Cops & Courts

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Knife Pulled Out In
Boardwalk Store Fight

OCEAN CITY – An Ocean City man was arrested on first-degree assault charges last week after allegedly pulling a knife on a man who stole clothing from the Boardwalk store where he worked.

Around 12:20 a.m. last Tuesday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer patrolling the Boardwalk was flagged down by the owner of Tre’s Place who told police a suspect had stolen a T-shirt and swim trunks from his store. When the officer arrived at the store, he saw an employee yelling at another man, but when the employee, later identified as Israel Endeshaw, 20, of Ocean City, saw the officer, he ran out of the store.

Meanwhile, the storeowner identified the man still in the store as the suspect who had allegedly stolen the clothing. The store owner told police the suspect, identified as Sean Eric Kovalick, Jr., 21, of Pasadena, Md., had stolen a T-shirt valued at around $20 and a pair of swim trunks valued at around $20 and had shoved them down his pants until he was confronted by Endeshaw.

A description of Endeshaw was broadcasted and he was detained by another OCPD officer a short time later. The investigation revealed Endeshaw and Kovalick had exchanged punches during an altercation of the stolen merchandize. Endeshaw reportedly tried to kick Kovalick when he was grabbed from behind by Kovalick’s friend.

When Kovalick and his friend attempted to leave the store, Endeshaw allegedly produced a black-handled knife with a silver blade and waved it at the two men. Each of the two men told nearly exact versions of the story about Endeshaw brandishing a knife and waving it at them as they tried to leave the store.

Endeshaw was brought back to the Boardwalk store and questioned about the incident. He told police he did get into an altercation with Kovalick that included exchanging punches, and when Kovalick’s friend grabbed him from behind, he pulled out the knife and waved it at the two men.

Based on the corroborated stories, Endeshaw was arrested and charged with first- and second-degree assault. Meanwhile, Kovalick was also arrested and charged with theft under $100 for allegedly stealing the T-shirt and swim trunks in the first place.

Fatal Accident in Snow Hill

SNOW HILL – A Snow Hill man was killed last weekend in a single-vehicle accident along Nassawango Rd., just north of the Nassawango Country Club, last Friday evening.

Shortly after 5 p.m. last Friday, Worcester County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a reported accident on Nassawango Rd. near the country club. Because of the severity of the accident, the Worcester County Sheriff’s Crash Reconstruction Unit also responded to the scene. The investigation revealed the driver of a Ford pick-up truck, later identified as David Wayne Ardis, 48, of Snow Hill, was driving north on Nassawango Rd. at a high rate of speed.

When the driver attempted to negotiate a curve in the road, the vehicle left the roadway because of its high rate of speed, traveled down the shoulder and struck several trees, according to police reports. The driver was not restrained, according to police reports, and received multiple injuries. Ardis was flown to PRMC and died at the hospital from injuries sustained in the accident.

An unidentified passenger riding in the vehicle sustained injuries not believed to be life-threatening and was transported to PRMC for treatment. Alcohol was a factor in the crash, according to police reports.

Armed Robbery In Pocomoke

POCOMOKE – Continuing a disturbing trend in recent weeks, a convenience store in Pocomoke was robbed at gunpoint last Friday and the suspect remained at large as of mid-week.

Around 2:20 p.m. last Friday, an unknown suspect entered the Duck In convenience store in Pocomoke, displayed a black, semi-automatic handgun and demanded money from the clerk. When the clerk complied with the demands, the suspect fled the area on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash. No one was injured during the robbery.

The suspect is described as a young African-American male, roughly 5’5” to 5’6” tall, around 110 to 115 pounds with his hair in tight cornrows. At the time of the robbery, the suspect was wearing a white, long-sleeved T-shirt pulled over his head, dark blue baggie jeans, a black belt with silver diamond studs, a white tank top and white sneakers.

The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit, assisted by Maryland State Police troopers from the Berlin barrack, conducted a search of the area to no avail. The investigation has been turned over to the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI). Anyone with information about the robbery is urged to contact WCBI Cpl. J. Johnson at 443-783-0441, or the Pocomoke Police at 410-957-1300.

Child Abuse Alleged

OCEAN PINES – Ocean Pines Police and the Worcester County Department of Social Services arrested an Ocean Pines man on several child abuse and sex offense charges last week after a joint investigation.

Last Thursday, Ocean Pines Police arrested Daniel Alan Kerstetter, 24, of Ocean Pines, after working closely with Social Services on the investigation. Kerstetter has been charged with second-degree child abuse, second-degree assault, second-degree sex offense, third-degree sex offense and fourth-degree sex offense. Kerstetter was taken before a District Court Commissioner and is being held on a $50,000 bond.

Sprinklers Save Pines Home

OCEAN PINES – A single sprinkler head on a limited residential system is being credited for saving an Ocean Pines residence from a kitchen fire on Tuesday.

Around 1 p.m. on Tuesday, a residential fire was reported at a home on Quarter Staff Place in Ocean Pines. First-arriving units found no fire or smoke showing from the single-story residence. Ocean Pines firefighters used a portable fire extinguisher to put out what was left of the kitchen fire and remained on the scene for about 30 minutes.

The residence was occupied at the time by a man and his infant daughter, both of whom were able to escape with no injuries reported. The investigation revealed the fire ignited in a pot on the stove containing cooking grease. According to the Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office, the pot was left unattended when the fire started.

A single sprinkler head from a limited area residential sprinkler system activated and controlled the fire until the fire department arrived. The fire caused minor damage to the kitchen, but due to the limited damage, the residents were not displaced. The cause of the fire has been listed as accidental.

Unattended Cooking Fire

OCEAN CITY – A fire at an apartment over a business in Ocean City last Sunday was also attributed to unattended cooking.

Around 3:50 p.m. last Sunday, the Ocean City Fire Department was dispatched to a reported fire in the apartments over the Shore Distributors building on 84th Street after a fire alarm was activated. Upon arrival, fire crews observed smoke on the second floor and the call was upgraded to a building fire.

Crews located a grease fire on the second floor that had been extinguished by the occupants. One of the apartment’s occupants had to be transported to Atlantic General Hospital for treatment of burn injuries. Fire crews remained on the scene for about 45 minutes to assist with overhaul operations. Ocean City Fire Marshal’s Office investigators responded and determined the cause of the fire to be accidental.

The Ocean City Fire Department is taking the opportunity to provide residents and visitors with several tips to ensure safety while cooking. First, never leave cooking equipment unattended while the equipment is turned on. Second, keep combustibles away from hot surfaces, and third, avoid cooking while sleepy. In addition, the fire department urged residents and visitors to keep an approved household fire extinguisher in the kitchen.

Should a fire occur involving cooking equipment, citizens are recommended to call 911 and leave the home. If an individual chooses to put out the fire with an extinguisher, they are advised to ensure a clear path to an exit. In addition, never use water to put out a grease fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking-related fires are the number one cause of home fires and fire-related injuries in the U.S., accounting for nearly 40 percent of all home fires.

Sobriety Checkpoint Results

WEST OCEAN CITY – Several hundred vehicles passed through a multi-agency sobriety checkpoint on Route 50 in West Ocean City last weekend resulting in no DUI arrests, although some arrests were made for other reasons and a couple of DUI arrests were made following the checkpoint.

Around 11 p.m. last Friday, Maryland State Police, Natural Resources Police (NRP) and the Berlin and Ocean City Police departments conducted a sobriety checkpoint on Route 50 at Silver Point Lane in West Ocean City. A total of 739 vehicles passed through the checkpoint although no drunk-driving-related arrests were made.

However, after the checkpoint, the local law enforcement agencies conducted saturation patrols in the area resulting in 32 vehicle stops during which 14 citations, 25 warnings and two safety equipment repair orders were issued. Two people were arrested for driving under the influence, two were arrested on open warrants and two were arrested for possession of controlled dangerous substances.

Jail Time For Crack Dealer

BERLIN – A Berlin man arrested in February on various drug charges after being found with a substantial amount of cocaine during a traffic stop pleaded guilty this week to possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine and was sentenced to four years in jail, most of which was then suspended.

Around 11:43 p.m. on Feb. 9, Berlin Police on patrol in the Flower Street and Showell Street area observed a vehicle make a right turn and accelerate, causing the vehicle to fish tail. Berlin Police officers stopped the vehicle and observed the driver, identified as Julius Milbourne, 26, of Berlin, acting nervous and shaking.

Berlin Police contacted a K-9 unit from the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office to conduct a scan on the vehicle. The K-9 unit alerted on the vehicle, indicating the possible presence of drugs in the vehicle or on the driver. A subsequent search revealed a large block of cocaine in Milbourne’s pocket and a smaller bag of cocaine in his sock.

Milbourne was arrested and charged with possession and possession to distribute cocaine, possession of paraphernalia and various traffic offenses. On Wednesday, Milbourne pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute and was sentenced to four years in jail, all but one year of which was then suspended. He was also placed on supervised probation for two years upon his release and fined $500.

Theft Case Forwarded to Circuit

SNOW HILL – One of three suspects arrested in connection with a month-long auto theft spree in the Snow Hill area earlier this summer appeared in District Court this week and had his case forwarded to Circuit Court after praying a jury trial.

Dennis John Cross, 18, of Greenbackville, Va., appeared in District Court on Tuesday to face auto theft charges for his role in a car theft scheme in Snow Hill in May and June. Cross asked for a jury trial and had his case forwarded to Circuit Court. Another suspect in the case, Jacob Derr, 19, of Snow Hill already had his case forwarded to Circuit Court and is expected to appear for trial next week. The disposition of the case of a third suspect, a juvenile, is not known.

Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) detectives identified the three suspects wanted in connection several motor vehicle thefts and burglaries in the Snow Hill area dating back to May. One of the suspects, a juvenile, was located in Atlanta in possession of one of the stolen motor vehicles. WCBI detectives flew to Atlanta to question the juvenile and arrest him.

Through the investigation, WCBI detectives identified Derr and Cross as suspects. Derr was arrested and charged with one count each of first-degree burglary, malicious destruction of property and theft under $1,000. According to police reports, Cross fled the area on foot when the juvenile involved in the case was apprehended in Atlanta. He was later apprehended and charged with three counts of motor vehicle theft, two counts of theft under $100,000, one count of theft under $10,000, three counts of first-degree burglary and three counts of fourth-degree burglary.

Chief, Town Recognized
By Firemen’s Association

OCEAN CITY – The Maryland State Firemen’s Association last week presented Ocean City Police Chief Bernadette DiPino with a resolution recognizing the support and service provided by the OCPD during the 118th Annual Firemen’s Convention in June.

The resolution presented to DiPino by MSFA President Roger Powell last Friday states, “Be it resolved by the officers and delegates assembled at the 118th Annual Convention and Conference of the Maryland State Firemen’s Association do offer our sincere thanks to Bernadette DiPino, chief of the Ocean City Police Department, for her leadership and to each of the members of the Ocean City Police Department for their dedication, support and cooperation, ensuring each year that the Convention and Conference is successful.”

In addition, the resolution expressed gratitude to the town of Ocean City, the Mayor and Council and the combined services of the Ocean City Police and Fire Departments. DiPino said she was honored to be recognized by the fireman’s association and shared the honor with the town’s fire department.

“It is an honor to receive a resolution from the Maryland State Firemen’s Association,” she said. “We take pride in the partnership we have with the Ocean City Fire Department and we are thrilled to have expanded that partnership to the Maryland State Firemen’s Association.”

Meanwhile, the MSFA, which represents volunteer fire, rescue and EMS personnel from around the state, will hold its 119th annual convention in Ocean City next year from June 18-24.

Emergency Alert Test Tomorrow

BERLIN – Tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 4, Worcester County residents will again be hearing the emergency alert signals from their local fire sirens. Worcester County has taken this step to provide additional means to warn the surrounding communities of imminent danger and the need to tune to either radio, television or the internet for information in the event of emergencies.

Sirens are tested the first Saturday of each month. Residents will hear a steady alert tone sound at 10 a.m. for approximately one minute. Since the end of the Cold War, most serious threats to areas of the Eastern Shore have been weather related, and the emergency alert sirens have gone unused.

However, emergency alert sirens continue to be employed in tornado-prone areas of the country where they are used to warn residents that a tornado has been spotted and to take cover.

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