Two men arrested in undercover operation targeting prostitution

SARASOTA, Fla. -- July 20, 2016 -- 10:30 a.m.

On Tuesday, July 19, 2016, the Sarasota Police Department Street Crimes Unit, with the assistance of the Narcotics Unit and the Patrol Division, conducted an undercover prostitution operation targeting individuals soliciting prostitutes.  These individuals are known as ‘Johns.’

The operation was conducted in the 4700 block of North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.  Two (2) men were arrested and charged with Solicitation of Prostitution.  Two vehicles were also seized under City Code 33-271.

Pablo Esteban-Diaz, 35
2612 Hidden Lake Blvd., Sarasota, FL
Charge:  Solicitation of Prostitution

Joseph Mariotti, 54
4204 126th Street West, Cortez, FL
Charge:  Solicitation of Prostitution


Three time convicted felon arrested after pawning stolen rifle & ammunition

SARASOTA, Fla. -- July 15, 2016 -- 9:30 a.m.

On Wednesday, July 13, 2016, a victim reported that an unknown suspect entered his home at 2136 6th Street, Sarasota, without his permission.  This burglary is the same case Chief Bernadette DiPino discussed on Thursday afternoon during a news conference.

Entry into the residence appeared to have occurred through an unlocked sliding glass door.  The victim reported that an AR7 rifle and approximately 700 rounds of ammunition as well as several other personal items were taken from the residence. 

On Thursday, July 14, 2016, Detectives with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office discovered that convicted felon, Joseph Stout III, 39, of 3102 Grafton Street, Sarasota, sold 600 rounds of ammunition to a local pawn shop.  Sarasota Police Detectives believe at this time this is all the ammunition that was stolen from the residence.  SCSO Detectives also discovered that Stout sold an AR7 rifle, new in the box, on the same pawn ticket.  The serial number of the stolen rifle matches the serial number on the pawned rifle.  SCSO Detectives turned all evidence and investigation information over to the Sarasota Police Department.

Stout’s criminal history shows he’s a three time convicted felon dating back to 1999.  A records check showed his right to possess firearms and/or ammunition have not been restored.  Stout has been charged with Dealing in Stolen Property, Defrauding a Pawnbroker, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon and Possession of Ammunition by a Convicted Felon, all felony charges.  Stout is being held at the Sarasota County Jail on a $125,000 bond.

Sarasota Housing & Sarasota Police Host Book 'Em Cops & Kids Literacy Event

SARASOTA, Fla -- July 12, 2016 -- 9 a.m.

The Sarasota Housing Authority, in partnership with the Sarasota Police Department, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, is proud to host the second annual Book 'Em - Cops & Kids Literacy Event.  The Book ‘Em Cops & Kids Event will feature Sarasota Police Officers handing out books, followed closely behind an ice cream truck.  All children who receive a book will receive a ticket for free ice cream.

Book 'Em - Cops & Kids will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, July 13th at 4 p.m., to commemorate the Campaign for Grade Level Reading's National Summer Learning Day.  The dual-purpose event will provide free books for low-income kids to read and mitigate against summer learning loss, as well as provide positive interaction with police to foster relationships and trust between Sarasota Police and families.

The event will feature Sarasota Police Officers handing out books to children ages 2 to 12 in North Sarasota.  Books will be handed out to children starting at 4 p.m. at the following locations:

  • Orange, Courts, Bertha Mitchell (OCB):  1912 North Orange Avenue, Sarasota

  • Janie’s Garden, 2350 Central Avenue, Sarasota

Funding for the children's books was made possible by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and continued support from the Suncoast Campaign for Grade Level Reading.   

Sarasota Police Street Crimes Unit shares informational letters in effort to stop sex trafficking

SARASOTA, FL. – June 28, 2016   – 12:30 p.m.

This morning members of the Sarasota Police Department Street Crimes Unit and Nuisance Abatement Civilian Investigator took time to visit hotels and motels along North Tamiami Trail to share an informational letter with business owners in an effort to stop sex trafficking in the City of Sarasota.

Each letter explains to business owners the cases of prostitution and crimes related to prostitution, such as narcotics violations, that have occurred on the North Trail in recent years have a negative impact on the quality of life.  20 letters were handed out with suggestions business owners can use to safeguard their business against criminal activity including:

  • Verify the identity of new hires and conduct background checks prior to employment

  • Require a legitimate photo identification from guests on check-in, e.g. a driver’s license

  • Require the identification be in original form and not photocopied

  • Do not rent to local residents without good cause, e.g. house being tented for pests

  • Do not rent to customers who walk up with no automobile, especially if paying day by day

  • Report any and all suspicious activity to the police

“These suggestions are based on industry best practices as well as common elements discovered during past investigations of prostitution and narcotic cases at local hotel/motel establishments,” said Sergeant Rob Armstrong, Street Crimes Unit.  “With what we’re seeing in internet based prostitution, especially along our North Trail coordinator, we want to remind hotels and motels they can partner with us to stop sex trafficking in our community.”

Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Safety Reminders & Road Closures

The Sarasota Police Department wants you to enjoy the Fourth of July holiday safely and always, if you SEE something, SAY something. Report any suspicious activity or behavior to law enforcement immediately. The annual Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix (being held June 25 – July 4, 2016) attracts thousands of people to the City of Sarasota and is a large part of the Fourth of July festivities. The Sarasota Police Department is committed to keeping our residents and visitors safe.

Boating Safety Reminders The Sarasota Police Department Marine Patrol created a public service announcement leading up to the Fourth of July holiday highlighting important safety tips for boating. The video includes the proper safety equipment and gear a boater should have on their vessel along with the importance of not drinking and boating. The video can be seen at

Lido Beach Holiday Hours The Sarasota County Sea Turtle Protection Ordinance requires that all beach furniture and equipment be removed from the beach nightly, until sunrise the following morning. Also, pursuant to amended Sarasota City Code Sec. 22-4, Lido Key public beaches will be closed to beachgoers from 11 p.m. until sunrise, from June 30 until July 10. This means that Lido Key beach will be closed to all beachgoers, race spectators and beach equipment until sunrise, which is approximately 6:40 a.m., during the 4th of July holiday events. The Sarasota Police Department will be strictly enforcing these closure times to protect the safety of all beachgoers, including the sea turtle kind.

Unattended Personal Property & Sea Turtle Protection In addition to expanded marine, foot and vehicle patrols, the Sarasota Police Department will be protecting public safety during the Sarasota Grand Prix weekend by posting signs prohibiting beachgoers from storing and leaving unattended personal property on Lido Beach, pursuant to Sarasota City Code Sec. 21-44. This is for the protection of all beachgoers and their belongings, to help ensure a safe and orderly race and beach-going experience. Also, beach furniture and other beach equipment, toys or trash left on the beach overnight during sea turtle nesting season can pose a serious entanglement hazard and obstacle for sea turtles and their hatchlings.

The Sarasota County Sea Turtle Protection Ordinance requires any "temporary structures, including but not limited to beach chairs, umbrellas and cabanas which have the potential for entrapment of marine turtles and which may interfere with the use of the natural beach environment for nesting habitat, be removed from the beach nightly, from sunset to sunrise." Mote, the Sarasota Police Department, Sarasota County Parks Department and the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix are partnering to protect endangered sea turtles and ask for your help in making this a safe event for all.

Plan Ahead: Have a Designated Driver
If you’re planning to enjoy alcohol during the holiday weekend, have a plan in place to get home safely. BeMyDD offers three services: Personal Driver, Pickup Service and Peace of Mind Plan. More information can be found at

AAA Tow To Go: AAA Tow to Go Program will be offered again to make sure those who are celebrating the holiday get home safely. The free, confidential, local ride is within a 10-mile radius to a safe location. This is offered July 1st until 6 a.m. on July 5th in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee. Call 1-855-TOW-2-GO (1-855-286-9246) or visit

Road Closures / Parking
Vehicles not removed by the posted time will be towed at the owner’s expense. For information on towed vehicles, please call Direct Towing at 941-365-6823.

10th Street from U.S. 41 to Sarasota Bay 7 p.m. Thursday, June 30, 2016 until 6 p.m. Sunday, July 3, 2016

Lemon Avenue from First Street to State Street 10 a.m. Friday, July 1, 2016 until Midnight Friday July 1, 2016

Wan Wezel Way from East End to 10th Street /// Central Avenue from Main Street to First Street /// Pineapple Avenue from State Street to First Street 3:30 p.m. Friday, July 1, 2016 until 11 p.m. Friday, July 1, 2016

Main Street from Orange Avenue to Palm Avenue 3:30 p.m. Friday, July 1, 2016 until Midnight Friday, July 1, 2016

South Lido Overflow Parking Lot 10 p.m. Friday, July 1, 2016 until 5 p.m. Sunday, July 3, 2016

Due to limited parking spaces, it’s highly recommended to carpool to weekend events. Illegally parked vehicles are subjected to ticketing. Vehicles blocking private driveways are subjected to towing. Anticipate long delays from the beach area at the conclusion of the race. Expect an exit time in excess of one hour when leaving the beach viewing area.

Centennial Park / Boat Ramp Closures
11:59 p.m. Thursday, June 30, 2016 until 6 p.m. Sunday, July 3, 2016

This area will be utilized as the staging area for the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix. There will be no boat ramp access during this time. A suggested alternative boat ramp is located in Ken Thompson Park next to Mote Marine Laboratory on City Island.

New Pass Closure
New Pass will be closed over the weekend:
Saturday, July 2, 2016 from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m.
Sunday, July 3, 2016 from 9:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m.
No unauthorized vessel traffic will be allowed in New Pass from Channel Marker #9 westward (seaward) with access to cove. Monday, July 4, 2016 – Fireworks & Road Closures/Limited Parking

Bayfront Drive (US 41), from Gulfstream Avenue to Orange Avenue will close at 7:00 p.m. and will remain closed until approximately 11:00 p.m.

Parking Lot at Bayfront Park/ Island Park will be closed when the parking lot has reached maximum capacity. No parking will be permitted on the grass area south end of Bayfront.

Palm Avenue Garage – located on Palm Avenue, between Main Street and Cocoanut Avenue.  Charge will be $5 to park.  Expect delays when exiting due to heavy traffic.

NOTE: Vehicle Traffic leaving the Bayfront/ Downtown area following the July 4th Fireworks will be subject to certain restricted traffic control measures as part of a comprehensive exit plan. Expect long traffic delays of up to one hour upon exit from the event area.

The Sarasota Police Department is encouraging race spectators to leave their pets at home for the Fourth of July and the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix festivities. During past events, several animals were lost because they were spooked during the events.


Sarasota man charged with 30 counts of possession of child pornography

SARASOTA, FL -- June 30, 2016 -- 9:45 a.m.

An update to this case:  John Pyle has been charged with an additional 15 counts of possession of child pornography.  This brings the current total count to 30.


SARASOTA, FL. – June 24, 2016   – 2 p.m.

This morning, Sarasota Police Department Detectives arrested and charged John M. Pyle, 59, of 3360 South Osprey Avenue, with 15 counts of possession of child pornography. 

A search warrant was executed at Pyle’s apartment after Sarasota Police Detectives received three separate cyber tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.  The three tips included seven (7) uploaded images of child pornography.

Sarasota Police Detectives worked with Detectives from the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office to conduct an initial forensic preview of any computer or cell phone found on the property in search of child pornography.  The initial search by Detectives found two bondage images of child pornography, 15 images of sexual conduct and 31 child pornography with no sexual conduct.

Pyle possessed more than 10 images and/or video of child pornography which qualifies for an enhancement to a second degree felony under Florida State Statute 775.0847.

More charges are possible and the case remains under investigation. 


John Michael Pyle

John Michael Pyle