Missing Berlin Woman Identified In Crack Bust

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OCEAN CITY – A Berlin woman reported as a missing person in November was one of three individuals arrested this week on crack cocaine charges at a downtown Ocean City residence.

Around 12:30 a.m. on Tuesday, two Ocean City Police officers went to a residence on St. Louis Ave. in an attempt to locate a wanted person. As the officers approached the unit, they observed through the window one individual, later identified as Sally Ann Layton, 44, of Berlin, handling crack cocaine paraphernalia with two other men, later identified as Marc Lantz, 30, and Franklin Purnell, 50, both of Ocean City, watching her.

The officer knocked on the door and identified himself as a police officer, causing Layton to scurry into a bathroom. The other two suspects cleaned up the table before answering the door. Once allowed inside, the officer observed bronze metal in small curls, an ice pick with black residue, and a silver socket wrench, all of which were being used to ingest crack cocaine.

All three were arrested and charged with possession of crack cocaine and paraphernalia. A search of Purnell turned up a small bag of marijuana and possession of marijuana charges were tacked on him. The investigation revealed Layton had been reported missing to the Berlin Police Department. She had been missing since Nov. 18.

Suspended Sentence In DUI Case

OCEAN CITY – An Ocean City woman arrested in June for driving under the influence of alcohol after a routine traffic stop was found guilty this week in District Court and was sentenced to one year in jail, all of which was suspended, and placed on probation with stringent conditions for three years.

Kellie Michelle Meehan, 27, of Ocean City, was found guilty on Wednesday of driving under the influence per se and was sentenced to one year in jail, all of which was suspended. Meehan, the daughter of Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan, was placed on three years supervised probation, which will be monitored in California where she now lives and works.

The conditions of her probation include a restricted license and no alcohol for three years. She was also fined $500 plus court costs. The other charges against Meehan were “nolle prossed,” or not prosecuted.

Meehan, who is enrolled in a treatment program outside the area for one year, was pulled over by Ocean City Police on Captains Quarters Road because her headlights were reportedly not illuminated. During the traffic stop, it was revealed she had a bench warrant out for her arrest as a result of her failure to appear for a violation of probation hearing from a similar arrest in January 2006.

Jail Time In Assault Case

SNOW HILL – A Dagsboro man arrested in June on assault and other charges after a fight on the Boardwalk pleaded guilty last week in Circuit Court to second-degree assault and was sentenced to one year in jail with all but three months and 21 days suspended.

Gregory Irvin Sturgis, 26, of Dagsboro, was arrested in June after a serious attack on another man at the south end of the Boardwalk. On June 24, an OCPD officer responded to the area of Ripley’s Believe It or Not on the Boardwalk after hearing reports of a fight in progress. The officer arrived at Talbot Street and the Boardwalk to find a large crowd of people gathered around a man with a blood-soaked towel on his head.

After hearing a report from witnesses of the description of the assailants, a call was put out for two suspects. Shortly after that, two males who matched the descriptions were detained, one of whom was identified as Sturgis. The investigation revealed a verbal confrontation had broken out, resulting in Sturgis punching the victim several times and knocking him down. Witnesses told police a crowd had formed around the victim after Sturgis retreated, but Sturgis returned one more time, broke through the crowd and “violently stomped the victim in the head.

After police apprehended Sturgis, several of the witnesses at the scene identified him as the assailant. One pointed out Sturgis had changed clothes in what must have been an attempt to disguise himself. The victim was transported to the hospital where he received stitches and sustained a swollen lip and black eye.

Minor Injuries In Truck Accident

BERLIN – The driver of a commercial pole truck received minor injuries this week when his vehicle overturned in a ditch at Libertytown Rd. and Narrow Branch Rd.

Around 8 a.m. on Monday, Maryland State Police troopers responded to a single vehicle accident at Libertytown Rd. The investigation revealed the Choptank Electric pole truck driver, identified as Michael Ian Chatlos, 33, of Salisbury, drove the vehicle off the roadway and failed to correct the vehicle back on to the road.

The grassy shoulder and ditch caused the truck to roll over on its passenger side. The driver received only minor injuries and refused treatment at the scene.

Burglary Suspect Sought

BISHOPVILLE – Maryland State Police troopers this week are searching for a suspect who attempted to break into a residence on Bette Drive in Holiday Harbor last Thursday.

Around 5:40 a.m. last Thursday, MSP troopers responded to a residence on Bette Drive for a reported burglary attempt. The victim told police an unknown suspect attempted to enter the residence through a side door, but was scared off and was last seen fleeing the area on foot.

A canine track was completed with the help of the county Sheriff’s Office and ended at the corner of Bette Drive and Vivian Drive. It is believed the suspect fled in a vehicle from that location. The investigation is still underway. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the MSP Berlin barrack at 410-641-3101.

Time Served For Assault

SNOW HILL – An Ocean City man, formerly of Jamaica, arrested on burglary charges last summer after entering a residence on Robin Drive and fondling two female occupants was sentenced last week to 18 months in jail with all but the time he already served.

Henry Okoye, 25, of Ocean City, pleaded guilty in October to second-degree assault and his sentencing was deferred pending the outcome of a pre-sentence investigation. Back in court last week, Okoye was sentenced to 18 months in jail with all but the 223 days he has already served suspended.

On May 29, OCPD officers responded to a residence on Robin Drive occupied by two females for a reported burglary. One of the female victims told police she awoke around 2 a.m. to find a man in her room with his hand on her buttocks under her shorts and underwear. She told him to leave, which he did.

A few hours later, the first victim’s roommate awoke to find the same man in her room rubbing her feet. The suspect asked the victim if he wanted him to rub her feet, but she refused, told him to leave and called the police. The victims described the man as a “big guy” with a Jamaican accent. Several neighbors identified the suspect as a man they knew as Henry who frequented the neighborhood and lived nearby.

Around 3:30 that afternoon, an OCPD officer saw the man, later identified as Okoye on 26th Street. The officer questioned Okoye about where he had been the night before, and he admitted he was at the victims’ residence but didn’t do anything wrong. The officer offered to take a picture of Okoye in order to clear him as a suspect, but later used the photo as part of a suspect line-up he presented to the victims. Each of the victims identified Okoye as the intruder.

NY Woman Guilty Of Cocaine Possession

OCEAN CITY – A disoriented New York woman appeared in District Court last week, adamantly maintaining that she had never possessed cocaine in her life, despite the overwhelming evidence against her.

Carol Ann Muller, 46, of Bethpage, N.Y., pleaded not guilty to possession of cocaine this week, claiming that the cocaine found in her possession had been planted.

Officer Aaron Morgan testified that on Sept. 9, 2007, he responded to the Holiday Inn on 67th Street at 6:30 p.m. for a possible eviction and domestic dispute. The manager met Morgan downstairs and explained that the couple being evicted had been yelling and arguing loudly and had been asked to leave.

While in the room the manager had observed four to five small green bags of what he believed was cocaine and also overheard Muller talking about throwing the drugs over the balcony. Officers found a small green Baggie of what was later proven to be cocaine on the ground floor of the hotel. The Baggie matched what the manager had seen in the room and also contained cut straws that matched straws found in the hotel room by officers.

Morgan testified on Monday that Muller’s right nostril was red and swollen from what he believed was cocaine use. Upon arresting Muller and searching her purse, a small razor with white residue on the edge was found, the white residue later tested positive as cocaine.

After several outbursts, Muller was finally given an opportunity to testify and explain herself. Muller claimed that she was both bi-polar and depressed, adding that her statements to officers could not be deemed valid. Muller made several attempts to explain herself, maintaining that she had no razor in her possession. After being presented with the razor found in her purse, Muller claimed it had been planted there. Muller was found guilty and was fined $1,057.

Not Guilty Of Forgery

OCEAN CITY – A local woman was found not guilty in District Court last week after Judge Daniel Mumford ruled there was insufficient evidence to find her guilty of forgery.

Karla Faith Snyder, 34, of Ocean City, appeared in District Court Monday to plead not guilty to charges of forgery of a private document. Snyder’s ex-boyfriend and father to her child testified that Snyder forged his signature on a document, adding that he did not give her consent to sign his name.

Snyder’s attorney argued that the document came from Snyder’s employer and outlined money that was being loaned to Snyder to pay for her boyfriend’s surgery. Although he admitted that Snyder might have loaned him money for the surgery, the witness maintained that Snyder forged his signature on the document.

After hearing the case, Judge Daniel Mumford found Snyder not guilty, explaining that no evidence had been presented proving that Snyder had forged the document.

Wallet Theft Ends In Jail Time

OCEAN CITY – A Berlin man was sentenced to 30 days in the county jail last week, despite pleading not guilty to the theft charges.

Roger Vincent Welton Jr., 19, of Berlin, appeared in District Court Monday morning, pleading not guilty to charges of theft less than $500, theft less than $100, and stealing another’s credit card.

The victim testified that on Sept. 18, 2007, she was at a local saloon when she noticed that her wallet was missing. After looking around the restaurant, she notified the manager that she could not find her wallet. The manager searched the area and questioned several employees but was unable to find the wallet. The victim testified that she had $450 in her wallet along with a credit card and other various items.

Officer Chris Snyder testified that upon arrival, the wallet was still missing but the manager believed that Welton, who was a bus boy at the restaurant, knew where it was. After phoning Welton, the manager learned that Welton had found the wallet and placed it on a counter.

Snyder made several attempts to call Welton, but Welton refused to speak to him. When Snyder finally made contact with Welton, the suspect changed his story, claiming he had put the wallet in his apron and that it had fallen into the dumpster by accident when he was taking out the trash. The wallet was found in the back, bottom left corner of the dumpster but was missing $450 and the victim’s credit card.

Welton testified he had put the wallet in his apron and had intended on giving it to his manager. He claimed he forgot about the wallet until he received the phone call later that night after work. When asked how the wallet could fall from his apron, into the dumpster and end up in the far back corner, Welton had no explanation.

Judge Daniel Mumford found Welton guilty, adding that he didn’t believe Welton’s story or claims. Welton was sentenced to 90 days in jail with all but 30 days suspended. He was also sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation and was ordered to pay the victim $450 in restitution.

Two Treated After OC Fire

OCEAN CITY – Two local residents were treated and released from Atlantic General Hospital last week after a fire at their Ocean City residence.

Around 6:30 p.m. last Friday, a fire occurred at a residence on Clamshell Rd. in Ocean City. An investigation conducted by the Ocean City Fire Marshal’s Office revealed fire damage to a rear bedroom and hallway, with smoke and heat damage throughout the home. Several neighboring homes were also damaged by heat from the fire.

The two occupants, who were home at the time of the fire, safely evacuated the structure along with their two dogs. However, the occupants were transported to AGH and were treated and released the same night. The cause of the fire has been classified as undetermined, although unattended candles could not be ruled out as a potential contributing factor in the incident.

Tail Light Yields Pot Busts

OCEAN PINES – Three individuals from Salisbury were arrested on possession of marijuana charges this week after a routine traffic stop on Cathell Rd. in Ocean Pines.

Shortly after midnight on Monday, a Maryland State Police trooper on routine patrol pulled over a 1992 BMW on Cathell Rd. near Route 589 for a malfunctioning taillight. Upon contact with the vehicle’s three occupants, the trooper noticed the strong odor of marijuana emanating from the BMW. A probable cause search revealed over 13 grams of marijuana in the vehicle.

All three occupants, Jessica Lauren Boltz, Stephanie Danielle Bradley, and Rene Lynn Johnson, each of Salisbury, were arrested on possession of marijuana charges.

Alleged Shoplifters Acquitted

OCEAN CITY – An Ocean City couple arrested last May for allegedly stealing seafood and meat from an Ocean City grocery store were acquitted of all charges this week in Worcester County Circuit Court.

On May 31, a customer at the Food Lion on 118th Street in Ocean City questioned a couple trying to steal meat and seafood from the store, causing them to leave without their loot and later led to their arrest on attempted theft charges. Resort police were dispatched to the Food Lion for an attempted theft in progress.

When they arrived, the suspects had fled the seen, but an observant customer in the store provided the details and their descriptions that later led to their arrests. The customer told police she observed the two suspects, later identified as Daryl Lee Whaley, 50, and Tammy Sue Bussard, 40, both of Ocean City, stuffing meat and seafood into a tan cloth laundry bag.

When the customer questioned the suspects about their activity, they told her they were allowed to take the goods and called her a “stupid [expletive deleted].” The customer then told the manager about what she had seen and heard, and the two suspects fled the store without their stolen loot.

Whaley and Bussard were seen heading for the bus stop on 118th Street. A check with the bus driver revealed two suspects matching the description of Whaley and Bussard had boarded the bus at 118th Street and had gotten off at 3rd Street. OCPD detectives viewed the incident on the store’s surveillance tapes and were able to identify the suspects from prior contact with them.

Bussard and Whaley were later arrested at their Dayton Lane home and charged with attempted theft under $500. Last week in Circuit Court, they were acquitted of the charges.

Guilty Assault Sentence

OCEAN CITY – A local man was found guilty of second-degree assault this week in District Court after being arrested for the offense last month.

Gregory David Secon, 46, of Ocean City, pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree assault Monday morning after spending the past 32 days in jail.

On Dec. 12, around 11 p.m., Officer Edward Newcomb responded to Talbot Street for reports of an assault. The victim, Secon’s fiancée, had a bloody mouth and reported that Secon had punched her in the face three times. Secon was placed under arrest and charged with second-degree assault.

“It was just a drunken, stupid Ocean City mess,” said Secon’s fiancée, asking that her fiancée be released so they could get their lives in order.

Secon was found guilty of second-degree assault and was sentenced to 18 months in jail with all but time served suspended. He was also sentenced to two years of supervised probation.

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