Stolen Goods Found, Leads to Theft Arrest

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Stolen Goods Found,

Lead To Theft Arrest

OCEAN CITY – An Ocean City man was arrested on felony theft and malicious destruction of property charges last week after goods stolen from his previous residence were found in his new home.

Last Tuesday, resort police responded to a residence on 142nd Street for a reported theft and malicious destruction of property. Upon arrival, police discovered extensive damage throughout the house and also noticed various appliances and household items were missing. The property owner estimated the damage to the residence at around $6,000 and an estimate of the items stolen came in at around $10,000.

Early on in the investigation, the previous tenant of the residence, identified as Neil Curtis Staggers, 46, of Ocean City, was identified as the suspect. OCPD officers applied for and were granted an arrest warrant charging Staggers with felony burglary, theft and malicious destruction of property charges.

Police learned Staggers was now living in a unit at the English Towers condominium. Two days later, police obtained a search and seizure warrant for the unit at the English Towers and during its execution, several of the items reported stolen from the residence on 142nd Street were found.

Staggers was arrested and transported first to the Public Safety Building where he was taken before a District Court Commissioner who ordered him held on a $30,000 bond. He was then transported to the Worcester County Jail, but has since been released after posting the $30,000 bond.

Pizza Shop Burglarized

BERLIN – Maryland State Police this week are looking for the suspect or suspects who broke into Domino’s Pizza in Berlin late Sunday night or early Monday morning.

MSP troopers were dispatched to the Domino’s on Route 50 on Monday morning after employees arrived at the facility and discovered the rear door had been pried open and a safe had been removed. The break-in occurred some time after the store closed at 11 p.m. on Sunday and employees arrived around 9 a.m. on Monday. Anyone who saw anything suspicious around Domino’s early Monday morning or has any information about the crime is encouraged to contact the MSP Berlin Barrack at 410-641-3101.

Burglary Arrest In Pines

OCEAN PINES – An Ocean City man was arrested this week on burglary and theft charges in related to a reported incident in Ocean Pines.

On Monday, Ocean Pines Police arrested Michael Anthony Mason, 41, of Ocean City on multiple counts of burglary and theft as well as theft related to credit cards from a victim he was known to living in Ocean Pines. Mason has been charged with first-, third- and fourth-degree burglary, trespassing and theft related to credit cards. He was taken before a district court commissioner and ordered held on a $10,000 bond. He remains in custody in the Worcester County Detention Center pending trial.

Big Fine In Broken

Glass Attack Case

OCEAN CITY – A Pennsylvania man arrested in July on first-degree assault and other charges after arguing with a north-end condo security guard, banging on a window causing it to break and then picking up a large shard of the broken glass and attempting to stab the guard with it pleaded guilty this week in District Court to reckless endangerment and was fined $1,000 and placed on probation for a year.

Around 3:30 a.m. on July 7, an OCPD officer responded to the Golden Sands condominium near 109th Street for a reported malicious destruction of property. Upon arrival, police encountered a man sitting on the curb in front of the lobby with blood on his clothing and a large laceration on his arm. The man, identified as Brian D. Wampole, 42, of Douglasville, Pa., told police he broke the window during an argument with a security guard and apologized several times for his actions.

When police went inside, they observed the sliding glass window that separated the front desk area from the rest of the lobby had been shattered and observed blood droplets all over the lobby area. The security guard had cuts on his face and arms from the shattered glass. At that point, Wampole was arrested for malicious destruction of property and reckless endangerment, but more serious charges were added when the security guard told his version of the events.

The security guard told police after Wampole broke the window, he picked up a large, triangular piece eight to 10 inches long and tried to climb through the hole in the glass. Wampole allegedly reached his arm through the hole up to his shoulder and lunged at the security guard with the large piece of glass and threatened to kill him. The security guard said Wampole had “the wildest look on his face” and he was certain he would have killed him if another man he was with hadn’t interceded.

When questioned about the incident, Wampole acknowledged a piece of glass might have fallen into his hand and he might have made a motion toward the guard with the shard of glass. After listening to the testimony of those involved, police also charged Wampole with first- and second-degree assault.

This week, Wampole pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment and was placed on probation for one year. He was also fined $1,000.

Fine For Shoving Cops

OCEAN CITY – A Pennsylvania man arrested in May for assaulting police officers and resisting arrest following a fight in the downtown area pleaded guilty last week in District Court to resisting arrest and was fined $1,000, half of which was suspended.

On May 24, an OCPD officer was on routine bicycle patrol when he was dispatched to a fight in progress near the Paradise Plaza Hotel parking lot on 9th Street. The officer met with a group of witnesses, one of whom said he had been hit in the head with a bottle. Meanwhile, another officer detained a possible suspect in the incident, later identified as David Anthony Verille, 35, of Peach Bottom, Pa., who asked the officer, “Can’t we pretend this never happened?”

While the officer was questioning Verille, the suspect suddenly dashed away and ran toward the group of witnesses, who were gathered a short distance away in the area of the Admiral Motel on 8th Street. The officer questioning witnesses saw Verille charging his location shouting “[expletive deleted] this, I will straighten this out.”

The officer told Verille to stop, but he kept charging, yelling, “I’m coming.” The officer attempted to stop Verille, who shoved the officer in the chest, knocking him backward into the street. Another officer attempted to stop Verille, but he continued to charge at the officer in an aggressive manner with his arms flailing and screaming. Verille struck a second officer in the chest with his arms, shoving him backward.

Police were eventually able to take Verille down and place him in custody after applying leg sweeps and arm bar tackles, but not before he made one charge at the witnesses. Verille was charged with two counts of second-degree assault, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and obstructing and hindering.

Last week in District Court, Verille pleaded guilty to resisting arrest and was fined $1,000, of which $500 was suspended. He was also placed on probation for a year. The other charges against Verille were not prosecuted.

Just Taking A Nap

OCEAN CITY – An Ocean City man arrested in July on drunk driving charges after police found him “asleep” behind the wheel of his vehicle with the ignition on pleaded guilty this week to driving while impaired and was fined $500.

On July 16, an OCPD officer on routine patrol observed a man later identified as Donald Thomas Groves III behind the wheel of his car with the engine running, the lights and radio on and the windows down. The officer had to use smelling salts to awaken Groves, who allegedly woke up and ordered a chicken taco from the officer believing he was somewhere else.

Groves was arrested and charged with driving while impaired, driving under the influence and other charges. In District Court on Tuesday, Groves’ attorney explained his client had worked all day before going to a party. He was going to stay at the party but there was nowhere for him to sleep, according to the attorney.

Rather than risk driving home after drinking, Groves decided to sleep in his car. According to the attorney, Groves was sleeping in the car with the engine on and his hand on the gearshift because it was a hot night in July and he needed the engine on to run the air conditioning. Judge Daniel Mumford did not buy the story, however, and found Groves guilty, fining him $500.

Probable Cause

In Resort Burglary

OCEAN CITY – An Ocean City woman will face felony theft charges in court early next year after an Ocean City District Court judge this week found there was probable cause for pursuing the charges after a preliminary hearing on Tuesday.

On Sept. 5, OCPD officers responded to an apartment on 25th Street for a reported burglary. When they arrived, police spoke to the victim, who said he had lived at the unit all summer before leaving for a while in September. When he returned to his apartment with his mother to retrieve the rest of his belongings, he found the unit in disarray with spray paint on the walls and several items missing, including a laptop computer, a stereo, a laser disc player, a 35 mm camera and other items.

The witness said he went out on the back porch of the unit to call police on his cell phone when he noticed a fishing rod on a neighbor’s porch he believed was his. Suspecting the neighbor might be involved with the thefts, police went next door to question the occupant, identified as Maria Carhballo, 19, of Ocean City. Carhballo reportedly invited the officers in, and when they questioned her about the fishing rod, she claimed she did not know who it belonged to.

When asked if there was anything else in her apartment that didn’t belong to her, Carhballo allegedly pointed under a bed and revealed the fishing pole that had been on the porch and a tackle box. Carhballo reportedly told police the vacant unit had been entered by someone else and provided a name and description of the unknown suspect. She was later arrested and charged with second-degree burglary and felony theft over $500.

One of the issues discussed in District Court on Tuesday was whether or not the burglarized unit was considered a storehouse or a dwelling because the charges hinged on how the residence was classified. If it was determined to be a storehouse, meaning it was vacant at the time and merely held the stolen items, the primary charge would be second-degree burglary. If it was proven the unit was occupied at the time, felony theft charges could be applied. After some discussion, it was determined the unit was indeed still occupied because it had been lived in recently and there was still food and such in the refrigerator. Therefore, Judge Daniel Mumford dismissed the second-degree burglary charge against Carhballo and found probable cause to move forward with the felony theft charge. A new court date has been set for Jan. 26.

Jail Time For Dine And Dasher

SNOW HILL – A Reisterstown woman arrested last spring for allegedly skipping out on a heft check at a resort restaurant was found guilty last week of theft less than $500 and was sentenced to 90 days in jail with all but six days suspended.

On March 29, OCPD officers responded to the Embers restaurant in reference to a large group of people rolling out on a $384 check. The manager told police 11 people, including nine adults and two children, had eaten at the establishment and left without paying the check. The manager said the suspects fled in a Dodge Durango with “Save the Bay” license plates, which one of the party had moved to the front of the restaurant before the group left without paying.

According to the manager, the vehicle pulled out of the parking lot and nearly hit a parked car before taking off down Coastal Highway. Through the tag number, police were able to track the vehicle to Rachel Sprecher, 36, of Reisterstown, Md.

On April 6, OCPD detectives called Sprecher to ask about the alleged dine-and-dash incident. Sprecher reportedly told police she had been in Ocean City and did eat at the Embers with a large group. She said she was in charge of organizing the money for the bill, which came to around $384, and left $425 in cash on the table. Sprecher claimed somebody must have come by and picked up the money from the table before the waiter returned for it, in which case she was off the hook. Detectives told police they had video surveillance tapes from the restaurant that disputed her version of the story.

The waiter said Sprecher went to the bar area with the check and some cash in hand and told the bartender she had to go to her car to get more money, and when the bartender and the manager weren’t looking, she left the establishment.

She was ultimately arrested and charged with theft. Last week in Circuit Court, she pleaded not guilty to theft, but was found guilty. Sprecher was sentenced to 90 days in jail with all but six suspended, which she began serving last Friday. She was also fined $500 and ordered to pay $384 in restitution to the restaurant.

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