OCEAN CITY – Two men were arrested on malicious destruction of property and reckless endangerment charges this week after allegedly bombing Coastal Highway with several paint cans, deck furniture and beer bottles from the ninth floor of a north-end condominium.
Around 3:15 a.m. on Wednesday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers were dispatched to the area of the Capri condominiums at 110th Street for a reported malicious destruction of property that had just occurred. Upon arrival, the officers observed numerous cans of white paint had been spilled in the northbound lanes of Coastal Highway.
Police made contact with a resort taxi driver, who said he was driving north on Coastal Highway moments earlier when he observed a can of paint strike the roadway not far from his vehicle. The driver stopped his cab on nearby Channel Buoy Rd. and watched the Capri condominium building. A short time later, he saw several more paint cans strike Coastal Highway and was able to see the culprits.
The driver pointed to a unit on the ninth floor of the condo, one of which had its storm shutter nearly closed. The cabbie told police the paint had been thrown from the unit directly adjacent to the condo with the partially closed storm shutters. The officer went to unit 902 and questioned the occupants, some of which were standing in the living room area.
However, two occupants, later identified as Cody Alan Miller, 19, of Bishopville, and Daniel Joseph Hicken, 21, of Brattleboro, Vt., were still on the unit’s balcony facing the parking lot area and Coastal Highway.
According to police reports, white paint covered all four northbound lanes and included an area about 100 feet long. The officer also observed white paint on the sidewalk below. In addition, the officer observed a broken glass bottle on the roof of a car in the parking lot, along with two broken chairs.
The officer interviewed a female occupant of the unit who told police she had been inside while Hicken and Miller were on the balcony and she could hear them laughing and yelling. The cab driver was brought to the unit and was able to identify Miller as one of two individuals he observed on the balcony earlier. Based on the evidence and the witness testimony, Hicken and Miller were then charged with three counts each of malicious destruction of property and reckless endangerment.
According to police reports, all four northbound lanes of Coastal Highway were covered in white paint and no less than six OCPD units were dispatched to help with traffic, which had to be rerouted through the left turn lane in order to keep vehicles moving northbound. The Ocean City Fire Department and the Department of Public Works were also dispatched and it reportedly took the combined crews roughly two hours to make Coastal Highway passable.
State Highway Administration (SHA) officials also responded, as did Maryland Department of the Environment officials to mitigate any potential problems with the paint washing into storm drains.
The officer spoke again with Hicken, who gave a written confession telling police he threw four or five cans of paint, two chairs, two full cans of beer and full bottle of beer from the balcony. Hicken also wrote in his statement Miller had laughed and cheered as he threw the items onto Coastal Highway.
During the follow-up investigation, the officer found pictures of the paint-covered Coastal Highway on Miller’s cell phone and on Hicken’s cell phone he found a video of the damage during which the two suspects could clearly be heard laughing about the damage they had caused, according to police reports.