Missing Local Woman Found

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BERLIN – A Newark woman reported missing on New Year’s Day after last being seen walking on Route 113 was found unharmed in Berlin on Monday.

Around 4 p.m. on Jan. 1, Sarah Marie Davis, 25, of Newark, started walking north on Route 113 after a verbal altercation with friends and was not found for three days despite a search of the area. After the verbal argument at an apartment complex in Newark, Davis walked away from the area and was believed to be heading to the Berlin or West Ocean City area.

Maryland State Police troopers responded but did not find Davis initially. Checks with family members and friends did not initially turn up any leads about her whereabouts. Davis was not driving a vehicle, nor did she have a license to drive. According to police reports, she was noted as being mentally challenged and in need of medication at the time of her disappearance.

Davis’ picture was supplied to local media outlets as the search continued over the weekend. She was officially reported missing on January 2. However, on Monday, January 4, MSP troopers responded to a residence on Mason Rd. in Berlin where Davis was found without further incident. She was located after MSP troopers followed up on calls she had made to family members. According to police reports, Davis told the troopers she knew she was featured on the local news, but made no effort to contact the police. She gave no reason for not contacting police, however.

OCPD Officers Assaulted

OCEAN CITY – A Parkwood, Md. man was arrested last weekend after allegedly first assaulting a female companion and later two Ocean City police officers.

Around 12:45 a.m. last Sunday, an adult female reported to an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) patrol officer that she was the victim of an assault and that the man who allegedly assaulted her was walking in the area of 61st Street. Additional OCPD officers responded to the area in an attempt to locate the suspect and discovered a male, later identified as Linwood James Walker, 28, of Parkwood, Md., walking down 62nd Street.

According to police reports, Walker’s face was covered in blood, which was the result of a bleeding cut over his left eye. OCPD officers attempted to interview Walker, who allegedly became uncooperative while shouting obscenities and threats. OCPD officers attempted to offer Walker medical treatment for his injuries and interview him about his involvement in the assault complaint, but he allegedly became combative and assaulted two OCPD officers. Neither officer was seriously injured by Walker.

The subsequent investigation revealed Walker had previously been at a restaurant nearby where he was involved in an altercation with another male, during which he was struck in the head with a bottle. According to police reports, he left the establishment with a female, who later reported to OCPD officers she had been assaulted.

Walker was arrested and charged with two counts of second-degree assault, one count of disorderly conduct and one count of resisting arrest. He was taken to AGH for treatment before being released to police custody. Walker was taken before a court commissioner before being released on his own recognizance.

Rape Conviction In

19-Year-Old Cold Case

SNOW HILL – A 69-year-old New York man was convicted on first-degree rape and other charges this week in Worcester County Circuit Court after DNA evidence connected him to an attack in Pocomoke dating back to 1991.

Leslie Maize, 69, of Gowanda, N.Y., was found guilty on Tuesday of first- and second-degree rape, assault with intent to rape and first-degree burglary on Tuesday in connection with an attack on a woman in her home in Pocomoke in 1991. The case had been cold for 19 years before DNA evidence connected Maize to the crime.

On May 10, 1991, police officers responded to a residence in Pocomoke to assist a woman who had been sexually assaulted. The investigation revealed the victim was asleep and awoke by an unknown male standing over her. The assailant cut the victim’s face and held a knife against her during the attack. She was taken to the hospital where evidence was collected, but no suspect was ever identified at the time.

The case remained unsolved for 19 years before Worcester County Sheriff’s Office detectives submitted cold case forensic evidence to the biological unit of the Maryland State Police Crime Lab. Last June, the crime lab contacted the sheriff’s office and advised that a thorough search of a national database identified DNA collected from the victim during the 1991 attack as Maize.

Maize was located in prison in New York where he was serving a sentence for a 2005 conviction in that state from a rape case dating back to 1993. In that case, New York officials also utilized DNA evidence to connect Maize to the 12-year-old cold case. Maize is scheduled to get out of prison in New York in 2014. This week, he was convicted in the Worcester County case and awaits his fate pending the outcome of a pre-sentence investigation.

“Thanks to the dedication of our deputies in reviewing old cases, and the expertise of the State Police crime lab, a violent predator is off the streets and in prison where he belongs,” said Worcester County State’s Attorney Joel Todd following Tuesday’s trial.

Swiped Steaks, Purse

BERLIN – A Salisbury man was arrested on theft charges this week after getting nabbed with steaks and a purse stolen from a Berlin grocery store.

Around 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Berlin Police were advised of a theft of a purse from a vehicle at the Food Lion shopping center. Witnesses told police a suspect, later identified as Terrill Pitts, 39, of Salisbury, had taken the purse and placed it in a vehicle. Berlin police watched the suspect’s vehicle until Pitts returned. When Pitts was asked to exit the vehicle, the officer observed the suspect attempting to conceal something under his jacket.

Berlin police and Worcester County Sheriff’s deputies had to physically restrain Pitts after they made several requests of the suspect to show his hands. Pitts was found to be concealing a package of top sirloin steak from the Food Lion in his pants under his jacket, according to police reports. In addition, the stolen purse was located on the floor of the vehicle, partially concealed by a black leather coat. Police also recovered two packages of bottom round steak allegedly stolen from the Save-A-Lot store in Berlin during a search of the vehicle.

Pitts was charged with three counts of theft under $100 and rogue and vagabond. He was released on his own recognizance.

Hunter Injured

BERLIN – A Flintstone, Md. man was injured with a self-inflicted gunshot wound during a hunting mishap last week.

Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) this week are investigating a hunting accident involving Mallory R. Warner, 58, of Flintstone. NRP officers were dispatched to Atlantic General Hospital on Dec. 30 to investigate a self-inflicted gunshot wound suffered by Warner while duck hunting. NRP officers learned the incident occurred at the E.A. Vaughn Wildlife Management Area the previous day.

Warner told police he had leaned his shotgun against some brush in order to retrieve a duck when the gun fell over and fired, causing shot pellets to strike his left elbow. Warner was treated for minor injuries and released from AGH the same day. Maryland NRP is taking the opportunity to remind hunters to observe the rules of gun safety and to always unload their firearms before setting down their guns for any reason.

Jail Time For Botched Gun Sale

OCEAN CITY – A Marion, Md. man arrested in August on various weapons charges after a thwarted gun sale at the Ocean City Inlet pleaded guilty this week in District Court to possession of an illegal firearm and was sentenced to four months in jail.

On Aug. 24, 2009, members of the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Enforcement Team arrested Larry Joseph Koontz, 23, of Marion, Md., in reference to an ongoing firearm investigation. Through the investigation, the criminal enforcement team planned to proceed to the Inlet parking lot for the purpose of selling a handgun to another individual.

The criminal enforcement team located Koontz at the Inlet parking lot as planned and found him to be in possession of a loaded 9mm semi-automatic handgun. Koontz was arrested and charged with possession of a handgun and possession of a regulated weapon.

This week in District Court, Koontz pleaded guilty to possession of an illegal firearm and was sentenced to four months in jail. He was also fined $300.

First Of Three Rioters Convicted

OCEAN CITY – One of three local residents arrested in November during a large fight involving hundreds at a mid-town Ocean City nightclub pleaded guilty this week to disorderly conduct and was fined and placed on probation.

Around 1:15 a.m. on Nov. 29, 2009 Ocean City police responded to 64th Street for a reported fight in progress. Arriving officers encountered a crowd estimated at 350 to 400 individuals with several small fights occurring inside Castaway’s. Due to the size and uncooperative nature of the crowd, which had allegedly spilled out of the establishment and into the parking lot and onto 64th Street, Ocean City police requested additional personnel from the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office and the Maryland State Police to assist with the control and dispersal of the crowd.

Three local area residents were arrested on various charges related to the riot. For example, Tyronn Rashaad Lawson, 22, of Berlin, was arrested and charged with second-degree assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. Deonna Taccura Bailey, 27, of Berlin, was arrested and charged with resisting arrest, failure to obey a police officer and disorderly conduct, while Shanice Lavea Fooks, 24, of Salisbury, was charged with obstructing and hindering a police officer.

This week in District Court, Bailey pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was placed on probation for one year and fined $300. Fooks has been charged with obstructing and hindering, while Lawson has been charged with second-degree assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. Lawson and Fooks are both scheduled to appear for trial on March 1.

Sweepstakes Scam Warning

OCEAN CITY – The OCPD this week is warning residents about a possible scam being carried out in the area.

In late December, an elderly Ocean City resident was telephoned by an unknown male caller who informed the potential victim he had won $50,000 in a sweepstakes. The caller told the would-be victim to meet hom at the Wal-Mart on Route 50 to claim his prize because there was a Western Union nearby.

The resident later told police he did enter some type of sweepstakes, but could not remember any of the details of the contest, nor could the caller provide any details. The victim was not able to obtain any information about the unidentified caller or the particular contest the called was supposed to be representing. In the end, the potential victim did not meet the unidentified caller at Wal-Mart as directed and instead called Ocean City Police and reported the incident.

The OCPD is reminding citizens to use caution when contacted by persons claiming to be sweepstakes representatives and recommends never providing any personal information to any unknown persons either over the phone or via the Internet. Scams are often committed by perpetrators who either cold-call or group email people randomly in an effort to find victims.

The OCPD is also reminding citizens who enter sweepstakes and contests either in writing or over the Internet to be sure to find out who is sponsoring the prizes. Randomly submitting one’s name and information to an unknown contest source could potentially make one a potential target for this type of crime.

Jury Trial Sought In Exposure Case

OCEAN CITY – An Ocean City man arrested on indecent exposure charges in November after allegedly exposing himself to a juvenile girl on the Boardwalk had an initial appearance this week in District Court and asked for a jury trial, sending the case to Circuit Court.

Around 7:30 p.m. on November 5, Ocean City police officers responded to the area of 4th Street and the Boardwalk in reference to a report of an indecent exposure that had already occurred. The officers met with a complainant who told police a white male had exposed himself to his juvenile daughter earlier that morning.

The 14-year-old juvenile victim provided police with information regarding the incident and was able to provide a description of the male suspect. Based on proactive police initiatives and the description provided by the victim, the officers were able to develop a suspect, later identified as William Glenn Stauffer, 44, of Ocean City. Stauffer has an extensive record of run-ins with local law enforcement officers over the years.

The next day, Ocean City police located and arrested Stauffer and charged him with indecent exposure. He appeared in District Court this week and sought a jury trial, which forwarded the case to the Circuit Court level.

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