High-End Shoplifter Sought

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BERLIN – Local law enforcement officials this week are looking for a suspect who swiped an expensive bottle of champagne this week from an Ocean Pines area liquor store.

Around 5:30 p.m., a Maryland State Police (MSP) trooper responded to the Barley, Hops and Grapes package goods store on Racetrack Rd. near Ocean Pines for a reported theft. The store clerk told police three male individuals had entered the store around 5:30 p.m. While two of the individuals were purchasing alcoholic beverages, the third individual was standing near a wine rack.

When the three individuals left the store, the clerk noticed a bottle of Perrier-Jouet was missing from the rack. The clerk checked the store’s surveillance tape, which showed the third individual putting the bottle of Perrier-Jouet into his pants and leaving the store. The bottle was valued at around $120.

The suspect is identified as an African-American male about six-feet tall and 175 pounds with short black hair wearing a short-sleeved striped T-shirt and jeans at the time of the theft. Anyone with information is urged to call the MSP Berlin barrack at 410-641-3101, extension 363.

Phone’s For You

BERLIN – A Salisbury woman was arrested on an assault charge this week after allegedly throwing a cell phone at a Berlin man and striking him in the head in front of police officers during a domestic dispute.

Around 5:15 a.m. on Wednesday, MSP and Worcester County Sheriff’s Department officers responded to a residence on Route 113 for a 911 call hang-up. While police were talking to the caller, identified as a Berlin man, the suspect, identified as Latina Lorrell Foreman, of Salisbury, became irate during the domestic argument, picked up a cell phone and threw it at the victim, striking him in the head.

According to reports, Foreman threw the phone at the victim in the presence of police officers. The victim was not seriously injured and did not require further medical treatment. Foreman was arrested and charged with second-degree assault.

Fishing Thefts Net One Year

SNOW HILL – A Berlin man arrested on theft and burglary charges last fall along with another local man after police were able to connect the pair to a series of thefts of stolen fishing equipment in the West Ocean City area was found guilty this week on one count of theft from $1,000 to under $10,000 and was sentenced to a year in jail.

Last November, Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) charged Chad Michael Shipley, 19, of Berlin, and Clayton Entwistle, 19, also of Berlin, with burglary and theft charges after connecting the pair to a burglary spree involving fishing equipment. After a month-long investigation, NRP officers noticed the two suspects selling fishing equipment out of a backpack on the Harry Kelley (Route 50) Bridge during a routine patrol check.

After further investigation, NRP officers were able to determine the equipment had been reported stolen from a vehicle parked as Sunset Marina and a 45-foot sportfishing boat docked at Fisherman’s Marina in West Ocean City around Oct. 3.

This week in Circuit Court, Shipley was found guilty on one count of theft under $10,000 and was sentenced to a year in jail. In March, Entwistle was found guilty of theft and was sentenced to five years in jail with all but eight months suspended.

Chickens Perish In Fire

BERLIN – Thousands of chickens perished in a fire at Berlin chicken house last Sunday.

Around 4 p.m. last Sunday, firefighters from Berlin, Newark, Showell and Powellville responded to a reported fire at a chicken house on East Shire Rd. in Berlin. First arriving units reported heavy fire showing from one side of the chicken house. The fire was quickly extinguished, but firefighters remained on the scene for about two-and-a-half hours.

No injuries were reported, but roughly 22,000 four-week-old chickens perished in the blaze. The Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office determined the fire originated in the area of a gas heater and ruled its cause as accidental.

Steak Swiper Convicted

SNOW HILL – A Salisbury man arrested in January after getting nabbed with steaks and a purse stolen from a Berlin grocery store was found guilty last week in District Court of theft and was sentenced to 60 days in jail, all but two of which were suspended.

Around 11 a.m. on Jan. 4, 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.

On Tuesday, Pitts pleaded guilty to theft under $100 and was sentenced to 60 days in jail, of which 58 days were suspended. He was also placed on probation for two years.

County Dealer Busted

BERLIN – A Worcester County grand jury last week indicted a Pocomoke man on multiple counts of cocaine possession and distribution after an eight-month investigation carried out by the Sheriff’s Office and Pocomoke Police with assistance from Wicomico County.

Last Wednesday, the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office criminal enforcement team, with the assistance of the Wicomico County narcotics task force and the Pocomoke Police Department, executed a search and seizure warrant at the residence of Jeremy Dashawn Moore, 29, of Pocomoke. The warrant was executed at the conclusion of an eight month-long investigation into Moore’s activities and came after a Worcester County grand jury indicted Moore.

Moore was indicted on several charges including five counts of cocaine possession, five counts of possession with intent to distribute and five counts of distribution. He remained behind bars this week on a $250,000 bond. The investigation is ongoing.

One Month For Computer Theft

SNOW HILL – A Newark man arrested in March on theft and burglary charges after breaking into a residence and stealing computer equipment pleaded guilty last week to theft under $1,000 and was sentenced to four months in jail, all of which but one month was suspended in favor of probation and a fine.

On March 22, the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office responded to a residence in Newark for a reported burglary. Upon arrival, deputies learned a residence had been burglarized and computer equipment had been stolen. The investigation led to a suspect, later identified as Richard Rusch, 18, of Newark, who was located and arrested.

Rusch has been charged with conspiracy to commit theft and burglary. Last week, Rusch pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit theft and was sentenced to four months in jail with three of the months suspended. He was also placed on probation for two years and fined $200.

No Jail Time For Hit-and-Run

SNOW HILL – A Wilmington, Del. man arrested last May after a hit-and-run accident on Coastal Highway followed by a chase and a break-in at a nearby residence pleaded guilty this week in Circuit Court to driving under the influence and failure to control speed to avoid an accident and was sentenced to one year in jail, which was then suspended in favor of a probation and fine.

Around 2:30 a.m. last 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. The driver of the pick-up was not injured.

The officer observed the front end of the Dodge was completely crushed in, suggesting it was traveling at a high rate of speed at the time of the collision. 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, 34, 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.

Meanwhile, the occupants of the apartment said it was Hoey who was driving the Dodge that ran into the pick-up causing the accident. The unit’s owner told police Hoey had just broken into his apartment and that he was the suspect they were looking for in the hit-and-run case. 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.

During processing, Hoey consented to a breath-alcohol test, which revealed his BAC was .19, or more than twice the legal limit in Maryland. Hoey was charged with driving under the influence and driving while impaired, third- and fourth-degree burglary, resisting arrest, failure to stop after an accident involving property damage and failure to stop after an accident involving attended vehicle damage.

This week in Circuit Court, Hoey pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and failure to control speed to avoid a collision. He was sentenced to one year in jail, which was then suspended. Hoey was also placed on probation for two years and fined $500.

Traffic Stop Leads To Warrant Arrest

BERLIN – A Newark, Del. man wanted on an arrest warrant from Cecil County was taken into custody in Berlin last week after a routine traffic stop.

Shortly before 9 p.m. last Saturday, a Berlin Police officer on routine patrol in the Flower Street area pulled over a vehicle for multiple equipment violations. A license check revealed the driver, identified as James H. Mumford, Jr., 56, of New Castle, was wanted on an outstanding arrest warrant from Cecil County dating back to 2001 for failure to pay fines related to a drug paraphernalia conviction.

Mumford was taken into custody and held in Berlin until a Cecil County sheriff’s deputy arrived to transport him back to that jurisdiction to be served with the warrant.

Downtown Fire Accidental

OCEAN CITY – The Ocean City Fire Marshal’s Office this week determined a fire at an apartment building on St. Louis Ave. last Friday afternoon originated in the area of a gas stove in a first floor unit and its cause was accidental.

Around 1 p.m. last Friday, the Ocean City Fire Department was dispatched to a reported smoke investigation at a three-story, five-unit apartment building on St. Louis Ave. near 16th Street. First-arriving units reported heavy smoke showing from the building and the call was upgraded to a structural fire response.

Firefighters discovered fire conditions on the first floor of the building with heavy smoke throughout the structure. The fire was extinguished, but crews remained on scene for about an hour and a half performing overhaul operations. Fire damage was contained to the first floor units with smoke damage throughout the building. There were no reported fire-related injuries.

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