Citizen Tip Nabs Three Burglars

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OCEAN CITY – Thanks to a tip from an alert private citizen, three men were arrested on burglary charges after allegedly breaking into a north Ocean City residence and attempting to steal thousands of dollars worth of high-end electronics.

Around 9 a.m. last Thursday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) received a call from a private citizen about a possible breaking and entering in progress at a residence on Peach Tree Rd. The caller told police it appeared three white males were attempting to break into a house across the canal from his own residence, likely on Peach Tree Rd. and provided a description of the suspects.

The caller told police he observed two of the suspects lift a third suspect into the house through the ceiling on a screened porch and that the three were then in the residence. OCPD officers responded to the area and positioned themselves in place to observe the residence and any suspects in the area fitting the description provided by the witness.

One OCPD officer observed the three suspects fleeing the house and running out toward Peach Tree Rd. in different directions. An OCPD officer with the help of a K-9 was able to apprehend the first suspect, identified as James Anthony Haynes, 24, of Willards. The same officer was then able to apprehend a second suspect, identified as Stephen Marcus Brinson, 28, of Parsonsburg. A third suspect, Frank Allen Dowling, 24, of Pittsville, was apprehended a short time later as he walked on Constitutional Ave. nearby.

The witness was brought over and identified the three suspects as the men he observed breaking into the residence on Peach Tree St. The witness told police he observed the three suspects walk around to a screened-in porch area at the back of the house. Two of the men then lifted the third to the ceiling of the porch, and the suspect was able to separate the vinyl ceiling to gain access to the attic crawl space above the porch.

Two of the suspects then walked around to the side door of the residence with duffel bags and the suspect who had gained entry let them in. The OCPD officer then went around to the back of the residence and observed the hole in the ceiling where the suspect had gained entry to the residence. The officer noticed the rear porch door standing open, and when he went inside, he noticed dirt and debris on the dining room table and floor. The officer also noticed the attic access door directly overhead.

Further inspection revealed Haynes had gained access to the house through the crawl space and was able to gain access to the rest of the house by simply pushing the ladder hatch to the attic down. Haynes then went around to the door to let in Brinson and Dowling. At that point, the three suspects proceeded to dismantle a 52-inch Insignia flat screen television and set it on the floor nearby.

The officers also noticed a 20-inch Magnavox flat screen television sitting on the coffee table with its cord wrapped around its base. The officers observed a Dell computer printer unplugged and sitting on a couch. In addition, a closet door was standing open with a stereo system sitting on the floor next to it. Detectives also found a green duffel bag containing an X-box gaming system with various games and power cords. The duffel bag also contained 14” bolt cutters and a large crowbar. Detectives were able to connect the three suspects to the duffel bag and a knapsack found in the room through various pieces of identification.

The value of the items the suspects attempted to steal is estimated at around $2,000. Haynes, Dowling and Brinson were each charged with first-degree burglary, third- and fourth-degree burglary, theft under $10,000, and malicious destruction of property. In addition, Brinson was charged with possession of CDS. Each of the three suspects was taken before a District Court Commissioner and each was ordered held on a $250,000 bond before being transferred to the Worcester County Jail.

The OCPD once again expressed its gratitude for the partnership with the Ocean City community. The diligent efforts of the residents and their willingness to get involved demonstrates the type of community policing that has continued to create a safe and enjoyable place for both residents and visitors, an OCPD press release said. The OCPD continues to encourage citizens to follow their hunches and call the police if something does not seem or feel right, according to the press release.

Fine For Utility Pole Collision

SNOW HILL – A Berlin man arrested on drunk driving charges in October after his vehicle left the roadway and struck a utility pole, which caught on fire, pleaded guilty last week in District Court to driving while impaired and was fined $400.

In October, Berlin police responded to a single-vehicle accident at Broad and West streets. The investigation revealed the vehicle struck a utility pole, catching it on fire. The Berlin Fire Department responded to the scene and extinguished the fire.

Police made contact with the driver, identified as Christopher Steven Simms, 25, of Berlin, and detected an odor of alcohol coming from his person. Simms admitted to drinking several beers, failed field sobriety tests and was placed under arrest. He was later released after signing his citations. Last week, Simms pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and was fined $400.

Jail Time For Prescription Fraud

OCEAN CITY – An Ocean City woman arrested in December for attempting to obtain prescription medicine from a resort pharmacy using forged doctor’s notes pleaded guilty this week in District Court and was sentenced to 34 days in jail.

Around 4 p.m. on December 4, Ocean City police narcotics detectives concluded an investigation into a local woman attempting to illegally obtain controlled dangerous medications using fraudulent and forged doctor’s prescriptions. In cooperation with a local pharmacy, OCPD narcotics detectives set up an undercover surveillance operation during which the suspect, identified as Tiffany Lynn Lamartina, 25, of Ocean City, tried to obtain the CDS by use of a fraudulent prescription.

Lamartina was immediately arrested and charged with attempting to obtain a prescription drug by fraud. This week in District Court, Lamartina pleaded guilty to possession of controlled dangerous substance and was sentenced to 34 days in jail.

The OCPD took the opportunity to remind citizens it is taking the illegal use and acquisition of all drugs seriously. OCPD officials said in a release the department will continue to enforce CDS laws and work in conjunction with local pharmacies to ensure that dangerous prescription narcotics are dispensed only to authorized persons.

Judge Issues Stern Message

SNOW HILL – A Glen Burnie man arrested last June in Ocean City on drug and weapons charges pleaded guilty last week to possession of marijuana charges and was granted probation before judgment, but not before a stern message from the judge.

On June 16, an OCPD officer on routine patrol observed the occupants of a vehicle acting furtively while trying to conceal something. While the officer questioned the driver, later identified as Roger Habershon, Jr., 18, of Glen Burnie, he observed a two-and-a-half foot long fighting club in the vehicle. A probable cause search of the vehicle turned up a drawstring bag containing 250 plastic Baggies, a scale and over 16 grams of marijuana. Habershon was arrested and charged with possession, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, possession of paraphernalia, and possession of a fighting club.

Last week in Circuit Court, Habershon pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana. His attorney asked Judge Theodore Eschenberg to consider probation before judgment because the defendant had not had any more problems and was currently in school working on a degree in HVAC. Eschenberg agreed, placing Habershon on two years probation, fining him $500 and ordering him to seek drug counseling.

After he sentenced the defendant, the judge urged him to make the best of the opportunity he had given him.

“If you violate my probation, you do the time,” he said. “This is the lightest thing I can give you short of finding you not guilty.”

Probation, Fine For Assault

GIRDLETREE- A Girdletree man arrested in October after a family dispute led to a physical altercation pleaded guilty last week in District Court to second-degree assault and was fined $300 and placed on probation for six months.

Around 9 p.m. on Oct. 16, Worcester County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a residence on Taylor Landing Rd. in Girdletree for a reported assault in progress. The investigation revealed a family dispute led to a physical altercation between two males. Matthew Ford, 18, of Girdletree, was arrested and charged with second-degree assault.

Possession Plea Nets Fine, Probation

OCEAN PINES – An Ocean Pines man arrested for drug possession and carrying a concealed weapon in August after a routine traffic stop pleaded guilty last week to possession of marijuana and was placed on probation and fined. 

On Aug. 20, Ocean Pines Police stopped a vehicle in the south section of the community near Moby Dick Drive and Seafarer Lane for a traffic violation. A search incident to the stop revealed the driver, later identified as Skylar Snead, 19, of Ocean Pines, was in possession of a switchblade knife and suspected marijuana. Snead was arrested and charged with possession of a concealed deadly weapon, possession of the marijuana and possession of paraphernalia.

Last week in District Court, Snead pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana and was placed on probation for one year and fined $300. The weapons charge was not prosecuted as a result of the plea agreement.

Stet Docket For Loaded Rifle

NEWARK – A Berlin man arrested on a weapons charge in December after a loaded rifle was found in his vehicle during a routine traffic stop had the charges against him placed on the stet, or inactive, docket this week in District Court.

A little after 8 a.m. on Dec. 18, 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. This week, Phillips pleaded guilty and had the charges against him placed on the stet docket.

Boardwalk Dealer

Gets Probation, Fine

SNOW HILL – A Pennsylvania man arrested in June for selling weed on the Boardwalk during an OCPD undercover narcotics operation pleaded guilty last week in Circuit Court to distribution of marijuana and was placed on probation and fined.

Throughout the summer, the OCPD targeted the sales of illegal narcotics in the resort, particularly in the Boardwalk area, with an aggressive undercover operation during which officers made contact with suspected dealers and arranged to buy drugs or even sell them in some cases. Snared in one such operation on June 13 was Joshua Signore, 19, of Monroeville, Pa.

Signore was arrested when he attempted to sell marijuana to undercover OCPD narcotics officers. Last week, Signore pleaded guilty to one county of possession with intent to distribute marijuana and was placed on probation for two years and fined $500.

Rifle Assault Case

Forwarded to Circuit

SNOW HILL – A Snow Hill man arrested in November on assault charges last weekend after allegedly pointing a loaded rifle at another man during a dispute had his case forwarded to Circuit Court last week after a District Court judge ruled there was ample evidence to move forward with the charges.

Around 5 p.m. on Nov. 29, Worcester County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a residence on Snow Hill Rd. in reference to a reported assault with a rifle. Upon arrival, deputies met with the victim who told police he had been in a verbal argument with another man later identified as Juan Terrones Castillo, 64, of Snow Hill.

During the course of the argument, Castillo allegedly pointed a loaded rifle at the victim and threatened him. Castillo was arrested and charged with first- and second-degree assault and reckless endangerment. A 30-30 rifle was recovered from Castillo at the scene.

Alleged Dine-and-Dasher

Gets Probation For DWI

OCEAN CITY – A Fruitland woman arrested in October on drunk-driving charges after driving away from a midtown Ocean City restaurant after allegedly not paying her check was found guilty this week of driving while impaired and was placed on probation and fined.

Around 7:15 p.m. on Oct. 15, Ocean City police responded to the Bonfire Restaurant on 70th Street to investigate three people leaving the establishment without paying their check. Through the investigation, police learned one of the suspects, a white female, later identified as Katheryne Lenora Niquette Hart, 26, of Fruitland, had gotten into a late model Cadillac and was attempting to leave the restaurant parking lot.

An OCPD officer stopped the vehicle attempting to leave and during the traffic stop, the officer suspected Hart might be operating while intoxicated or impaired. She was soon after arrested for drunk driving. The Cadillac was subsequently towed from Coastal Highway, and a routine inventory of the car revealed three flat-screen televisions as well as several unopened bottles of assorted liquors in the trunk.

An investigation by OCPD detectives revealed the televisions and various other items had been reported stolen during three separate burglaries in Fenwick Island. OCPD detectives worked with Fenwick Island Police in an effort to connect three burglaries there to Hart and the suspects nabbed in the Bonfire incident, although the outcome of that investigation is not known.

This week in District Court, Hart pleaded guilty to driving while impaired and was placed on probation and fined $500. The disposition of her case involving the alleged dine-and-dash from the restaurant is not known at this time.

Mini-Storage Fire Investigated

WEST OCEAN CITY – The Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating a commercial structure fire at a West Ocean City mini-storage facility last week.

Around 8 p.m. last Thursday, the Ocean City and Berlin Fire Departments responded to a reported fire at the J.C. Warehouses storage facility on Route 611 in West Ocean City. First-arriving units reported heavy smoke coming from the roof area of several of the mini-storage facilities. The fire was extinguished quickly and no injuries were reported, although heavy smoke continued to pour from the structure for about an hour. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Murray Named Officer Of Month

OCEAN CITY – Ocean City Police Officer Kyle Murray was recently named the department’s Officer of the Month for December 2009.

Murray’s proactive police work and dedication to the community was proven on several occasions throughout the month of December. Murray was born in Selbyville and attended Indian River High School. After graduating from high school, Murray attended Washington College in Chestertown, Md. where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management.

Murray was hired by the OCPD in the spring of 2008 as a seasonal police officer. While in the Seasonal Police Academy, he received the academic excellence award for his class. For his first summer deployment as a seasonal police officer, he was assigned to the evening south watch as a foot officer.

During Murray’s first summer as a seasonal police officer, he was hired fulltime July of 2008. He attended the Eastern Shore Criminal Justice Academy and graduated in December 2008. Murray graduated first academically in his class with a final academic average of over 98 percent, winning the Academic Excellence award.

Murray also earned the highest academic average in the history of the Eastern Shore Criminal Justice Academy. He also earned excellence awards in marksmanship and physical fitness while in the academy. Murray was nominated by his classmates to give the academy graduation speech.

After graduating from the academy, Murray was assigned to the midnight watch for his first winter deployment in 2009. In the summer of 2009, Murray returned to the evening south watch, but this time as a bicycle officer. He is currently assigned to the patrol division evening watch.

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