Masked woman busted for stealing from Keys bar

October 30, 2013 

A Homestead woman donning a mask for the annual Fantasy Fest was arrested Sunday after allegedly stealing numerous items from four customers of the BottleCap Lounge in Old Town Key West.

Johnesha Brown, 18, is charged with three felony counts of grand theft and is being held at the Monroe County Detention Center in lieu of $9,999 bond.

Key West Police Officer Michael Wolf was called to the bar for the first time at 3:30 p.m. Sunday in response to a purse stolen off a table.

"I was able to view surveillance video," Wolf reports, "that showed a heavyset female wearing a costume mask remove the purse from the table and leave the area."

That may have been the end of it but about an hour later, Wolf was called back to the BottleCap, on Simonton Street, and met by owner Carmelo Vitale, who spotted Brown in the bar again and had her "surrounded and held by angry victims."

Vitale told Wolf he recognized Brown's mask, build and long braided hair.

Upon another review of surveillance footage, Wolf reports the tape "clearly showed Brown sit down on the couch where the victims had been and begin surreptitiously collecting their belongings."

Brown led police to her vehicle, which was parked nearby at the Gato Building. In the auto and in trees and bushes around it, Wolf says, were two purses, a passport, driver's licenses and other items taken from the bar.

Tuesday, Brown had not yet had a court date set, according to the Monroe County Clerk of the Court's Office.

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