Embezzling Arrest

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BERLIN – A Berlin woman was arrested on felony theft charges last week after an investigation revealed she allegedly had stolen roughly $20,000 from the Newscenter-Hallmark store in West Ocean City during her employment there.

After an investigation by the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI), Mary M. Taylor, 59, of Berlin, was arrested last week and charged with two counts of felony theft over $500. Taylor has been accused of stealing approximately $20,000 from the store during the course of her employment.

An investigation is ongoing and detectives are urging anyone with information regarding the case to call them at 410-352-3476.

Rape Suspect Nabbed

OCEAN CITY – Resort police last week nabbed a Selbyville man wanted on rape and other charges in Baltimore County during a routine traffic stop.

Around 2:30 p.m. last Friday, an OCPD officer pulled over a vehicle driven by Franklin Timothy Brinker, 19, of Selbyville, for a routine traffic violation. A computer check revealed Brinker was wanted by Baltimore County Police on charges of second-degree rape, robbery, theft, assault and malicious destruction of property.

Brinker was taken into custody without incident. He was taken before an Ocean City District Court Commissioner and released after posting a $100,000 bond.

Three Busted On Drug Charges

OCEAN CITY – The Ocean City Police Department’s narcotics/vice unit this week concluded a month-long investigation into CDS distribution with the arrests of three local residents.

Arrested were Donnell Lamar Taylor, 27, Sara Elizabeth Morells, 19; and Patrice Shelton, 18, all of Ocean City. Taylor and Morells were both charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana, while Shelton was charged with possession of marijuana and hydrocodone. During the arrests, OCPD officers seized roughly 182 grams of marijuana, four hydrocodone pills and a 1999 Jeep Cherokee.

All three suspects were taken before a District Court Commissioner with different outcomes. Shelton was released on her own recognizance, Morells was released after posting a $25,000 bond and Taylor was held on a $25,000 bond and transferred to the Worcester County Jail.

Stolen Handgun Recovered

OCEAN CITY – Resort police this week recovered a loaded handgun and ammunition during a traffic stop on Monday.

Around 9:15 a.m. on Monday, OCPD officers stopped a car for an equipment violation. During the stop, the officers noticed the odor of marijuana coming from the passenger compartment of the car. The driver of the vehicle, identified as Laver Isaiah Crawford, 23, of Norfolk, told police he had been smoking marijuana and that there was a gun located in the car.

During a search, officers recovered a loaded .45-caliber handgun and an extra loaded magazine next to the driver’s seat. Also recovered was an undetermined amount of marijuana on Crawford’s person and in the vehicle. It was later determined the gun was stolen.

Crawford was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana, possession of a handgun, carrying a concealed deadly weapon and theft. He is being held in the Worcester County Jail on a $25,0000 bond.

Drive-Thru Then Into Ditch

WEST OCEAN CITY – A New Jersey man was arrested on drunk-driving charges last week after fleeing a drive-thru window at a West Ocean City fast-food restaurant and putting his car into a ditch.

Around 11 p.m. last Thursday, Worcester County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to an accident at the Wendy’s at the White Marlin Mall in West Ocean City. Upon arrival, the officers determined an individual, later identified as Charles Fiener, Jr., 24, of Seaside Heights, N.J., had entered the drive-thru of the restaurant and an employee detected the strong odor of alcohol coming from his person.

When confronted about his apparent drunk-driving, Fiener reportedly attempted to leave the drive-thru lane, jumped a curb and drove into a ditch. He was subsequently arrested and charged with driving while impaired and was later released pending trial.

More Ditch Driving

BERLIN – A Berlin man was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated or impaired last weekend after flipping his car and ending up in a ditch on St. Martin’s Way near Ocean Pines.

Last Saturday, sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to a single vehicle accident on St. Martin’s Way near Ocean Pines. Upon arrival, the officers observed an overturned truck in a ditch with the driver, identified as John Lawrence Pracko, 24, of Berlin standing nearby. According to police reports, Pracko appeared to be under the influence of alcohol and he was subsequently arrested and charged with driving while impaired or intoxicated. He was issued citations and released pending trial.

Chase Through Snow

OCEAN CITY – A Towson man was arrested last week on drunk-driving and other charges including attempting to elude police after a long pursuit on a snow-covered Coastal Highway.

Around 1 a.m. last Monday, Ocean City police officers in the field received a broadcast to be on the lookout for a suspect in a hit-and-run collision that just occurred. The report stated the suspect vehicle was traveling south on Coastal Highway and that the taxi it allegedly just hit was following in close pursuit giving updates on the suspect’s position in the area of 59th Street.

An OCPD officer picked up the pursuit in the area of 45th Street and pulled up next to the taxi, rolled down his window and asked the driver if the car in front was the one that hit him, to which the taxi driver nodded yes. Meanwhile, snow continued to fall and about three inches covered the roadway. Another OCPD officer picked up the pursuit further south on Coastal Highway and both police cars had activated emergency lights and sirens.

According to police reports, the suspect vehicle continued south and failed to stop for red traffic signals at 34th and 30th streets before being intercepted by another police car in the area of 28th Street. The suspect vehicle, driven by Kurt Joseph Kleis, 47, of Towson, did finally stop in the middle lane of Coastal Highway near 28th Street, but when the pursuing officers got out of their cars to approach Kleis, he allegedly took off again heading south.

Kleis stopped again at 12th Street, but took off when police exited their vehicles and approached on foot. Kleis turned onto 12th Street and then headed north on Baltimore Ave. when the pursuit finally ended. Police struggled at first to get Kleis out of his car, but were eventually able to subdue him and cuff him after using some force. According to police reports, the officers noted the strong odor of alcohol coming from Kleis, and when the suspect was asked where he had been, he told them he was coming from an uptown bar and that he had consumed three or four drinks.

The arresting officer told Kleis he was being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, the hit-and-run accident with the taxi cab and attempting to elude police, to which the suspect allegedly responded “I’m being arrested for what?” and “Why are you guys doing this? I don’t understand.”

Kleis was taken to police headquarters at 65th Street for processing but refused to submit to a breath test. He told police he wanted to call his lawyer, a request they granted, but Kleis allegedly first called a man known only as Mike. When he asked again, police told him he could only call his lawyer, but the second time they allowed Kleis to use his phone, he allegedly called his wife.

When the officers interrupted the call and hung up Kleis’ phone, he allegedly said “Ha Ha, now my wife knows where I am,” according to police reports. Meanwhile, police contacted the taxi driver who confirmed it was Kleis’ vehicle that had struck him.

Jail For Armed Robbery

SNOW HILL – The second of three Baltimore teens arrested in August on armed robbery and other serious charges stemming from an incident in mid-July when they bound and gagged a man and threatened to kill him in an Ocean City motel room during an apparent drug deal gone bad pleaded guilty last week to second-degree assault and was sentenced to two years in jail, all but two months was suspended.

Joseph Martin Butler, 17, of Baltimore, appeared in Worcester County Circuit Court last Thursday to face a wide variety of serious charges including armed robbery, assault and false imprisonment for an incident dating back to last July 15. Butler pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and was sentenced to two years in jail, all of which was suspended but two months. He was also placed on probation for two years, fined $500 and ordered to pay his share of over $5,000 in restitution to the victim for medical bills.

On July 15, Ocean City police responded to a room at the Dunes Motel for a reported armed robbery and serious assault that had taken place. When they arrived on the scene, the officers found an adult male victim with several serious injuries. The victim was able to tell police a sordid tale about the events leading up to his attack.

The victim told police he met several individuals on the Boardwalk earlier in the evening and agreed to meet them later at his motel room. Some time later in the evening, the victim got a telephone call from one of the individuals instructing him to come down and meet them in the parking lot. The victim told police he went down to the parking lot and met with one of the individuals he had met earlier in the evening and the pair went back up to his room.

Once in the motel room, two other suspects arrived and at that point, the three men attacked the victim and bound and gagged him. The victim told police the three men continued to beat him as they ransacked the room looking for money and valuables. At one point, one of the men smashed a beer bottle over the victim’s head. During the attack, the suspects discussed killing the victim, according to police reports on the incident.

After the suspects left the room, the victim was able to free himself and contact the police. The victim later told police he met the three individuals earlier in the evening in downtown Ocean City to negotiate an illegal drug transaction. The victim further told police he believed the three men had come to his motel room to complete the transaction.

Throughout the end of July and into the first week of August, OCPD detectives investigating the case traveled several times to Baltimore. Working in conjunction with the Baltimore Police Department, the Southwest District and the Baltimore City Police Violent Fugitive Task Force, OCPD detectives were able to identify the three suspects involved in the July 15 incident in an Ocean City motel room including Butler, Marcus Lennon, 18 of Baltimore, and Angelo Dante Moore, Jr., also of Baltimore.

Last week, just one day before Butler went to trial, Lennon pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit armed robbery and was sentenced to eight years in jail. Meanwhile, Moore was initially charged as an adult because of the severity of the charges, but his case was remanded to the Department of Juvenile Services following a hearing in December.

Traffic Stop Yields Pot Bust

BERLIN – Two men were arrested last week on possession charges after a routine traffic stop on Route 90.

Around 4:30 p.m. last Wednesday, a Maryland State Police trooper stopped a 2003 Ford Explorer on Route 90 near Route 113 for a traffic violation. While approaching the vehicle, the trooper smelled the strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. A probable cause search turned up nearly three grams of marijuana.

Both occupants of the vehicle, Benjamin O’Malley, 18, of Berlin,; and Collin Travis Campbell, 18, of Brookeville, were arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and paraphernalia. They were taken before a District Court Commissioner and later released on their own recognizance.

More Speeding and Drugs

BERLIN – A Salisbury woman was arrested on drug possession charges last Wednesday after getting pulled over for speeding on Route 90 near Route 50.

Around 1:15 p.m. last Wednesday, a Maryland State Police trooper from the Berlin barrack stopped a 2004 Honda Accord after clocking the vehicle going 67 mph in a 55 mph zone. Upon initial contact with the driver, identified as Dayna Sheree Holbrook, 30, of Salisbury, the trooper immediately detected the strong odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle. A probable cause search revealed a partially burned marijuana cigarette in the vehicle and Holbrook was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance.

Wal-Mart Shoplifting

BERLIN – An Ocean City man was arrested on theft charges last week after security personnel at the Wal-Mart in Berlin observed him shoplifting.

Shortly before 10 p.m. last Wednesday, Maryland State Police troopers were dispatched to the Wal-Mart on Route 50 near Berlin for a reported shoplifting. Security personnel told police they observed a man later identified as Brian Anthony Randall, Jr., 25, of Ocean City, concealing various food items on his person while shopping. Randall, Jr. was later detained as he walked past the cash registers and attempted to leave the store without paying for the items.

The total value of the items Randall, Jr. was attempting to steal came in at just over $19. He was arrested and charged with theft under $100 and was taken before a court commissioner in Ocean City before being released on his own recognizance.

Surf Shop Burglar Sentenced

SNOW HILL – A Baltimore man arrested in October in connection with a rash of surf shop break-ins in Ocean City pleaded guilty this week in Circuit Court to fourth-degree burglary and was sentenced to 18 months in jail, all of which was suspended in favor of probation and a fine.

On October 11, Ocean City police responded to a reported burglary in progress at the Cloud Break II skate shop on 58th Street. Upon arrival, OCPD officers were advised by a witness the suspect had just fled the area and was heading in the direction of the nearby 7-Eleven store just north of the reported break-in. Police saturated the immediate area and found a male suspect matching the description in the convenience store. The officers were soon able to identify the suspect as Martinique Steffan Chase, 19, of Baltimore. The suspect was found with a screwdriver and a folding knife on his person.

After a brief investigation, detectives began to connect Chase to a burglary reported at Chauncey’s Surf Shop on 54th Street a week earlier. On Sunday, Oct. 5, OCPD officers responded to an alarm activation at Chauncey’s Surf Shop. The officers arrived on the scene and immediately noticed the front plate glass window of the store had been smashed. A brief investigation revealed a suspect had reached through the broken window and stolen several items including skateboard decks, wheels and trucks.

During the investigation of the Chauncey’s break-in, police recovered surveillance video that provided a working description of the suspect, who was seen in the store on two separate occasions the day before. After the attempted break-in at Cloud Break II last Saturday, investigators learned Chase might have been responsible for the burglary at Chauncey’s the week before. Using the surveillance tapes from the Chauncey’s burglary, investigators noticed Chase had similar characteristics to the suspect in the previous surf shop burglary.

Detectives then prepared a photo line-up including Chase and presented it to witnesses from the burglary at Chauncey’s a week earlier. Two surf shop employees were able to positively identify Chase as the same suspect who had been in the store on two separate occasions on the day before the break-in at Chauncey’s on Oct. 5.

Chase was arrested and charged two counts each of felony and misdemeanor burglary, theft and other charges. This week, Chase pleaded guilty to fourth-degree burglary and was sentenced to 18 months, all of which was suspended. He was also placed on probation for three years and fined $500.

Underwear Stolen

BERLIN – Two men were arrested on theft charges last week after police discovered one of them attempting to steal underwear from the Dollar General store in Berlin and later linked the second man to stolen articles discovered in their vehicle.

Around 7:30 p.m. last Wednesday, Berlin Police were dispatched to the Dollar General store for a reported suspicious person on the premises. Upon arrival, the officers met with the suspect, identified as Walter Younie, 59, of Berlin, who consented to a search of his person. The search revealed stolen underwear concealed on his person and Younie was arrested on a theft charge.

Younie then asked the officers to tell his friends he was being taken into custody. As the officers were speaking with Younie’s friends, they observed in plain view more stolen property in the vehicle. The occupants of the vehicle told police the goods belonged to Younie, but an investigation linked the stolen items in the vehicle to Miles Morris, 26, of Elkton, Md. Morris was also arrested on theft charges.

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