The City of Fort Pierce is pleased to announce the itinerary for the five candidates, recommended by the selection committee, to participate in the interview process. The five candidates selected are: John S. Bukata Brian C. Harris Diane Hobley-Burney Thaddeus Reddish Rodney B. Smith On Tuesday, March 24, 2015, Fort Pierce Police Interim Chief Frank […]
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The Fort Pierce Police Department would like to remind its citizens that the National Weather Service has issued a Hazardous Weather Alert due to expected freezing temperatures and high wind for the next several days. Residents are warned to take measures to protect themselves and their property from the cold. If you will be outdoors at night, be sure to dress appropriately. Use extreme caution with space heaters. Keep heaters away from any combustible materials such as pillows, blankets and curtains. Remember to bring animals indoors.
Anyone who needs temporary shelter from cold weather during this time should report to In the Image of Christ cold weather shelter located at the Buell L. Brown Center, 707 North 7th Street in Fort Pierce. The shelter will be opening at 4:00 pm today and will remain open to 7:00 am on Monday.
For additional information, In the Image of Christ can be reached at 772-461-7788.
Last Saturday, Fort Pierce Police Officer, Nicholas McWillaims arrested Montavious Hayes, 25, of Fort Pierce, for armed robbery after the victim’s “Find My iPhone” app led officers to his location. Hayes is currently located at the Saint Lucie County Jail and is being held on $19,500.00 bond.
On January 30, 2015, Fort Pierce Police officers responded to the parking lot of 2335 South US 1, Advance America Cash, for an armed robbery. The victim, Jacquelyn Allen, told officers she was walking to her car with a friend, Anna Garcia, when they were confronted by a black male with a stun gun. The male, who was covering his face with a white cloth, sparked the stun gun and pointed it at Allen. The male removed the cloth from his face and demanded the victim hand over the bag with money. The male then grabbed both of Allen’s bags, a purse which contained her iPhone 6 and a tote bag. The male then fled the scene in the rear seat of a beige sedan with tinted windows.
The next morning, Allen contacted Officer McWilliams and reported that she was able to locate her iPhone through the “Find My iPhone” app. The app showed the phone was located at 3101 Avenue F. Officers responded to the address and received a consent to search from the resident. Officers Taryn Doukas, James Ippolito and Frank Incorvaia searched the residence and located Allen’s purse in one of the bedrooms. Officers then discovered Montavious Hayes hiding in the bedroom closet. Officers also found a loaded handgun, a stun gun and the victims tote in the closet with Hayes.
Montavious Hayes was arrested and charged with Robbery by Sudden Snatching with Weapon, Grand Theft, Resisting an Officer. Hayes was also arrested on outstanding warrants for Grand Theft, Giving False information to Pawn Broker, and Dealing in Stolen Property.
Fort Pierce Police Officers Arrest Two People for Possession of Marijuana, Methamphetamine and Two Handguns During a Traffic Stop
Fort Pierce Police Officers James Ippolito and Jacob Blazsyk arrested Christopher Williams, 21, of Fort Pierce and Damon White, 17, of Fort Pierce for possession of marijuana, methamphetamine and handguns during a traffic stop last Saturday. Williams was taken to the Saint Lucie County Jail and released on $37,500.00 bond. White was taken to the Saint Lucie Regional Juvenile Detention Center.
On January 24, 2015, about 4:50 pm, officers made a traffic stop on a four door Dodge in the 1300 block of North 25th Street. During the stop, officers notice a strong smell of marijuana coming from the car. While officers were speaking to the occupants, the rear passengers, Williams and White, were reaching around in the back seat, even after officers ordered them to show their hands. The officers removed the two from the vehicle and checked them for weapons. One of the officers spotted a clear plastic baggie sticking out Williams’ front pocket. The officer seized the baggie and found that it contained marijuana and methamphetamine. The drugs were packaged for distribution. When Williams and White got out of the rear seat, officers saw the rear seat armrest flop forward and the cover to the rear seat storage compartment was ajar. Officer Cory Collier searched the rear seat storage compartment behind the armrest and found two loaded handguns and a backpack that contained marijuana and a scale. The two handguns, a revolver and a semi-auto pistol, five grams of methamphetamine and over two ounces of marijuana were seized. During the arrest, Williams told officers that the driver did not have knowledge of the contraband. White told officers that the handguns and the backpack were his. The driver of the car was not charged.
Christopher Williams was arrested and charged with Possession of Marijuana With Intent to Sell, and Possession of Methamphetamine with intent to sell. Damon White was arrested and charged with two counts of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Minor, Possession With Intent to Sell A Schedule 1, Possession of Drug Equipment and Resisting an Officer for giving a false name during the arrest.
Yesterday morning, Fort Pierce Police Officer Nicholes Lentz arrested Michael Gacel, 40, of Fort Pierce, for the burglary of a vehicle in a church parking lot after attending a function at the same church. Gecel is currently located at the Saint Lucie County Jail and is being held on $4,500.00 bond.
On January 12, 2015 at about 10:30 am, officers met with the victim, Sandra Isles, at 217 N US 1, the Notre Dame Catholic Mission. Sandra reported her purse was stolen from her car while she was working inside the church. She had left her purse inside the car but left her car unlocked. As officers investigated, they located her purse on the ground several feet away. The purse was missing her work cell phone and $20.00. Officers reviewed the church’s security camera footage that captured the burglary. The pastor recognized Gacel and said that he attended a church function that morning. The pastor led officers to Gacel’s residence where he was arrested. During the arrest, the stolen cell phone was located under Gacel’s bed.
Gacel was arrested and charged with Burglary of an Unoccupied Conveyance and Petit Theft.
The Fort Pierce Police Department would like to remind everyone that suspects often see exposed valuables and unlocked vehicles as easy opportunities to commit crime. By remembering to lock your vehicles and not leave valuables inside and exposed to view, you can drastically reduce the chance of becoming a victim of crime.
On Tuesday, December 16, 2014, Fort Pierce Police Department Interim Chief presented annual award to employees and volunteers that demonstrated exceptional dedication and performance while working towards achieving our mission of “Protecting Our Community.” The following are the award categories, recipients and a summary of their actions that lead to them receiving the award:
Chief’s Medal of Excellence Award
This award is to be presented to the Police Department’s Manager, Detective, Officer, Support Personnel and Volunteer of the Year. The recipients are selected from the personnel who have received an Exceptional Service Award or nomination by any employee during the previous twelve months.
2014 Manager of the Year – Sergeant Brian MacNaught
In 2014, Sergeant MacNaught excelled as a manager for our agency and his performance evaluation showed that he Exceeds Job Requirements for this past year. As the lone internal affairs investigator, he has investigated over 170 complaints against employees this year. In years past, a vast majority of these complaints would have been investigated by division commanders. He has shown that he has maintained the public trust and the trust of our employees during his investigations. He has managed competing demands on his time very efficiently, as he has volunteered and sought out additional responsibilities as the Honor Guard unit supervisor, as a Police Explorer Advisor, as an agency instructor (firearms, first aid, and FPPD Academy), and as an assistant team leader for the SWAT team (coordination of community events, maintained SWAT records, coordination of training, and asset control). He has accomplished all this while still taking college courses every semester throughout the year, seeking his Bachelor’s Degree.
2014 Officer of the Year – Officer Jeffery Wachendorfer
Officer Wachendorfer has exemplified the values of our Department. He consistently exhibits a positive and professional demeanor and has received numerous awards for his service that include:
- A Lifesaving Award for his part in the 06-01-14 rescue of an unconscious and intoxicated female from the Indian River that was intermittently submerged under the water as she floated unconscious. The female was rescued from the water, preventing her from drowning.
- An Exceptional Unit Award for his participation in the Summer Detail Operation. During his time with the task force they totaled 1166 traffic stops, 5275 citizen contacts with 116 misdemeanor arrests, 99 felony arrests and 9 guns, $19,035.15 in cash and 1 vehicle seized.
- A Lifesaving Award for his part in the 09-12-14 rescue of a female than was found uncurious, not breathing and had no pulse. He took part in lifesaving CPR that extended the woman’s life.
- A Community Service Award for working with members of his shift to refurbish a bike and present the bike to a less fortunate child that did not have one.
2014 Detective of the Year – Detective Gary Eason
On September 8th 2014, Elizabeth Hernandez was found stabbed to death in her home located at 3411 Sunrise Blvd. Arron Holmes was found close by, shot in the head and stabbed during the same home invasion incident. Detective Gary Eason was the lead investigator to this incident. Detective Eason was faced with a convoluted case. There were many leads that came his way and fast. Detective Eason was able to delegate responsibilities to other detectives and focus on the leads that led him to arrests of three suspects.
Detective Eason conducted several long interrogations and would not give up until he was told the truth about the incident. His patience and diligence during these interviews are what made this case solid.
Another key point to this apprehension and arrest was Detective Eason’s attention to detail. This investigation was organized from the start of the Murder. Detective Eason exhibited high drive towards solving this case. His professionalism prevailed and two very violent people were taken off the street.
2014 Civilian of the Year – Melissa Alexander
Since September, 2014, Melissa Alexander was asked to help with the Off Duty Detail program, in addition to her numerous duties as a Payroll Specialist. Her assistance and dedication has been invaluable and has enabled the program to run smoothly. This was no small feat since the Off Duty Detail program affects nearly one hundred officers at our department. Additionally, she has provided assistance with purchasing for the Support Services Bureau and has helped in more ways than can be can be listed. She has taken on this additional responsibility without complaint and her work has been exemplary.
2014 Volunteer of the Year – Kathi Gore
In March of 2014, Kathi Gore was given the monumental assignment of inputting the training records for every sworn employees into the new OSSI Training Module. Kathi was also given a goal of completing the assignment by the end of 2014. With no one at the department trained on the OSSI Training Module, Kathi had to teach herself the new program. She quickly learned how to enter the information into the program in a manner that would allow for tracking of courses attended and provide a record of training hours received. The project also required Kathi to review the old TrainingTrak database and each officer’s training file to ensure accuracy of the data.
Kathi worked over 500 hours on this project, saving the agency tens of thousands of dollars in. In November 2014, she completed the assignment ahead of schedule. Now that every sworn employee’s training record has been entered, our agency is closer to having a digital personnel file. For the first time in agency history, supervisors will be able to review the training records of their staff for training recommendations, performance evaluations, and selection for specialized assignment or promotion. This will also reduce the workload of our Records Division for requests to review training files.
Exceptional Volunteer Service – Ann Burns
Ms Ann Burns is an invaluable member of our PAL program. She volunteers countless hours and many have witnessed her 15 plus hour days working with the children on projects, parades, Youth Leadership, teen dances, summer camp, football, cheer leading and transporting youth to and from events. Ms Burns also organizes PAL fundraisers, sets up youth programs and makes sure the behind the scenes work is complete. She is also an integral part of the lives of the PAL children. She treats all the children with kindness and works tirelessly to help them succeed at any task. Ms Burns ensures our children are never hungry, by feeding most of them before they go home. In summary, Ms. Burns is one of those unique people that improves the lives of the people around her. We are proud and grateful that she has chosen to be a member of our PAL program.
Exceptional Unit Award
LIEUTENANT ROBERT RIDLE
SERGEANT DAVID CUTI
SERGEANT DONALD CHRISTMA
DETECTIVE TYRONE CAMPBELL
DETECTIVE TAD LINDSTADT
DETECTIVE GARY EASON
DETECTIVE ROBERT YAFFEY
DETECTIVE DIEGO PALACIO
DETECTIVE JESSE STREETER
DETECTIVE DANIEL MARTINEZ
DETECTIVE LUDMILA QUINTAO
DETECTIVE KATHLEEN MURPHY
CSI ERIN GREINER CSI MARCIA WISE
VICTIMS ADVOCATE ROSE SMITH
VICTIMS ADVOCATE PATSY ROBERTS
On September 8, 2014, two victims were found shot and stabbed to death in their home on Sunrise Blvd. Knowing that this investigation would require more than one detective, the Criminal Investigations Unit came together as a team to interview witnesses, collect evidence, and retrieve 911 calls. There were a total of four separate crime scenes, over twenty-five interviews, and the collection of videos from multipliable locations. Three suspects were subsequently apprehended. Two suspects were charged with first degree murder and one with accessory to murder after the fact. This case was solved only through your outstanding investigative efforts and your shear dedication.
Exceptional Unit Award
SERGEANT JAMES GAGLIANO
DETECTIVE DAVID JONES
DETECTIVE BENJAMIN THAYER
DETECTIVE ROBERTO SARMIENTO
DETECTIVE CHARLES DAVIS
DETECTIVE PAUL CUNZO
DETECTIVE MICHAEL DINI
DETECTIVE ROBERT JAQUES
From October 1st through November 2nd, the Crime Suppression Unit has taken six firearms off the streets (AK-47 with a high capacity 5 drum magazine, 9mm handgun, .22 caliber handgun, .22 caliber rifle, and two .32 caliber handguns), which led to the arrest of three career criminals for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Crime Suppression Unit Detectives are also currently waiting DNA results on two cases for future prosecution. Additionally, the Crime Suppression Unit apprehended two extremely violent homicide suspects Keith Canty and Roman White without incident. Members of the Crime Suppression Unit worked with the United States Marshals Service to locate and apprehend a third homicide suspect, Erskin Johnson, in Tampa, Florida.
Fort Pierce Police officers joined in the holiday spirit by picking up toys, delivering gifts, providing families with the fixings for meals, and escorting kids on shopping sprees. Each year, the department pulls out all stops to help as many local families in need celebrate Christmas. Because of the generosity of area businesses, individuals and organizations, the department was able to help more families and children this year than it did last year. Through the department’s Santa Cop program, approximately 542 children were served, more than doubling the number of children served in 2013. The gifts provided to nearly 200 families came from Victory’s St. Lucie County Toy Run and its many supporters. This year the department focused on victims of crimes need help with gifts for children. Hundreds of toys were collected during the event held on December 14, 2014.
Interim Chief Frank J. Amandro took time out of his schedule on December 19, 2014 to pick up toys from the Fort Pierce Elks Lodge 1520 that were collected for the Toy Run. The toys were used to complete toy requests two hours before families were due to come pick up their toys later that same day. The first 100 families got more than they expected, they also received a turkey and sides for a delicious holiday meal.
The Investigative Services Bureau with the help of a local restaurant surprised 6 families needing help with gifts for children. In addition, individual officers were able to help about 12 more families needing help that they encountered during patrols. Today, 22 officers including Interim Chief Amandro and Interim Deputy Chiefs Caleb Gillette and Christopher Bender escorted 35 children on Walmart shopping sprees. Each child received a $75 gift card to purchase gifts whoever they wanted.
“We recognize that the holidays can be a very difficult time for many families needing help,” said Interim Chief of Police Amandro. “Santa Cop and Shop with a Cop would not be possible without the continued support of the business community, organizations, and private citizens. We would like to thank the community for helping us to achieve our mission of protecting our community”
Early this morning, Fort Pierce Police Detective Gary Eason arrested Juniors Geffrard, 30, of Fort Pierce, for the abduction of his seven year old daughter from the mother’s home. Juniors Geffrard is currently located at the Saint Lucie County Jail and is being held without bond.
On Wednesday, January 7, 2015, at about 10:00 pm, Fort Pierce Officers responded to 4484 Timber Ridge Lane for a child abduction. The investigation revealed that Geffrard knocked on the front door of the residence where his ex-girlfriend and her three children lived. One of the children, the mother’s twelve year old son, answered the door believing that it was a friend of his. As he opened the door Geffrard pushed his way into the residence and demanded to see his seven year old daughter. At the time, the mother was in the back bedroom with her daughter, her eleven year old son and her sister. She heard Geffrard and quickly locked herself and the children in the bedroom. Geffrard began forcing his way through the bedroom door when the twelve year old child tried to stop him. Geffrard grabbed the child, shoved him against a wall and continued to force his way through the bedroom door. Once through the door, Geffrard grabbed his seven year old daughter, the only child he has in common with the mother. Geffrard told the mother that if she called the police, he would harm himself and the child. He then left the residence with the child.
An Amber Alert was issued and officers conducted an intensive search. Geffrard was located at about 12:40 am, in his vehicle with the seven year old child, parked on the side of 904 North 22nd Street. Geffrard was arrested without incident. The seven year old child was returned to her mother unharmed.
During the investigation detectives were able to confirm that an injunction for protection had been issued against Geffrard for past acts of domestic violence. Geffrard was arrested and charged with Burglary with a Battery, Kidnapping and Violation of an Injunction for Protection.
This afternoon, Fort Pierce Police Detective Jesse Streeter arrested Cornelius Ivory, 16, of Fort Pierce, on an Order to Take Into Custody for his involvement in the December 6, 2014 shooting that occurred in the 2900 block of Avenue K. Ivory is currently located at the Saint Lucie Regional Juvenile Detention Center.
On Saturday, December 4, 2014, officers responded to the 2900 block of Avenue K after hearing multiple gunshots. When officers arrived at the scene, they received information that two victims, a 17 year old male and a 5 year old male were taken to a local trauma center with non-life threatening injuries. The investigation revealed that Ivory and another male rode down North 29th Street and fired multiple shot down Avenue K towards the victims. The shots struck the 17 year old male in a lower extremity. It is unclear if the 5 year old was injured from gunfire or from falling during the incident.
Detective Streeter followed up on a number of leads which resulted in the identification of Cornelius Ivory as one of the shooters. Detective Streeter obtained an Order to Take Into Custody charging Ivory with three counts of Attempted First Degree Murder.
The investigation into this case is ongoing. If you have any information regarding this incident, please contact Detective Jesse Streeter at 772-467-6911. If you would like to remain anonymous please contact the Treasure Coast Crime Stoppers with any information that may lead to the identity of the suspects at 1-800-273-TIPS (8477). Tipsters can remain anonymous and could be eligible for reward money.