Knife Assault in Mall Parking Lot

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OCEAN CITY- A Whaleyville man was arrested on first-degree assault charges last weekend after allegedly threatening a local woman with a knife in front of her child in the parking lot of her place of employment at a north end shopping mall.

Shortly before 4 p.m. last Friday, OCPD officers responded to Gold Coast Liquors for a reported domestic assault. The officers were advised to be on the lookout for a suspect later identified as David Kenneth Baker, 28, of Whaleyville, who was wearing a dark shirt and shorts with tattoos on his legs.

The arriving officers met with the female victim who told police Baker had come to her place of work with the couple’s daughter shortly before her shift was finished. Baker told the victim to come out to his car, and when she did, Baker, who was reportedly intoxicated, told her to get in the car and drive him home now or he was going to cut her throat. At that point, Baker allegedly reached for his front right pocket and pulled out a blue utility knife.

According to police reports, the victim then grabbed her daughter and ran back into the store while Baker fled the area. OCPD officers located Baker in the rear of the Gold Coast Mall and recovered the knife in his pocket. Baker was placed under arrest and charged with two counts of first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault and possession of a deadly weapon with intent to injure.

According to police reports, the victim told the officers Baker threatened her daughter at the same time and that he had assaulted both of them in the past. Both the suspect and the victims live together in Whaleyville.

OCPD Looking for Assault Suspect

OCEAN CITY- Resort police this week are seeking the public’s support in identifying a suspect who struck another man in the head around 7 a.m. last Sunday, leaving the victim in Shock Trauma in Baltimore in serious condition.

The assault happened in the area of 29th Street between Baltimore Ave. and Coastal Highway around 7 a.m. last Sunday. The 20-year-old victim was observed having an argument with the suspect, described as a large white male in his early 20s, about 6’3” and around 210 pounds. The suspect had a shaved head and his face was clean shaven, and he was wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans at the time of the attack. Witnesses say the suspect had a “snake” tattoo on his left forearm.

Following the attack, the 20-year-old victim was leaving the resort in a car driven by his brother when he showed signs of a serious head injury, according to police. He was taken to the University of Maryland Medical Center Shock Trauma unit in Baltimore where he was still in a coma and listed in serious condition as of press time yesterday.

OCPD detectives are asking anyone with information related to the incident to contact the department’s Criminal Investigation Division at (410) 723-6604, or (410) 723-6600. Potential witnesses can also contact Detective 1st Class Todd Speigle directly from the OCPD website by going to www.ocpdmd.com and clicking the contacts tab and using the staff listing to email the detective directly.

Movie Popcorn Maker Fire

OCEAN CITY- A fire at the Fox Gold Coast movie theaters this week is being blamed on a faulty popcorn maker.

Shortly after 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Ocean City Fire units were dispatched to the Fox Gold Coast Cinemas on Coastal Highway at 112th Street for a reported fire alarm activation. Upon arrival, firefighters discovered a smoky condition throughout the theater and learned a fire had occurred in a popcorn maker. The fire had been extinguished by the building’s fire sprinkler system prior to the arrival of fire units.

Crews remained on the scene for about 45 minutes assisting with smoke removal. Investigators from the Ocean City Fire Marshal’s Office determined the blaze started in the popcorn maker and ruled its cause to be accidental. Fire damage was confined to the popcorn maker. There were no injuries reported.

Pedestrian Struck on Route 589

OCEAN PINES- A Selbyville, Del. man was flown by helicopter to the hospital with serious injuries last weekend after getting struck by a vehicle on Route 589 near Adkins Spur.

Shortly after 9 p.m. last Friday, a 2004 Kia was traveling southbound on Route 589 in the area of Adkins Spur when it struck a pedestrian, later identified as Joseph Raymond Turci, 27, of Selbyville, who was walking in the roadway. According to police reports, Turci was apparently intoxicated and walked into the path of the Kia driven by a 67-year-old Pittsville man.

Turci was transported from the scene by Maryland State Police Trooper 4 helicopter for unspecified injuries and his condition is not known. The driver was not injured in the accident. No charges have been filed althought the investigation continues.

Man Shows Off Tassels, Bells Etc.

OCEAN CITY- A Pennsylvania man was arrested on indecent exposure and disorderly conduct charges last weekend after dropping his drawers in front of numerous witnesses on Baltimore Ave.

Around 11:30 p.m. last Friday, an OCPD officer on routine patrol observed a man, later identified as Robert C. Stewart, 21, of Connellsville, Pa., standing on a public sidewalk wearing only green boxer shorts with tassels and bells on them which he pulled down below his knees. The officer witnesses Stewart yelling at traffic with his private parts exposed in front of numerous witnesses including two people on the same sidewalk, several other people in the driveway of a nearby hotel and a group of 4-6 people across the street.

The officer took Stewart into custody and placed him in handcuffs while the large crowd that had gathered cheered the officer’s actions. Stewart was charged with indecent exposure and disorderly conduct.

Beer Bottle Basher Busted

OCEAN CITY- A California man was arrested on first- and second-degree assault charges last week for hitting another man over the head with a beer bottle after getting bounced from a downtown bar.

Shortly after 1 a.m. last Sunday, OCPD officers responded to the area of Dorchester Street and Baltimore Ave. for a reported assault that had just occurred. Upon arrival, the officers learned the victim was being treated for lacerations to his ear and head at the nearby fire station. The victim told police he had been struck in the head with a beer bottle by a man later identified as Richard G. Ortiz, Jr., 37, of Odenton, California.

The victim said Ortiz had just been thrown out of the Purple Moose on the Boardwalk at Talbot Street after flashing a badge and saying he was a federal agent. The victim encountered Ortiz when he walked around the corner on Talbot Street and Ortiz hit him in the head with a beer bottle he still had in his possession after getting bounced from the bar.

The victim and his friend chased Ortiz to Dorchester Street but lost sight of him when he ran between buildings. OCPD officers responded to the area and eventually located Ortiz on a first-floor balcony and took him into custody. While the victim said Ortiz was the initial aggressor in the attack, Ortiz told a different story. He admitted getting thrown out of the bar, but said he was walking down Talbot Street when he was approached by the victim and his friend.

Ortiz said the two men approached him and wanted to fight, and Ortiz only hit the victim with the beer bottle because he felt threatened and was trying to defend himself. It is uncertain if Ortiz is a federal agent, but he did tell police he had to call his commander and tell him what happened, then dialed a number and told his version of the story, presumably to his commander on the phone. Ortiz was charged with first- and second-degree assault. The victim was treated at the scene but refused transport to the hospital.

OC Man Arrested after Three-Month Investigation

OCEAN CITY- Ocean City Police narcotics investigators concluded a three-month drug investigation last Saturday with the arrest of resort man at his home on Nantucket Rd.

Undercover OCPD narcotics detectives had been investigating Richard Eaton, 38, of Ocean City, for selling controlled dangerous substances in town since February. In March, an undercover detective purchased cocaine from Eaton. Other evidence was collected during the investigation which allowed officers to secure a search and seizure warrant for Eaton’s home on Nantucket Rd.

Last Saturday afternoon, OCPD officers served the warrant and discovered numerous items of drug paraphernalia. Easton was arrested and charged with possession and possession with intent to distribute cocaine. He is being held at the Worcester County Jail on a $30,000 bond.

Tried to Burn Vehicle

OCEAN CITY- A local man was arrested on malicious destruction of property charges last week after allegedly attempting to set fire to a parked vehicle in the north end of town.

Shortly before 6 p.m. last Thursday, OCPD officers responded to the area of 144th Street for a report of male suspect damaging a vehicle. Upon arrival, the officers learned a male suspect, later identified as Eric Martin Pearce, had possibly poured gasoline around the vehicle requested an investigator from the Ocean City Fire Marshal’s Office respond to the scene.

OCPD officer later located Pearce and arrested him for violation of a protective order and malicious destruction of property. As a result of the investigation, the Fire Marshal’s Office received a warrant for Pearce for attempted burning in addition to the charges filed by the police department.

Traffic Stop Yields DWI, Drug Bust

OCEAN CITY- An Ocean City man was arrested drunk-driving and drug charges last week after getting pulled over for a routine traffic stop.

Around 3:30 a.m. last Wednesday, an OCPD officer on routine patrol around 17th Street observed a vehicle make an illegal U-turn on Philadelphia Ave. and pulled behind the vehicle to affect a traffic stop. The vehicle accelerated, however, forcing the officer to activate his lights and siren. The vehicle eventually turned onto 28th Street and stopped.

When the officer approached the vehicle, he noticed the driver, later identified as David Dawson Broadwater, 21, of Ocean City, exhibiting signs of intoxication. When questioned, Broadwater told the officer he had one beer before he left work. Broadwater was then asked to perform several field sobriety tests, which he failed. He was taken into custody and administered a blood-alcohol level test which came up at .06, which is below the legal limit for DUI in Maryland.

However, a search of Broadwater during processing revealed half of an oxycodone pill and a plastic baggie with cocaine residue on it. Broadwater was charged with possession of CDS, possession of paraphernalia, driving while impaired by alcohol and driving while impaired by drugs and other traffic violations.

Four Life Sentences for Virginia Murderer Caught in Worcester

BERLIN- A Virginia man arrested after a high-speed chase through Worcester County in April 2006 after murdering four family members in their home pleaded guilty this week to four counts of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for each count.

Ronald Lee Shrieves, 34, of Modest Town, Va., stabbed his father and mother, a 14-year-old nephew and a four-year-old niece to death with a pair of scissors on April 7, 2006 before stealing his father’s car in leading police on a multi-agency high speed chase through Worcester County. When Virginia police discovered the crime scene, they put out a two-state alert bulletin for the missing vehicle. A short time later, a Worcester County resident noticed a vehicle matching the description driving near Snow Hill.

A Worcester County Sheriff’s Deputy picked up the stolen truck driving on Route 12 in Snow Hill and began a high-speed pursuit of the vehicle that was eventually joined by other local law enforcement agencies. A roadblock was set up and Shrieves was finally stopped with several local law enforcement officers with their guns drawn on him. Shrieves was arrested and held in Worcester County before being extradited to Virginia to face quadruple murder charges. This week, he pleaded guilty to all four murders and was sentenced to four consecutive life without the possibility of parole terms plus another 20 years for stealing the truck.

Found Guilty of Marijuana Possession, Not Cocaine

OCEAN CITY- A Berlin man faced charges of possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of cocaine this week in District Court, pleading not guilty to all three but receiving a guilty sentence for possession of marijuana.

According to Officer Aaron Morgan of the Ocean City Police Department, he and two other officers arrived at a St. Louis Ave. residence on January 15 in an attempt to locate a wanted individual. Upon looking in the windows, Morgan testified that he saw a female, a white male and the defendant, Franklin Rodney Purnell, 51, sitting around table. As the officers knocked on the door, the female reportedly wiped off the table and ran to the bathroom with something in her hand. After getting permission to enter the residence, Morgan followed the woman to the bathroom, where he saw in plain view; drug paraphernalia containing what was later proven to be crack cocaine. Also located in the house was a baggie of marijuana.

Purnell’s attorney argued that no evidence had been presented linking Purnell with the paraphernalia or with the cocaine, claiming Purnell was in the wrong place, with the wrong crowd.

Purnell was found guilty of possession of marijuana and sentenced to probation before judgment with one year of unsupervised probation. He was found not guilty of the remaining charges.

Possession Charges Stick

OCEAN CITY- Casi L. Hudson, 22, of Salisbury, pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana this week in District Court, receiving probation before judgment for the offense.

According to police reports, on January 16, at approximately 11:06 p.m., Officer Joe Melena of the Ocean City Police Department, received information from another officer about a driver with a suspended license and an active warrant traveling towards 1st Street in a gray Ford Focus. After performing a traffic stop on the vehicle, Melena found Hudson behind the wheel and confirmed that she was driving on a suspended license and had an active warrant out for her arrest. A search revealed a baggie of marijuana.

Hudson pleaded guilty this week in District Court and was sentenced to probation before judgment with one year of unsupervised probation and $157.50 in fines.

Jail Time For Assault, Malicious Destruction

OCEAN CITY- A local man was sentenced to three years in jail and ordered to pay $1569.33 in restitution this week in District Court after being found guilty of second-degree assault and malicious destruction of property.

According to witness testimony and police reports, on April 17, Antonio Sanabria, 24, of Ocean City, and another individual engaged in an argument, which resulted in Sanabria head-butting the victim, who had to be transported to the hospital and given three stitches in his head. Sanabria reportedly threw a soda can from the balcony where they were standing, onto the victim’s Mercedes, denting and ultimately damaging the vehicle.

A variety of differing testimony was presented in District Court this week, as the defense tried to argue the cause of the argument, but Sanabria was ultimately found guilty of second-degree assault and malicious destruction of property.

Memorial Day Check-Points Planned

BERLIN- Officials from the Maryland State Police, Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, the Ocean City Police Department and the Berlin Police Department announced this week they will join forces to conduct a sobriety checkpoint in Worcester County over the Memorial Day weekend. The goal is to reduce the number of drunk and/or drugged drivers on the county’s roadway during the holiday weekend.

Right Verdict, Wrong Crime

SNOW HILL- Last week, it was reported in the “Cops and Courts” section that an Ocean City man was found guilty of possession of cocaine and was sentenced to 90 days in jail with all but 10 days suspended.

While the defendant, Mark Anthony Holland, 44, of Ocean City, did appear in Circuit Court two weeks ago and was found guilty of possession of cocaine and sentenced to 90 days in jail with all but 10 suspended, he did not receive the conviction and sentence for the incident reported last week but rather a prior arrest that occurred earlier.

It was reported Holland was sentenced for an arrest related to a drug raid in Ocean City on December 16 of last year, but his trial last week was for a similar incident on November 9 of last year. Holland was found guilty in the other case and fined $500. We regret the error.

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