Sponge Bob Character Arrested For Assault

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OCEAN CITY – A street performer dressed as the popular Patrick Star Fish character from “Sponge Bob Square Pants” was arrested on sex offense and assault charges this week after allegedly fondling a 16-year-old girl during a picture-taking session on the Boardwalk last week.

Last Sunday, Ocean City police officers arrested a Boardwalk street performer wanted for a fourth-degree sex offense and second-degree assault of the 16-year-old girl. The charges resulted from an investigation into an incident involving licensed street performer Andrii Mokrishcev, 21, of Ukraine, who is living in Ocean City for the summer.

Mokrichcev routinely performs on the Boardwalk dressed as Patrick Starfish with another person who performs as the title character, Sponge Bob Square Pants. The pair will pose for pictures with persons in exchange for donations. Last Friday, OCPD officers received a complaint Mokrishcev, while in character, posed for a picture with a 16-year-old girl, and during the picture-taking session, he allegedly fondled the victim’s buttocks.

The victim left the area and located a uniformed OCPD officer, who investigated her complaint. An arrest warrant was obtained for Mokrishcev, charging him with second-degree assault and a fourth-degree sex offense. He was arrested on Sunday and was taken before a District Court Commissioner, who released him after posting a bond of $3,500.

Smoking Pot With Kids In Car

OCEAN CITY – A Milford, Del. couple was arrested last Wednesday when they were caught smoking marijuana in their car with their 1-year-old son and a 17-year-old girl in the vehicle.

Last Wednesday, OCPD officers on patrol in an unmarked car observed a man later identified as Chad Jeffrey Marciano, 19, of Milford, smoking what appeared to be a hand-rolled marijuana cigar. Marciano was driving north on Coastal Highway when officers witnessed him smoke the marijuana cigar and then hand it to his female passenger, who was later identified as Cassandra Mae Rivera, 18, of Milford.

While following Marciano, the officers noted the strong odor of burning marijuana coming from the vehicle. They also noticed a toddler in a car seat in the back of the vehicle and another young girl. It later turned out the toddler was the couple’s son and the young girl was a 17-year-old relative of Rivera.

OCPD officers stopped the car and Marciano admitted he had been smoking marijuana inside the vehicle. A search of the vehicle turned up a partially smoked marijuana cigar and other paraphernalia. Marciano and Rivera were then arrested and charged with possession of marijuana. The 17-year-old girl and the toddler were taken to the Public Safety Building where they were turned over to representatives from Social Services. Marciano and Rivera were taken before a District Court Commissioner and later released on their own recognizance.

Eight Arrested In Drug Bust

OCEAN CITY – After a year-long investigation, the OCPD narcotics unit last week executed search and seizure warrants at two units in the same building on 63rd Street, yielding eight drug arrests and the recovery of property stolen from a rash of car break-ins in Fenwick in late July.

Last Thursday, Ocean City police narcotics agents executed two search and seizure warrants at two units in a building on 63rd Street following a year-long investigation into illegal drug activity at the location. The search of the residences turned up quantities of marijuana, numerous items of drug paraphernalia and over $900 in currency. While searching the two units for drugs, OCPD detectives also located property that had previously been reported stolen from vehicles in Fenwick Island nearly a month ago.

As a result, eight residents of the two units combined were arrested and charged with possession of controlled dangerous substances. Arrested from one unit were Javar D. Jackson, 22, and Diondra M Bratten, 21, both of Snow Hill. Arrested from another apartment were Joanne Creasy, 37; Jody L. Paull, 22; Edward T. Johnson, 21; and two juveniles, all of Ocean City, and Brandon M. Hudson, 20, of Snow Hill.

Ocean Pines Employee Charged With Felony Theft

OCEAN PINES – An Ocean Pines man was arrested on felony theft charges this week after an internal financial audit conducted by the Ocean Pines Association (OPA) revealed he allegedly absconded with over $2,000 from the community’s Beach Club where he worked as a part-time employee.

The financial audit uncovered the theft of $2,348 from one day’s receipts from the Ocean Pines Beach Club. Ocean Pines police were immediately notified of the suspected theft and began a criminal investigation, which led to the arrest of Scott Thomas Burke, 20, of Ocean Pines.

Burke was charged with felony theft over $500 and possession of marijuana. He was also held on a bench warrant for failure to make a deferred payment from a previous non-related incident. Burke was charged with possession of controlled dangerous substance-marijuana last September and placed on probation and fined $250.

Burke was taken before a District Court Commissioner and is being held on bond. His employment with the OPA has been terminated.

Five-Car Fender Bender

WEST OCEAN CITY – Two people were injured in a five-car automobile accident on Route 50 just west of Keyser Point Rd. on Monday.

Around noon on Monday, Maryland State Police responded to a reported accident on eastbound Route 50 just west of Keyser Point Rd. in West Ocean City. Upon arrival, troopers observed five vehicles in an eastbound lane on Route 50 involved in the same incident. The investigation revealed a vehicle driven by Christine Sample of Snow Hill failed to slow down in time for traffic that was stopped and struck the rear of the car in front of her.

The force of that collision caused the car in front of Sample to collide with the rear of the car in front of it and so on until five cars had been impacted. Sample and her daughter were transported to Atlantic General Hospital where they were treated for minor injuries. No other injuries were reported and the extent of the damage to the vehicles is unknown.

Seat Belt Violations Lead To Drug Busts

OCEAN CITY – In two separate cases last weekend, Maryland State Police on patrol in Ocean City made two marijuana possession arrests after pulling over drivers for not wearing seatbelts.

Around 1:35 a.m. last Monday, Maryland State Police troopers on patrol in Ocean City stopped a Nissan passenger car on Coastal Highway near 33rd Street for a seatbelt violation. Upon making contact with the driver, later identified as David Stanley Carpenter, 19, of Wilkes Barre, Pa., the officer noticed the he was nervous and incoherent to troopers, according to police reports.

A K-9 unit responded and conducted a scan of the vehicle and alerted positively to evidence of narcotics. A search of the vehicle revealed a smoking pipe containing burnt marijuana, one plastic Baggie of marijuana, one partially burned marijuana cigarette and a silver grinder containing marijuana.

Carpenter was arrested for possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia. He was later released on his own recognizance.

A similar situation played out about 24 hours later. Around 12:45 a.m. on Tuesday, an MSP trooper making the rounds in Ocean City stopped a Ford Expedition because the driver wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. When the trooper approached the vehicle, he noticed the strong odor of burnt marijuana. A probable cause search of the vehicle revealed two hand-rolled marijuana cigarettes.

The driver, Julio Santiago, 31, of Lancaster, Pa., was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana. He was also taken before a District Court Commissioner who released him on his own recognizance.

OC Robbery Suspect Sentenced

SNOW HILL – One of four men arrested last May for burglarizing a north-end Ocean City residence pleaded guilty last week to attempted felony theft and was sentenced to 18 months in jail with all but six months suspended.

Joshua Ray, 20, of Ocean City, appeared in Circuit Court last week to face several serious charges for his part in the break-in of the north Ocean City residence last May. He pleaded guilty to attempted felony theft over $500 and was sentenced to 18 months in jail with all but six months suspended. He was also placed on probation for two years and fined $500.

Ray was one of three suspects identified in the case by a fourth suspect, who gave police the names of his cohorts in exchange for a lighter sentence earlier this year. One of the other suspects, Eric Hewitt, 19, of Ocean City, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit theft in July and was sentenced to one year in jail. Another suspect, Ricky Bylan, 20, of Ocean City is set to appear for trial next month, while the fourth suspect who cooperated with the police and gave up the names of his partners in the crime pleaded guilty to a lesser third-degree burglary charge and was sentenced to six months in jail with all but 14 days suspended.

The incident began when an Ocean City police officer was patrolling in the area of North Heron Drive on May 13, 2007 looking for a reported burglary suspect when he noticed a home with the garage door open and the window to the door broken. The officer noticed liquor bottles strewn across the floor of the garage and an interior door to the residence standing open.

An investigation revealed the house was vacant, but there was substantial evidence it had been ransacked. Two 42” plasma televisions, one in the living room and one in the master bedroom, had been damaged and appeared to have been pulled from their wall mountings. Several drawers and cabinets throughout the house were left standing open with their contents strewn about the floor.  

An investigation outside the residence turned up empty liquor bottles and beer bottles lying in the grass which were consistent with the bottles found in the garage. In addition, two surf boards were found concealed in a grove of trees across the street from the residence. A search of the garage revealed empty wall-mounted surfboard racks.

The officers had plenty of evidence a robbery had taken place, but they still did not have a suspect. A further investigation led police to a parked Ford Crown Victoria parked on the opposite side of the street from the burglarized residence. Inside the vehicle were several cases of beer and more liquor bottles consistent with what was found in the garage. Also found in the vehicle was a boogie board with the victim’s son’s name written on it.

The vehicle was then impounded so crime scene detectives could further investigate it. Around 11 a.m. the next morning, Ransley came to police headquarters to inquire about the whereabouts of his car. He told police he left it in the area of the 7-11 on 120th Street and went to a friend’s house. Ransley was arrested and charged with first-, third-, and fourth-degree burglary as well as numerous counts of theft and malicious destruction.

However, investigators knew Ransley had not acted alone and when it came time for his trial last December, prosecutors entered a plea bargain with the suspect in exchange for information about his cohorts in the crime. On Jan. 16, Ransley sat down with OCPD detectives and laid out all of the details about the burglary including the names of his conspirators.

Jail Time In Fight Over French Fries

SNOW HILL – An Elkridge, Md. man who fought with an Ocean City fast food restaurant manager over a dispute about French fries last September pleaded guilty last week in Worcester Circuit Court to disorderly conduct and was sentenced to two days in jail.

Last Sept.2, an OCPD officer on patrol in the area of the McDonalds on 32nd Street noticed an argument at the drive-thru window of the restaurant. The officer was the third car in line at the drive-thru and saw the restaurant manager arguing with the occupants of the first car in line. The officer moved out of line to get in better position to regulate when the car in front pulled away from the window and around to the front of the building.

A restaurant employee urgently waved the officer around to the front, and when he went around, he saw the store manager hitting the driver of the vehicle, later identified as Jason T. Raynor, 22, of Elkridge, with closed fists. The officer arrived and attempted to break up the fight, but Raynor would not let go of the manager and continued to kick him. Finally, after several warnings, the officer sprayed Raynor with pepper spray and he let go of the manager.

Raynor got in the back seat of his vehicle and rubbed his eyes, according to police reports. When told to get out of the vehicle because he was under arrest, Raynor refused and had to be dragged out of the car to be taken into custody. The officer interviewed the restaurant manager to begin to sort out what caused the fight. The manager told police Raynor and his female passenger were unhappy with their order because it contained one order of fries instead of two.

He also told police the couple only asked for one order of fries and produced the receipt to prove it. The incident began as an argument and escalated into a physical fight when Raynor allegedly called the manager the “n” word. When the manager went out to confront Raynor, the suspect slammed him in the face with his car door, which touched off the fight. The female passenger also told police the dispute over fries was caused in part because the manager could not understand English very well. A witness who was eating in the restaurant corroborated the manager’s story and Raynor was arrested and charged with assault and disorderly conduct.

Last week in Circuit Court, Raynor pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was sentenced to two days in jail with credit given for time served.

Just Taking A Nap

SNOW HILL – An Ocean City man arrested in May on burglary charges after getting caught with another man sleeping in an unfinished resort condominium building pleaded guilty last week in Circuit Court to fourth-degree burglary and was sentenced to 10 days in jail.

On May 10, an OCPD officer was called to respond to a reported break-in at the unfinished Meridian condominium building on 60th Street. Upon arrival, the officer met with the complainant, a contractor working on the building, who told police he arrived to work in the morning and found two men, later identified as Kamen Anastasov, 23, and Stephen Wolman, 53, both of Ocean City, sleeping in the social room of the condo building.

The two suspects were startled when awoken by the contractor and walked hurriedly away. They were walking north on Coastal Highway when the officer responded to the call and were detained for questioning. Anastasov did not want to talk to police, but Wolman told the officer the pair got off work at 3 a.m. and took a bus to 59th Street.

Wolman told police they considered getting a motel room, but decided against it because they only needed a place to sleep for a couple of hours. Instead, they walked to the Meridian condo nearby, tried a door to the social room, found it open and went inside to sleep. They were awaked a few hours later by the contractor and left the scene. Both were arrested and charged with fourth-degree burglary.

Last week in Circuit Court, Anastasov pleaded guilty to the fourth-degree burglary charge and was sentenced to 10 days in jail with credit for time already served. Wolman is scheduled to appear for his trial on the same charge in October.

For Wolman, his arrest in May was the latest in a series of arrests for similar crimes in the resort area. In April 2006, Wolman was arrested on trespassing and malicious destruction of property charges after breaking into and sleeping in an electrical closet at a mid-town motel. In 2003, he was arrested for breaking into a condo in Ocean City in the winter and setting up housekeeping before a neighbor discovered him there.

Drug Dealer Sentenced

SNOW HILL – A Bridgeville, Del. man arrested last March on felony drug distribution charges after being identified in a narcotics investigation in Ocean City pleaded guilty last week to possession of crack cocaine and was sentenced to three years in jail with all but 30 days suspended.

In February, OCPD detectives received information from concerned citizens about illegal drug activity at a downtown apartment building with a history of crime. The detectives were advised a man known only as A.J. was selling powder and crack cocaine from his apartment there. The detectives were familiar with A.J. and his real name, Jeronti Andrew Whaley, 20, of Bishopville.

Detectives were also advised of the identity and whereabouts of some of the dealer’s frequent customers. They began surveillance and uncovered a repetitive pattern of drug buying and selling activity throughout the downtown area and the entire resort involving several suspects with Whaley usually right in the middle of it.

Finally, on March 5, narcotics officers observed an apparent drug deal between Whaley and another suspect, Pembroke Morton, of Ocean City, in a vehicle in the area of 1st Street. As the officer approached the vehicle, he observed Morton throw something on the floor of the car. After the officer got Whaley and Morton out of the vehicle and into custody, a search of the vehicle turned up two baggies of crack cocaine on the passenger seat. A search of Whaley turned up $1,107 in cash.

Whaley later told police he met with Morton to sell him seven grams of crack cocaine for $1,000. Last week in Circuit Court, Whaley pleaded guilty to possession of crack cocaine and was sentenced to three years in jail with all but 30 days suspended. He was also placed on probation for three years and was forced to forfeit the $1,107 confiscated during the bust to the Ocean City Police Department. Morton, meanwhile, was also arrested for possession and possession with intent to distribute cocaine and is scheduled to appear in district court in Ocean City on September 9.

Local Man Pleads Guilty

OCEAN CITY – A local man had his day in court this week, pleading guilty to possession of marijuana charges.

Jack Recki, 27, appeared in District Court this week, facing charges from an arrest earlier this year. According to police reports, on April 19, Officer Patrick Flanagan responded to complaints of a highly intoxicated individual in the downtown area. Upon arrival, Flanagan observed Recki with an open cup of beer and ultimately placed him under arrest for public consumption of alcohol. A small Baggie of marijuana was found in Recki’s bag and was later proven to be .3 grams of marijuana.

Recki was found guilty of possession of marijuana this week and was sentenced to 60 days in the county jail, with all but 40 days of the sentence suspended and credit for 40 days of time served.

Theft Charges Yield Jail Time

OCEAN CITY – A Columbia, Md. man will face 18 months in prison after being found guilty this week of theft under $500.

According to police reports, on April 28, 2007, Ocean City Police officers responded to an uptown CVS store. Upon arrival, officers were told that four individuals had entered the store and left. The employee noted, however, that after the suspicious group left the store, she noticed 50 boxes of Prilosec missing, as well as 66 packets of Oil Of Olay cream, totaling $2,532 in missing merchandise.

Surveillance tapes and further investigation revealed Larry Lee Fitch, 31, of Columbia, Md., as one of the active participants in the theft. The items were never recovered.

In a plea agreement this week, Fitch pleaded guilty to theft less than $500. The judge noted Fitch’s extensive criminal history, sentencing Fitch to 18 months, with credit for 31 days of time served.

Guilty Of Public Consumption

OCEAN CITY – A local man was found not guilty of disorderly conduct, but guilty of consuming alcohol on a public right-of-way this week in District Court after pleading not guilty to both charges.

Officer Clifford Goggins testified on June 9 he was on routine bicycle patrol in the area of 5th Street and the Boardwalk when he observed Dale W. Brown, 57, walking with an unmarked cup and having difficulty maintaining his balance. He observed Brown drop the cup, at which point a yellow, foamy substance poured out.

Brown reportedly picked up the cup as the officer approached and when asked what was in it, consumed the remnants and showed the empty cup to the officer. The officer testified that it smelled like alcohol, and as a result, he placed Brown under arrest, at which point Brown became uncooperative, drawing the attention of several people passing by.

Brown testified that while there had been liquor in the cup earlier on, he drank it all before leaving the house, and refilled the cup with ginger ale. Despite his claims, Brown was found guilty of consuming alcohol on a public right of way, but was found not guilty of disorderly conduct. Brown was fined $42.50.

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