OCEAN CITY – A Waldorf, Md. man was arrested for stealing a car last week after the victim’s niece recognized her aunt’s vehicle with the suspect behind the wheel and her father was able to detain the suspect until police arrived.
Shortly before 11 p.m. last Tuesday, Ocean City police officers were dispatched to a reported theft that had already occurred in the area of 55th Street and arrived to find a witness still kneeling on top of the suspect. The investigation revealed the witness, identified as John Allen, was walking down 55th Street with his wife and their children when one of their daughters pointed to a gold 1996 Toyota Avalon that belonged to her aunt and said, “There’s someone inside Aunt Carol’s car.”
Allen walked closer to the car and observed the suspect, later identified as Jasen M. Weber, 18, of Waldorf, sitting in the driver’s seat with the engine running and the interior dome light illuminated. Weber noticed Allen approaching the vehicle and attempted to exit the Toyota. Allen asked Weber what he was doing and Weber reportedly told him he was meeting a friend in a Toyota Camry.
Allen told Weber the vehicle was an Avalon, not a Camry, and Weber changed his story and said it was his Toyota and he was supposed to pick up a friend. During the conversation, Weber kept inching further away from the driver’s side door and then made an attempt to run, but he was tackled to the ground by Allen, who held the suspect until police arrived. Allen was kneeling on top of Weber when the OCPD arrived.
The victim arrived on the scene and identified the vehicle as hers. She told police she had parked her Toyota and left the doors unlocked. She also told police she left a spare set of keys under the driver’s seat, and that where she was from, it was customary to leave one’s home and car unlocked without fear of becoming a victim of a crime. When asked to check the vehicle to see if anything was missing, the victim told police the spare set of keys was no longer under the seat.
Weber was now seated on the curb while police sorted out what had happened. He had a backpack near his feet the search of which turned up a military identification card in his name, a portable CD player and car kit, a couple of Ipods, $25 in cash, an earring and a large amount of coin change. The victim identified the CD player and car kit, the earring and the change as her property. She said she knew the change was hers because it contained a token for a car wash in Baltimore she often frequents.
Weber was taken into custody and police began to question him about the incident. Weber first told police he approached two men on the Boardwalk and asked them if they knew where to buy marijuana. Weber told police the two men said they would give him marijuana for free if he moved a Toyota Avalon for them from 55th Street to 47th Street. During the discussion, Weber gave police two different sets of names for the two men and police suspected he was making up the story.
Weber was transported to the Public Safety Building for processing and later confessed, telling police a completely different version of the incident. Weber said he went to a nightclub on 45th Street with two friends, but was turned away because he was underage. His friends were allowed in, however. Weber told police he became bored and started walking north on Coastal Highway.
He walked down 55th Street and began trying door handles on cars, gaining entry to three of the six he tried. The third vehicle he tried was the Toyota Avalon, and when he got in, he found the spare keys under the seat, which is when the victim’s family arrived on the scene. Weber told police it was his intention to drive the Toyota back to 45th Street because he didn’t want to walk.
Weber was charged with unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, felony theft over $500, theft under $500 and rogue and vagabond.
Beating ‘Because He Deserved It’
OCEAN CITY – Three Ocean City men were arrested on first-degree assault charges last week after allegedly maliciously beating a man because “he deserved it.”
Shortly before 8 a.m. last Monday, an OCPD officer received a call to respond to a fight in progress in the area of 23rd Street and Coastal Highway. While en route to the scene, the officer received a call from a town public works employee that one of the suspects was seen running west on Bayshore Drive.
The officer saw the suspect, later identified as Brian Roderick Santry, 24, of Ocean City, jogging west on Bayshore Drive, but when Santry saw the police cruiser with its lights activated, he began sprinting down the street. The officer was able to stop Santry, who allegedly put up his hands and told police, “he [expletive deleted] deserved it.” The officer noticed blood on Santry’s hands and on his clothes.
Santry was detained and told police he didn’t have any identification on him and that his identification was at his residence on Sunset Drive. He told police the other suspects, later identified as Dominic Keating, 21; and Patrick Daly, 22, both of Ocean City, were likely at their residence on Sunset Drive. Shortly thereafter, the other two suspects were in custody on Sunset Drive and Santry was brought to the location.
While standing near the three suspects, one of the officers allegedly heard them talking amongst themselves, saying “we did right, He [expletive deleted] deserved it.” Meanwhile, the victim, identified as Konstantin Illinykh Yekaterinburg, was transported to Atlantic General Hospital where he was treated for a broken left orbital bone and a broken nose.
A witness, who was painting on the roof of Fishtales nearby, told police he observed the three suspects punching and kicking the victim repeatedly in the body and face as he laid defenseless on the ground. The witness positively identified the three suspects as the attackers.
The three suspects each told police the motive for attacking the victim was that Yekaterinburg had sexually assaulted a female at their party the night before. The information about the alleged sexual assault was passed on to OCPD detectives for further investigation. The three suspects were charged with first- and second-degree assault.
Loaded Gun Involved In Domestic Argument
OCEAN CITY – Resort police thwarted a potentially deadly situation last weekend when an officer at a north-end hotel for a different reason heard an argument and the sound of a handgun being racked coming from one of the rooms.
Around 3 a.m. on Sunday, an OCPD officer was on the fourth floor of the Fenwick Inn to serve an arrest warrant in a different case when he heard a loud argument coming from one of the rooms. The officer heard one man, later identified as Dontel Antoine Baldwin, 23, of Upper Marlboro, Md., shout, “I’m gonna [expletive deleted] kill somebody tonight. I’m going back to jail.”
The officer then heard what he recognized as a handgun being racked with the chamber of the gun being closed and a round of ammunition loaded into the chamber and made ready to fire. Meanwhile, Baldwin allegedly continued to scream and make threats at someone in the room, according to police reports.
The officer had to wait for other officers to arrive to detain the wanted person in the unrelated case and to assist him with the investigation of the domestic incident possibly involving a gun. While he was waiting, the officer observed two females exit the room, one of whom was visibly upset. The officer asked the girl if there were any weapons in the room, but she said she hadn’t seen any.
The officer then knocked on the door and it was not answered by Baldwin but by another man who invited the officer inside. The officer asked Baldwin about any potential weapons and at first the suspect denied there were any guns in the room, but soon admitted he had a handgun in his gym bag near the bed. The officer retrieved the weapon, a 9-mm Sig Saur semi-automatic handgun. The magazine was in the gun and it was fully loaded.
When the officer questioned the combatants, they told different versions of what had happened. The female told police the couple had argued about Baldwin’s level of intoxication and he became angry and pushed her against the wall. Baldwin, however, said the female was the aggressor and lunged at him several times. Baldwin told police he retrieved his handgun from the gym bag and held it at his side, warning the female to stay away from him.
The officer learned from the hotel staff the facility was completely booked, meaning there were occupants in the adjacent rooms. The officer surmised if the loaded weapon had been discharged, purposely or not, the discharge from the weapon could have and probably would have led to an injury or death. Due to all of the circumstances, Baldwin was arrested and charged with reckless endangerment.
Robbery Suspects Nabbed On Bridge
OCEAN CITY – Two men who allegedly robbed an intoxicated woman leaving a downtown bar last Sunday morning were caught soon after on the Route 50 Bridge.
Around 1:45 a.m. last Sunday, the female victim flagged down an OCPD officer and told them she had just been robbed by two men, later identified as Dawon Muhammad, 25, of Salisbury, and William Wilson, 27 of Princess Anne. The victim, who appeared intoxicated, according to police reports, told the officer she was leaving a downtown bar when Wilson and Muhammad were leaving at the same time.
The victim told police she was trying to catch a bus when the suspects offered to help her. According to police reports the victim and the suspects were in a parking garage on Somerset Street when Wilson engaged the victim in conversation to draw her attention. Muhammad then allegedly ran up from behind the victim and grabbed the purse from her shoulder, causing her to fall down. Both men then fled from the area.
A witness observed Muhammad and Wilson in a nearby parking lot looking through the purse and dividing up the money inside it. Wilson and Muhammad were later spotted on the Route 50 Bridge where they were detained. The victim and the witness were brought over and identified the pair as the suspects. They were each charged with robbery and theft less than $500.
Loud Music Leads To Drug, Weapon Arrest
OCEAN CITY – A Delaware man was arrested on drug and weapons charges last weekend after police pulled him over for a loud, bass-pumping stereo.
Around 8:30 last Saturday, an OCPD officer in an unmarked car around 40th Street heard a loud car stereo coming up from behind him. The Mitsubishi Eclipse passed the officer who noted he could still hear the music even though the vehicle was at least four car lengths in front of him. The officer pulled behind the car and activated his lights and siren and the driver turned around, saw the officer and reached down and turned the music off.
The officer began to tell the driver, identified as James D. Warren, 31, of Georgetown, Del., why he stopped him, but Warren butted in before the officer could finish “It’s cause of the loud music, I know. I’m sorry. This [expletive deleted] radio gets me into all kinds of trouble.” He didn’t realize at the time the trouble he would get into because of the loud music.
A status check on Warren revealed he was driving on a suspended and revoked license from Delaware. During a search incident to his arrest, police discovered a marijuana cigarette under the left-hand side of the driver seat. The officer also discovered brass knuckles in the center console. When asked about the brass knuckles, Warren told police he used them for a belt buckle.
In the end, Warren was charged with driving on a suspended or revoked license, possession of marijuana and paraphernalia, possession of a concealed deadly weapon and a noise violation.
Obstructive And Disorderly
OCEAN CITY – A Laurel, Md. man was arrested on numerous charges last weekend after harassing an OCPD officer attempting to make another arrest.
Around 2:30 a.m. last Saturday, OCPD officer were attempting to arrest a female suspect in the 18th Street area when a large crowd gathered around and refused to leave. One male individual, later identified as Joe Alvaro Valleluna, 26, of Laurel, Md., was being louder and more defiant than the others in the crowd and police warned him at least eight times to leave the area. The officers picked out a corner at least 100 feet away and told Valleluna to go stand there and not come any closer to where the arrest was being made.
However, Valleluna did not listen to the officers and continued to interfere with the arrest. He was given a final warning and three of his friends grabbed him and began to walk him away when Valleluna screamed at police, “If we were somewhere else, you’d be getting your [expletives deleted] kicked right now.”
By now, a crowd of about 40 people had gathered. Some showed their disdain for Valleluna’s actions while others applauded and egged him on, according to police reports. By then, police had had enough of Valleluna and attempted to place him under arrest, but he resisted and scuffled with police, telling them, “I ain’t going anywhere.” He was eventually subdued and handcuffed and charged with obstructing and hindering, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and failure to obey a lawful order.
Downtown Burglary Case Moves Forward
OCEAN CITY – Two local men had their first day in court this week for the alleged burglary of a downtown business, a case that will continue on to Snow Hill after probable cause was found to forward the case to Circuit Court.
Detective Todd Speigel testified that on July 9, at approximately 4:36 a.m., two officers responded to the 9th Street Market for a reported burglary. Upon arrival, the officers found the front door ajar, with noticeable scratches on the doorframe indicating it had been pried open with a crowbar. The owner arrived on the scene and reported that $400 in cash and change was missing from the register, as well as several cartons of Newport brand cigarettes and a few lighters.
Meanwhile, Detective Speigel was already investigating a string of burglaries with two of the suspects, Jermaine Hill, 23, and Richard L. Huffman, 19. Hill was apprehended for questioning on Wicomico Street, where he denied any connection with the burglaries or the 9th Street burglary, but admitted to being in the area of 9th Street earlier that morning. $112 and a pack of Newport brand cigarettes were retrieved from Hill. The carton of cigarettes was traced to the store, at which point Hill changed his story, claiming both the money and the cigarettes had been given to him by Huffman.
Huffman was located as well, and was also found with a carton of Newport brand cigarettes traced back to the market as well as lighters identified as those stolen.
In a later interview Hill admitted to stealing, with the help of Huffman, a crowbar and taking it to the 9th Street Market to break in. He also informed Detective Speigel that they then took the stolen change to the CoinStar at the West Ocean City Superfresh. Surveillance video showed the pair at the CoinStar in the early morning hours of July 9.
Both Huffman and Hill were later charged with second-degree burglary, malicious destruction of property and theft less than $500.
Judge Daniel Mumford found probable cause to forward the case to Circuit Court.
Huffman also faces theft charges for his alleged role in the burglary of a 4th Street boardwalk business, which occurred on July 7.
420 Luck Runs Out
OCEAN CITY – Gary Stevens Herget, 19, of Glen Burnie, Md. appeared in District Court this week to face charges regarding his role in the large amount of marijuana seized from a boardwalk hotel room earlier this year.
On May 25 around 10:30 p.m., police officers arrived at the Majestic Hotel after receiving complaints about the strong odor of marijuana coming from, ironically, room number 420. Officers approached the room, also smelling the odor of burnt or burning marijuana and knocked on the door. The occupants of the room, identified as Herget and Sean Michael Locklear, 19, were asked about the marijuana, to which they replied, “We smoked it all.” The pair then gave the officers the go ahead to search the room.
A search of the hotel room revealed two large bags of marijuana, along with seven individually wrapped small baggies of marijuana, a digital scale, 183 empty plastic baggies similar to the ones containing marijuana and a pre-paid cell phone. Office Noah Robbins testified that 83 of the baggies had the image of an eight-ball displayed on them. 13 more baggies containing marijuana were found when the officers placed the pair under arrest, five of which were branded with a black scorpion design.
A search of Locklear’s vehicle revealed nine more bags of marijuana, as well as boxes containing over 200 empty plastic bags in the center console.
Both were charged with possession of marijuana, possession with intent to distribute and possession of paraphernalia.
Herget faced his preliminary hearing this week in Ocean City District Court, where Judge Mumford found probable cause to move the case forward to Circuit Court.
Guilty Plea For Weapon Charge
OCEAN CITY – Nathan Robert Brooks, 21, of Port Deposit, Md., pleaded guilty to possession of a deadly weapon this week in District Court, after police found the weapon hidden in his vehicle earlier this year.
On April 14, Officer Charles Kelly was on uniform bicycle in the area of 20th Street when he observed four individuals throwing objects from the top of a nearby hotel-parking garage. Kelly approached the group, asking if they were guests of the hotel, which they admitted they were not. Kelly also observed several open bottles of hard liquor in the vehicle, which belonged to Brooks.
When asked about any weapons hidden in the vehicle, Brooks informed officers of a wooden club hidden under the driver seat. The club was obtained and Brooks was placed under arrest.
“A lot of drivers get robbed when you deliver pizzas and that’s the only thing I thought wouldn’t be a deadly weapon,” Brooks said in District Court this week, explaining that the weapon was for his pizza delivery job. Brooks was found guilty and fined $357.50.
Not Guilty Plea Upheld
OCEAN CITY – Demetrios I. Kafouros, 20, of Perry Hall, Md., had his day in court this week, when he was found not guilty of possession of a martial arts weapon.
Officer Mark Wolinsky testified that on July 2, while on marked vehicle patrol, he observed a BMW pass him on 42nd Street going roughly 65 mph. When he turned on his lights to pull over the vehicle, Officer Wolinsky observed the front passenger leaning forward, as if to hide something.
The vehicle was stopped on 46th Street, where Kafouros, the driver, admitted to driving too fast. Officer Wolinsky returned to his vehicle to write the citation, at which point a man on the second floor of a nearby building identified himself as a D.C. police officer. The man warned Officer Wolinsky that he had seen the passenger hide something in the glove compartment, cautioning Wolinsky to be careful. A K-9 Unit was called to the scene, but the dog did not alert to anything inside the vehicle. As a result, Wolinsky issued a speeding citation and told Kafouros he was free to leave.
Before walking away however, Wolinsky asked if he could search the vehicle, to which Kafouros said no. Wolinsky then said, “Look, if its just alcohol your hiding, lets just dump it out.” Kafrouos then opened his trunk, revealing several unopened cans of beer. Wolinsky then searched the glove compartment and found brass knuckles, which Kafouros admitted ownership of.
Kafouros’s attorney argued successfully in court this week that there was no right to search the glove compartment. Kafouros was found not guilty of possession of marital arts weapon.
‘Chivalry Is Not Dead’
OCEAN CITY – A man used chivalry as his defense this week in District Court, claiming to take the fall for his girlfriend when police found marijuana in his hotel room this spring.
On March 11, police responded to a call at the Holiday Inn for assistance with an eviction. Upon arrival, employees informed officers that the strong odor of marijuana was emanating from one of the rooms. As the officers approached, they also smelled marijuana and knocked on the door.
A female initially came to the door, allowing the officers into the room. Robert Joseph O’Neill, 25, of Mechanicsville, Md. quickly took ownership of the marijuana joint found in plain view and was placed under arrest.
“Chivalry is not dead,” argued O’Neill’s attorney this week, implying that the marijuana did not belong to O’Neill. He also noted that O’Neill was in town for work, a job which he is regularly drug tested and has never failed.
Judge Daniel Mumford pointed out, however, that O’Neill has a prior probation before judgment for possession of marijuana. O’Neill was found guilty and fined $357.50.
Vehicle Break-ins Investigated
BISHOPVILLE – Maryland State Police this week continue to investigate a series of vehicle break-ins in the Hidden Harbor community late last month.
Around 6:30 p.m. on July 25, Maryland State Police troopers responded to a reported a series of vehicle break-ins along Rollie Rd. in Holiday Harbor. The investigation revealed an unknown suspect or suspects had entered several vehicles and stolen property belonging to the victims sometime between midnight and 4 a.m.
One of the victims observed a black hatch-back vehicle of an unknown make in the area during the time frame of the crimes. The total value of property stolen is estimated over $500. The case remains under investigation this week.
All residents in Holiday Harbor are urged to lock their vehicle doors and secure all of their personal property. Anyone with information about the thefts or the suspects is encouraged to call the Maryland State Police Berlin barrack at 410-641-3101.