Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Thursday, June 20, 2013
Former Citizen mailroom manager found guilty of burglary

A longtime mailroom manager at The Citizen was convicted Wednesday of burglarizing the newspaper's Northside Drive office building in January 2012.

A jury found Lazaro Morffi, 52, of Bay Point neighborhood on the Saddlebunch Keys, guilty of third-degree felony burglary after deliberating about 90 minutes, said Assistant State Attorney Mark Wilson.

Morffi will face a maximum sentence of five years in state prison when he is sentenced July 1 before circuit Judge Mark Jones.

Wilson said on Wednesday that Morffi had entered an office without authorization to steal keys for newspaper coin boxes.

"We're gratified by the jury's verdict," Wilson said.

Assistant Public Defender Kimberly Sloan, who defended Morffi, did not return a message seeking comment.

The newspaper contacted the State Attorney's Office and Key West police after conducting its own investigation, State Attorney's Office investigator Christopher Weber said shortly after Morffi's Jan. 22, 2012, arrest.

Police installed motion-activated surveillance equipment in the circulation director's office, in addition to security cameras the newspaper already had installed.

Those cameras captured images of Morffi entering an office without permission.

According to an arrest report, Morffi agreed to a search of his vehicle and to an interview with Weber.

"During the interview, he denied ever accessing any interior office at The (Key West) Citizen for any purpose, but said, 'If I see an open door, I close it,'" the report states. "He also denied ever accessing any newspaper boxes for the purpose of removing monies from the boxes."

It was unclear whether keys or money had been stolen.

Morffi was remanded to the custody of the Monroe County Sheriff after his conviction, under no bail, Wilson said. He had been out on $50,000 bail pending trial.

Morffi was fired from The Citizen after his arrest.

alinhardt@keysnews.com

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