after a five-day trial.

At a May 20 hearing, 12th Circuit Judge Lon Arend sentenced David Vickers, 33, to life in the Florida Department of Corrections without the possibility of parole.

The judge also meted out a 15-year sentence to Vickers for neglect of a child with great bodily harm.

Immediately before the sentencing, Vickers pleaded no contest to two counts of dealing in stolen property and two counts of pawn fraud for stealing and pawning items belonging to the child’s mother, Melissa Wolfe. On these four counts, the judge sentenced Vickers for time served.

Vickers served 586 days in jail since August 2017, when Holmes Beach police arrested him for marijuana possession and a revoked license.

At trial, medical experts testified that Luca’s death Aug. 23, 2019, was the result of cardiac arrest and asphyxiation two days earlier, when Holmes Beach police, West Manatee Fire Rescue and Manatee County EMS responded Aug. 21, 2017, to Vickers’ 911 call.

Vickers testified he took fentanyl, fell asleep and woke up on top of the child several minutes later.

Other testimony indicated injuries to Luca’s chest and head, as well as numerous broken ribs, resulted from child neglect and abuse and pointed to Vickers as the person who inflicted the suffering.

At the time, Vickers was living with Wolfe at her father’s apartment in Holmes Beach. Vickers babysat Luca and his sister while Wolfe worked to support the family and Vickers.

Testimony at the sentencing came from Wolfe, Luca’s father Eric Sholey and other family members. All expressed grief and some of their words lapsed into tears and cries.

“Every day I wake up without my son. I want him to know that every day, what he did,” Eric Sholey said, directing his comments at Vickers.

Luca’s aunt, Nicole Sholey, said Luca was “lovable, happy and always smiling” and described how she ached for her brother, Eric Sholey.

Fidele Wolfe, the toddler’s grandmother, testified she believes the stress of Luca’s death brought on her sister’s cancer.

Her partner, Andrew Thomas, expressed his sadness but added a positive note. “Luca’s death has given us togetherness we’re lucky to have,” Thomas said, referring to the Wolfe and Sholey families.

Eric Sholey’s mom and Luca’s paternal grandmother, Mary DeyArmin, told the court between tears that Luca would give big hugs and always smiled.

“And why, why, why. That’s all I want to know. How anyone can kill an innocent 17-month-old baby,” she said. “If you can’t deal with it, you call somebody else,” she added.

Melissa Wolfe told of how Luca’s death impacted her and her family. “Every single day I wake up and it still seems like it happened yesterday,” she said.

She expressed disbelief about how Vickers could be “so cold” at the hospital knowing “he was the reason Luca wasn’t breathing.”

As of May 22, Vickers was in the Manatee County jail, awaiting transport to a state correctional facility.

After the sentencing, his attorney Joe Campoli said the judge had “no option” but to hand down the life sentence, referring to the state law that requires judges to impose a maximum sentence for felons who commit certain crimes within three years of prison release.

Vickers was released from state prison three months before killing Luca Sholey.

Campoli said the regional public defender automatically appeals life sentences, which will take about two years to go through the court system. “It was a really hard case,” Campoli said as he left the courtroom.

Vickers also was assessed $2,331.50 in costs and fines, including $1,309 in restitution to the Florida Crime Victims’ Compensation Trust Fund.

HBPD measures success of license plate readers

Updated technology is leading to more efficient law enforcement in Holmes Beach.

“It’s going great,” Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer said May 21 about the system installed to photograph license plates as vehicles pass through Holmes Beach. “We have utilized it to solve crimes already.”

The license plate reader alerts the police officer on patrol when it identifies license plates of vehicles that could be stolen or driven by someone with a suspended license.

Tokajer said the system has led to 37 traffic stops that produced arrests or citations since it went live April 18.

He said someone reported stolen property and, because the victim gave a description of a car allegedly connected to the crime, the police department utilized the LPR system to locate the vehicle.

“That’s still an ongoing investigation, but we have been able to connect a vehicle, which gives us a suspect we can interview,” Tokajer said.

There are two cameras installed on Manatee Avenue west of the Anna Maria Island Bridge, two on Gulf Drive at 27th Street North and one camera on East Bay Drive near Manatee Avenue.

The service, provided by Vigilant Solutions of Livermore, California, verifies the information through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation databases.

If, upon verification, the information provided by Vigilant matches information in the databases, the police attempt to locate the vehicle and investigate the driver.

The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, the law enforcement provider for Anna Maria, as well as the Longboat Key Police Department, also use the Vigilant LPR system.

“The MCSO already uses the same technology, so they can tap into our system just like that,” Tokajer said with a snap of his fingers. He said the MCSO does not have cameras in Anna Maria.

Bradenton Beach, on Gulf Drive between Holmes Beach and Longboat Key, declined to opt in with Holmes Beach on the LPR technology.

Bradenton Beach Police Chief Sam Speciale said the city has used information from Longboat Key’s system to solve crimes and, if the need arose, he would request information from HBPD.

“With the cities on both sides of us already using the technology, we are pretty covered,” Speciale said. He added that he does not have enough staff to employ the system as a “pro-active tool.”

“I think it would be kind of a waste of my resources because I cannot be chasing after every suspended license,” he said.

When asked by The Islander about keeping up with LPR alerts, Tokajer said he would not need to hire another officer. He said an advantage of the system in Holmes Beach is that it allows more patrol time for his officers.

“In the past, when time permitted, we would have an officer monitoring the entrance to the island,” he said. “Now, this monitors that for us, which frees up the officers and gives them more time to spend keeping our neighborhoods and beaches safe.”

Felon in car with shotgun let off

The 12th Circuit state attorney’s office dropped a charge against a felon accused of possessing a short-barreled shotgun due to lack of evidence.

Short-barreled shotguns are illegal, as is possession of any firearm by a felon.

The prosecution filed a formal charge against Joshua Kokko of Bradenton in September 2018 but decided not to prosecute in December 2018.

Holmes Beach police arrested Kokko, a felon convicted of crimes in multiple states, after he drove to the Manatee Public Beach parking lot with three other people in July 2018.

Police observed the foursome drinking beer in and around a Volkswagen Beetle, searched the vehicle and found the loaded short-barreled shotgun wrapped in a shirt under the driver’s seat, according to a police report.

Kokko acknowledged the shirt belonged to him, but said he had no knowledge of a gun in the vehicle, according to the state’s memo.

During the state investigation, witnesses told prosecutors they did not see Kokko with the firearm.

“The firearm was not photographed in the position it was found with the shirt,” disadvantaging the state in proving the charge, the memo stated.

Streetlife – 05-29-2019

Anna Maria

May 17, 100 Spring Ave., Sandbar Restaurant, lost property. A woman reported losing a key fob valued at $400.

Anna Maria is policed by MCSO.

Bradenton Beach

May 18, 1600 block of Gulf Drive South, driving on a suspended license. A Bradenton Beach police officer observed a car traveling northbound on Gulf Drive enter the center turn lane and pass about 20 cars that slowed for traffic. When stopped, the driver said his license was suspended for a DUI. The driver had three suspensions, was taken into custody and transported to Manatee County jail.

Bradenton Beach is policed by the BBPD.

Cortez

May 17 10300 block of Cortez Road West, grand theft. A man reported the theft of a bicycle valued at $1,000.

Cortez is policed by MCSO.

Holmes Beach

May 16, 5100 block of Gulf Drive, expired tag. While on patrol, a Holmes Beach police officer received a license plate recognition hit for an expired tag. The driver said she was trying to get her mother to register the tag, which had been expired for more than a year. The vehicle was towed and the driver was cited for driving on an expired tag.

May 17, 3200 block of Gulf Drive, driving on suspended license. An officer stopped a vehicle and found the motorist was driving on a suspended license. She was arrested and transported to the Manatee County jail. While inventorying the vehicle contents for towing, about 50 plastic bags with a white powdery residue were found, along with 1 gram of heroin.

May 19, 7310 Gulf Drive, La Casa Costiera condominiums, trespass. A deputy was dispatched to a call about unauthorized people on the property. Three juveniles were swimming and using the hot tub. They were given trespass warnings and picked up by their parents.

Holmes Beach is policed by HBPD.

Street life is based on incident reports and narratives from the BBPD, HBPD and MCSO.

Video prompts new law enforcement policy on beaches in Holmes Beach

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Holmes Beach Police Sgt. Mike Pilato directs a family to remove a tent April 22 over beachgoers’ objections in the 3600 block of Gulf Drive on the beach. Islander Courtesy Photo: Harrison Stewart

A new policy in Holmes Beach in response to irate beachgoers will require police officers to consider a different tack when they see tents on the beach.

An incident April 22 involving a Holmes Beach police officer and a family with a tent on the beach in the 3600 block of Gulf Drive triggered the policy change.

Jennifer Lisi of Bradenton and nephew Harrison Stewart of New Jersey complained that the police officer twice asked the family to either remove the tent or leave the beach.

Stewart recorded the incident, which also showed other beachgoers protesting the officer’s request.

Lisi named HBPD Sgt. Michael Pilato in her April 22 email to The Islander.

She said the officer was patrolling on an ATV.

“During this time there were many other families with tents along the beach, but only this family was told to remove the tent,” Lisi continued.

She said Pilato’s indicated the tent interior could not be viewed from all sides.

“This is, in fact, incorrect, as the tent did not have a cover over top and the inside was clearly visible from the outside of the tent,” she wrote.

Lisi noted the officer did not take action regarding other tents on the beach.

“The family, in the end, left the beach with no physical confrontation,” she wrote. But she claimed the incident was a “racial-motivated confrontation.”

In a phone interview April 29, Stewart agreed.

Pilato was “probably” enforcing the county tent ordinance, Mayor Judy Titsworth said May 9.

“It’s a drag. Holmes Beach prides itself on being racially diverse,” she added.

Titsworth and Police Chief Bill Tokajer discussed the complaint relayed by The Islander, leading to an email from Tokajer to employees in his department.

“We find the intent of the county ordinance prohibiting tents on the beach is to prevent people from doing things that violate our ordinances, like hiding alcoholic beverages, drugs, grills, inappropriate adult behavior or pets on the beach,” Tokajer wrote.

The chief also announced: “In the future, it will be our policy, if you see a tent on the beach that is being used for shade and not for the hiding of the improper activities you will take no action.

No-camping rules

Municipalities with law enforcement departments that perform beach patrols, can also enforce Manatee County ordinances, including one that prohibits outdoor camping.

Holmes Beach police use the county ordinance as a tool to dislodge the homeless and people who violate ordinances that prohibit sleeping overnight, fires, cooking and digging on the beach.

Section 54-12 states: “Being in a tent, hut, lean-to, shack or in a temporary shelter or being asleep atop or covered by materials in a public place or private place out-of-doors without the permission and consent of the city or the property owner may be evidence of a violation but is not alone sufficient to constitute a violation of this section.

The ordinance also states for probable cause to issue a summons or make an arrest, the officer must find numerous personal belongings, evidence of a fire or cooking activities, proof of digging or earth breaking activities or a person is asleep and “when awakened states he or she has no other place to live.”

Bradenton man arrested for marijuana possession

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Justin Gargett, 24

A Bradenton man was pulled over for Florida’s move-over law and arrested for possessing marijuana.

Holmes Beach police arrested Justin Gargett, 24, of Bradenton, for possessing 35 grams of marijuana and a marijuana pipe.

Officer Adam Hurt was conducting a traffic stop on Manatee Avenue in Holmes Beach at about 2 p.m. May 10 when a pickup truck sped past, almost striking Hurt, according to the police report.

Hurt pursued and stopped the truck in the 12000 block of Manatee Avenue in Bradenton.

The officer noticed a “strong odor of marijuana” while talking Gargett, who acknowledged he had “about an ounce,” of marijuana, according to the HBPD report.

A police search netted a plastic bag with about 35 grams of cannabis and a pipe.

In addition to the drug arrest, Gargett was ticketed for violating the move-over law.

Gargett was transported to the Manatee County jail, assigned a $2,000 bond, which he posted and was released.

Gargett’s court arraignment is set for 9 a.m. Friday, June 7, at the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.

Parrish man’s DUI case 
ends in house arrest

A Parrish man was sentenced to house arrest for driving under the influence in Anna Maria.

Ryan Whaley, 45, served 30 days with a court-monitored curfew after pleading no contest March 5 to DUI after prior convictions.

Twelfth Circuit Judge Mark Singer also sentenced Whaley to 12 months probation, requiring his attendance at an advanced DUI course and a victim presentation. The judge also ordered Whaley’s driver’s license suspended for a year with a business permit, impounded his vehicle for 10 days and required Whaley to install an alcohol-triggered ignition device in the vehicle.

Whaley was arrested by Manatee County sheriff’s deputies June 29, 2018, after he ran a stop sign at Pine Avenue and South Bay Boulevard and eventually stopped at Galati Marina, 900 S. Bay Blvd.

MCSO ticketed him for several traffic violations, including speeding, open container and failing to slow for emergency vehicles. The traffic cases were closed with the disposition of the DUI.

Whaley was originally assessed $4,360 in court costs and fines and $1,881 was paid May 14, according to court records.

Treasure Island woman gets probation for DUI

A woman arrested for DUI in Holmes Beach after losing her way was sentenced to 12 months probation in the 12th Circuit Court.

Sarah Williams Nagel, 49, of Treasure Island, pleaded no contest in April to counts of driving under the influence after prior conviction and driving on a suspended license.

Judge Mark Singer found Williams Nagel guilty on both counts and sentenced her to attend DUI school and a victim impact program, to perform 100 hours of public service and 41 days in a treatment facility. She also must have an alcohol-detection ignition device installed in her vehicle.

The judge allowed Williams Nagel options to report by mail and an early end to probation after 11 months if she met the conditions in his order.

Williams Nagel was arrested in June 2018 after a Holmes Beach police officer saw her swerve off Gulf Drive near the Manatee Public Beach, 4000 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office was called in for the DUI investigation.

Tickets issued for running a stop sign, failing to stay in a lane and driving on a sidewalk were consolidated into the DUI/suspended license case.

She was assessed $2,266 in court costs and fines, according to court records.