Sex Offense In The Surf

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OCEAN CITY – A Honduran national was arrested and charged with a fourth-degree sex offense on Monday after allegedly fondling a female swimmer’s private parts as she played in the ocean just south of the Wicomico Street pier.

Around 1:30 p.m. on Monday, OCPD Detective Mike Levy responded to the beach just south of the pier for an unknown disturbance after being alerted by the Ocean City Beach Patrol. The detective interviewed a female victim, who told him she had been body surfing in the ocean when she was sexually assaulted in the vaginal area by a suspect, later identified as Walter Hernandez.

The victim told the detective she was body surfing with her daughter nearby when she felt a person come down over her and then go under her and fondle her vaginal area on the outside of her bathing suit. The victim told police she believed the assault was intentional because the suspect repeatedly fondled her over her bathing suit.

A language barrier prevented the detective from interviewing the suspect, but a female companion of the suspect agreed to interpret. Through the interpreter, Hernandez denied ever touching the victim. Hernandez could not provide any identification to the police, who began to suspect he was an illegal alien. Hernandez first told police he was a legal resident but did not bring any identification to Ocean City with him. He later recanted and admitted being an illegal alien and that he was from Honduras.

Based on his statements, Hernandez was arrested and charged with a fourth-degree sex offense. His interpreter was able to provide a Republic of Honduras identification card, which listed his name as Walter Antonio Hernandez Merino, but the officer was unable to verify the authenticity of the identification.

Swiped Cigars, Booze

OCEAN CITY – A Bowie, Md. man was arrested last week and charged with burglary and malicious destruction of property after stealing cigars and a bottle of vodka from a cabinet from the office of a downtown motel reservations office.

Around 6:45 a.m. last Wednesday, an OCPD officer was called to the Days Inn on 22nd Street for a reported robbery in progress. The officer met with a pair of motel employees who said they had observed a white male exiting the second-floor office of the company’s vice president with a bottle of vodka and a handful of cigars.

The employees then observed the suspect, later identified as John Jeremiah Lilly, 18, of Bowie, re-entering the second-floor office, and when they questioned him, Lilly said he was an employee and was going into the office to get his name tag. The employees became suspicious and told Lilly to stay where he was.

One of the employees went up to the office and noticed the door had been forcibly opened with the mid-section of the doorframe damaged. The employee also noticed the desk cabinet in the office had been rummaged through and multiple cigars had been stolen from a humidor inside the desk cabinet as well as a bottle of vodka from the bottom part of the cabinet.

When the employee went back downstairs to question Lilly, the suspect fled through the pool area, which is when the OCPD was called. A lookout was placed for the suspect with many patrol units searching the area. A short time later, two OCPD officers encountered a man meeting the description of Lilly, and as the officer approached the suspect, he said, “I was coming to look for you guys.”

The witnesses were brought over and positively identified Lilly as the suspect. Lilly was read his rights at which time he admitted stealing the cigars and the bottle of vodka. He also provided a detailed account of which doors he had entered and how he got into the office. A search of his apartment revealed the stolen cigars and bottle of vodka. He was placed under arrest and charged with second-degree burglary, theft and malicious destruction of property.

Boardwalk Minstrel Busted

OCEAN CITY – A Connecticut man was arrested and charged with leaving a small child unattended last week just hours after he was observed strolling the Boardwalk playing a guitar and singing with another man.

A little after 3 a.m. last Thursday, two OCPD officers were dispatched to the Sea Cove Motel at 27th Street for a reported young child left unattended in a room. Witnesses told police they heard a small child crying and yelling for his father, who was nowhere to be found. The child told police he was on vacation with his father, later identified as Alexandre Rybalko, 48, of Stamford, Conn., and that his father had left him alone a long time ago.

While police were interviewing the child, Rybalko arrived on the scene. The officers realized he was the same man they had seen on the Boardwalk around midnight playing a guitar and singing with another man. The officers also realized they had not seen the child with him three hours earlier, which gave them a timeline of just how long the boy had been left alone.

Rybalko told police he was separated from the boy’s mother, who still lived in Connecticut. Based on the known timeline of the events, Rybalko was arrested and charged with leaving a child under age 8 unattended.

Brief Chase Leads To Charges

OCEAN CITY – An Ocean City woman faces driving while intoxicated and a slew of charges this week after eluding police during a chase through the downtown area that ended with guns drawn on Baltimore Ave.

Around 8:30 p.m. last Friday, an OCPD bicycle cop working the downtown area was approached by a witness who told the officer the female driver of a Dodge caravan was extremely intoxicated at the 7-Eleven on North Division Street. The officer responded to the scene just as the driver, later identified as Ann Louise Hanyok, was about to make an illegal right turn onto Philadelphia Ave.

Hanyok, perhaps realizing the mistake she was about to make, turned left instead before making a right onto N. Division. The officer approached the van and told Hanyok to stop and as he approached the van, he could smell the strong odor of alcohol emanating from the vehicle.

The officer dismounted his bicycle and approached the van, but Hanyok did not stop as directed and drove through the intersection onto Baltimore Ave. The bicycle officer pursued the van and was joined by other officers in marked patrol cars. The van continued to elude police, slowing down several times before accelerating again, as it made is way through the alleys and downtown streets, running several stop signs along the way. As the van rolled up to the intersection of Baltimore Ave. and 3rd Street, it jerked to a stop after entering the intersection.

The initial bicycle officer, fearing Hanyon would flee again, drew his service revolver as he approached the stopped vehicle. Hanyon complied with the order to exit the vehicle and after stumbling and slurring was charged with driving while intoxicated and slew of other traffic offenses. A background check revealed she was driving on a suspended and revoked license.

Hanyon freely told police, “I messed up. I shouldn’t have run,” and “I saw the bicycle behind me and I got scared,” according to police reports.

Resort Arsonist Gets Jail Time

SNOW HILL – An Ocean City man arrested in April and charged with first- and second-degree arson and other charges after deliberately setting a vehicle on fire near a downtown shopping center pleaded guilty this week in Circuit Court to second-degree malicious burning and was sentenced to 18 months in jail.

Gerald William Shields, 26, of Ocean City was arrested in April after the Ocean City Fire Marshals Office connected him to a vehicle fire at the Midway Shopping Center on Philadelphia Ave. near 7th Street on March 29. The investigation revealed Shields set a vehicle on fire in close proximity to the shopping center.

The fire was incendiary in cause and no injuries were reported. Shields was arrested on April 3 after the Fire Marshals Office identified him as the suspect. This week in Circuit Court, Shields pleaded guilty to second-degree malicious burning and was sentenced to 18 months in jail.

Possession Charges Stick

OCEAN CITY – A Millsboro man came appeared in District Court Tuesday morning to plead guilty to possession of marijuana.

Michael Anthony McCray, 20, of Millsboro, Del., came before Judge Richard Motsay Tuesday after being arrested in April 2006 for possession of marijuana. Judge Motsay addressed the fact that the case had taken so long to come before the District Court due to McCray’s failure to appear in court. McCray admitted that he had indeed failed to appear for the first court date and was currently out on bail for his failure to appear.

On April 16, 2006, officers were on foot patrol in the Worcester Street parking lot when their canine unit alerted them to the exterior of a black Jeep. McCray was one of the individuals inside of the Jeep. The canine unit alerted officers to the driver’s side door, resulting in a search of the car. Roughly five grams of marijuana were found in the search of the vehicle and McCray was arrested.

Mccray was sentenced to one year of supervised probation with a $250 fine and a 90-day suspended sentence.

Alleged Embezzler Arrested

BERLIN – A West Ocean City woman was arrested this week and charged with theft scheme over $500 after an investigation revealed an alleged pattern of embezzlement from her employer.

On Aug. 27, detectives from the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) were notified by the owner of Atlantic Aquatech in Berlin that he suspected an employee was embezzling from him. The investigation revealed Karla Faith Snyder, of West Ocean City, had used over $27,000 in Atlantic Aquatech funds for her personal use.

While employed as the company’s bookkeeper, Snyder allegedly altered company checks for her personal use rather than for the company’s operating expenses. Snyder was placed under arrest by WCBI and charged with theft scheme over $500. She was taken before a District Court Commissioner and remanded to the Worcester County Jail n lieu of a $25,000 bond.

Shots Fired In Berlin 

BERLIN – Worcester County Sheriff’s deputies, responding to a report of shots fired at an apartment complex last week, arrested two individuals on a variety of charges after finding them in possession of guns, drugs and ammunition.

On Aug. 29, a Sheriff’s deputy responded to the Wolf Terrace Apartments in Berlin to assist Berlin Police with a report of shots fired. Upon arrival, the deputy met with a witness who said she heard shots fired in the Schoolfield Street area. The deputy searched the area and found two subjects, later identified as Kevin Johnson and Jermaine Poulson, both of Berlin.

A search of Johnson and Poulson revealed both were carrying handguns. The search also turned up several rounds of ammunition, crack cocaine and marijuana in quantities indicating intent to sell the drugs. They were both also in possession of a large sum of cash.

Both were charged with wearing, carrying and transporting a handgun on their person, possession of crack cocaine and marijuana and possession with intent to distribute. They were transported to the Ocean City Commissioner’s Office. Poulson was released on his own recognizance while Johnson was held on a $25,000 bond.

North-End Drug Dealer Busted

OCEAN CITY – A Dagsboro, Del. man was arrested in Ocean City last weekend and charged with possession of crack cocaine and possession with intent to distribute after an undercover investigation pointed to him as a possible dealer.

Last Friday, officers from the OCPD narcotics section working undercover was conducting an investigation in the area of 137th Street and Sinepuxent Ave. when they attempted to arrest Arnesto Smith, 28, of Dagsboro. When the officers attempted to take Smith into custody, he resisted and fled on foot, but he was apprehended a short time later by Pfc. Mike Richardson and his K-9 partner Semper.

Smith was found to be in possession of 50 individual pieces of crack cocaine, or roughly a quarter ounce, with an estimated street value of $1,100. He was charged with possession of crack cocaine, possession with intent to distribute and resisting arrest. Smith was released on a $55,000 bond and his preliminary hearing is set for Sept. 26.

Civil Suit Filed

In Bike Week Fight

SNOW HILL – A Berlin man injured while attempting to break up a fight during Bike Week 2006 this week filed a civil suit naming his alleged assailant, Delmarva Bike Week event organizers and Ocean Downs as defendants and is seeking around $1.5 million in damages combined.

On Sept. 15, 2006, Berlin resident John Rinkus was attending a live music event officially sanctioned by Delmarva Bike Week at Ocean Downs with his fiancé and his 12-year-old son when a fight broke out no more than 10 yards away from them. According to court documents, the main aggressor in the fight, Rex Curnutte, of Dundalk, pounded another man until he was on the ground and continued to pound away on the man while in a defensive position on the ground.

The suit filed this week alleges no security or police arrived on the scene to break up the fight, which was finally stopped by bystanders who interceded to get Curnutte off his victim. Rinkus said in official court documents he helped the victim to his feet and was checking the extent of his injuries when Curnutte allegedly came up behind him without warning or provocation and punched Rinkus in the face, causing serious injuries including facial fractures.

The suit alleges even after all of that happened, still no security or police arrived on the scene. According to court documents, security and police finally arrived long after Rinkus had been assaulted and order was restored. The civil suit filed by Rinkus through his attorney seeks $250,000 in compensatory damages and $750,000 in punitive damages against Curnutte for assault and battery and another $250,000 against Curnutte for negligence.

The civil suit is also seeking damages from Ocean Downs and B Line Inc, the official organizers of Delmarva Bike Week, in the amount of $250,000 each for negligence and negligence in hiring, supervising or retaining adequate security.

Anxiety Leads To Theft Charges

OCEAN CITY – A 33-year-old woman pleaded guilty to theft under $100 in District Court Tuesday morning, with her attorney explaining that her client’s anxiety played a role in the theft.

Susan Gambrill, 33, of Hedgesville, W.Va., appeared in court Tuesday to face charges that resulted from her arrest in June.

On June 24, police arrived at a downtown store to find employees surrounding a woman, Gambrill, in the back of the store. The employees told officers that Gambrill had been caught stealing a $13 shirt from the store. Officers then arrested Gambrill for theft under $100.

Gambrill’s attorney explained to Judge Richard Motsay that Gambrill had three young children and that her husband had recently passed away. She added that Gambrill suffered from anxiety and that her anxiety had caused her to accidentally steal the shirt.

Gambrill was apparently feeling anxious in the store and decided to leave immediately, forgetting that she was holding the shirt. Gambrill’s attorney assured the court that she had been shopping earlier in the day and that she had no reason to steal the shirt.

Gambrill was sentenced to probation before judgment with six months of unsupervised probation and $100 fine.  

Guilty Sentence For

Malicious Destruction

OCEAN CITY – A case involving the attempted malicious destruction of property appeared in District Court Tuesday morning, with the defendant pleading not guilty to the charges.

Kevin Mitchell Rader, 35, of Ellicott City, Md., came before the District Court Tuesday to plead not guilty, claiming that he never intended to nor did he do any damage.

Officer Chris Snyder testified that on June 2, he was on vehicle patrol in the Seacrets parking lot when he first noticed Rader. As he was driving past Rader, he heard him yell, “keep [expletive delete] driving.” Snyder decided to follow Rader for a few seconds, at which point Rader approached the car in an aggressive manner, threatening, claiming he was sober, and stating several times that he was with the special forces of the military.

Several security men from Seacrets surrounded Rader, telling him that he needed to leave the parking lot immediately. Rader got in his car and drove to the Princess Bayside. Snyder followed Rader to the Princess Bayside parking lot, just one block away. According to Snyder, he was observing Rader and slowly driving by him in the parking lot when he heard a noise and saw a movement from Rader in his review mirror that Snyder concluded to be Rader kicking his car.

Snyder noticed a black scuffmark on his bumper and although he could not be sure whether the mark had been there before he arrested Rader for attempted malicious destruction of property over $500.

Rader took the stand to explain his version of the story. According to Rader, he had been asked to leave Seacrets and was trying to get himself together and drive away when he first saw Officer Snyder. Rader claims that he suffers from anxiety and that he was feeling very nervous by the whole situation. As for the alleged kick, Rader explained that he had not intended to kick the car. Rader explained that the police car was between him and the door to the Princess Bayside and that although he admits to yelling inappropriate things at the officer as he walked by, he did not kick the car. Rader maintained that he had simply turned around too fast.

“It just doesn’t seem a logical thing to do,” Judge Richard Motsay said of Rader’s remarks to Snyder. Motsay also questioned why Rader had been kicked out of the bar in the first place and also why someone suffering from anxiety would want to be out at bars and yelling at people.

Rader, who has been in jail since July 16 when he failed to appear in court for the first court date, was found guilty and sentenced to time served with no fine.

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