Bank Fraud Warning

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Bank Fraud Warning

BERLIN – Berlin police this week are warning area residents about a scam emanating from a local bank involving automated phone messages seeking information about personal accounts.

On Monday, Berlin police officers were dispatched to Taylor Bank in reference to a fraud. It was reported several customers of the bank were receiving automated phone messages stating the caller was from Taylor Bank and that the customer’s card number had been compromised.

The recording then asked the customers to enter their 16-digit card number to re-activate their accounts. Berlin police this week are reminding residents if they are a customer of any bank and they receive similar calls to not provide any personal account information over the phone and contact their bank immediately. Berlin police are also warning area residents to never give any personal banking information over the phone.

Five Area Juveniles Arrested

BERLIN – Five local juveniles were arrested on malicious destruction of property charges last week after Berlin police were able to connect the youths to damages at an area apartment complex.

Between last Wednesday and Friday, Berlin police arrested five juveniles, whose ages range from 10-14 years old, and charged them with malicious destruction of property after a two-week investigation linked the youths to damages at a laundry facility at the Quail Run I apartment complex. Damages to the facility are expected to exceed $500. The five youths were released to the custody of their parents pending action in the juvenile court system.

Suspended Sentence

In OC Weapons Case

OCEAN CITY – An Upper Marlboro man arrested in August with a loaded gun during a domestic dispute in an uptown Ocean City hotel pleaded guilty last week in District Court to reckless endangerment and was sentenced to six months in jail, all of which was suspended, and was placed on probation for one year and fined $500.

Resort police thwarted a potentially deadly situation back on Aug. 3 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., 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.

Guilty Plea In

Boardwalk Robbery

SNOW HILL – A New York man arrested on theft, assault and various drug charges in June after stealing another man’s cell phone on the Boardwalk and attempting to make the victim pay to get it back pleaded guilty last week to possession of marijuana and was sentenced to the 154 days he already served in jail.

Around 2:15 a.m. on June 18, a man walking on the Boardwalk with friends tripped and fell causing his cell phone to fall out of his pocket. Another man, later identified as Jamal Lamar Anderton, 21, of Montgomery, N.Y., picked up the phone and refused to give it back. When the victim asked for the phone, Anderton allegedly punched him in the face. When the victim’s friends tried to intercede, Anderton fled.

The victim approached Anderton and asked for his phone back, but Anderton told him it would cost him $5. The victim told Anderton he would give him $3 for it, but the suspect refused and continued to flee the scene.

OCPD officers located Anderton a short time later and took him into custody. The victim was brought over to identify the suspect, who produced a cell phone matching the description of the one stolen. The victim provided police with his cell phone number and when they called it, the phone in Anderton’s possession rang.

During a search of the suspect, police found a substantial amount of marijuana on his person. Three witnesses came forward and told police Anderton had attempted to sell them drugs on the Boardwalk about an hour before the incident with the stolen cell phone. Anderton was charged with assault, theft, possession and possession with intent to distribute marijuana. Last week, Anderton pleaded guilty to the pot possession charge and was sentenced to the time he served while awaiting trial.

Strong-Arm Robbers Convicted

SNOW HILL – Two Pennsylvania men arrested in June on various charges after a strong-arm robbery at a resort fast-food restaurant each pleaded guilty to second-degree assault last week in Circuit Court and both were sentenced to three years in jail, all of which was suspended in favor of probation and fines.

Around 4:20 a.m. on June 18, OCPD officers responded to the McDonalds on 32nd Street for a reported strong-arm robbery that had just taken place. The officers met with a victim who was bleeding from the mouth and had blood all over his face. The victim told police he was walking in the restaurant parking lot when he was approached by a man who head-butted him in the face.

The victim said the man who head-butted him, later identified as Anthony Wayne Shaw, 20, was joined by another man, identified as Zachary Clyde Swisher, 19, and that the pair began punching him in the face in an attempt to steal the gold chain from around his neck. Shaw also allegedly threatened the suspect with a rock.

The two suspects were able to rip the gold chain from the victim’s neck before fleeing the scene in a vehicle driven by a white female. OCPD officers broadcast a description of the suspect vehicle and it was soon pulled over on Coastal Highway at 78th Street. The victim was brought to the traffic stop and identified Shaw and Swisher as his attackers and the two men were taken into custody.

The driver of the vehicle, Kirstan Nichole Leyda, 18, was detained but was not arrested. However, an assisting officer noticed marijuana in the vehicle and began a more thorough search, which revealed a significant amount of pot throughout the vehicle and in Leyda’s purse. Also discovered in the vehicle was a black book bag with more marijuana and paraphernalia inside. Inside the book bag was a sock containing more marijuana and small pills identified as oxycodone.

Shaw was charged with armed robbery, assault, theft, malicious destruction and various drug charges. Swisher was charged with armed robbery, assault, theft and malicious destruction of property, while Leyda was charged with possession of marijuana and paraphernalia.

Last week in Circuit Court, both Shaw and Swisher pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and were each sentenced to three years in jail, which was then suspended, placed on probation for two years and fined $500. Incidentally, Leyda pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana two weeks ago and was placed on probation for one year and fined $100.

Jail Time For Cocaine

SNOW HILL – An Ocean City man arrested in June on drugs and weapons charges pleaded guilty last week in Circuit Court to possession of cocaine and was sentenced to four years in jail, all but six months of which was suspended, which he will begin serving the day after Christmas.

Around 4:15 a.m. on June 27, the OCPD Quick Response Team (QRT) executed a search and seizure warrant on the residence on Philadelphia Ave. occupied by Gene L. Sams, 38, of Ocean City. The QRT team located and detained Sams, who was sleeping in one of the bedrooms.

During a sweep of the residence, OCPD officers discovered various amounts of marijuana, Roxicodone, Oxycontin, paraphernalia and a scale. They also found an unloaded revolver on top of a dresser in the apartment. Sams was charged with possession of marijuana and other CDS, possession of paraphernalia and possession of firearms.

Last week, Sams pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine and was sentenced to four years in jail, all but six months of which was suspended. He was also placed on probation for three years and fined $500. He will begin serving his six-month sentence on Dec. 26.

Probation For Sword Wielder

OCEAN CITY – A local man arrested in August on weapons and other charges after flashing a sword while encountering a group beating another man on a downtown Ocean City street pleaded guilty this week to disorderly conduct and was fined and placed on probation.

On Aug. 10, an OCPD officer was on bicycle patrol in the area of Somerset Street when he observed a fight in progress. As the officer approached the scene, he noticed a group of people surrounding a male subject, who was on the ground in a fetal position. The officer heard the group screaming at the man on the ground.

The OCPD officer then noticed another man, later identified as Andrew James Wendling, 37, of Berlin, wielding a large sword and walking at a fast pace toward the group. The officer noted in his report Wendling was holding the sword high over his head and was also swinging the sword in a malicious way at the group. Wendling was allegedly just a few feet from the large group standing over his friend on the ground when the officer approached.

When Wendling saw the officer, he tried to hide the sword behind a nearby apartment building. According to police reports, Wendling became very loud and uncooperative with the officers on the scene and would not listen to lawful commands. He was also using foul language, according to police reports on the incident.

Wendling was ultimately arrested and charged with wielding a deadly weapon with intent to injure, disorderly conduct and making a false statement to a police officer. This week, Wendling pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was placed on probation for one year and fined $100.

Credit Card Thief Gets 18 Months

OCEAN CITY – A Selbyville, Del. woman arrested in July after getting nabbed using a stolen credit card at various locations throughout Ocean City and West Ocean City pleaded guilty this week in District Court to one count of theft under $500 and was sentenced to 18 months in jail.

On July 13, the OCPD began investigating the theft of a credit card, which was stolen in Delaware and used repeatedly throughout Ocean City and West Ocean City. OCPD investigators were able to identify the white female suspect through surveillance tapes. She was identified as Kimberly Ann Rinker, 47, of Selbyville.

Rinker allegedly used the stolen credit card approximately 10 times charging over $500 at various locations throughout Ocean City. After developing Rinker as the suspect, OCPD detectives obtained a warrant for her arrest, charging her with 19 separate counts of theft, continuing theft scheme, fraud and credit card misuse.

Rinker eventually surrendered herself to the OCPD. This week, she pleaded guilty to one count of theft and was sentenced to 18 months in jail. She was also ordered to pay $785 in restitution to the victim.

Alleged Tire Slasher Busted

BERLIN – A Berlin man was arrested on several serious charges this week after allegedly first slashing the tires on a vehicle before forcing his way into an apartment, breaking up furniture and assaulting a resident.

Last Sunday, Berlin police responded to a residence on Flower Street for a reported malicious destruction of property. Upon arrival, officers learned the suspect, later identified as Rentay Purnell, 25, of Berlin, went on to the property posted with no trespassing signs and slashed the tires of a vehicle.

Purnell then allegedly forced his way into the apartment and broke some furniture before assaulting the victim. Purnell was arrested and charged with first- and third-degree burglary, second-degree assault, trespassing and malicious destruction of property. He was taken before a District Court Commissioners and was ordered held on a $12,000 bond.

Wouldn’t Give Her Up

BERLIN – A Berlin man was arrested on obstructing and hindering charges this week after refusing to tell police the name of his girlfriend, suspected of theft at an area pharmacy, or where he dropped her off after she allegedly committed the crime.

Last Sunday, Berlin police responded to the Rite Aid on Route 346 for a reported theft that had just occurred. While en route, the officers were given a description of the vehicle the suspect left the store in and were able to locate it and stop it.

When the officers questioned the driver, later identified as Brian Mumford, 24, of Berlin, about his female passenger. Mumford told police his girlfriend had been in the store, but he refused to say who she was or where he dropped her off. Mumford was then arrested and charged with obstructing and hindering and was taken before a court commissioner who released him on his own recognizance.

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