Armed Robber At Large

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BERLIN – Local law enforcement agencies this week are looking for the suspect who robbed a man at gunpoint at a car wash on Old Ocean City Blvd. in Berlin last Sunday.

Around 3 p.m. last Sunday, Berlin Police responded to the Union Station Car Wash on Old Ocean City Blvd. for a reported armed robbery. The victim told police the suspect held a handgun under his sweatshirt and threatened to shoot the man if he didn’t turn over his wallet and money. The victim complied and lost his wallet and an undisclosed amount of cash in the hold-up.

The victim described the suspect as a light-skinned black man in his mid-20s with a goatee, around 5’7” with a medium build. The suspect was wearing a white sweatshirt and a dark-colored ball cap at the time of the incident. The suspect fled the scene in a small, white SUV with unknown Delaware registration. The victim described the vehicle as being similar to a Kia Sorento. Anyone with information is asked to contact Berlin Police at 410-641-1333 or the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) at 410-352-3476.

High Speed Chase Ends In Wreck

BERLIN – A New Jersey man was hospitalized last week after crashing at the end of a high-speed chase along Route 113 that began near Newark, Md. and ended just across the Delaware line in Selbyville.

Shortly before 9 a.m. last Sunday, a Maryland State Police trooper working traffic enforcement along Route 113 near Newark Station observed a dark-colored SUV with New Jersey tags going around 65 miles per hour in a 55 mph zone. The trooper attempted to stop the 2002 Mercury Mountaineer when it abruptly turned down Gunning Club Lane, a dirt road with no outlet.

The trooper followed the vehicle, driven by Elraheem Nesmith, 26, of Hillside, N.J., down to dirt road in an effort to make a traffic stop when the vehicle made a big circle around a farmhouse in an attempt to elude the officer. Nesmith was able to get back on northbound Route 113 with the trooper in pursuit. The trooper was joined by two Worcester County Sheriff’s Office units and one Berlin Police unit as the pursuit continued along Route 113 toward Berlin at speeds topping 100 mph.

Other MSP officers attempted to end the pursuit with stop sticks at two different locations along Route 113, the first near Decatur Farms and the second at Route 818, both of which were unsuccessful. The high-speed chase continued on Route 113 toward the Delaware line, at which point Delaware State Police and Selbyville Police were alerted of the situation and advised to prepare to assist.

When Nesmith crossed into Delaware, the Maryland State Police and Berlin Police called off their pursuit and Delaware law enforcement agencies picked up the chase. Shortly thereafter, Nesmith lost control of his SUV and crashed into the Holly Kia dealership in Selbyville. According to police reports, Nesmith’s SUV rolled four of five times through the car dealership before coming to rest on top of several new vehicles parked at the dealership.

Nesmith was placed in custody at the scene until MSP troopers arrived and identified the suspect and the vehicle. He was later taken to Beebe Medical Center in Lewes, Del, for injuries not suspected to be life threatening.

No injuries to civilians or police personnel were incurred, nor were any civilian or police vehicles damaged during the pursuit, with the exception of the vehicles damaged at the car dealership. Delaware State Police agreed to hold Nesmith on a detainer until charges could be filed against him in Maryland. The investigation revealed Nesmith was driving with licenses suspended in both Virginia and New Jersey and the tags on his vehicle had expired in 2005.

Stiff Sentence For Copper Theft

SNOW HILL – The second of two suspects arrested in connection to a string of copper wire thefts from construction sites in the Ocean City area in December 2006 pleaded guilty this week in Circuit Court to second-degree burglary and was sentenced to eight years in jail with all but three years suspended.

Aaron Wade Meyers, now 22, of Seaford, appeared for trial in Circuit Court on Tuesday and pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary. Meyers was sentenced to eight years in jail with all but three years suspended. He was also placed on probation for two years upon his release and was ordered to pay over $6,700 in restitution to Frick Electric. Meyers’ accomplice, Troy Holmes, 33, of Seaford, last year pleaded guilty to theft scheme over $500 for his part in a string of copper wire thefts from construction sites in the resort area in December 2006 and was sentenced to five years in jail.

Meyers and Holmes were arrested in January 2007 after resort police were able to connect the pair to the burglary spree. The suspects specifically targeted construction sites with spools of copper wiring, which they stole and melted down to recycle the copper. The copper was taken to a private recycling center in Delaware where it was sold for about $2 per pound. The two were charged with 11 counts including burglary, theft and malicious destruction of property.

Meyers and Holmes stole from construction sites in Ocean City including locations on 2nd Street, 42nd Street and 46th Street. Loss from theft and damage from the locations totaled just under $10,000.

Teen Sentenced To Five Years

SNOW HILL – An Ocean Pines teenager arrested last November on multiple counts of burglary and theft after police were able to connect him to a string of burglaries in the community pleaded guilty last week to first-degree burglary and was sentenced to five years in jail with all but one year suspended.

Mark Scaniffe, 17, of Ocean Pines, appeared in Circuit Court last week to face several serious charges including four counts of first-degree burglary, three counts of theft over $500, one count of theft under $500, two counts of malicious destruction of property and one count of theft scheme over $500. Ocean Pines police arrested Scaniffe last November and charged him in connection to a series of unsolved burglaries and thefts in the south section of the community. Scaniffe was charged as an adult because of the severity of the charges.

Last week, he pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree burglary and was sentenced to five years in jail with four years suspended, leaving him one year to serve. He was then given credit for the 153 days he served in jail while awaiting trial. Scaniffe was also placed on probation for two years after his release and was ordered to pay over $2,000 to two victims of his crimes.

Stet For Bomb Threat

SNOW HILL – A former Atlantic General Hospital employee arrested and charged with making a bomb threat at the facility in November had the charges against her placed on the stet, or inactive, docket last week.

On Nov. 11, 2008, a Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) detective was called to investigate a bomb threat at AGH. The hospital had received a telephone call from an unknown suspect advising there was a bomb in the hospital and that it was set to explode that night.

As a result of the investigation, Jo Ann Matthias, 46, of Georgetown, Del., was identified as the suspect in the bomb threat case. Matthias had been an employee at the hospital but had recently been terminated. She was later arrested and charged with making a false statement about a destructive device. Last week in Circuit Court, Matthias had the charges against her placed on the stet, or inactive docket.

Warrant Out For Artist

OCEAN CITY – A West Virginia man arrested in January on drug charges after offering to show his drawings to an OCPD officer who had just cleared him of suspicion of driving under the influence failed to appear for trial in District Court in Ocean City and had a warrant sworn out for his arrest.

Around 2:45 a.m. on Jan. 15, an OCPD officer on unmarked vehicle patrol observed a car with its rear tag light not illuminated. The officer pulled over the vehicle, driven by Joshua Gregory Riffle, 26, of Fairmount, W.Va., and informed him of the reason for the stop. While he was asking for the driver’s license and registration, the officer detected an odor of alcohol coming from Riffle and asked him to step out of the vehicle.

The officer then had Riffle perform a series of field sobriety tests, which the suspect completed to the officer’s satisfaction, and he instructed Riffle to have a seat in his vehicle. While Riffle was in the vehicle, he asked the officer if he would like to see some of his drawings, to which the officer responded it didn’t matter to him. Riffle then took a drawing from the passenger seat of his vehicle and began describing it to the officer.

Meanwhile, another officer had arrived to assist and was looking in the passenger window during the drawing display and noticed a bag of suspected marijuana on the floor of the vehicle in plain view from the outside of the car. The second officer informed the original officer about the pot, and Riffle was asked to step out of the vehicle and was taken into custody.

A search of the vehicle turned up another bag of marijuana in the center console of the vehicle and a glass smoking device in the ashtray. Riffle was arrested and taken to the Public Safety Building for processing, during which another bag of pot was found in the front pocket of his sweatshirt.

Around 4:37 a.m., the officer was dispatched to police headquarters for a report of a fire alarm. When the officer arrived on the scene, he was informed the sprinkler head in the man’s cell had been damaged and water was coming from where the sprinkler head should have been. It was later discovered Riffle had broken the sprinkler in his cell, which had triggered the fire alarm.

The damage to the sprinkler head is estimated at around $200 and malicious destruction of property charges were tacked on to Riffle’s marijuana and paraphernalia possession charges. Last week, Riffle failed to appear for trial in District Court and had a warrant sworn out for his arrest.

Suspended Sentence For Dealer

SNOW HILL – A Pittsville man arrested in December on drug charges after repeatedly selling narcotics to an undercover OCPD detective pleaded guilty last week to possession with intent to distribute cocaine and was sentenced to three years in jail, all of which was suspended in favor of probation and a fine.

Around 8:40 p.m. on Dec. 20, 2008, the OCPD Narcotics Unit with the assistance of the Worcester County Criminal Enforcement Team concluded a one-week CDS distribution investigation with the arrest of Kwamaine Dealon Fisher, 18, of Pittsville.

On two separate occasions, an OCPD undercover narcotics agent was able to purchase powder cocaine from Fisher in Ocean City. Fisher was charged with two counts of two counts of distribution of cocaine and two counts of possession of cocaine. A total of 14 grams of cocaine and $116 in U.S. currency was seized during the arrest.

Last week, Fisher pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute and was sentenced to three years in jail. The sentenced was then suspended and Fisher was placed on probation for two years and fined $500.

Probation For Cop Assault

OCEAN CITY – A Baltimore woman arrested on Jan. 11 for kicking an OCPD officer who was attempting to help her after she claimed she had been raped earlier in the evening was found guilty of second-degree assault this week in District Court and was placed on probation and fined.

Around 12:40 a.m., an OCPD officer on patrol responded to assist other officers with a fight in the area of 15th Street and the Boardwalk. Upon arrival, the female officer came in contact with a female subject who identified herself verbally as Amanda Merritt, who had been reportedly crying and repeatedly shouted “help me” and told police she was having pains in her stomach as a result of the fight, but the officers on the scene had not been able to get any identification documents from her.

The officer told Merritt she was trying to help her but needed to see some identification so police would know who she was. The officer then touched the exterior of the woman’s pants pockets and determined there was nothing contained in them in the way of identification. The officer then attempted to search the woman’s coat pockets for a wallet or any form of identification, but found nothing.

According to police reports, while the officer was attempting to find some form of identification on Merritt, she continued to yell “help me,” and when the officer went to look in her coat pocket, she screamed “don’t [expletive deleted] hurt me,” and sat up rapidly while swinging her arm at the officer.

The officer backed up and held up her hands with palms facing out in an effort to indicate she was not a threat and merely wanted to help the woman, later officially identified as Amanda Marie Merritt, 22, of Dundalk, but Merritt kicked the officer in the abdomen with her right foot. Merritt was taken into custody and handcuffed, and she continued to scream and cry, saying “you don’t even know. You won’t help me. I was raped and killed tonight and you don’t care.”

While the officer was obtaining Merritt’s name and date of birth, she allegedly became angry again and spit a large quantity of saliva and mucus on the officer’s cheek. Merritt was later provided with the necessary medical treatment and discharged from AGH before being taken to the Public Safety Building for processing. She was charged with two counts of second-degree assault on an officer. This week in District Court, Merritt pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and was placed on probation for one year and fined $500.

Probation For Bar Stool Incident

OCEAN CITY – A Harwood, Md. man arrested on assault and drunk-driving charges last December after allegedly throwing a man off a bar stool in a mid-town establishment before fleeing the scene and later getting pulled over on suspicion of driving while intoxicated pleaded guilty last week in District Court to driving while impaired and was placed on probation and fined.

Around 11:30 p.m. on Dec. 15, 2008, Ocean City police responded to Mother’s Cantina for a reported assault. The officers met with the victim who told police an unidentified male had grabbed him by his shoulders and threw him off his bar stool. The victim said the suspect attempted to throw a bar stool on him while he was on the ground before the victim’s friend stopped the suspect.

An employee interceded and threw the suspect out of the bar, then watched as he drove away in a silver Pontiac Firebird with Maryland tags. The employee was able to get a tag number for the vehicle and told police the suspect was visibly intoxicated. Both the victim and the employee provided police with a description of the suspect including a British accent.

The responding officer was then informed by another officer he had located the suspect’s car in front of a residence on Plover Driver nearby. The original officer responded to the scene and met with the suspect, later identified as Geoffrey Charles Lovell, 44, of Harwood, Md., who matched the description provided by the victim and the bar employee.

When asked about the incident at the bar, Lovell admitted he had thrown the victim off his bar stool and that he was thrown out and drove away. After the officer detected the strong odor of alcohol emanating from Lovell, he asked the suspect if had anything to drink after he left the bar and Lovell told the officer he had not.

After Lovell failed a series of field sobriety tests, he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. He was also charged with assault for the incident at the bar. When processed at the Public Safety Building, Lovell refused to submit to a breath test.

Last week in District Court, Lovell pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and was placed on probation and fined $500. The assault charges against him were not prosecuted as a condition of the guilty plea for DWI.

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