Tag Archives: Police

Sheriff’s office details Anna Maria coin theft

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Amanda Miller, 39

The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office filed two reports detailing nearly $6,000 in pawned gold coins in the case involving the arrest of a 39-year-old former Bradenton Beach woman.

Amanda Miller, of Manatee County, was arrested July 12 on warrants for two counts of dealing in stolen property Dec. 3, 2018, and Dec. 15, 2018, following an investigation into thefts of collector coins from Miller’s onetime landlord in Anna Maria.

Miller allegedly pawned the American Gold Eagle coins — one for $1,096 and four for $4,875 — to D&S Loans in Bradenton.

Miller told MCSO Detective Sgt. Jonathan Russell she found the coins while cleaning under the sink during a kitchen remodel and thought the coins belonged to a former tenant, according to Russell’s report.

The MCSO report stated Miller felt entitled to the coins and pawned them.

Her landlord, Laurie Higgins, rented Miller a mother-in-law apartment in the 300 block of Magnolia Avenue from April 2018 to March 2019. Higgins kept coin collections in her house and attached storage shed at the time.

Higgins told The Islander she is a former dealer in gold and silver, as well as a collector of foreign money.

Miller gave Higgins and others in the community “a sob story” about being broke and widowed, which was not true, according to Higgins. Higgins estimated she is still owed $3,500 in back rent.

Miller also took Higgins to court on restraining orders alleging stalking, a case since closed.

In the MCSO report on the coin theft, Russell concluded it was feasible Miller came across the coins stored in the shed.

Higgins said Miller’s arrest covers only the coins MCSO could track. There were other coins stolen, she added.

In June, Miller admitted taking the coins and selling them and her fingerprints were matched to pawn tickets, according to Russell’s report.

“The remodeling project is a joke,” Higgins said.

Friends were helping Miller install a new faucet and, according to Higgins, no coins were found during the process.

Higgins met Miller when she was looking for a rental in the Island Ratz Facebook group and thought she was “a good fit” as a tenant because she had no car and took the trolley to work on Anna Maria Island.

Her case will be heard at the Manatee County Judicial Center, but no court date is pending.

Higgins said Miller now resides on a boat in Bradenton Beach. The court file lists Miller as homeless in Bradenton.

HBPD budgeting for vehicles, personnel, safety gear

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Holmes Beach Police Officer Christine LaBranche works on the beach. Islander Photo: Courtesy HBPD

Island life is not just a day at the beach for the Holmes Beach Police Department.

“We have arrested people here for serious, violent crimes,” Police Chief Bill Tokajer said July 16. “Not everyone that comes out here are the guests we want to welcome. And we must make sure we can handle whatever we have to face.”

As the city fine-tunes its proposals for the 2019-20 budget, The Islander discussed police department expenses with Tokajer.

The code department, which the chief oversees, is undergoing some staffing changes and restructuring.

The department is moving into a suite of offices, now under renovation, at the public works building.

The budget includes an increase of about $97,000 to account for an additional code enforcement clerk.

Tokajer said the new clerk’s responsibilities would include logging calls and complaints, filing reports and scheduling.

“We should be hiring the new clerk soon,” Tokajer said July 16. “This will be a good compliment to the way we are working things out now and will be the face of code when people come in to file complaints and concerns.”

The proposed budget also includes about $30,000 for a new code enforcement vehicle and $10,000 for a golf cart.

Tokajer said the vehicles must be outfitted to withstand the elements.

“We need equipment that will last when exposed to sand and saltwater,” he said.

The proposed police budget also includes leasing eight vehicles for $500,000, which, when paid over four years, amounts to $15,625 per vehicle per year. The vehicles total about $60,000 each and are “fully equipped with lights, cameras, gun safes, window and rear cages, sirens and enhanced safety features,” Tokajer said, including “all the necessary technology to support our demands.”

Additionally, $51,000 for 17 new in-car computers and $30,000 for an information technology contractor are included in the proposed budget.

Tokajer said the computers in patrol cars now are 6 years old and, at the time of purchase, were capable of basic functions, such as taking reports.

“Now we are being dispatched by computers,” he said, adding that the in-car computers are used for record-management and the license plate recognition program. They also are GPS-enabled.

“Information technology from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has come a long way over the years,” the chief said.

He said the new computers are “ruggedized,” meaning they can withstand harsher treatment and conditions.

“These ruggedized computers are made for being in a police car,” he said. “These will hold up better in the heat and humidity and can handle being taken in and out of the car.”

Tokajer also budgeted $4,000 for four bulletproof vests and $21,165 for 17 bulletproof helmets.

He said the vests last five years and he has been rotating and renewing vests since 2013.

“They actually have the expiration date printed inside,” he said, adding that sweat and saltwater break down the vests, which become more “wearer-friendly” as technology improves.

The vests are partially funded by a $1,082 grant from the Bulletproof Vest Partnership.

The bulletproof helmets complete the necessary active-shooter equipment for officers.

“Right now, we have shields and active-shooter vests that go over the exterior vests, and firearms necessary to respond to an active shooter, but do not have helmets for officers in these situations,” he said.

Tokajer said demands on the police department continue to grow as more people visit the island.

“I tell people all the time we have 4,000 of the best residents in the world, but 10,000-15,000 on weekends and 30,000-40,000 people on holidays is a lot on this island,” Tokajer said. “It’s not just the little hidden gem this island once was. We must make sure we are equipped to handle whatever comes our way.”

Streetlife – 07-24-2019

Anna Maria

July 11, 400 block of Spring Avenue, theft. A roofing company reported several sheets of metal stolen from a construction site during the previous two weeks.

The MCSO polices Anna Maria.

Bradenton Beach

July 16, Circle K, 103 Gulf Drive S., trespass warning. A 28-year-old man ignored a store clerk and kept drinking alcohol after the clerk told him not to drink on the premises. Bradenton Beach police witnessed the clerk issue a warning and advise the man not to return to the property.

July 15-16, Bridgewalk Resort, 100 Bridge St., trespass. Police gave two men warnings not to trespass after observing them drinking alcohol and loitering at the motel. The men were told not to return to the property for a year, but they returned the next day and BBPD issued notices to appear in court for trespassing.

The BBPD polices Bradenton Beach.


July 10, Cortez Park, 12507 Cortez Road W., motor vehicle theft. A vehicle with the keys left inside was stolen from a driveway.

July 15, 3800 block of 118th Street, domestic disturbance. A couple who live together argued over who would turn off the oven. The woman asked a man to turn the oven off since he’d left it on. The man said he was too tired. When Manatee County sheriff’s deputies arrived, the man had locked himself in his truck to cool down. No physical injuries occurred. The parties agreed to separate for the night.

The MCSO polices Cortez.

Holmes Beach

July 10, 500 block of 74th Street, theft. A man reported a green grill valued at $1,100 stolen from his patio after 10 a.m. the day before.

July 13, 200 block of 85th Street, battery. A man driving a low-speed vehicle was on his way to meet a female friend at CrossPointe Fellowship when he was attacked by three males. Witnesses stopped to assist. One witness said she saw three juveniles run from behind the church and also saw one of the suspects punch the victim as he was driving, causing his vehicle to flip. There was no report on injuries.

July 14, 4000 block of Fourth Avenue, recovered vehicle. On patrol, a Holmes Beach police officer found a parked 2014 Ford truck and determined it was stolen after checking a law enforcement database. HBPD contacted MCSO and, based on the owner’s request, a tow was arranged.

The HBPD polices Holmes Beach.

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

MCSO arrests woman for Anna Maria gold theft

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Amanda Miller, 39

A Manatee County sheriff’s deputy arrested a former Anna Maria woman for dealing in gold and silver coins allegedly stolen from her landlord.

Amanda Miller, 39, was arrested July 12 on a warrant for two counts of dealing in stolen property.

The felony counts are punishable by up to 15 years in prison and $10,000.

Laurie Higgins reported a theft June 7 of gold coins valued at more than $100,000 from her home on Magnolia Avenue. She said she noticed the coins were missing April 22 but was gathering documents before filing a report.

According to Higgins’ post, Miller, who also is known as Amanda Culpepper, rented an apartment at her home and failed to pay rent, telling Higgins she was broke and widowed.

Higgins told her Facebook followers that she waited for months while investigators built a case against Miller, a former tenant. Higgins said Miller filed restraining orders against her, attempting to keep her from her home.

Higgins also reported a theft and intruders at her home in January, saying she saw six males run out her back door and down the stairs as she was returning home with Miller.

Higgins reported $50 stolen, adding Jan. 10 that she was still taking inventory.

Roadwatch – 07-17-2019

Defendants, left, and plaintiffs, right, are seated July 15 for a civil trial in a lawsuit filed in August 2017 by Bradenton Beach ex-Mayor Jack Clarke and the city, alleging Sunshine Law violations by former board members John Metz, Reed Mapes, Patty Shay, Bill Vincent, Tjet Martin and Rose Vincent. Islander Photos: ChrisAnn Silver Esformes

A flagger manages early morning traffic July 9 on Gulf Drive/State Road 789 in Bradenton Beach as Florida Department of Transportation repair work continues on the Longboat Pass Bridge. Overnight repairs conclude into August. Islander Photo: Lisa Neff

Eyes on the road

The Florida Department of Transportation and Manatee County posted the following for the week of July 15:

Longboat Pass Bridge: Major repairs on the Longboat Pass Bridge on Gulf Drive between Bradenton Beach and Longboat Key take place through the summer.

Overnight work requires decreasing lane sizes, flagging operations and occasional lane closures. Work is to end in August.

State Road 684/Cortez Road: Crews are installing new lighting at various locations along State Road 684/Cortez Road from Gulf Drive in Bradenton Beach to Ninth Street West in Bradenton. Expect nighttime/overnight lane closures. PowerCore Inc. is the contractor.

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

To view traffic conditions, go online to smarttrafficinfo.org.

Bradenton man pleads no contest to DUI after test challenge

A Bradenton man pleaded no contest to driving under the influence in Holmes Beach after he petitioned the court to exclude evidence from a roadside sobriety test.

Fortunato Salvietti, 54, pleaded April 26 to an elevated DUI charge and Judge Mark Singer sentenced him to 12 months on probation. With his no-contest plea, Salvietti abandoned a motion to exclude evidence gathered by Holmes Beach police during a roadside sobriety test.

HBPD stopped Salvietti for a traffic violation in March in the 4100 block of Gulf Drive, where an officer observed signs of impairment. Salvietti provided breath samples measuring 0.178 and 0.175 blood-alcohol.

The blood-alcohol limit for drivers is 0.08. Cases involving repeat offenders and levels exceeding 0.15 BAC call for stiffer penalties.

With Salvietti’s probation, the judge ordered a 120-day house arrest, a 30-day treatment program, an advanced DUI school, a victim-impact panel, 100 hours of public service and an alcohol-detection ignition device in his vehicle for two years.

The judge also suspended his driver’s license for one year, with an exception for a business trip to New York in May.

The judge assessed Salvietti $2,631 in fines and costs. As of July 9, he paid $805.

Bradenton Beach man arrested for Flamingo Cay burglary

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Kyle Dale, 32

A man sent to state prison in 2012 for multiple burglaries was arrested July 8 in Flamingo Cay — a community located between Perico Island and the mainland — for similar crimes.

Kyle Dale, 32, of Bradenton Beach, was arrested by Manatee County sheriff’s deputies for burglary of an unoccupied dwelling and conveyances, motor vehicle theft and possessing identification belonging to another person without consent.

Dale allegedly confessed to MCSO investigators, saying he knew the homeowner, who also owned the boat on the canal behind the house.

MCSO deputies were called to the scene at about 1 p.m. after one of the victims and a witness detained Dale at the victim’s home in the 10400 block of Spoonbill Road West.

Dale told deputies he entered a private dwelling, vessel and vehicle midday July 6 and stole multiple items, including personal paperwork, passports, nautical charts, infrared guns, flares, boat manuals, books and men’s clothing. He took some of the stolen items to his home in Bradenton Beach, according to the MCSO report.

The report also states Dale stayed at the residence and drove the homeowner’s vehicles for two days without permission.

Dale was transported to the Manatee County jail, where he was released after posting $13,500 bond.

In four combined 2011 cases, Dale was sentenced to 59.175 months in prison after convictions for possessing drugs, dealing in stolen property and burglaries from vehicles in the 200 block of 17th Street North of Bradenton Beach and the 5400 block of Marina Drive in Holmes Beach.

Dale was released from prison in November 2015, according to online records.

His arraignment for the July arrest is set for 9 a.m. Friday, Aug. 2, in the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.

Streetlife – 07-17-2019

Anna Maria

June 20, 200 Fir Ave. and the beach, abandoned property. A Manatee County sheriff’s deputy found a makeshift swimming hole, umbrella and other items left overnight on the beach and filled the hole with sand. The items, including the umbrella and a bag of garbage, were taken into MCSO storage.

The MCSO polices Anna Maria.

Bradenton Beach

July 3, 941 Deli, 119 Bridge St., criminal mischief. A deli manager reported a man, who was delivering coupons for a company, hit his head on a concrete staircase and left. He returned with a can of orange spray paint and painted the staircase where he hit his head. The manager estimated $500 in damages to the building, called the coupon company and reported the incident.

July 3, Sports Lounge, 118 Bridge St., bar fight. Witnesses reported a fight erupted among a number of people. Pool sticks were involved. At least one person was transported to Blake Medical Center in Bradenton for a hand injury. Police unsuccessfully searched the vicinity for an alleged female assailant and two males.

July 4, Circle K, 103 Gulf Drive S., Marchman Act. Bradenton Beach police took a 42-year-old Kentucky man to a medical facility after officers determined he was inebriated and unable to care for himself.

July 4, Coquina Park, 2000 Gulf Drive S., vehicle burglary. A pocket knife and prescription sunglasses valued at $430 were stolen after the owner left them in an unlocked vehicle.

July 5, Sports Lounge, 118 Bridge St., disorderly intoxication. An intoxicated 59-year-old man was observed picking fights with passersby on the sidewalk outside the bar. He was arrested and transported to the station and the Manatee County jail.

The BBPD polices Bradenton Beach.


June 12, 3600 block of 115th Street Court West, information. A man in a golf cart threatened a woman who was walking a dog, saying he would shoot the dog if she walked it down the street again. He then aimed and drove his golf cart at the dog and dog walker, veering before colliding with them.

The MCSO polices Cortez.

Holmes Beach

June 27, 300 block of 61st Street, suspicious incident. An owner signed up for the Holmes Beach police department’s house check program after finding a broken window, items ransacked and other evidence of unauthorized people staying in the unit.

June 27, Manatee Public Beach, resisting arrest/disorderly conduct. A Manatee County lifeguard attempted to diffuse an argument involving a 35-year-old Brandon man who knocked a cup out of the hands of another beachgoer. The man swore at the lifeguard, who requested police assistance to trespass the man. A struggle ensued with police and the man pulled away while being handcuffed, causing officers to fall to the ground. An officer used a taser on the man, who was transported to Manatee Memorial Hospital in Bradenton for a medical check due to the taser deployment and then to the jail.

June 28, 2800 block of Gulf Drive, information. A property manager called police about an unauthorized person living in a rental unit and a suspicious man seen leaving a bicycle in the dunes outside the house. A door was found open. No forced entry was found.

June 29, Manatee Public Beach, 4000 Gulf Drive, theft. Two beachgoers went into the Gulf and left a bag containing their belongings in the sand near upland vegetation. About an hour later, they returned to find the bag had been dumped and two iPhones and a wallet containing a driver’s license and Social Security card were missing.

July 1, 400 block of 62nd Street, theft. A 10-foot metal chain cordoning off an owner’s driveway was stolen between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. The chain was valued at $30.

July 1, 4400 block of Gulf Drive, vehicle burglary. An unknown person entered an unlocked vehicle and stole $85 and the key to a pickup truck.

July 3, Island Bazaar, 3304 E. Bay Drive, counterfeit money. A man returned a fake $10 bill, advising a clerk he had received the bill in change. Police seized the bill and placed it in evidence.

July 4, 3000 block of Gulf Drive, marijuana ordinance. Police pulled over an SUV driver for speeding and noted the odor of marijuana. The driver told an officer the drug belonged to a passenger. The passenger was ticketed for possessing less than 20 grams of marijuana after admitting got scared and threw his drugs under the SUV.

The HBPD polices Holmes Beach.

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

Bradenton Beach man pleads no contest to DUI

A Bradenton Beach man arrested for driving impaired pleaded no contest April 1 and was sentenced to 12 months of probation.

Twelfth Circuit Judge Mark Singer found Robert A. Simpson, 51, guilty and ordered the probation, including a counterattack program, victim impact panel and medical evaluation and, if necessary, treatment.

The judge also ordered Simpson’s vehicle impounded for 10 days and driver’s license suspended for six months with a business purposes exception.

A Manatee County sheriff’s deputy arrested Simpson for driving under the influence following a road sobriety test after police determined he caused a two-vehicle crash Jan. 2 in the 2200 block of Gulf Drive in Bradenton Beach.

Simpson exhibited signs of impairment but breath tests measured no blood-alcohol content. Florida law prohibits driving under the influence of drugs, not detected in the breath test, as well as drivers with blood-alcohol content exceeding 0.08 percent.

Simpson was assessed court costs and fines of $1,971, of which he paid $696 as of July 2.

Illegal fireworks fly, 
cops curb a few

“We interrupted their show, so to speak.”

Sgt. Mike Jones, who heads the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Anna Maria substation, said the July 4 holiday, including the parade, festival and fireworks “went exceptionally well,” but for one incident on the beach.

Revelers without a permit “brought attention” to themselves at Coconut and Gulf Drive on the beach, Jones said, where MCSO deputies caught them shooting illegal fireworks in the dunes and ordered them to stop. They did and there was no seizure, he added.

Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer also reported enforcement of illegal fireworks.

He said police were alerted by a complaint and observed a group of celebrants launching fireworks too close to children. He said officers confiscated 12-13 boxes of fireworks.

“We had a large crowd and everybody behaved,” Tokajer said, adding medical calls for heat exposure became a primary concern on the holiday as the heat index was predicted to reach 112 degrees.

Illegal fireworks were launched up and down the beach in Bradenton Beach, but no one complained.

BBPD enforces the fireworks laws, according to Detective Sgt. Lenard Diaz, only if calls about the pyrotechnic displays are dispatched to the officers.

Diaz also said two kayakers were brought to safety by a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission rescue boat. Their kayak capsized near the Longboat Pass Bridge and the men floated near the bridge pylons until FWC arrived, he added.

BBPD, HBPD and MCSO reported thousands of visitors and no arrests July 4.

West Manatee Fire Rescue inspector Rodney Kwiatkowski said there were “a few hiccups,” which delayed the start of the permitted fireworks display on the beach at the Sandbar Restaurant, 100 Spring Ave., Anna Maria.

He said a number of boats encroached on the setback required for the display — “coming too close to shore for our comfort.”

A security line keeps people a distance of 420-feet from the fireworks, Kwiatkowski said, adding the “sheriff got on its bullhorn” and instructed the boats to motor farther from shore.

They did. And the show went on.

“It was safe,” Kwiatkowski said, adding, “Was it long enough? You be the judge.”

The Sandbar pyrotechnic display on the Fourth was abbreviated — a mistake by the fireworks company — but the company and Sandbar management arranged a bigger show for July 5 and WMFR, MCSO and the city permitted the followup show.