Seatbelt Stop Yields Weapons Bust In OC

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OCEAN CITY – A Pennsylvania man was arrested on illegal gun charges last weekend in Ocean City after a Maryland State Police (MSP) trooper in the resort assisting with the Cruisin’ event pulled him over for a seat belt violation.

Around 4:30 p.m. last Friday, a MSP trooper assigned to a special hot rod weekend enforcement detail in Ocean City observed the driver of a 1995 Dodge Ram pick-up, later identified as Colin Whitney Stipe, 28, of Columbia, Pa., driving without his seatbelt on in the area of 33rd Street and Baltimore Ave. The trooper pulled Stipe over for the seat belt violation when he observed an empty holster in the rear passenger seat area.

The trooper asked Stipe if there were any firearms in the vehicle and the suspect responded there was a handgun in the center console. At that point, the trooper asked the occupants to step out of the vehicle and a subsequent search revealed a Springfield sub-compact 9mm handgun in the center console. The firearm was fully loaded with nine rounds in the magazine and one round chambered.

Stipe advised the trooper he did have a concealed weapon carry permit issued by the state of Pennsylvania, but there is currently no reciprocity agreement between Pennsylvania and Maryland, putting Stipe in violation of the Maryland firearms regulation. Stipe was arrested and charged with possession of a concealed deadly weapon and was taken before a District Court Commissioner.

More Guns Recovered

BERLIN – A Pennsylvania man was arrested on illegal transport of firearms last week after a Maryland State Police (MSP) trooper pulled him over for speeding on Route 50 near Berlin.

Around 2 p.m. last Thursday, a MSP trooper working routine traffic patrol along Route 50 pulled over a red Chevy Suburban in the eastbound lanes of the highway near Route 818 (Main Street) in Berlin. When the officer contacted the driver, later identified as Adam Topper, 32, of Gettysburg, he observed ammunition on the floorboard of the vehicle behind the passenger seat.

When the trooper asked Topper about the ammunition, the suspect told the officer he had firearms in the vehicle. The investigation revealed Topper had previously used the guns at a firearms range in Pennsylvania several days prior and failed to remove them from the vehicle before traveling to Ocean City. Troopers searched the vehicle and discovered three firearms in the rear of the truck including two handguns and a shotgun with a modified barrel.

The ammunition was within close range of the firearms and three of the Ruger 9mm magazines were loaded with one in the firearm but not charged. The troopers ran a check on the weapons to see if they had been reported stolen, but the results were negative. Topper was arrested and charged with illegal transport of firearms and was taken before a District Court Commissioner.

Loud Music Nets Drug Arrests

OCEAN CITY – Two Snow Hill men were arrested on drug charges last weekend in Ocean City after an Ocen City police officer pulled them over for cranking up their vehicle’s stereo too loud.

Around 9:45 p.m. last Friday, an OCPD officer on bicycle patrol in the area of 15th Street and Baltimore Ave. observed a gold SUV with its stereo blaring so loud it could be heard from the officer’s position at least 60 feet away. The officer also observed several individuals on foot in the area stop and turn their heads as the vehicle passed by.

The officer stopped the vehicle in the area of 16th Street and Baltimore Ave. and made contact with the driver, identified as Darian La mar Waters, 21, of Snow Hill. According to police reports, the officer asked Waters if there was any good reason why he was playing the stereo so loud and he responded there was not. The officer completed a citation for the loud stereo and conducted a routine traffic check on Waters’ license status before returning to the vehicle.

When the officer returned, he saw the vehicle’s passenger, later identified as Marcus Allen Feddiman, 22, of Franford, Del., reach between his legs suspiciously. The officer asked both Waters and Feddiman to exit the vehicle and they complied. The officer issued the citation to Waters and told him he was free to go, but the officer then returned to his bicycle and approached the driver’s side again. The officer asked Waters if there were any illegal drugs, guns or knives in the SUV, to which he responded yes.

The officer then asked Waters to step out of the vehicle, to which he replied, “Man, this ain’t even my ride,” and “Man, this is my girlfriend’s.” The officer then asked for permission to search the vehicle and Waters complied. During the subsequent search, the officer discovered loose particles on marijuana on the driver’s side floor of the vehicle. He also found a Baggie of suspected marijuana in the center console as well as a glass jar of pot.

The officer also discovered a baggie containing two pills, one with the shape of a firearm inset on it and another with the shape of cartoon character Homer Simpson on it. The officer knew from his training the pills were illicit street drugs containing MDMA, commonly known as Ecstasy. At that point, the officer placed Waters and Feddiman under arrest, but the search of the vehicle continued.

The officer also located in the SUV roughly 300 plastic baggies, a maroon draw string bag with more suspected marijuana in it, a metal marijuana grinder and a scale in the maroon bag. The officer also located a blue backpack with the name Darian W. on it. Inside the backpack, the officer found 20 yellow, oblong pills believed to be the prescription drug Alprazolam. A further search of the vehicle turned up cigars with marijuana in them. Because of the volume of the drugs found in the vehicle, along with the Baggies, scale and other paraphernalia, the officer suspected Waters and Feddiman were dealing in narcotics.

After the officer read Waters his rights, the suspect agreed to speak with him without a lawyer present. Waters told the officer the drugs found in the car were his and that he was just trying to make some money because he had a baby on the way and didn’t have a job. Waters also told police he was only coming into to Ocean City to pick up his girlfriend and get rid of the illegal drugs. He told police he was sorry and should not have brought the weed into Ocean City.

Both Waters and Feddiman were charged with possession of marijuana, possession of other CDS, possession of paraphernalia and other charges.

Stolen Van Nets Arrest

OCEAN CITY – A Halethorpe, Md. man was arrested on felony theft charges last week after swiping a van from a downtown restaurant parking lot.

Around 9:15 p.m. last Wednesday, an OCPD officer was dispatched to the Bahama Mama’s restaurant on Wicomico Street for a reported stolen vehicle. The officer met with an individual who reported his parents’ mini-van was stolen roughly 40 minutes earlier from a parking garage below the restaurant. The officer then met with the owner of the van, who said he drove the vehicle to the restaurant about 40 minutes earlier to meet his family for dinner.

The victim said he uses the keypad entry system to access the van and that the keys were hidden under a cup in the cup holder of the center console. The officer then advised Ocean City Communications to broadcast a description of the stolen mini-van.

A short time later, the Ocean Pines Police Department received a call about a suspicious vehicle in a driveway on Harlin Trace in the community. Ocean Pines Police responded to the area and discovered the mini-van matching the description of the one being sought by the OCPD. An OCPD detective responded to the residence in Ocean Pines and spoke with a neighbor who lived near the residence where the mini-van was located.

The neighbor said the occupant of the home where the mini-van was found, later identified as Daniel Dillon, 26, of Halethorpe, Md., had a history of drug abuse and motor vehicle thefts. The detective attempted to make contact with Dillon, but was unable to speak to him because of his level of intoxication, according to police reports.

Around 9:30 a.m. the next day, two OCPD detectives went to the suspect’s residence in Ocean Pines and spoke with Dillon, who admitted he had stolen the mini-van the night before. Dillon explained he had been at a downtown bar and left after drinking multiple alcoholic beverages. Dillon said he found the mini-van about a block away and discovered it was unlocked with the keys in it.

Dillon told police he took the vehicle and drove it to his residence in Ocean Pines. He also told police he had a drug problem and took the van and left Ocean City as fast as he could to avoid using drugs.

Dillon was arrested and charged with unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, felony theft over $500 and unauthorized removal of property. He was taken before a District Court Commissioner and ordered held on a $25,000 bond.

OC Fire Investigated

OCEAN CITY – A fire early Tuesday morning at a residence on St. Louis Ave. was contained to the porch area after the Ocean City Fire Department responded.

Shortly after 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Ocean City Fire Department units were dispatched to a reported structure fire on St. Louis Ave. between North Division Street and 1st Street. First arriving units found fire and smoke coming from the rear porch area of the residence. Fire crews deployed hoses and other equipment and contained the blaze to the porch area. No injuries were reported and damage was limited to the porch area.

The Fire Marshal’s Division is investigating the cause of the fire. Anyone with information is urged to call the Ocean City Fire Department’s Fire Marshal’s Office at 410-289-8780.

Stolen Bicycle Recovered

OCEAN CITY – A suspect was arrested for stealing a bicycle last week in Ocean City after the bike’s owner saw him riding it in the downtown area.

Around 8:45 p.m. last Monday, an OCPD officer on patrol was flagged down by a citizen near 26th Street and Philadelphia Ave. The individual told the officer he had reported his bicycle stolen about two weeks earlier and had just observed an unknown person riding it. The victim told police he identified the bike not only by the brand name, but also because of a drink holder mounted on the handlebars, which was not standard on the model, and a right brake broken during a spill not long after he got the bicycle. The victim approximated the value of the bike at around $550.

The officer soon located the man on the stolen bike and identified him as Juan Carlos Drouyn, 44, of no known address. Drouyn told the officer he had purchased the bike a day earlier from a man he did not know for $20. Drouyn said he had never seen the man before. Drouyn also told police he did not know where he lived at the present time.

Drouyn told police the man approached him in the parking lot of a hotel and offered to sell him the bicycle. Drouyn said he bought the bike and the man left and that he never saw him again. After listening to both the victim and the suspect, the officer placed Drouyn under arrest and charged him with theft over $500. After he was read his rights, Drouyn agreed to speak with the officer further, but stuck to his story about the mystery man and the $20 purchase of the bike.

Window Smashed During Dispute

OCEAN CITY – A Pennsylvania man was arrested on malicious destruction of property charges last weekend after allegedly smashing a window at a downtown hotel with his fist during a domestic dispute.

Around 11:30 last Saturday, an OCPD officer was dispatched to the Sea Cove Motel on 27th Street in reference to a malicious destruction of property complaint. The officer met with the owner of the motel, who said someone broke the window of a unit. The officer went to the unit in question and discovered a large seven-foot by five-foot window had been smashed. The officer observed a large amount of broken glass on the walkway leading to the motel room.

The officer went to the motel room and identified the occupants as Ryan Wesley Beissell, 20, of Benville, Pa., and his 19-year-old girlfriend. The officer asked Beissel what happened to the window, but the suspect said he did not know. Beissel told police he was arguing with his girlfriend when somebody threw a rock threw the window, but could not provide any more information about a possible suspect. The officer then asked the girlfriend what had happened and she corroborated his story about the alleged rock thrower.

The officer then spoke to several witnesses outside who all said they did not observe anybody throw a rock through the window. Each of the witnesses said the window was broken from the inside. The physical evidence also suggested the window was broken from the inside. The officer questioned the girlfriend again and she changed her story. She told police she was in a verbal argument with Beissel, during which Beissel punched the window causing it to break.

The officer then questioned Beissel again, advising him that he knew he was not telling the truth about the broken window. At that point, Beissel admitted he was angry at his girlfriend and intentionally punched the window, causing it to break. Beissel was then arrested and charged with malicious destruction of property.

Probation In Pot Bust Case

OCEAN CITY – The second of two Ocean City men arrested in December on drug charges after their resort condo was raided by the OCPD’s Quick Response Team (QRT) pleaded guilty this week to possession of paraphernalia and was placed on probation for a year and fined $400.

Around 3:45 p.m. on Dec. 11, the QRT and members of the OCPD’s narcotics unit served search warrants simultaneously on two condo units on Newport Bay Drive. At the first location, resort police found a foil-smoking device containing marijuana residue in one of the bedrooms. They detained one resident of the unit, and when they questioned him about the paraphernalia, the suspect told police it was found in Timmy’s room.

The officers determined the alleged owner of the marijuana was Timmy Alexander Wilson, 19, of Ocean City. Police used the other suspect’s cell phone to call Wilson at work and informed him he needed to come home to talk to police. Wilson did return home, and when he pointed out which bedroom was his, he was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and paraphernalia.

Meanwhile, other officers were searching a different unit on Newport Bay Drive and found another suspect, later identified as Leon Harvey, 22, of Ocean City sitting on his bed. Harvey agreed to allow police to search his room and a small amount of marijuana was found in a trashcan. A search of Harvey’s person revealed an electronic scale with marijuana residue on it in his pocket. Harvey was also charged with possession of marijuana and paraphernalia.

This week in District Court, Wilson pleaded guilty to possession of paraphernalia and was fined $400 and placed on probation for a year. In March, Harvey pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana and was fined $500.

Hatchet Man Convicted

OCEAN CITY – The second of two men arrested in early April on assault and deadly weapons charges after confronting another pair of men with a hatchet and a screwdriver during an altercation pleaded guilty this week in District Court to second-degree assault and was fined $300.

Shortly after 2 a.m. on April 3, an Ocean City police officer responded to the area of 34th Street for a reported assault that had just occurred. Upon arrival, the officer met with two male complainants who told police they were sitting at a red signal at 33rd Street when a late model blue truck pulled up along side of them. The occupants of the truck, later identified as Calvin G. Bratten, 21, of Salisbury, who was driving, and Michael Joseph Allison, 44, of Ocean City, who was the passenger, began yelling something at the two complainants in the vehicle along side them.

The two victims told police they weren’t certain what or why Bratten and Allison were yelling at them. The two victims continued through the light and Bratten and Allison followed in their truck. The two victims pulled over and parked in the area of 34th Street and the two suspects followed, also parked and got out.

One victim said Bratten got out of the truck with a screwdriver in his hand and began approaching him at a fast pace. The victim told police Bratten said, “get back in the car if you don’t want no problems.” Bratten allegedly continued to threaten the victim as he came toward him, but eventually threw the screwdriver down as he got closer.

Meanwhile, Allison got out of the passenger side of the truck and approached the other victim with a hatchet in his hand. According to the victim, Allison held the hatchet in his hand over his head as he approached him and said “get back in the [expletive deleted] car or I’m going to kick your {expletive deleted].” The victim said he continued to back away from Allison, who he believed was going to strike him with the hatchet.

Bratten and Allison eventually left the scene without further incident. An independent witness on the scene was interviewed and corroborated the victims’ stories. A short time later, the officer on the scene learned a different officer had pulled over a truck at 64th Street with the occupants matching the description of Bratten and Allison. The two victims along with the independent witness followed the officer to 64th Street where they identified Bratten and Allison as the suspects. Bratten confirmed the screwdriver left at the scene belonged to him, but said it must have fallen out of his truck.

Bratten was charged with carrying a deadly weapon with intent to injure and attempted second-degree assault and was initially ordered held on a $15,000 bond before being released. Allison was charged with attempted first- and second-degree assault and carrying a deadly weapon with intent to injure.

This week in District Court, Allison pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and was fined $300. Earlier this month, Bratten pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and was also fined $300.

NRP Out in Force on Weekend

OCEAN CITY – With the arrival of Memorial Day weekend and the advent of another summer season, Maryland Natural Resources Police this week warned they will be out in force over the holiday weekend.

As Marylanders prepare to take to the state’s waterways and parks this Memorial Day weekend for the traditional start of the summer season, the NRP this week urged boaters and park patrons alike to exercise caution this summer and throughout the year. To promote safety, NRP will be conducting an extensive statewide enforcement effort during the Memorial Day weekend.

The NRP will aggressively target boaters operating in a reckless or negligent manner and/or under the influence of alcohol on the waterways. It will also focus on boaters not maintaining a proper lookout and not having the required safety equipment onboard. Additional emphasis will be placed on conserving Maryland’s natural resources. Officers will concentrate on possession and size limits of our crabs and finfish resources.

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