Traffic Stop Then Pot Bust

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BERLIN – Maryland State Police made a significant marijuana bust last weekend after a routine traffic stop in Berlin.

Around 6:45 p.m. last Saturday, a Maryland State Police trooper stopped a Ford Econoline Van on Route 113 at Main Street in Berlin for a routine traffic violation. As the trooper approached the van and made contact with the driver, later identified as Clifton J. Briddell, 26, of Salisbury, a strong odor of marijuana was detected coming from the vehicle.

A probable cause search turned up over 93 grams of marijuana. Briddell was arrested and charged with possession and possession with intent to distribute marijuana and possession of paraphernalia. He was taken before a District Court Commissioners and was later released after posting a $10,000 bond.

Missing Person Found

OCEAN CITY – A potentially serious situation was avoided this week when a Pennsylvania women was reported missing in the resort area.

On Monday morning, Ocean City police released a missing person advisory regarding Ashley Devon Washick, 21, of Hazelton, Pa., who was staying in Rehoboth Beach, Del. and had not been seen since noon on Sunday. She was last seen in the area of 26th Street on Sunday.

A few hours after the missing person advisory was posted, OCPD released another statement that Washick had been found by an officer on the Boardwalk.

Vessel Runs Aground

Near Assateague

ASSATEAGUE – The Coast Guard this week responded to a vessel in trouble off the coast of Assateague early Monday morning and assisted three crew members to safety before controlling an adverse environmental impact.

Around 3 a.m. on Monday, the crew of the “Frieda Marie” informed the Coast Guard the vessel had run aground and were taking on water in the vicinity of Assateague Island National Park. Coast Guard Station Chincoteague immediately launched their 24-foot and 47-foot rescue boats and Coast Guard crews were able to assist the vessel’s crew and prevent more flooding.

Coast Guard crews are working closely with the boat’s owner and a hired contractor to ensure the safe removal of roughly 10,000 gallons of diesel fuel prior to re-floating the “Frieda Marie.” The intent is to protect Assateague Island and its natural resources, including threatened piping plovers, from any harm caused by the grounding of the vessel in close proximity to the National Seashore.

“Coast Guard units are on scene assisting the vessel,” said Coast Guard public affairs officer Lt. J.G. Scott McBride on Wednesday. “We are committed to the rapid resolution of this situation so that the vessel owner can repair his boat and resume his operations. Our concerns are for the safety of the vessel’s crew and mitigating any potential for damage to the environment, hazards to navigation and protection of property.”

Inactive Docket For Alleged

Fight Over ATM Card

OCEAN CITY – A Reisterstown, Md. man arrested in March on theft and assault charges after a fight with his girlfriend over a missing ATM card needed to pay a cab driver had the charges against him placed on the stet, or inactive, docket this week in Circuit Court.

On March 26, an OCPD officer responded to the area of 8th Street and Philadelphia Ave. for a reported domestic assault in progress. As the officer neared the area, he was flagged down by a cab driver in front of Pickle’s Pub. The cabbie told police he had picked up a couple including Ricky Anderson Edwards, 49, of Reisterstown, and his female companion, and drove the couple to their motel.

Once at the motel the couple told the cabbie they could not pay him because they could not locate their ATM card, according to police reports. The cabbie then drove the couple back to the bar to look for the card. While en route, the couple began arguing about the missing card, at which time Edwards allegedly slapped the girl several times and pulled her hair. The cabbie told police Edwards pulled the girl’s hair so hard that it jerked her head back over the seat.

When the officer approached the cab, both Edwards and the alleged victim were still in the back seat. The officer asked Edwards to step out so he could talk with him about the incident when Edwards went into a profanity-laced tirade directed at the cabbie in broad daylight on a crowded street.

When the officer asked Edwards about paying the $24.20 cab fare, Edwards said he could not pay because he didn’t have the missing bank card, while continuing to yell obscenities at the cab driver. Based on the evidence, Edwards was arrested and charged with assault for his alleged attack on the female victim, and theft for not paying the cab fare. This week, the charges against Edwards were placed on the stet docket.

Boat Fire In WOC

WEST OCEAN CITY – The Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office this week determined the cause of a boat fire in a vessel storage area in a West Ocean City community last Sunday afternoon was accidental.

Around 2 p.m. last Sunday, The Berlin Volunteer Fire Company responded to a reported boat fire at the Assateague Pointe community on Route 611 in West Ocean City. First arriving units reported fire showing from a vessel located in a boat storage yard. The fire was quickly extinguished, but firefighters remained on the scene for about an hour. No injuries were reported and the cause has been listed as accidental.

Fire At Berlin Bio-Diesel Facility

BERLIN – A potentially dangerous situation was abated last weekend when firefighters were able to quickly bring under control a fire at a bio-diesel facility in Berlin.

Around 7:42 p.m. last Saturday, the Berlin Volunteer Fire Company was alerted for a reported fire alarm activation at the Maryland Bio-Diesel/Cropper Oil facility on Route 50 in Berlin. Those firefighters first on the scene reported seeing smoke coming from the eaves of the building. At that point, the call was upgraded to a commercial building fire.

Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the blaze. Due to the quick notification by the alarm activation and the quick response by the Berlin Fire Company, the fire damage was contained to the area of origin. The building was vacant at the time of the fire.

Traffic Stop Leads To Arrests

OCEAN PINES – Three men were arrested on marijuana possession charges last week after the driver was pulled over on suspicion of driving while intoxicated in Ocean Pines.

On July 26, Ocean Pines police pulled over Ronald James Davis, 18, of Pittsville, for traffic violations. Davis was ultimately arrested for driving while intoxicated. A search of the vehicle turned up an undisclosed amount of marijuana and paraphernalia and additional charges were tacked onto Davis and his passengers.

Davis was charged with driving while intoxicated, possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia. Christopher William Harris, 24, of Glen Burnie, Md., was charged with possession of marijuana and paraphernalia. James Jeffery Davis, 26, also of Glen Burnie, was charged with possession and possession with intent to distribute marijuana and possession of paraphernalia. All three suspects were taken before a District Court Commissioner and were later released pending trial.

Truck Goes Up In

Flames Near Restaurant

WEST OCEAN CITY – A hot water power washing unit in a box truck in the parking lot of Sunset Grille in West Ocean City burst into flames last week.

Around 3 a.m. last Thursday, the Ocean City Fire Department responded to Sunset Grille for a reported vehicle fire. First arriving crews reported a box truck well involved with fire. The duty crew on Engine 3 arrived and quickly extinguished the fire.

Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office investigators determined a hot water power-washing unit was being operated in the rear of the truck and a fire ignited during the refueling process.

The vehicle was owned and operated by Shore Clean Powerwash out of Baltimore, which provides commercial kitchen hood cleaning services in the Ocean City area. One person received burns as the result of the incident. Minor damages to the south side of the restaurant were sustained. The cause of the fire has been ruled accidental.

Drug Sting Cases Headed To Circuit

OCEAN CITY – Two of the four suspects arrested in mid-June during the Ocean City Police Department’s ongoing drug reverse “buy-busts” appeared in District Court last week and had their cases forwarded to the Worcester County Circuit Court.

Throughout June, OCPD undercover officers conducted an aggressive campaign to rid the Boardwalk and downtown areas of over drug dealing by staging reverse buy and bust operations. On Friday, June 12, for example, undercover narcotics detectives employed a reverse “buy/bust” tactic. Instead of seeking to buy illegal drugs, the undercover cops offer counterfeit drugs, in this case marijuana, for sale.

During the sting operation, four suspects were arrested including Demetrick Lamont Richardson, 19, of York, Pa.; David Lee Crosby, 18, of Arnold, Md.,; Michael Bernard Code, 27, of Salisbury; and Cortney Jamal Young, 21, of Greenwood, Del. Last week, Richardson and Code appeared in District Court for trial and had their cases forwarded to Circuit Court. Crosby and Young are set to appear for trial in District Court later this month.

The OCPD had been targeting sales of illegal narcotics in the resort, particularly in the Boardwalk area, with an aggressive undercover operation during which officers make contact with suspected dealers and arrange to buy, or even sell in some case, illegal narcotics. Throughout the early summer, the operation has been relatively successful in the stated goal of combating the behavior and helping to assure Ocean City is safe and free of drugs.

OCPD Warns of Banking Scam

OCEAN CITY – Ocean City Police last week issued a warning to citizens to keep an eye on their bank statements for any surprise debits caused by an Internet scam.

The OCPD reported several people have complained surprise debits were showing up on their bank statements attributed to a site called Cheapestthemes.com. According to a police report on the scam, several citizens reported odd debits in amounts such as $2.81 or $4.81 and even $6.81. The “Cheapest Themes” site doesn’t accept email and if one calls the listed phone number for the company, the call immediately forwards to a recording.

The OCPD is advising people who believe they have been victimized by the scam to contact their banks and explain that there has been fraudulent, unauthorized activity on their accounts. Different banks will have different policies regarding the action that will be taken in the event a victim was fraudulently charged.

Apple Doesn’t Fall Far from Tree

OCEAN CITY- Recent Stephen Decatur graduate Daniel Kirstein, son of long-time OCPD Captain Kevin Kirstein, was recently awarded a $500 Maryland Chief’s of Police Association Scholarship at a special ceremony last week.

Each year, the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association offers a scholarship award to one full-time secondary education student enrolled in a law enforcement curriculum. Residents of Maryland between the ages of 17-21 who meet the other qualifications are eligible to compete for the annual award. The selection of the scholarship recipient is based on scholastic achievement and community involvement.

This year, the award went to Daniel Kirstein, who recently graduated from Stephen Decatur High School and is planning to attend Eastern Kentucky University in the fall in the hopes of studying homeland security. His father, OCPD Captain Kevin Kirstein, joined the department in 1980 as a seasonal police cadet. He has been promoted up the line over the years to reach the rank of captain. Kevin Kirstein is also a 20-year member of the Ocean City Volunteer Company and served seven years as Assistant Fire Chief.

If Daniel Kirstein follows through on his intent to study homeland security, he won’t have to look far to find a role model. Immediately after the tragic events of September 11, 2001 then Ocean City Mayor Mathias detailed his father Kevin to the New York City Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management. Recognized as an expert in the field of incident management, Kevin responded to ground zero and worked closely with the incident command team’s logistics section. The elder Kirstein still teaches terrorism awareness and emergency response programs to first-responders throughout the nation.

OC Celebrates National Night Out

OCEAN CITY – The 26th Annual National Night Out was celebrated this week in two Ocean City communities as part of a larger effort around the country for citizens to get out and interact with their neighbors and local law enforcement officials. 

Ocean City residents, as well as several Ocean City Police officers, gathered on Tuesday, August 4, 2009, at Fiesta Park and Lark Lane for the festivities.  The celebrations were sponsored by residents from Caine Woods and Bayshore Drive, however guests included residents from several Ocean City communities. 

National Night Out is a unique crime and drug prevention event sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch.  The program is designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support and participation in local anti-crime programs and send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back. 

“National Night Out is a great way to send a message that Ocean City neighborhoods are standing together to promote awareness, safety and unity throughout our town,” said Chief Bernadette DiPino.  “In addition, National Night Out showcases the importance of police and community partnerships, as well as citizen involvement in the fight for a safe community.”

Ocean City was one of the approximately 11,000 communities from the United States that will be participated in National Night Out.  According to the National Association of Town Watch, over 35 million people are expected to participate from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases around the world.  

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