OCEAN CITY – Throughout the course of each year, hundreds of criminals are arrested and prosecuted in the resort area for a wide variety of offenses ranging from the gravely serious to the downright silly, and 2008 was certainly no exception.
Crime is rarely funny and often tragic, but there are those occasions when the perpetrators’ actions are just so ridiculous they make for perfect “Cops and Courts” section fodder and lively water cooler talk throughout the area. Here are some highlights from 2008:
Patrick Starfish Fondler
In August, a street performer dressed as the popular Patrick Star Fish character from “Sponge Bob Square Pants” was arrested an sex offense and assault charges after allegedly fondling a 16-year-old girl during a picture taking session on the Boardwalk.
The man routinely performed on the Boardwalk dressed as Patrick Starfish with another person dressed as Sponge Bob and the pair would pose for pictures in exchange for donations. After the news broke he had been arrested, several other alleged victims came forward with similar complaints.
Swims To Assateague
Also in August, the Coast Guard and the OCPD searched extensively for a man who streaked naked down the Boardwalk before diving off the pier and apparently swimming to Assateague.
On August 6, an OCPD officer on routine patrol on the south end of the Boardwalk observed a completely naked man carrying swim fins running south on the Boardwalk from the area of Wicomico Street before turning east onto the pier and the Jolly Roger amusement park. Police continued to pursue the suspect to the fishing pier, but when he got to the end, he jumped over the rail and into the ocean below. The suspect then swam about 200 yards due east offshore before turning south toward the Inlet and Assateague. The suspect was never found.
Sword Wielder Arrested
A local man was arrested on weapons and disorderly conduct charges in August after flashing a sword while encountering a group beating another man on a downtown street.
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 wielding a large sword and walking at a fast pace toward the group. The officer noted in his report he was holding the sword high over his head and was also swinging the sword in a malicious way at the group. He was allegedly just a few feet from the large group standing over his friend on the ground when the officer approached.
When the man saw the officer, he tried to hide the sword behind a nearby apartment building. According to police reports, the man became 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.
Really Wanted That Beer
A Pennsylvania man was arrested on assault and resisting arrest charges in August after fighting with resort cops who twice told him to throw away his open container of beer.
Shortly after 1 a.m. on August morning, an OCPD officer on bicycle patrol in the area of 15th Street saw a man walking on the Boardwalk with an open can of Coors Light beer. The officer told him he was not allowed to carry an open can of beer on the Boardwalk and instructed him to simply throw it in a trash receptacle just 30 feet away to avoid any more problems.
The officer watched as the man reached his whole hand into the trash can and carefully placed the open beer in it. The officer then thanked him for complying and started to ride off when he saw the suspect reach back into the trash can and retrieve the beer he apparently placed carefully on top and start to drink out of it again. The man saw the officer watching him and carefully placed the beer back in the trash receptacle.
The officer approached him again and asked him to sit on a Boardwalk bench to which he agreed. The officer then asked him for identification, but the suspect replied he did not have any identification on him. When asked what his name was, he allegedly told the officer his name was John J. Stump and his date of birth was 1886.
The officer ran a check on the name John J. Stump in Pennsylvania and found there was nobody by that name on file there. The officer then noticed what appeared to be a wallet and the man allegedly shoved the officer with two hands, causing him to stumble backward about two feet. The officer was able to apprehend him after a short fight.
He Took It Out And Used It
A bizarre incident unfolded on the Boardwalk in June when a man reportedly rubbed his exposed penis on a woman’s buttocks without her permission and urinated on a retail store’s rack of clothes.
On June 5, around 5:50 p.m., Ocean City Police Officer Shawn Beach responded to an indecent exposure report in front of the Cool Topics store on the Boardwalk. The storeowner pointed out a man who urinated on a rack of sweatshirts hanging in front of the merchant’s store.
After being detained, police interviewed a woman who said the suspect exposed himself to her and rubbed his bare penis against her shorts in the buttocks area.
Ate the Money and Ran
In May, a Frankford, Del. man was arrested on theft and drug charges after he allegedly swallowed a $100 bill he swiped from another patron in a bar.
Around 2 a.m., OCPD officers on routine patrol in the 28th Street area observed a man run out the front door of Mother’s Cantina and abruptly turn right through a pedestrian walkway in the shopping center. The officer chasing the man found him crouched behind a pole in the parking area and ordered him at gunpoint to get on the ground. When he refused to comply with the order, the officer threatened to use pepper spray, after which he complied.
Meanwhile, the other officer brought the two female witnesses to the scene who said the suspect took a $100 bill belonging to them from the bar and when they questioned him about it, he put it in his mouth and swallowed it. A search of Janson turned up no $100 bill and it is uncertain if it turned up later.
Man Shows It All Off
In May, a Pennsylvania man was arrested on indecent exposure and disorderly conduct charges last weekend after dropping his drawers in front of numerous witnesses on Baltimore Ave.
An OCPD officer on routine patrol observed a man standing on a public sidewalk wearing only green boxer shorts with tassels and bells on them which he pulled down below his knees. The officer witnessed him yelling at traffic with his private parts exposed in front of numerous witnesses including two people on the same sidewalk, several other people in the driveway of a nearby hotel and a group of people across the street.
Knife Was For “Crazies”
A Crisfield man was arrested in January on a concealed weapon charge and driving on a suspended license after he told police the knife he carried in his car was for “crazies” on the corners.
An OCPD officer on routine patrol in the 127th Street area noticed a Ford truck with its tag light not illuminated. When the officer ran the tags, he found the license plate numbers were registered to a Dodge, not a Ford. The officer then pulled over the vehicle and approached the driver, who admitted his license was suspended and the vehicle’s registration was not correct. While he was talking with the motorist, the officer noticed a knife handle between the two front seats. He asked the man to put his hands on the wheel and not to touch the knife.
When the man exited the vehicle, the officer pulled out a roughly 10-inch knife with a black handle. When the officer asked the man why he was carrying the knife in his car, he responded, “Well you know, when you come through Richmond, you never know if there are crazies on the corner.”