Pines Robber Nabbed

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SNOW HILL – An Ocean Pines man was arrested this week on several serious charges after police were able to identify him as the suspect in an attempted armed robbery at a store in the community on Dec. 15.

Shortly after 8 p.m. last Tuesday, Ocean Pines Police officers and Worcester County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the Walgreen’s store on Manklin Creek Rd. in Ocean Pines for a reported attempted armed robbery. The investigation revealed a suspect entered the warehouse area of the store and accosted a female employee. The suspect is being described as an Hispanic or Asian male, wearing a dark-colored hooded sweatshirt or jacket, camouflage pants and a dark-colored bandana covering his face.

The suspect, armed with a knife, demanded the female employee take him to a cash register inside the main store. Once inside, the employee was able to flee the victim, who gave up the effort and fled on foot. Worcester County Sheriff’s Deputies, including a K-9 unit, conducted an extensive search of the area but failed to immediately locate the suspect.

However, Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) detectives took over the investigation and were able to identify the suspect as Patrick William Self, 18, of Ocean Pines. Charges including armed robbery, first- and second-degree assault and reckless endangerment were filed against Self last Sunday and he was taken into custody. After a bail review on Monday, Self was released after posting a $25,000 bond. A preliminary hearing has been set for Jan. 15 at District Court in Snow Hill.

Significant Pot Bust In Berlin

BERLIN – A Berlin man was arrested on serious drug charges including possession with intent to distribute illegal narcotics in a school zone last week after a raid on his residence turned up over three pounds of marijuana.

On Dec. 10, the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Team served a search and seizure warrant on a residence on West Street in Berlin after an ongoing investigation. The property owner permitted police to a search of the residence, which resulted in the discovery of over three pounds of marijuana in a pillowcase in a hiding spot under the floor in one of the bedrooms. Detectives also found three electronic scales, an alleged drug-dealing ledger, plastic bags and a significant amount of cash.

As a result, the occupant of the room where the drugs and assorted paraphernalia were discovered, identified as Joseph Tyler Shanahan, 22, of Berlin, was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana, possession with intent to distribute marijuana and possession with intent to distribute marijuana in a school zone because the residence on West Street is located within the prescribed 1,000-foot perimeter of two Berlin schools, Buckingham Elementary and Worcester Preparatory.

Shanahan was taken into custody and was ordered held on a $15,000 bond. He was later released after posting bail. The possession with intent to distribute in a school zone charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and/or a $35,000 fine.

Speeding Leads To Weapons Charge

NEWARK – A Berlin man was arrested on a weapons charge last week after a loaded rifle was found in his vehicle during a routine traffic stop.

A little after 8 a.m. last Friday, a Worcester County Sheriff’s deputy on routine patrol stopped a vehicle on Route 113 near Newark for going 68 mph in a 55 mph zone. When the deputy made contact with the driver, identified as Cody H. Phillips, 18, of Berlin, the officer noticed a loaded 30-30 rifle partially concealed between the driver’s seat and the driver’s door next to his left arm.

Phillips was subsequently arrested and charged with possession of a concealed deadly weapon. He was take before a District Court Commissioner and later released on his own recognizance.

More Jail Time For Auto Theft

SNOW HILL – A Berlin man arrested on auto theft charges in October pleaded guilty last week to an unauthorized taking of a motor vehicle charge and was sentenced to 18 months in jail with all but six months suspended in favor of probation and a fine.

Richard Lee Huffman, 20, of Berlin, was arrested in October after police were able to connect him to two reported auto thefts in the Ocean Pines area over a period of two weeks. The first incident involved the unauthorized taking of a vehicle from a residence in Ocean Pines on October 1. The second involved the theft of a motorcycle from a residence in Ocean Pines on October 13. Ocean Pines Police were able to connect three suspects to the two theft incidents.

Ashalom Johnson, 20, was connected to both incidents. He was arrested and charged with one count of unauthorized use of an automobile and one count of auto theft. The disposition of his case is not known. Huffman was charged with one count of auto theft related to the taking of the motorcycle on October 13. In addition, a 17-year-old juvenile was also arrested in connection with the October 1 theft of an automobile.

Last week in District Court, Huffman pleaded guilty to unauthorized taking of a motor vehicle for his role in the motorcycle theft and was sentenced to 18 months in jail. One year of the sentence was then suspended, leaving with a six-month stretch to serve. He was also fined $300 and placed on probation for three years.

For Huffman, the conviction last Friday in the Ocean Pines auto theft case was just the latest in a series of recent run-ins with local law enforcement. He had just finished a 30-day stretch for swiping a dirt bike in September and crashing it in a ditch in an attempt to elude police.

On Sept. 18, 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 Huffman, 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.

In November, Huffman pleaded guilty to driving a motor vehicle without the required license and authorization and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. With his conviction last week on a separate auto theft charge, he is going back in for another six months.

Fine For Paraphernalia

SNOW HILL – A Pittsville man arrested in July for drinking and driving and a drug charge in Ocean Pines pleaded guilty last week in District Court to possession of paraphernalia and violating a license restriction and was fined a combined $260.

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. Last week in District Court, Davis pleaded guilty to possession of paraphernalia and was fined $200. He was also found in violation of a license restriction and was fined an additional $60. As a result of the plea agreement, the charges related to the alleged driving while intoxicated were not prosecuted.

Pot Plea Nets Fine, Probation

OCEAN PINES – A Fork, Md. man arrested on drug charges in November at a party in Ocean Pines, during which 16 other individuals were cited for underage drinking, pleaded guilty last week in District Court to possession of marijuana and was fined and placed on probation.

On Nov. 24, Ocean Pines police responded to a residence in the community to investigate a complaint about a loud party. Upon arrival, Ocean Pines authorities discovered a party and cited 16 individuals for underage drinking. Pines police arrested a suspect, later identified as Jeffery Jones, 18, and charged him with possession or marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of paraphernalia.

Last week in District Court, Jones pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana and was granted probation. He was placed on probation for one year and fined $400.

Three Escape Fire

NEWARK – Three people escaped without injury from a fire in Newark this week caused by a fuel-fire space heater.

Shortly after 3 a.m. on Monday, a fire was reported at a residence on Route 113 in Newark by a passing Worcester County Sheriff’s Deputy. Firefighters from Newark, Berlin, Snow Hill and Girdletree in Worcester County all responded, as did the Powellville Volunteer Fire Company from Wicomico County.

First-arriving crews reported fire extending from the two-story structure. The dwelling was occupied at the time of the fire, but all three occupants escaped without injury.

Firefighters were able to bring the fire under control fairly quickly, but remained on the scene for about three hours. The Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office responded to investigate the incident and determined the fire originated in the living room/dining room of the residence. The fire was caused by a fuel-fire space heater.

The American Red Cross is assisting the displaced occupants of the residence. Anyone with further information about the fire is urged to call the Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office at 410-632-5666, ext. 2.

OCPD Needy Drive A Success

OCEAN CITY – The annual Ocean City Police Department Needy Drive was once again a huge success with dozens of families in the area tended to with generous donations from the department and the community last week.

With a volunteer crew of over 50, OCPD Chief Bernadette DiPino and her staff tended to more than 70 families including over 150 children last Saturday at the Public Safety Building. The OCPD Christmas Needy Drive was started by DiPino’s grandfather in the Baltimore Police Department many years ago and her father continued the tradition for several years after it first began.

DiPino continued the tradition in Ocean City and the drive is now in its 14th year in the resort and it has grown each year. This year, the OCPD was fortunate to have had over 20 bicycles donated by Harborside Refrigeration and Atlantic Physical Therapy. In addition, hundreds of toys and monetary donations came from several sources around the community including the Delmarva Condominium Managers Association, Fager’s Island, the Greene Turtle, the Ocean City Hibernians, the Ocean City Elks, the 1st State Detachment Marine Corps League, the Caine Woods Association, the Red Knights International Motorcycle Club and countless other groups and individuals too numerous to mention.

The OCPD Christmas Needy Drive volunteers not only helped families load toys and boxes of food for the holidays, but also assisted with transportation to some who would have otherwise had to take the bus. DiPino and the department took the opportunity this week to thank the volunteers and donors for their support of the annual program.

“Every year, our community seems to be more generous than ever,” she said. “I was truly overwhelmed by the donations we received on behalf of the Ocean City Police Department and the families who received these wonderful gifts. I cannot thank our community enough.”

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