OCEAN CITY – A resort man went back to the scene of a prior crime this week and was arrested on burglary and drug charges this week after an Ocean City Volunteer Fire Company officer observed him inside Bailey’s Pharmacy on Philadelphia Ave. at 8th Street early Monday morning.
Around 3 a.m. on Monday, OCVFD Assistant Chief David Cropper was driving home after responding to a vehicle collision when he noticed a person inside Bailey’s Pharmacy on 8th Street. Suspecting the individual probably did not belong in the store at such an early hour, Cropper notified police which touched off an investigation and later arrest of Brandon Lee Peeples, 28, of Ocean City, after a wild scene during which an OCPD K-9 dog fell down an elevator shaft.
For Peeples, his arrest early Monday morning in Bailey’s Pharmacy came just about a year after his arrest last May for practically the exact same crime. Last May, OCPD officers discovered the pharmacy had been broken into by a perpetrator who had smashed the store window with a newspaper distribution box and tracked a trail of blood to Peeple’s residence at a nearby apartment complex.
Peeples was arrested for that crime and ultimately served jail time. This week, he was up to his old tricks using the same method to gain entry to the pharmacy but was caught inside after going back for seconds. After receiving the tip from Cropper, an OCPD officer responded to the pharmacy and noticed the front door was smashed and a newspaper vending machine lying on the ground nearby.
The officer called for back-up and took a position by the pharmacy’s back door. Other officers responded to the scene with K-9 dog “Tacko” and entered the store to begin the search for the suspect. “Tacko” led police to the second floor where the police dog fell through an open elevator shaft to the first floor. The fall resulted in a deep cut over the dog’s eye and he was treated by a veterinarian and released to his handler.
Following the dog’s lead, police found Peeples hiding behind a pile of wood near the open elevator shaft and the suspect was taken into custody. The investigation revealed Peeples had initially broken into the pharmacy and removed numerous bottles of controlled dangerous prescription medicines totaling over 1,300 pills.
Peeples had left the pharmacy and stashed the stolen drugs in a trashcan on the Boardwalk near the public restrooms at 9th Street. He then went back to the pharmacy to steal more items when he was spotted by Cropper. After his arrest, Peeples was transported to Atlantic General Hospital because booking personnel found him unresponsive.
At the hospital, Peeples told police he had taken a large quantity of the drugs during the robbery. Peeples also told police he had stashed a large quantity of the stolen pills near the public restrooms at 9th Street and the Boardwalk in a trashcan behind the seawall. Police searched the area and recovered several bottles of the stolen pills including valium, zantax, hydrocodone and other controlled dangerous substances. The pharmacy owner was brought to the scene and identified the bottles.
Peeples was charged with a wide variety of offenses including burglary, theft, malicious destruction of property and numerous drug possession charges. Peeples was arrested almost a year earlier for a failed attempt at breaking into Bailey’s Pharmacy after resort police were able to track him to his residence from the scene by following a trail of blood.
Last May 16, officers responded to a reported malicious destruction of property at Bailey’s Pharmacy. The officers observed a newspaper vending machine in front of the window and it appeared that the vending machine had been pushed into the window causing it to shatter.
The officers noticed blood on the broken window and blood on a shelf inside the store near the window. They also observed a cigarette butt at the scene with blood on the filter end and followed a trail of blood until it ended in the parking lot of the nearby Jocelyn Manner apartments.
The next morning, officers were still on the scene when they were approached by a man, later identified as Peeples, who appeared to have blood splattered on his shirt and jeans. Peeples went inside the store and purchased a soda, and when he came out he struck up a conversation with the officers, thanking them for all they do, especially things like the broken window they were investigating.
When questioned, Peeples said he lived on 4th Street, but he walked across to an apartment at Jocelyn Manner. Police followed him and questioned why he was there if he lived on 4th Street, and Peeples said he was visiting friends. At this point, the officers noticed blood on the ground near Peeples and also noticed a large laceration on his hand and blood on his clothes.
Peeples was taken into custody and charged with malicious destruction of property. He later pleaded guilty to the crime and was sentenced to 18 months in jail, although it is uncertain why he was out and doing the same crime less than a year later.