Business Safe Swiped

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BERLIN – Local law enforcement officials this week are investigating a break-in at a Berlin business sometime late Monday night or early Tuesday morning during which a safe containing an undetermined amount of cash was stolen.

On Tuesday morning, Berlin police officers along with Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) detectives responded to the Family Dollar store on Old Ocean City Blvd. for a reported burglary and theft. The investigation revealed that sometime during the overnight hours, an unknown suspect or suspects entered the store by forcing open a door at the rear of the business.

Once inside, the perpetrator or perpetrators apparently stole the store’s safe, which contained an undetermined amount of U.S. currency. The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information about the incident is urged to call WCBI at 410-352-3476 or Berlin police at 410-641-1333.

Stolen Dirt Bike Crashed

BERLIN – A Berlin man was arrested last weekend after allegedly swiping a dirt bike before attempting to elude police and crashing in a ditch.

Around 10:15 last Thursday night, a Berlin police officer on routine patrol observed a small dirt bike on Seahawk Rd. with no front or rear lights illuminated. The officer attempted to stop the dirt bike, but the rider, later identified as Richard Lee Huffman, 20, of Berlin, continued to drive down Seahawk Rd. and away from the officer, who continued the pursuit.

When Huffman reached the intersection at Sinepuxent Rd., he lost control of the dirt bike and crashed in a ditch. The investigation revealed the motorcycle was reported stolen in Pennsylvania. Huffman was arrested and charged with theft, fleeing and eluding and driving without a license. The motorcycle was not street legal and could only go 40 mph.

Huffman was taken before a court commissioner and was initially ordered held on a $3,500 bond before being released to a parent.

Drug Arrest After Foot Chase

BERLIN – A Salisbury man was arrested last week on various drug charges and resisting arrest after a concerned citizen reported his suspicious activity to authorities.

Shortly before 4:30 p.m. last Wednesday, Berlin police officers reported to the Bay Terrace Apartments on Bay Street regarding a complaint about suspicious activity possibly involving drugs. Upon arrival, the police made contact with a suspect, later identified as Jerrell Lamont Harmon, 25, of Salisbury, who was identified by the complainant as a suspect who had just been involved in a drug transaction.

A warrant check revealed Harmon was wanted by Salisbury police for failure to appear for court in an unrelated case. Harmon fled Berlin Police, but was apprehended after a brief foot chase. A search of his person revealed a bag containing crack cocaine and a large sum of cash. Harmon was charged with CDS possession- not marijuana, CDS possession with intent to distribute, resisting arrest, and the warrant from Salisbury.

He was taken before a District Court Commissioner and ordered held on a $25,000 bond for the new charges as well as a $257,50 bond for the warrant.

Pines Grill Stolen

OCEAN PINES – An Ocean Pines man was arrested on theft charges last week after allegedly stealing a grill that had just been used in the dedication ceremony for the new Ocean Pines Community Center.

On Sept. 14, Ocean Pines Police responded to the site of the new community center to investigate the theft of a grill valued at $700 that had been stolen after the dedication ceremony for the new facility. The investigation led to a suspect, later identified as Pedro Garza Gonzales, Jr., 36, of Ocean Pines. The grill was later recovered at Gonzales’ residence in Ocean Pines.

Gonzales has been charged with one count of felony theft over $500. He was taken before a District Court Commissioner and later released on his own recognizance. A court date is tentatively set for Oct. 27.

Disorderly Conduct Nets Jail Term

SNOW HILL – A Salisbury man arrested in August on assault and other charges after Berlin police responded to a reported noise complaint at an apartment complex pleaded guilty this week in District Court to disorderly conduct and resisting arrest and was sentenced to five months in jail combined.

Around 1 a.m. on Aug. 8, Berlin police were investigating a reported noise complaint at the Bay Terrace Apartments when they discovered an assault in progress in the same area. The suspect, Alonzo Antonio Baines II, 22, of Salisbury, attempted to leave the area but shortly returned and continued yelling.

When police attempted to arrest Baines for disorderly conduct, he assaulted one officer and resisted arrest. He was ultimately charged with assault, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and trespassing on private property. This week in District Court, Baines pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and resisting arrest and was sentenced to 90 days for the latter and 60 days for the former.

Alleged Resort Stabber

Remains Behind Bars

OCEAN CITY – A Middletown, Del. man arrested in August on attempted murder and other serious charges after allegedly stabbing his estranged wife and injuring two children along with her new boyfriend remains behind bars this week after a preliminary hearing on Wednesday revealed sufficient evidence to move forward with the case.

Craig William Taylor, 35, of Middletown, Del., has been in jail since his arrest on Aug. 24 following his alleged knife attack on his estranged wife and her new boyfriend, during which two unrelated children were also injured. Taylor had a preliminary hearing on Wednesday in District Court during which the order for him to be held without bond was sustained, keeping the stabbing suspect behind bars.

Sources close to the situation this week said the victim, Taylor’s wife, did not want to pursue the charges against her ex-husband, but the case is moving forward regardless.

Around 5:10 p.m. on Aug. 24, Ocean City police responded to the Siesta Villas condominiums in the area of 51st Street for a reported domestic assault in progress. Upon arrival, OCPD officers observed a woman, later identified as the victim, and a man, later identified as Taylor. The officers quickly determined Taylor had allegedly stabbed the female victim.

The investigation revealed the victim was Taylor’s estranged wife and was visiting Ocean City with the couple’s two children and her new boyfriend as well as two other children who are friends of the victim’s children. Taylor allegedly came to Ocean City and forced his way into the condominium where his estranged wife, her new boyfriend and the children were staying.

A knowledgeable source said after the incident the victim and Taylor last summer stayed in the same mid-town unit in which the stabbing occurred. It appears once Taylor learned she was in Ocean City in the apartment they had previously rented, he reportedly became enraged and drove to the resort to confront her.

Once he forced his way into the condo, Taylor allegedly stabbed his estranged wife. During the altercation, the victim’s boyfriend and two of the unrelated children visiting the victim’s children were injured while trying to get away from Taylor.

The victim was transported to PRMC in Salisbury for treatment of her injuries and remains hospitalized today. She is expected to make a full recovery.

The injured children and the victim’s boyfriend were taken to Atlantic General Hospital and were treated and released. Taylor was arrested and charged with attempted first-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, carrying a deadly weapon with intent to injure, and first- and third-degree burglary.

Warrant For Hit-and-Run Suspect

OCEAN CITY – A Wilmington, Del. man arrested in May after striking another vehicle on Coastal Highway in Ocean City before fleeing police and running into a nearby residence had a warrant sworn out for his arrest last week after failing to appear for trial.

Around 2:30 a.m. on May 2, an Ocean City police officer responded to the area of 72nd Street and Coastal Highway for a reported accident that had just occurred. The officer arrived on the scene and observed a blue Dodge Magnum had struck a white Chevy Silverado pick-up truck. The force of the collision propelled the pick-up truck across all lanes of the highway and into a building at 73rd Street causing significant damage to the structure.

As soon as the officer arrived on the scene, he saw a male suspect wearing a black T-shirt staggering away from the Dodge. The officer watched the suspect, later identified as Gary Hoey, 33, of Wilmington, run around to the rear of a building on 72nd Street.

The officer pursued Hoey, and when he got around the building, he saw the suspect at the top of the stairs of the building. Hoey then opened the door and went into the residence with now two OCPD officers in pursuit. When the officers went into the unit, several of its occupants said Hoey ran into the living room. The officers went into the living room and found Hoey, who told them, “he ran outside,” indicating the man they were looking for had just run out of the unit in a failed attempt to avoid getting caught.

The OCPD officer then pushed Hoey out the door and tried to push his hands behind his back to handcuff him, but Hoey would not cooperate. He was ordered to get on the ground and put his hands behind his back, but Hoey still refused to comply. He was eventually subdued when police delivered knee strikes and forcefully got him to the ground.

During the officer’s interaction with Hoey, he noticed a strong odor of alcohol coming from his person and that his eyes were bloodshot and his speech was slurred, according to police reports. After being arrested, Hoey allegedly told police, “I wasn’t driving. Someone else took the car.” During a search of Hoey incident to his arrest, the officer discovered the key to the Dodge in his pants pocket. Meanwhile, several witnesses to the collision positively identified Hoey as the driver of the Dodge when it crashed into the pick-up truck and told police they watched him flee the scene on foot. Last week, he failed to appear for trial last week and had a warrant sworn out for his arrest.

OCPD Lt. Graduates

From FBI Academy

OCEAN CITY – Ocean City Police Lieutenant Mark Pacini last week graduated from the National FBI Academy, joining over 250 members of the latest class to complete the rigorous training.

Pacini graduated from the National FBI Academy Program at Quantico, Va. last Friday. He was among 255 law enforcement officers from 48 states, the District of Columbia, 21 other countries, three military organizations and three federal civilian organizations in the graduating class. Pacini began the internationally recognized  program in July.

His time during the program included 10 weeks of advanced investigative, management and fitness training. The FBI Academy is a selective program in which participants must have proven records within their agency. In addition, most academy participants have an average of 19 years of experience and usually return to their respective agencies to serve in command level positions.

Pacini is currently the assistant commander for the OCPD’s Criminal Investigative Division. He was initially hired as a seasonal officer in 1989 and was selected for full-time employment in 1991. He was promoted to Private-First Class in 1995, Sergeant in 2003 and Lieutenant in 2006.

Pacini has served as supervisor on the patrol shift in both the northern district and the southern district on the Boardwalk. He was also in charge of the department’s plainclothes enforcement operations. In addition to his supervisor responsibilities, Pacini is also a member of the department’s Quick Response Team (QRT).

He is a certified police trainer and has taught at the Eastern Shore Criminal Justice Academy as well as the Citizen’s Police Academy. He has been teaching street level criminal investigations to season police officers since 1999. Pacini was named Officer of the Year by the Neighborhood Watch Association in 1989.

OC Police Arrest Log

OCEAN CITY – With summer-like crowds in the resort last weekend, Ocean City police were busy with dozens of arrests made for all sorts of crimes including several serious felonies.

Arrests of individuals suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol topped the list from Sept. 14-21 with 18, but there were several other arrests made during the period for which no other information was provided other than the usual brief reference in the weekly incident list provided by resort police.

For example, one arrest was made for first-degree assault, while there were 10 second-degree assault arrests made. In addition, there were five disorderly conduct arrests, four burglaries, four thefts, two resisting arrests, two affrays, one obstructing and hindering and one malicious destruction of property arrest.

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