Two Brothers Busted for Pot

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OCEAN CITY – A three-month undercover narcotics investigation carried out by the OCPD ended in the bust of two Ocean City brothers last week.

During the investigation, undercover narcotics officers made three marijuana purchases from one of the suspects, Caleb Ochse, 21, of Ocean City. The officers then obtained an arrest warrant for Ochse and a search and seizure warrant for his residence on Bayshore Drive in the resort, where Ochse lives with his brother, Joseph Ochse, 19. Upon entering the residence, the officers discovered a quantity of marijuana stored in a cabinet and a quantity of marijuana on a digital scale in the kitchen.

Joseph Ochse returned home while the warrant was being served. He was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and paraphernalia, while Caleb Ochse was charged with three counts of possession of marijuana and three counts of distribution of marijuana. Caleb Ochse is being held in the Worcester County Jail on a $50,000 bond, while Joseph Ochse was released on his own recognizance by a District Court Commissioner.

Last Thursday’s arrest was just the latest in a recent string of trouble with police for Caleb Ochse. Last November, he was arrested for allegedly throwing a concrete block at a police car while two OCPD officers were attempting to make a DUI arrest. Two Ocean City Police officers were attempting to arrest a man on Nov. 22 in the area of 16th Street and Baltimore Ave.

The suspect was resisting arrest and the officers were trying to subdue him when they heard a loud crash behind them. The officers looked up in time to see a concrete block strike the bumper of the police car and skid across the street. The officers involved with the DUI arrest saw a man, later identified as Caleb Ochse, running east toward the Boardwalk.

Ochse was later arrested and charged with reckless endangerment, obstructing and hindering an arrest and malicious destruction of property. Earlier this month in Circuit Court, Ochse had the charges against him placed on the stet docket. It remains uncertain if his arrest last week on drug charges will re-open the case against him from November.

Road Rage Leads To Wrench Throwing

OCEAN CITY – A Lewes, Del. man was arrested on a slew of charges this week after a string of incidents that began with a fight in the parking lot, included the suspect throwing a wrench through the window of a vehicle and ended with another altercation involving a wrench at a fast food restaurant.

The incident started when a group of girls were looking for a parking spot at Seacrets when they observed a late model white BMW blocking traffic. The girls observed two men in a truck arguing with the driver of the BMW, later identified as William Harry Bretz, 44, of Lewes, about getting out of the way. At one point during the argument, one of the men in the truck got out and punched Bretz in the face, knocking him to the ground.

According to police reports, Bretz got off the ground, walked to his car and got something out of the trunk. The driver of the car the girls were in started to back up to get out of Bretz’s way and Bretz got back in his car and started following the girls in their car. The driver told police Bretz sped up behind her while revving his engine and she thought he was going to run into her.

She left the parking lot with Bretz following her and later pulled into a shopping center parking lot. Bretz pulled in behind her, got out of his car and started walking toward the girls’ car with something in his hand. Bretz then threw a wrench through the girls’ passenger side window and got back in his car and drove off heading south on Coastal Highway.

While the initial officer was taking the witness report about the fight at the parking lot and the wrench-throwing incident, a call came in about a suspect and a vehicle matching the description of Bretz pulling a knife on a couple at McDonald’s on 32nd Street. The male victim told police he was in the restaurant’s drive-thru when a suspect, later identified as Bretz, began continually blowing his horn.

When the male victim asked Bretz what his problem was, Bretz got out of his car and got something out of the trunk and approached the couple. The couple later told police they believed Bretz approached them with a knife. The couple drove away before any further altercation with Bretz.

Meanwhile, police arrived at McDonald’s and the couple identified Bretz as the man who had confronted them with what they believed at the time was a knife. However, a search of Bretz’s vehicle revealed a large wrench matching the description of the one thrown through the girls’ car wind earlier.

Bretz was arrested and charged with assault, reckless endangerment and malicious destruction of property for the two separate incidents. While police were questioning Bretz, they noticed the strong odor of alcohol coming from his person. Bretz told police he had consumed a shot and a couple of beers and was confident he would pass the breathylizer. He went back and forth on his decision to take the test and finally refused. In the end, charges of driving under the influence were tacked on to the other charges.

Road Rage On Bridge

OCEAN CITY – An Ocean City woman was arrested on disorderly conduct and malicious destruction charges last week after an altercation with another driver about a close call while merging to cross the Route 50 Bridge still under construction.

Shortly after 2 p.m. last Wednesday, an OCPD detective starting to cross the bridge into Ocean City observed a Mercury Cougar and a Dodge Neon nearly collide as they entered the narrow lane of the bridge still open while the span is under construction. The officer followed the two vehicles across the bridge until all three vehicles came to a red traffic signal at the foot of the bridge.

The officer observed the driver of the Mercury, later identified as Morna Katherine Hemmer, 52, of Ocean City, get out of her car and approach the driver of the Dodge, which was in front of her at the light, in an aggressive manner. According to police reports, Hemmer screamed at the driver of the Dodge, who had three young children in the car, and violently kicked the door of the Dodge.

In the meantime, the light had changed to green and other vehicles attempted to pass the two cars involved in the road rage incident. The officer pulled both cars over and later arrested Hemmer, charging her with disorderly conduct and malicious destruction of property. While being taken into custody, Hemmer allegedly screamed she was “going to [expletive deleted] kill the other driver,” and that she “was going to find out where she lived.”

Stole One Granny’s Wheels, Another Granny’s Credit Card

OCEAN CITY – A Lehighton, Pa. man was arrested on a wide variety of charges last week after it was revealed he had stolen his one grandmother’s car and used a different grandmother’s credit card to rent a hotel room in Ocean City for a getaway with his girlfriend.

Around 11:30 p.m. last Friday, an OCPD officer received a call from the Colonial Region Place Police Department in Pennsylvania advising the officer about a stolen credit card that may have been used to rent a hotel room in Ocean City. The Pennsylvania police also told Ocean City police whoever was in possession of the stolen credit card was likely driving a car stolen from the same victim.

OCPD officers went to the Comfort Inn at Gold Coast to inquire about the incident and found out a young couple had rented the room using a credit card belonging to the victim. The female suspect had forged the card owner’s name on the registration. The pair of suspects, later identified as Peter G. Wayda, Jr., and Melissa E. Haggerty, were not in the room, but hotel staff told police they would contact them when they returned.

About an hour later, police returned to the hotel and observed a vehicle matching the description of the one stolen in Pennsylvania in a handicap parking spot. Police went to the room and questioned Wayda, who initially thought they were harassing him about parking in a handicap spot. Wayda later told police he had taken his one grandmother’s credit card and used it to rent the room. Wayda then told police he had borrowed his other grandmother’s car and driven it to Ocean City with his girlfriend, Haggerty, who denied having any knowledge Wayda was using a stolen credit card and told police Wayda absently asked her to sign for the room.

A records check revealed Wayda was wanted on an arrest warrant in Pennsylvania. Wayda told police he was not sure why he was wanted in Pa., but told the officers he was a recovering heroin addict. A search incident to the arrest revealed a brown leather pocketbook with several documents, cards and forms of identification inside belonging to one of the grandmothers. The search also turned up a backpack containing a syringe, cotton balls and a spoon consistent with heroin use.

Wayda was arrested and charged with theft, theft of services, various credit card theft charges, motor vehicle theft, drug charges and a fugitive warrant. Haggerty was charged with theft, credit card theft and fraud.

Warrant Suspect Disorderly

BERLIN – A Berlin man being served last week with an arrest warrant for driving while suspended became unruly with police and had disorderly conduct charges tacked on.

Shortly before 6 p.m. last Saturday, Maryland State Police troopers from the Berlin barrack served Glenn Otho White, 21, with an outstanding warrant for driving on a suspended license at Flower Street and Maple Street. During the arrest, White became belligerent and was also charged with disorderly conduct. He was taken to the MSP Berlin barrack for processing and was later released on his own recognizance by a District Court Commissioner.

Speeding Leads To Pot Bust

BERLIN – A Snow Hill man was arrested for marijuana possession last weekend after being pulled over for speeding on Seahawk Rd.

Around 6:30 p.m. last Saturday, Maryland State Police troopers pulled over a 2007 Hyundai on Seahawk Rd. in Berlin for a speeding violation. Upon contact with the vehicle, troopers detected the odor of marijuana in the passenger compartment.

A search of the rear seat passenger, identified as Edward Fassitt Carey, 20, of Snow Hill, resulted in the discovery of a marijuana smoking device containing a small amount of pot. Carey was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and paraphernalia.

Three Injured In Pines Accident

BERLIN – Three people were injured, including one seriously, in an accident on Route 589 at Cathell Rd. on Tuesday morning.

Shortly after 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Maryland State Police responded to a two-car accident on Route 589 at Cathell Rd. The investigation revealed a 2008 Acura, driven by Jerome Sachs, 76, of Baltimore, was attempting to make a left turn at the intersection and failed to yield to oncoming traffic, colliding with a Ford F-250 truck driven by Allen Gene Kindley, 71, of Ocean Pines.

The truck was struck on its passenger side by the Acura. Mary Sachs, the front seat passenger of the Acura, sustained serious injuries and was transported to PRMC. Jerome Sachs and Kindley were both treated at the scene for minor injuries. Sachs was charged with failing to yield to oncoming traffic on left turn.

Warning Doesn’t Take

OCEAN CITY – An Ocean Pines man arrested two weeks ago on drug and driving while suspended and revoked charges was at it again last week with a similar incident in Ocean City.

Last Wednesday, an OCPD officer on routine patrol observed a man he had arrested a week earlier on drug charges and driving on a suspended and revoked license driving again on 9th Street and Baltimore Ave. The officer checked the record of the suspect, later identified as Israel D. Smith, 36, of Ocean City, and found out his driving status had not changed.

The officer pulled Smith over again and asked him if he knew he wasn’t supposed to be driving. Smith said he was just going to the store and that he did know he wasn’t supposed to be driving, stating, “I know. You just told me last week.”

Smith was arrested again and a search of his vehicle incident to the arrest revealed three rocks of crack cocaine and an open can of beer on the floor of the car. The officer told Smith it was illegal to ride around with an open can of beer in the car and Smith allegedly replied, “I know. You told me last week. Go ahead and charge me with that too, [expletive deleted].” Smith was charged with driving on a suspended or revoked license, possession of crack cocaine and open container.

Shooting Suspects Sought

POCOMOKE – The Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) this week is looking for the suspect or suspects wanted in connection with a shooting incident at a fast food restaurant parking lot in Pocomoke last Saturday.

Around 12:20 a.m. last Saturday, Pocomoke Police responded to the parking lot of the Hardee’s restaurant for a reported shooting. WCBI was contacted shortly thereafter and took over the investigation, which revealed the victims were in the restaurant parking lot when a vehicle pulled up to them.

The suspect or suspects then shot at the victims several times before fleeing the scene. None of the victims were struck or injured. Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to contact the WCBI at 410-352-3476.

Pair Faces Disorderly Conduct Charges

OCEAN CITY – Two men appeared in District Court this week to face similar charges after both being arrested for disorderly conduct after leaving a midtown night club on St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

Charles Francis Duld, 23, of Salisbury and Lance Warren Hood, 22, of Virginia Beach, were both found guilty of disorderly conduct Monday morning, each receiving probation before judgment with one year of unsupervised probation and a $357.50 fine.

During the early morning hours of March 16, officers followed both Duld and Hood after the pair was told to leave the premises of Seacrets. The two separated, but officers followed both, as they appeared intoxicated, according to police reports. After shoving a bouncer and being asked to leave, Duld continued to yell profanity at people in the area, drawing attention to himself. As a result, police placed him under arrest for disorderly conduct. Hood walked away from Seacrets, ending up behind the Best Western Motel where he and another friend became engaged in a fight with another individual, at which point officers placed him under arrest for disorderly conduct as well.

Public Intoxication Yields Jail Time

OCEAN CITY – Jerry Groom, 52, of Seaford, appeared in District Court yet again this week to face public intoxication charges.

On March 15, Ocean City police officers responded to the area of Somerset Street for a welfare check. Upon arrival, they found Groom unconscious on a city bench with his pants off to the point that he was exposing himself. After waking Groom, they found him to be highly intoxicated and placed him under arrest.

Groom defended himself in District Court this week, pleading guilty to the charges but blaming the incident on his medication. According to Groom, his evening began in Seaford and, due to a mixture of prescribed medication he somehow ended up passed out on a bench in Ocean City.

Groom, who is already incarcerated for other charges, was sentenced to 10 days in the county jail.

13-Year-Old Case Resurfaces

OCEAN CITY – Sixty-five-year old Gardner Bud Kitchens, currently of Shenandoah, Va., pleaded guilty to two charges of failure to perform a contract this week in District Court, both of which date back to 1995.

According to police, Kitchens was hired as a contractor for work on two different homes in the Isle of Wight trailer park in September and October 1995 but failed to complete the work he was paid for. Kitchens left the area shortly after being hired for the jobs, and according to his attorney, has been residing in Virginia ever since.

Kitchens was found guilty in both cases and was sentenced to six months in jail for each, with all 12 months suspended. He was also sentenced to three years of supervised probation. For the September and October jobs, he was ordered to pay $14,600 and $10,870 respectively in restitution.

Bar Tab Gets Expensive

OCEAN CITY – Two Pennsylvania men faced theft charges in District Court this week after running out on a $175 bar tab at an uptown bar on St. Patrick’s Day.

Nathaniel N. Lee, 21, of Oil City, Pa. and Andrew P. Thompson, 21, of Etters, Pa., both appeared in District Court this week, pleading guilty to the charges of theft less than $500.

According to police, in the early hours of March 18, Officer Shawn Lindsey was called to Duffy’s Tavern for a reported theft in progress. Upon arrival, Lindsey was informed that Lee and Thompson had run out on their $174.69 bar tab. Lindsey quickly apprehended the two a few blocks away from the bar and placed them under arrest.

Lee and Thompson were both found guilty this week and sentenced to probation before judgment with one year of supervised probation. They were ordered to pay $174.69 in restitution to Duffy’s as well as $557.50 each in fines.

Guilty Sentence After Taking on Cops, Dog

OCEAN CITY – A Berlin man, arrested on St. Patrick’s Day after yelling at police and a K-9 dog and later attempting to spit on an officer, appeared in District Court this week, pleading not guilty to the charges against him.

Joseph R. Myers, 22, pleaded not guilty to noise violation and second-degree assault this week, deeming both of the charges unnecessary.

Officer Carl Perry testified that on March 17, he responded to the Bull on the Beach Restaurant on 94th Street for a reported disorderly subject. After speaking with Myers, Perry determined that no crime had been committed and told Myers that he was free to leave.

Myers had other plans, however, and remained outside, yelling, “let that dog out here, I’ll take him on,” in reference to the K-9 unit, and “these cops think they’re all tough guys.” After hearing the comments from a distance of more than 50 feet away, the officer placed Myers under arrest for noise violation.

Once inside the police car, Myers continued to be uncooperative, kicking the back of the seats repeatedly. Officers then removed Myers from the car, placing him on the curb. Perry testified that as he was getting a pair of gloves out of the trunk he heard Myers, who was seven feet away, clearing his throat. When he looked up he saw, Myers spit at him. Perry moved out of the way as the spit landed within inches of his boot.

Myers testified that while he was making rude comments, he did not feel the arrest was warranted. He also claimed that police “roughed him up,” causing him injuries and bleeding. According to Myers, he was simply spitting blood out onto the ground in front of him and did not at any time spit at the officer.

Despite Myers’ claims, he was found guilty of both charges and ordered to pay a $100 fine for the noise violation and $557.50 for second-degree assault.

Family Feud Draws In Local Realtor

OCEAN CITY – A family dispute spilled over into District Court this week, resulting in a confusing case of he-said-she-said, but ultimately yielding a not guilty verdict.

Paul O. Sturgis, 66, of Millsboro, Del., faced charges of false statement to a police officer this week, after alleging that a local realtor struck him with her vehicle and drove away.

Officer Eric Hutchinson testified that on Oct. 2, he met with Sturgis regarding a hit-and-run complaint. Sturgis alleged that the day before, he was in the parking lot of Coates, Coates and Coates with his wife, awaiting the outcome of a house settlement. Sturgis told Hutchinson that Karen Martin and Betty Duncan, came out to the parking lot and got in their car, but as he approached the car to speak with them, Martin backed into him, striking his knee and drove away. Hutchinson testified that Sturgis did not call the police, but later checked into a hospital for injuries to his knee.

Hutchinson testified that after investigating the claim and reviewing a town surveillance tape of the incident, he concluded that no hit-and-run had occurred.

Martin, a local Realtor who had recently sold Sturgis’s mother-in-law’s house, testified that on the day of the alleged incident, she came down to her car with Duncan, Sturgis’s sister-in-law, when she was approached by Paula Sturgis and a friend, who demanded money from a recent yard sale.

Martin testified that she was frightened and rushed to her car but was followed by the pair. Once inside the vehicle, Martin said she saw Paul Sturgis approaching her window. As she attempted to back up, Martin testified that the three banged on her car repeatedly while yelling to her and Duncan, scaring her to the point that she called 911 while driving away.

Sturgis testified the opposite however, claiming that as Martin was backing up she hit him, causing injuries to his knee. Sturgis also acknowledged that he and Duncan do not get along, claiming the settlement proceeded unfairly.

After hearing differing testimony from Duncan and Paula Sturgis and reviewing pieces of the surveillance tape, Judge Daniel Mumford found Sturgis not guilty, explaining that while he was convinced 90 percent of Sturgis’s guilt, he was not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt.

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