First of Two Cleared In Strong-Arm Robbery

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SNOW HILL – One of two men arrested this summer for allegedly robbing a man at knifepoint, beating him and throwing him unconscious into some bushes along 94th Street had the charges against him dropped in Circuit Court this week because of insufficient evidence.

On June 17, Ocean City Police were called to the area of Mediterranean Drive and 94th Street to investigate a report of an unconscious man lying on the sidewalk. The investigating officers discovered Daniel Connelly, 26, of Brooklawn, N.J., passed out with dried blood on his face, neck and clothing.

After the officers were able to revive Connelly, who was reportedly intoxicated, they discovered he had been the victim of an armed robbery. Connelly told police he was at a mid-town nightclub earlier that night when he met four men. They offered to take him to a party and he accepted the ride.

The victim told police the ride he accepted took him to the bayside area of 94th Street where 10 men had now gathered. The group told Connelly it was the location of the party they had told him about. Two of the men then displayed switchblade knives and demanded Connelly’s money. The victim was able to briefly escape the vehicle and ran from the car, but was caught by the two men with switchblades.

The suspects, later identified as Gerrel Kess, 17, of Glen Burnie, and Tyrone Mann, 21, of Pasadena, allegedly went through Connelly’s pockets, taking his cell phone and cash from his wallet. Kess and Mann then beat the victim and threw him in the bushes.

Connelly was able to give the officers a description of Kess and Mann and OCPD Officer Lee Arlington was able to locate the two suspects nearby. Connelly was able to identify the two suspects as his attackers.

Police recovered a knife from Mann’s pocket and the victim’s cash from Kess’ pocket. Both were arrested and charged with armed robbery, first- and second-degree assault and misdemeanor theft. This week in Circuit Court, the charges against Kess were dropped because of insufficient evidence. Meanwhile, Mann had a motions hearing scheduled for yesterday and a trial date has been set for Dec. 4.

30 Days For Getaway Driver In Theft Ring

SNOW HILL – A Salisbury man who drove the getaway car during an extensive shoplifting ring in the resort area in September 2006 was found guilty this week in Circuit Court of theft under $100 and was sentenced to 30 days in jail.

Keith Jubilee, 33, of Salisbury, on Tuesday entered an Alford Plea to a misdemeanor theft charge and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. On Sept. 21, 2006, Ocean City Police responded to the Super Fresh store at the Gold Coast Mall for a theft with the suspect or suspects still on the scene. Upon arrival, OCPD officers met with a Super Fresh employee who pointed to a vehicle and said, “there they go in the black car behind the beer truck.”

OCPD followed the vehicle down Coastal Highway and pulled it over in the Rose’s Department Store lot near 94th Street. The officer first spoke to a female suspect, later identified as Tammy Brinkley, 30, of Salisbury, who said she didn’t know anything about a theft from the Super Fresh. The officer told Brinkley she was free to go, but when the suspect got her purse out of the vehicle, another purse with the price tags still on it was observed by the officer under Brinkley’s purse.

Meanwhile, Brinkley attempted to walk from across the parking lot to a location where her boyfriend, Jubilee, who was the driver of the suspect vehicle, was being questioned for his part in the reported theft. Brinkley, Jubilee and another passenger in the vehicle, Samuel Jones, 40, of Salisbury, were held in investigative detention while the officers searched the vehicle and further questioned the witness from the Super Fresh.

A search of the vehicle revealed 74 different articles of clothing allegedly stolen from several different retailers in the Rehoboth Outlets including Marshalls, Timberland, Osh Kosh, Rebok, FUBU and others. Also recovered was a bottle of Grey Goose vodka reportedly stolen from an area liquor store, according to police reports.

In the meantime, the Super Fresh employee was brought to the scene and identified Jubilee as the suspect who walked out of the grocery store with two bags of chicken. The trio was then arrested and each charged with theft under $500 and theft over $500.

Ocean Pines Break-Ins Reported

OCEAN PINES – Local law enforcement agencies are looking this week for the suspect or suspects who broke into several businesses in and around the Ocean Pines area.

On Nov. 2, Maryland State Police troopers responded to a burglar alarm at Atlantic Dental on Cathell Rd. and discovered a rear entry door appeared to have been pried open. A preliminary investigation was conducted at the scene and it appeared several other businesses in the area had been burglarized including Venable’s Cleaners and the Wash and Fold laundry.

The case has been turned over to the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI). Anyone with information about the break-ins is urged to call WCBI at 410-352-3476.

Three Local Juveniles Injured in Crash

OCEAN PINES – Three Berlin seventeen-year-olds were taken to PRMC with non-life-threatening injuries after the vehicle they were driving collided with another vehicle on Route 589 at Cathell Rd.

A little after 2 p.m. on Tuesday, the Maryland State Police, Ocean Pines Police and the Bishopville Volunteer Fire Company responded to a serious motor vehicle accident on Route 589 at Cathell Rd. The investigation revealed a 2008 Dodge pick-up driven by Julian Williams, Jr., 78, of Berlin was attempting to make a turn into the 7-Eleven parking lot when it collided with a 1998 Ford Explorer driving south on Route 589.

Williams refused treatment at the scene, while the 17-year-old driver of the Explorer and a rear-seat passenger were flown to PRMC via state police helicopter. Another juvenile passenger in the Explorer was transported to PRMC via ambulance. Williams was charged in the incident with failure to yield the right-of-way.

Purse Snatched

BERLIN – Maryland State Police is investigating the theft of a purse from a vehicle parked in front of a day-care facility on Tuesday evening.

Around 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, an MSP trooper responded to the Friends Forever day-care facility on Worcester Highway for a reported theft. The victim told police her purse was stolen from the front seat of her vehicle while she was picking up her child from the facility. The purse and its contents were valued at around $125.

Anyone with information about the case is encouraged to contact the state police Berlin barrack at 410-641-3101.

Traffic Stop Yields Weapons

OCEAN CITY – A Lutherville, Md. man was arrested last week when a concealed weapon was found in his vehicle following a routine speeding stop.

On Nov. 3, an OCPD officer observed a gray-colored sport utility vehicle going 53 mph in a 35 mph zone and pulled over the driver, later identified as Christopher Michael Dietrich, 18, of Lutherville. After preparing a warning ticket for Dietrich and telling him he was free to go, the officer asked the suspect if he could search his vehicle.

Dietrich consented and the officer then found a collapsible baton hidden in the glove compartment. When asked what he used the baton for, Dietrich replied he did not know. He was then arrested for carrying a concealed deadly weapon.

Balcony Burglar Convicted

SNOW HILL – A Pennsylvania man arrested in May after an altercation at an Ocean City motel during which one man was slashed in the side with a knife pleaded guilty last week in Worcester County Circuit Court to fourth-degree burglary and was sentenced to six months in jail, all of which was suspended in favor of probation and fines.

On May 28, two Northampton, Pa. men, Justin Wiker and Stephen Smith, both 24, were staying at the Spinnaker Motel on 18th Street when they became involved in a verbal altercation with some other men also staying at the motel. Around 3:45 a.m., Wiker and Smith climbed over several balcony railings to reach the room where the men they had argued with earlier were staying.

After breaking into the room, Wiker and Smith began fighting with the two men in the room. During the altercation, Smith was slashed in the side with a knife. Shortly thereafter, other guests in the motel broke up the fight and removed Smith from the room. Ocean City Paramedics responded to the scene and Smith was ultimately flown to PRMC via Maryland State Police helicopter.

Wiker was arrested on the scene and charged initially with second-degree assault and third-degree burglary. Similar charges were filed against Smith, who has not answered the charges resulting in a warrant for his arrest. Last week in Circuit Court, Wiker was found guilty of fourth-degree burglary and was sentenced to six months in jail, all of which was suspended. He was then placed on probation for one year and fined $250.

Jail Time For Pot

SNOW HILL – A Salisbury man arrested for possession of marijuana on the Boardwalk this summer was found guilty last week in Worcester County Circuit Court and was sentenced to six months in jail, all of which was suspended but one month.

Brandon Whitley, 23, of Salisbury, last week entered an Alford plea to a possession of marijuana charge and was convicted of the offense. In an Alford plea, a defendant admits the state has enough evidence to prosecute a case, but does not admit guilt.

On June 6, the suspicious actions of two young men on the Boardwalk caught the attention of Ocean City Police officers on plain-clothes detail. The officers were patrolling the area of Worcester Street when they observed the two men, later identified as Brandon Whitley, 23, of Salisbury, and a juvenile, whispering to each other and looking around anxiously. One of the suspects was observed reaching into his pocket and handing an item to the other, who put it into his pocket without looking at it.

The officers followed the pair as they walked down Wicomico Street toward Baltimore Ave. As uniformed officers met them at the intersection, the juvenile began to flee, but he was quickly detained. He was found to be in possession of a plastic Baggie of marijuana. The original officers on the case intercepted Whitley as he attempted to walk away. The found a piece of notebook paper balled up near where Whitley was standing. When the officers opened the paper, they found six “nickel bags” of pot packaged for distribution.

Whitley was arrested and charged with possession, possession with intent to distribute, and distribution of marijuana. Last week, he was found guilty of the possession charge and was sentenced to six months in jail with all but one month suspended, which he is serving over 15 weekends.

Deer Avoided, Not Wooden Pole

WEST OCEAN CITY – Two Berlin girls, one of whom is eight months pregnant, escaped without serious injuries last week after the car they were traveling in avoided a deer in the roadway but struck a wooden pole in a ditch.

On Nov. 1, Maryland State Police from the Berlin barrack responded to a single-vehicle accident on Sinepuxent Rd. near Antique Rd. in West Ocean City. The investigation revealed a 1999 Ford Explorer driven by a 16-year-old female from Berlin swerved to avoid hitting a deer, left the roadway, entered a ditch and collided with a wooden pole, causing minimal damage to the vehicle.

The vehicle’s 15-year-old female passenger, who is eight months pregnant, was transported to PRMC by Ocean City Fire-EMS for precautionary measures. No other injuries were reported.

Traffic Stop Leads To Crack

BERLIN – A Berlin man was arrested and charged with a variety of offenses last week including assaulting an officer and possession of crack cocaine after a traffic stop on Route 113.

On Oct. 31, a Maryland State Police trooper conducted a routine traffic stop on Route 113 near Route 818. Upon contact with the driver, the trooper noticed the strong odor of burnt marijuana emanating from the vehicle. While getting the occupants out of the vehicle, the trooper noticed the rear seat passenger, later identified as Tony Hall Vann, of Berlin, making furtive movements in an attempt to conceal suspected crack cocaine under the seat.

Vann was ordered out of the vehicle, and when the trooper began to question him about his actions, Vann became disorderly and started to pull away from the trooper’s grasp. Vann continued to resist arrest before he was ultimately subdued. A search of the vehicle revealed a baggie of crack cocaine.

Vann was charged with possession of crack, second-degree assault on a police officer, disorderly conduct, failure to obey a lawful order, resisting arrest and obstructing and hindering.

Air Conditioner Stolen

BERLIN – Local law enforcement officials this week are still looking for the suspect or suspects who stole an air conditioning unit from a new home construction site on Gum Point Rd. in Berlin.

On Oct. 31, Maryland State Police troopers responded to a residence on Gum Point Rd. for a reported theft. The investigation revealed unknown suspects stole a Daikin air conditioning unit from a construction site. The suspects cut the wires and utilized an unknown vehicle to transport the unit from the scene. The air conditioning unit is valued at over $500, making its theft a felony.

Anyone with information about the theft is urged to call the MSP Berlin Barrack at 410-641-3101.

Copper Tubing Swiped

BISHOPVILLE – The latest in a recent string of thefts of copper from area businesses and residences occurred last weekend when an unknown suspect or suspects stole copper pipes from a residence in Bishopville.

On Tuesday a little after 6 p.m., a Maryland State Police trooper from the Berlin barrack responded to a reported theft from a residence in Bishopville. The victim told police sometime between 10:30 p.m. on Sunday and 9 a.m. on Monday, someone entered her property and cut roughly six feet of copper tubing off her propane tank in the back yard. The suspect then went into a pump house and cut roughly eight inches of copper tubing from the hot water heater to the wall. The suspect also stole a miniature house still in its box. The investigation is ongoing.

First Offender Drop-Outs

OCEAN CITY – Two men arrested in Ocean City for marijuana possession in June were back in District Court on Monday to face the charge again after dropping out of the first offender program for various reasons.

The two defendants appeared in District Court Monday morning to face similar charges of possession of marijuana due to their failure to complete the first offenders program. Keith Lee Clark, 20, and Michael Anthony Festo, 20, both of Parkville, Md., pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana.

On June 4, 2006, at 1:40 a.m., officers responded to a residence on Teal Drive after hearing complaints of loud noise coming from the home. An officer received consent to search the home and found 3.1 grams of marijuana. Both Clark and Festo admitted to ownership of the marijuana and were placed under arrest for possession of marijuana. Both Festo and Clark entered into the first offenders program but failed to complete the requirements of the program.

Clark failed to complete the required 50 hours of community service. He explained to Judge Daniel Mumford that he works full time, attends school and lives on his own, making it difficult to find time for 50 hours of community service. Judge Mumford found Clark guilty and sentenced him to probation before judgment with $557.50 in fines.

Festo not only failed to complete the community service, but was also discharged from drug and alcohol treatment for non-compliance and failed to pay the administrative fee. As a result, he was sentenced to probation before judgment, with one year of unsupervised probation and $757.50 in fines.

Possession Charges Stick

OCEAN CITY – Paul Lamont Beckwith, 31, of Glen Dale, Md., appeared in District Court Monday morning, pleading guilty to possession of marijuana.

On Aug. 25, officers were reportedly on bicycle patrol around 11 a.m. when they spotted an individual, Beckwith, on a second floor balcony carrying a bong. Officers approached Beckwith, searched him and found 2.2 grams of marijuana in his possession.

Beckwith disagreed with the report and explained that he and some friends were smoking cigarettes, not a bong, and that officers had come up to the balcony demanding to see the bong. Beckwith explained that he didn’t know what they were talking about and told officers they could search him. Beckwith added that he was unaware that he had a small bag of marijuana on him. Officers found the bag and arrested him.

Beckwith was found guilty of possession of marijuana and was sentenced to probation before judgment with one year of unsupervised probation and $557.50 in fines.

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