SNOW HILL – An Ocean City man arrested in April for breaking into the same resort pharmacy he did a year earlier pleaded guilty last week in Circuit Court to second-degree burglary and was sentenced to 12 years in jail with all but one year suspended.
Around 3 a.m. on April 28, Ocean City Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief David Cropper was responding to an accident when he noticed a person inside Bailey’s Pharmacy on 8th Street. Suspecting the individual 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.
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.
Peeples was charged with a wide variety of offenses including burglary, theft, malicious destruction of property and numerous drug possession charges. Last week in Circuit Court, Peeples pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary and was sentenced to 12 years in jail, all of which but one year was suspended.
For Peeples, his arrest in April came just about one year after his arrest in May 2007 for practically the exact same crime. He was later convicted and served several months for that crime before returning to the scene for a repeat performance in April.