Business Burglarized

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Business Burglarized

BISHOPVILLE – Two Bishopville residents were arrested on burglary, theft and forgery charges this week after allegedly breaking into a heating and air conditioning business and stealing a safe before trying to pass the business’s checks at local stores.

During the early morning hours on Monday, Worcester County Sheriff’s deputies responded to First Service Heating and Air Conditioning in Bishopville for a reported burglary. The investigation revealed the suspects forcibly entered the business and stole a safe containing cash and several business checks.

Later on Monday, detectives learned two individuals, later identified as Dannielle Wojciechowski, 31, and Brian Hudson, 31, both of Bishopville, had attempted to purchase merchandise at Wal-Mart and Home Depot on Route 50 in Berlin. Investigators were able to locate the two suspects at their residence in Bishopville and they were taken into custody.

During the execution of a search and seizure warrant on the suspects’ residence, detectives located the stolen safe. Both Wojciechowski and Hudson have been charged with burglary, theft and forgery. They are each being held in the Worcester County Jail on $35,000 bonds. Anyone with more information about the incident is urged to call the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) at 410-352-3476.

Crack Dealer Busted

OCEAN CITY – A Pocomoke man targeted by an OCPD undercover narcotics investigation for two months was arrested this week and charged with distribution of crack cocaine.

A two-month undercover narcotics investigation concluded this week when OCPD officers arrested Brian Lee Harmon, 36, of Pocomoke. On two separate occasions during the investigation, Harmon allegedly sold crack cocaine to an undercover OCPD narcotics officer. Harmon has been charged with two counts each of distribution of crack cocaine, possession of crack cocaine, and one count of possession with intent to distribute a counterfeit controlled dangerous substance.

Harmon was taken before an Ocean City District Court Commissioner and is now being held at the Worcester County Jail on a $100,000 bond. Assisting in the apprehension of Harmon was the Worcester County Criminal Enforcement Team.

Downtown Brawl Moves Uptown

OCEAN CITY – Two local men were arrested on assault and other charges this week after two separate incidents that started at a downtown bar moved to an uptown restaurant early Monday morning.

Shortly before 2 a.m. on Monday, an OCPD officer working plainclothes patrol in the downtown area observed two males, later identified as Mark Allen Meekins, 27, of Ocean City, and Ronald Eugene Flawd, 33, also of Ocean City, fighting in the doorway of the Harbor Inn bar. As the two men continued to hit each other, other bar patrons urged them to stop fighting and push the combatants out the front door.

Once outside the bar, Flawd allegedly charged toward another man, identified as Andrew Harris, who was standing about 40 feet away from the bar with a female. Flawd charged toward Harris and began yelling obscenities at him, raised his fist and began flailing at the other man. Flawd reportedly first removed his sweatshirt and later his T-shirt and threw them on the ground, urging Harris to fight with him.

Flawd reportedly came after Harris again, this time with closed fists flailing, but the other man continued to walk away in order to avoid the confrontation, according to police reports. By this time, the OCPD officer interceded and arrested Flawd, charging him with disorderly conduct and second-degree assault for his fight first with Meekins and later his attempted fight with Harris. Meanwhile, Meekins had left the scene, but he was not finished his antics for the night.

Now around 3:25 a.m. on Monday, OCPD officers responded to Denny’s Restaurant on 112th Street for a 911 call hang-up. Upon arrival, OCPD officers met with a couple and another independent witness who outlined what had happened. According to the couple, they had driven Meekins to Denny’s when he offered to buy them breakfast in exchange for a ride. During the ride, Meekins allegedly asked the couple how much money they had between them and discussed what they believed was a drug deal.

When the couple and Meekins arrived at Denny’s, Meekins reportedly spoke to another female, who allegedly told him he was too late for the drug deal and that he had missed his contact. The couple told police it was then they realized Meekins had used them to gain a ride to Denny’s under false pretenses and there never was to be any free breakfast.

According to police reports, an argument then ensued with Meekins reportedly pulling the male out of the truck and throwing him to ground while punching him in the head after the couple refused to allow Meekins back in the vehicle. The victim told police Meekins ripped the front pocket of his jeans and stole $40 from him. The female of the couple came around, pulled Meekins from the male and called 911 before hanging up.

Another independent witness on the scene corroborated the story. Meekins was arrested and charged with strong-arm robbery, second-degree assault, theft and malicious destruction of property.

Burglary Suspects Nabbed

OCEAN CITY – Three Ocean City residents were arrested on theft, burglary and other charges last week after resort police found them in possession of goods reported stolen from a neighbor’s apartment.

Around 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 22, an OCPD officer responded to a residence on 43rd Street in reference to a burglary that had already occurred. The officer met with the victims, who said they had left the unit on Tuesday and returned on Wednesday morning to discover their home had been burglarized and several video gaming systems, digital cameras and wet suits had been stolen. The total amount of the theft was estimated at around $2,000.

OCPD officers began canvassing the neighborhood, checking with area residents to see if they had seen or heard anything related to the burglary. The initial officer on the scene went to one nearby residence and spoke to the occupants, identified as Lauren Elizabeth Blevins, 19, and Robert Curtis Hoffmaster, 28, both of Ocean City.

While the officer was talking to Blevins and Hoffmaster, he observed items of drug paraphernalia in the unit and also located a wet suit that matched the description of the wet suit reported stolen. During the subsequent investigation, Hoffmaster admitted he and another occupant of his unit, David Jarrett Zik, 29, had burglarized the other unit in question and stole various items. Police were then able to recover many of the stolen items.

Blevins was arrested and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. Hoffmaster was arrested and charged with first-, third-, and fourth degree burglary and theft over $500. Police then obtained an arrest warrant for Zik and he was later charged with first-, third-, and fourth-degree burglary as well as theft over $500.

Blevins was released on her own recognizance. Hoffmaster was ordered held on a $50,000 bond, and Zik was ordered held on a $25,000 bond. Zik and Hoffmaster were transported to the Worcester County Jail but were later released after posting their respective bonds.

Fingerprint Helps

Nab Laptop, Gun Thief

OCEAN CITY – Resort police this week recovered a laptop computer and a handgun stolen from a vehicle in Ocean City in August after a latent fingerprint collected at the crime scene connected them to a Berlin man being held in the county jail on a separate incident.

On Aug. 5, OCPD officers responded to the parking lot of the Commander Hotel downtown for a reported theft from a motor vehicle. Police met with the victim who told them his car had been broken into and a laptop computer and .22 caliber handgun had been stolen. The OCPD Forensic Service Unit (FSU) responded to the scene and processed the vehicle for evidence.

FSU technician Sharon Shultz recovered several pieces of evidence including a latent fingerprint, which later turned out to be the crucial component in solving the case and eventually recovering the stolen computer and handgun. The fingerprint lifted from the vehicle was analyzed by the Maryland State Police crime lab and was found to belong to a suspect identified as Justin Carl McCargo, 19, of Berlin.

OCPD investigators then learned McCargo was being held in the Worcester County Jail on an unrelated burglary charge. Police questioned McCargo at the jail regarding the theft and the suspect admitted committing the theft at the Commander parking lot in August.

OCPD officers then located the stolen laptop computer in Berlin, and the stolen handgun has been recovered from a residence in Ocean Pines. Charges are pending for those thefts against McCargo, who is currently being held in the county jail on the unrelated case.

Prostitute Sentenced

OCEAN CITY – A Salisbury woman arrested in July on prostitution charges in Ocean City after arranging a meeting with an undercover OCPD detective who discovered the services she was offering on the Internet pleaded guilty this week in District Court to one count of general prostitution and was sentenced to a year in jail, which was then suspended.

On July 23, Ocean City Police arrested Jennifer Watson Ambrose, 35, of Salisbury, on charges of soliciting for prostitution after detectives discovered advertisements for he services on an Internet website. On the website, Ambrose agreed to meet interested parties who would pay for her services in Ocean City.

An OCPD detected contacted Ambrose through her website, and after corresponding over the phone and by email, the suspect agreed to meet the detective at a pre-arranged time and location in the area of 21st Street and Baltimore Ave. The detective later met the suspect at the appointed time and place and agreed on services with a fee of $150 per hour.

Upon meeting with the detective, Ambrose was arrested and charged with two counts of prostitution. This week in District Court, she pleaded guilty to one count and was sentenced to a year in jail, which was ultimately suspended. She was also fined $500 and placed on probation for three years.

Contest Scam Warning

BERLIN – The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office this week is warning local residence of a sweepstakes scam in which unsuspecting victims are being sent large checks in the mail claiming they have won a contest, but the prize cannot be claimed until the winner sends in a payment for the taxes owed on the winnings.

In the scam, victims are sent a check for a large sum of money as winnings of a contest, but are warned not to cash the check until they call the claims agent. When the unsuspecting victims call the claims agent, they are told they cannot be awarded their prize until they send in the taxes owed on the winnings. The claims agent then asks for personal financial information from the victims including social security and bank account numbers.

The sheriff’s office is warning area residents the letters claiming recipients are sweepstakes winners are part of a scam. It is also reminding residents most of the time they have to enter a contest to win a prize and prize money is not routinely sent out to people who have not entered a contest. The sheriff’s office also warned that people who have legitimately won a prize in a contest are not typically asked to pay a fee to collect it.

Finally, the sheriff’s office is reminding people they pay taxes to the IRS and/or state comptroller’s office and not a contest organizer. It should also go without saying people should not give out personal information such as social security numbers or bank account numbers to unknown entities over the phone or on the Internet. Anyone who has received a letter similar to the one in the scam described above is urged to call their local law enforcement agency.

Illegal Crab Pots Seized

OCEAN CITY – Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) last Sunday located and seized 147 illegal commercial crab pots from the inland bays just north of the Route 50 bridge in Ocean City.

The investigation into the illegal crab pots is ongoing and no citations have been issued. The NRP is reminding commercial and recreational crabbers to familiarize themselves with laws and regulations before they engage in the activity. An individual may legally set commercial crab pots in the coastal bays and their tributaries is certain general requirements are met.

For example, a person who owns or is in charge of a vessel used to catch crabs commercially shall be licensed by the DNR. Each individual pot set is required to be marked with a buoy that is easily visible on the surface, just as each string of pots shall be marked with a buoy on each end visible on the surface. The buoys should be marked with the identification number of the licensee in letters at least two inches tall. It is uncertain which of the requirements the illegal commercial crab pots seized last Sunday failed to meet.

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