Shooting Suspect Sought

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WEST OCEAN CITY – Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) detectives this week are seeking a suspect in a shooting in West Ocean City early last Saturday morning.

Shortly before 2 a.m. last Saturday, WCBI officers responded to a shooting complaint in West Ocean City. The victim, Eric Jamar Purnell, 19, of Berlin, had been in the parking lot on the west side of Trader Lee’s Village at the intersection of Routes 50 and 611 when he was shot once in the right buttocks area. Purnell was taken by friends to Atlantic General Hospital and later transferred to PRMC in Salisbury.

The unknown shooter is described as being a light-skinned black male with dreadlocks, possibly from the Salisbury area. WCBI officials are still seeking the suspect whom they plan to charge with attempted murder and first-degree assault. Anyone with information concerning the shooting is urged to call WCBI at 410-352-3476.

Second Hotel Robbery Suspect Charged

OCEAN CITY – A Columbia, Md. woman implicated in a fake armed robbery scheme at an Ocean City hotel this summer turned herself in to local police last week and was released after posting $10,000 bail.

Brady Ashley Greer, 21, of Columbia, appeared last week for a bond review before a District Court commissioner after which she was released on a $10,000 bond. Greer has been charged with theft plus $500, conspiracy to commit theft plus $500 and making a false statement to a police officer. Ocean City Police obtained a warrant for her arrest last week after connecting her to a bizarre phony armed robbery at the Stowaway Grand Hotel in August.

On Aug. 6, OCPD detectives responded to the Stowaway Hotel on 21st Street for a reported armed robbery. Upon arrival, they interviewed the desk clerk and night auditor, later identified as Greer, who told police a masked man armed with a gun had entered the hotel, forced her to open a safe and duct-taped her to a chair before fleeing with tens of thousands of dollars.

OCPD detectives were suspicious of Greer’s story from the outset and their suspicions were confirmed when hotel surveillance tapes showed no evidence of the events described by Greer. What the surveillance tapes did show, however, was Greer talking on her cell phone for about 45 minutes during the time just prior to the alleged armed robbery.

When questioned about the call, Greer told the detectives she had been talking to her boyfriend, George M. Taylor, 23, of Stockton, who was somewhere in Virginia on his way back from Florida. However, the detectives, using various techniques, were able to determine Taylor had been in several places around Worcester County just prior to the reported robbery.

With Taylor as a prime suspect, OCPD detectives bided their time as they continued their investigation and built a case against him and Greer as co-conspirators in the fake armed robbery. When Taylor failed to appear for a child support hearing in Snow Hill three weeks ago, a warrant was sworn out for his arrest and the OCPD detectives on the Stowaway case had a note attached to the warrant requesting they be contacted in the event of Taylor’s arrest.

Taylor was arrested on November 1 during a wild chase and brief standoff in the south end of Worcester County during which he briefly dragged a Maryland State Police trooper with his vehicle before the officer was able to reach his gun and shoot out a tire before disengaging himself. Taylor fled into a nearby residence and was taken into custody a short time later after a brief stand-off.

When OCPD detectives questioned Taylor about the Stowaway robbery after his arrest, he essentially admitted his involvement and told police his girlfriend, Greer, has staged the robbery. Armed with that information, OCPD detectives prepared a warrant for the arrest of Greer, who was now living in Columbia, Md.

Last Friday, Greer, accompanied by an attorney, turned herself in and was taken before a district court commissioner who ordered her held on a $10,000 bond. She was released after posting bond and has court date set for District Court in Ocean City on December 10. Taylor faces the same charges as Greer, although no court date has been established for him.

Cocaine Was For Strippers

SNOW HILL – A Frankford, Del. man will be spending the next 10 weekends in the Worcester County Jail after pleading guilty to possession of cocaine he told police was for strippers at a bachelor party.

Around 2 a.m. last Dec. 17, a Worcester County Sheriff’s Deputy was on routine patrol on St. Martin’s Neck Rd. in Bishopville when he noticed a 1999 Dodge Caravan stopped in the roadway blocking traffic. The deputy observed a male suspect urinating outside the vehicle on the passenger side, and when the deputy activated his emergency lights, the passenger jumped back in and the vehicle accelerated.

The deputy chased the vehicle at a high rate of speed down St. Martin’s Neck Rd. to Caterpillar Lane to Back Creek Rd. to, finally, Salt Grass Rd. where it eventually came to a dead end at the water’s edge. The driver, later identified as Alviro Smith, 36, of Frankford, and his passenger attempted to flee on foot. The deputy saw Smith run behind an abandoned, decaying boat near the water’s edge and drop something on the ground.

The deputy took Smith into custody and when he looked for what the suspect had dropped, he discovered a baggie of cocaine. Smith was read his rights and told the deputy he wanted to talk. Smith told the deputy he was coming from a bachelor party and that the cocaine was for the strippers there. He also admitted drinking at the party.

In the vehicle the deputy discovered two open Natural Light cans and a bottle of Crown Royal between the front seats. Last week in Circuit Court, Smith pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine and was sentenced to 120 days in jail with all but 20 suspended. He started serving his 20 days on 10 consecutive weekends starting last weekend. He was also fined $500.

Dine and Dash, Crash Suspect Fails To Appear

SNOW HILL – An Elkridge, Md. man who allegedly ran out on a bill at an Ocean City restaurant last May before running into another car after running a red light failed to appear for trial in Worcester County Circuit Court last week and had a warrant sworn out for his arrest with a $15,000 bond attached.

John Duvall Canova, 27, of Elkridge, and a female companion, Karen Lynn Price, 24, of Chantilly, Va., allegedly paid less than half of a $122 restaurant bill at the Bonfire in Ocean City last May before fleeing the establishment in a vehicle, which ran a red light and collided with another vehicle on Coastal Highway. Canova and Price then fled the scene of an accident, compounding the trouble they were getting into.

The couple allegedly sped out onto Coastal Highway after fleeing the restaurant, ran a red light and collided with a vehicle attempting to make a left turn on a green arrow. Canova, the passenger, ran west on 70th Street, while Price tried to disappear into a crowd at a parking lot on 69th Street. Price was arrested at the scene and Canova, whom Price told police was named Jason Crestfield, was located and arrested about an hour later.

Police found marijuana in the vehicle as well as a digital scale. Canova was charged with theft, possession of marijuana, credit card theft and possession of burglary tools. He failed to appear for trial last week and a bench warrant in the amount of $15,000 was sworn out on him.

Strong-Arm Robbery Suspect Cleared

SNOW HILL – The second 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, according to the victim’s statement.

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. Last week in Circuit Court, the charges against Mann were dropped because of insufficient evidence, while the charges against Kess were also dropped for the same reason two weeks ago.

West OC Burglary

WEST OCEAN CITY – An Ocean City man was arrested on burglary and other charges after attempting to break in to the home of an ex-girlfriend in violation of a protective order.

Around 11:15 p.m. on Nov. 8, Maryland State Police responded to a residence on Keyser Point Rd. in West Ocean City in reference to a protective order violation. The victim, a 50-year-old female, told police an estranged boyfriend whom she had a protective order against, later identified as Thomas William Sellers, 50, of Ocean City, had just been at her residence and had damaged a screen door.

While en route to the residence, MSP troopers noticed a man matching the description of Sellers on a bicycle traveling south on Keyser Point Rd. The officers stopped Sellers and found he was wanted on two active warrants and took him into custody. They also noted a strong odor of alcohol on Sellers and he appeared to be under the influence.

The investigation revealed Sellers entered the victim’s residence while she was gone and the two argued when she returned. The victim and her 14-year-old son forced Sellers out of the front door and held the door shut while he attempted to re-enter the residence. Sellers damaged the screen to the front door and broke a flower pot on the porch before leaving on his bicycle.

He was charged with fourth-degree burglary, malicious destruction of property, violating a protective order and driving under the influence. Sellers was also served with two active warrants. He was taken before a district court commissioners and ordered held on a $3,083 bond.

Suspect Spits Out Pot

BERLIN – A Berlin man was arrested for possession of marijuana this week after getting detained for trespassing in an east-side neighborhood.

Around 9:30 p.m. on Monday, members of the Shore Criminal Observation Uniform Team (SCOUT) were patrolling in the area of Assateague Rd. and Flower Street in Berlin when they observed a man later identified as Ronald Vonzell Howell II, trespassing in a no trespassing area. When Howell was stopped for questioning, he spit from his mouth 1.3 grams of marijuana. He was placed under arrest and transported to the MSP Berlin barrack for processing. The investigation is continuing this week.

Berlin Man Killed In Delaware Crash

BEAR, Del. – A Berlin man was killed in a car accident in Bear, Del. last Sunday morning.

According to the Delaware State Police, the accident occurred around 11 a.m. at the intersection of Routes 896 and 71 near Bear, Del. According to police reports, the driver of a Jeep Liberty traveling southbound on Route 896 ran a red light and collided with a Mercedes driven by Owens Purnell, 60, of Berlin as he pulled out of the Brennan Estates community.

Purnell was taken to Christiana Hospital where he later died from his injuries. His wife was flown to the hospital with a fractured hip and broken ribs. The driver of the Jeep was not injured, but four passengers were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The crash is still under investigation this week.

Fugitives Apprehended

SNOW HILL – A pair of Cumberland, Md. residents wanted on multiple warrants in Alleghany County were nabbed in Worcester by Maryland State Police troopers from the Berlin barrack at a residence in Snow Hill.

Last Thursday, a detective with the Cumberland City Police Department contacted the MSP Berlin barrack looking for assistance in locating and apprehending a fugitive from that area believed to be residing in Worcester County. The Cumberland detective had learned that his suspect, Brian Scott Shelton, 21, of Cumberland, had fled to Worcester to avoid apprehension.

Two MSP troopers from the Berlin barrack then canvassed the southern end of Worcester County developing several leads about Shelton’s whereabouts. During the search, the MSP troopers kept in constant contact with Cumberland police as more information became available and more leads were followed up on.

The troopers’ efforts resulted in the identification of an address in Snow Hill where Shelton was known to be residing. Around 6:45 p.m. on Thursday, MSP troopers, with the assistance of Worcester County Sheriff’s Deputies, responded to the residence and apprehended Shelton without incident.

A woman in the company of Shelton, later identified as Crystal Ann Clites, 23, of Cumberland, was also found to be wanted. Both Shelton and Clites were taken into custody, brought before a district court commissioner, and held at the Worcester County Jail. Shelton was found wanted on seven warrants including charges of possession of marijuana, trespassing, disorderly conduct and driving without a license. He was ordered held without bond. Clites was wanted for failing to appear for a driving while suspended charge and was released on a $4,000 bond.

Guilty To Possession

OCEAN CITY – An Ocean City man arrested for possession of marijuana after being found hiding in a residence that wasn’t his was found guilty this week and sentenced to 10 days in jail.

Jeffery Dean Hillman, 47, of Ocean City, pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana in District Court Tuesday morning. On Aug. 29, officers reportedly responded to a gas station downtown in response to reports of panhandling. After searching the area, officers found Hillman hiding in a nearby residence that he claimed to be his own.

Questioning revealed that it was not his residence and police proceeded to perform a consented search of persons. The search revealed a small amount of marijuana and Hillman was placed under arrest for possession of marijuana. Hillman’s attorney explained that Hillman was currently incarcerated and was awaiting trial for an assault case. He also added that Hillman had another two weeks in jail before that trial. Hillman was found guilty and was sentenced to 10 days in jail.

Dispute Ends In Arrests

OCEAN CITY – Two people were arrested on assault charges this week after an Ocean City Police officer observed them beating each other up through an open window.

Around 2 a.m. last Sunday, OCPD Pfc. Shawn Beach was on patrol in the 49th Street area when he observed two people, later identified as Henry Robinson, 38, of Laurence Harbor, N.J., and Monika Walesa, 24, of Brooklyn, N.Y., striking each other repeatedly about the head and upper body through the open blinds of a sliding glass door. The officer entered the building and found Robinson had pinned Walesa down on a couch. Each was charged with second-degree assault.

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