On Friday, August 15, 2014 the Fort Myers Police Department honored several employees at a monthly award ceremony. FMPD strives every day to not only protect and serve the residents of the City of Fort Myers, but to make it a better place to live. “It is our policy to recognize employees of exemplary performance of their duties” said Chief Doug Baker. “We appreciate their heroics and the hard work that these men and women put in each day.”
Sergeant Jason Pate, Detective Daniel Morency, Officer Kristi Neroni, Officer Mark Edwards, Officer Justin Trask, Officer Rochelle Mejias, Officer Yvon Plancher, Officer Jason Jackson, Officer Oscar Basora and Officer David Dietz are the Officers of the Month for July 2014. The officers are being honored for their outstanding performance and teamwork during an armed robbery investigation.
On June 26, 2014 officers responded to the parking lot of Kmart located at 3853 Cleveland Avenue in reference to a victim that was robbed at gunpoint. The officers were given a description of the perpetrator as well as the vehicle used.
Officers Basora and Officer Dietz quickly gathered further information from the victim and relayed the information to the other responding officers. The victim also recognized the suspect from high school and provided the suspect’s name. Officer Neroni was familiar with the suspect and remembered that he had an address off of Hunter Street.
Officers responded to the suspect’s residence on Hunter Street and located a vehicle that matched the description of the suspect’s vehicle. Officers checked the vehicle and it was still warm. The officers then surrounded the residence and attempted to make contact at various points of the house, to no avail. Just prior to leaving the location, a vehicle pulled up and the officers made contact with the occupant. The occupant then made contact with the individuals inside of the residence and they opened the door and spoke with the officers.
The named suspect was inside and quickly detained for further investigation. Officers at the scene spoke with the suspect’s mother who allowed them inside to search for the stolen property and the weapon used to commit the crime. During the search, officers located the stolen item in the suspect’s bedroom and later located the weapon used in a recycling bin inside the carport.
The victim was transported to the location and positively identified the suspect as the person that robbed him. Detective Morency interviewed the suspect and received a full confession to the crime. The stolen property was returned to the owner and this case resolved in a very timely manner.
Officer Nick Ursitti is the Rib City Officer of the Month for July 2014. Officer Ursitti is being honored for his keen observation while off-duty which led to the apprehension of a suspect who had just committed an armed robbery.
In the early morning hours of July 11, 2014, Officer Nicholas Ursitti had just completed working his night shift and was off-duty. Officer Ursitti had changed from his duty uniform into his civilian clothing. On his way home, he stopped at the RaceTrac gasoline and convenience store located at 2335 Cleveland Avenue to purchase gas and a beverage.
As Officer Ursitti finished pumping gas, he saw a black male later identified as Samuel Lawrence Shaw who was dressed in all black clothing. Shaw began pacing back and forth in front of the store acting in a strange and unusual manner. Shaw appeared nervous and began slapping his head appearing to psyche himself up. Shaw then covered his face with a sweat shirt and entered the store.
Rather than exiting his vehicle, Officer Ursitti decided to remain calm and stay in his vehicle to observe Shaw’s actions. Officer Ursitti, who is familiar with the layout of the store, saw Shaw by the food area waving his hands. Shaw then went over by the cash register area and was pointing his fingers at the attendant. Believing a robbery was taking place; Ursitti was able to retrieve his body armor, police radio, handgun, and hand-cuffs.
Shaw exited the store and was being followed by a customer. With the assistance of the customer, Officer Ursitti identified himself as a Fort Myers Police Officer and was able to make contact with Shaw. Shaw was ready to flee, but was quickly taken to the ground where he resisted the efforts to place him in restraints. Ultimately, Shaw was taken into custody.
This location had fallen victim to two previous robberies. In both of those cases, there were many similarities with the suspect and MO factors (Modus Operandi) as the robbery committed by Shaw. Officer Ursitti’s arrest along with follow up investigations allowed detectives to charge Shaw with the two previous robberies committed at the RaceTrac.
Sergeant Jacquelyn Garrett and Officer Ray Beiner were named the East Fort Myers Rotary Officers of the Month for July 2014. The officers were honored for their investigative work during carjacking investigation which ultimately resulted in two arrests.
On July 16, 2014 at 4:20 p.m., Sergeant Garrett and Officer Beiner responded to the Car Finders Unlimited located at 4331 Veronica Shoemaker Boulevard in reference to a carjacking that had just occurred.
Upon arrival, officers met with a salesman who advised that a male and a female came to the car lot and asked to test drive a black two-door Honda Civic. The salesman went along on the test drive with the couple. During the test drive, the female complained the vehicle was pulling to the right and pulled off on the side of the road so the salesman could inspect the vehicle. Once outside the vehicle, the male displayed a knife and threatened the salesman. The couple then fled in the Honda leaving the salesman on the side of the road.
Sergeant Garrett and Officer Beiner learned that the couple was dropped off at the car dealership by a taxi company. A follow-up investigation with the taxi company revealed that the robbery suspects were picked up at a location off Veronica Shoemaker Boulevard after the robbery and requested service to an apartment complex off Deleon Street. Officers and investigators canvassed the area off Veronica Shoemaker Boulevard and located the Honda stashed in the woods nearby. Sergeant Garrett then proceeded to the area where the taxi company dropped off the suspects and observed the suspects standing outside of the apartment. The suspects fled into the apartment upon sight of law enforcement. Officers set up a perimeter around the apartment and after a brief standoff they surrendered peacefully. Both suspects were each charged with one count of armed carjacking.