Malicious Destructor Sought
OCEAN CITY – The Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) this week are looking for a suspect who destroyed hundreds of dollars worth of business equipment at the drive-through of a fast-food restaurant in late November.
On Nov. 27, OCPD responded to the Burger King restaurant on 32nd Street for a reported malicious destruction of property. Prior to the officers’ arrival, an unidentified white male reportedly reached through the drive-through window and destroyed several items of business equipment and property belonging to the restaurant.
Among the items destroyed were a computer monitor and keyboard valued at over $400. OCPD detectives have recovered video surveillance of the unknown male suspect committing the crime. Forensic evidence has also been submitted to the Maryland State Police crime lab for analysis.
The suspect is described as a white male, wearing a black hat with a white “DC” logo on the top of the bill of the hat at the time of the incident. According to police reports, the suspect appears to have either fresh “road rash” injuries on his left arm, or an old scar. The suspect was also wearing a wedding ring on his left ring finger at the time of the incident. He was driving a light-colored SUV during the incident at the drive-through.
OCPD officials are asking anyone with information about the identity of the person responsible, or any other information about the crime, to contact the department at 410-723-6604. As always, callers do not have to give their names.
Eight Years For Dealing
SNOW HILL – A Salisbury man, one of three arrested in June for selling heroin and cocaine to undercover OCPD officers, was found guilty last week in Circuit Court on one count of conspiracy to distribute narcotics and was sentenced to eight years in jail.
Throughout the summer, undercover OCPD officers conduct buy-sell operations in the downtown area including the Boardwalk to target illegal drug dealing. In some instances, the undercover officers act as potential buyers, while in others, they pretended to be sellers. Several arrests were made throughout the summer, including three men on June 10.
On June 10, three men, one of whom had sold heroin and cocaine to an undercover officer on different occasions in the week prior, were arrested on various charges after consummating a deal with an OCPD detective in a vehicle in the 10th Street area. Around 3:45 p.m., the undercover officer made contact via cell phone with a dealer he had been tracking since May seeking to buy $100 worth of heroin and $50 worth of crack cocaine.
The suspected dealer, identified as Ricky Comegys, 39, of Baltimore, told the undercover officer he was leaving Salisbury and would contact him when he got to Ocean City. Around 5:30 p.m., Comegys called the officer and told him he would meet in the area of 10th Street shortly. When Comegys arrived, he had two other individuals in the vehicle with him, later identified as Donya Irish Dewitt, 39, of Baltimore, and Reginald Lamar Jenkins, Jr., 29, of Salisbury.
The undercover officer had targeted Comegys since May and had arranged similar drug buys on June 4 and June 5. Following his arrest last Thursday, Comegys was charged with possession and distribution of cocaine and heroin. Jenkins and Dewitt were both charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and heroin.
Last week in Circuit Court, Jenkins was found guilty of conspiracy to distribute controlled dangerous substances and was sentenced to eight years in jail. Comegys is scheduled to appear for trial on January 10, while Dewitt is scheduled to appear on January 4.
Guilty Plea For Assault
SNOW HILL – A Westminster man arrested in July on several serious charges after scooping up a woman walking on 49th Street and running with her at a full sprint before tossing her onto a crowded Coastal Highway pleaded guilty last week in Circuit Court to second-degree assault but has not yet been sentenced.
At around 2 a.m. on July 28, an OCPD officer on foot patrol in the area of 49th Street observed a man later identified as Steven B. Barnett, 20, of Westminster, approach a group of several women walking eastbound on the street. Without warning or provocation, Barnett allegedly picked up one of the women and began running toward Coastal Highway with her in his arms.
According to police reports, Barnett carried the woman as if he was cradling her to the center of the bus lane on the southbound side of Coastal Highway. Barnett was allegedly running at full speed as he carried the victim onto the highway before throwing her forward. The officer observed Barnett flee the scene after tossing the female victim into the crowded roadway.
While the officer observed Barnett flee the scene, a crowd gathered around the victim who was still lying in the highway. According to police reports, traffic was flowing heavily on Coastal Highway in the area, but the victim’s family members were able to carry her from the roadway before any vehicles reached her.
When the officer arrived on scene, he noted the victim appeared to be injured with her ankle swollen and disfigured, according to police reports. The victim told the officer she believed her ankle was broken and the officer concluded she would not have been able to get out of the way of oncoming traffic without the help of her family.
Meanwhile, the victim’s sister told the officer they did not know Barnett prior to the incident, nor had any of the family members or individuals in the group had any contact with him before he picked up the victim and threw her into the busy highway. The victim’s sister led the officer in the direction Barnett had fled to no avail. However, when the officer returned to the scene, he observed Barnett talking to a different OCPD officer.
When the original officer returned to the scene, Ocean City EMS had arrived and were treating the victim, whose injuries were severe enough for her to be transported to AGH for further treatment. The officer interviewed the victim while she was being attended to in the ambulance. The victim told police Barnett appeared intoxicated when he picked her up suddenly, and while she repeatedly shouted at him to put her down, he continued to run toward the highway and told her he was going to “throw her in the street.”
The victim confirmed to police she had never met Barnett and had no prior contact with him that night. Barnett was arrested and charged with first- and second-degree assault and reckless endangerment. Last week in Circuit Court, Barnett pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and now awaits a sentencing hearing.
Stet Docket For Counterfeiters
OCEAN CITY – Two Delaware women arrested in July on counterfeiting charges last week after allegedly passing phony $20 bills at a Boardwalk store appeared in District Court last week and had the charges against them placed on the stet, or inactive, docket.
Around 8:40 p.m. on July 2, Ocean City Police responded to a downtown Boardwalk business that had received four suspected counterfeit $20 bills. After establishing the bills were indeed bogus, OCPD officers were able to determine two possible suspects identified as Bianca Marie DeSimone, 32, and Nicole Aynette Branham, 27, both of Dover, Del.
During the investigation, DeSimone and Branham were located in a different business attempting to pass additional counterfeit bills. The pair was arrested and charged with four counts each of intent to issue counterfeit U.S. currency. After the arrests, OCPD investigators served a search and seizure warrant at a downtown hotel where DeSimone and Branham were staying. During a search of the hotel room, OCPD officers found additional counterfeit bills in the wallet of a third suspect.
Last week in District Court, DeSimone and Branham appeared for trial and each had the charges against them placed on the stet, or inactive, docket.
Vehicle Fire Accidental
OCEAN PINES – A fire that engulfed a rental car in the parking lot of an Ocean Pines business complex last week has been listed as accidental.
Around 10 a.m. last Thursday, the Ocean Pines Volunteer Fire Company responded to reported vehicle fire in the parking lot of the Pavillions office complex on Route 589. First arriving units reported smoke showing from the interior of the passenger vehicle. The fire was quickly extinguished, but fire crews remained on the scene for about 30 minutes.
The investigation revealed the vehicle was a rental car owned by Express Rent-a-Car. The fire originated in the area of the vehicle’s exhaust system and the cause has been listed as accidental by the Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office.
Theft Suspect Sentenced To 90 Days
SNOW HILL – A Salisbury man arrested in August in connection with a vehicle break-in spree in Ocean Pines pleaded guilty earlier this month to theft and was sentenced to 90 days in jail.
While patrolling in the community in August, Ocean Pines Police spotted two individuals who were allegedly involved in entering parked vehicles and stealing electronic items such as I-pods and GPS systems. Pines Police arrested the two individuals, identified as Eyoke Spates, 19, of Salisbury and an unidentified 17-year-old juvenile, and were able to recover all of the property reported stolen. The investigation revealed the suspects had entered 14 vehicles, all of which were unlocked.
The 17-year-old juvenile was later able to pull a restraining device from the wall at police headquarters in the Pines and escaped from the building. A massive manhunt failed to locate the juvenile. Meanwhile, Spates was charged with theft, theft scheme and rogue and vagabond. Earlier this month, Spates pleaded guilty to theft under $1,000 and was sentenced to 90 days in jail.
Health Inspector Fraud Warning
BERLIN – Businesses throughout the county are often subject to a variety of scams and schemes, but a new one surfaced last week related to the scheduling of fraudulent inspections under the guise of the county’s health department.
The Worcester County Health Department this week is warning local businesses about scammers pretending to be health department inspectors. County health department officials said they have received reports of callers identifying themselves as local health inspectors and attempting to schedule inspections at local restaurants. According to health department officials, the callers are then attempting to use business information obtained during the calls fraudulently.
Health Department officials warned local businesses the agency doe not call restaurants to schedule “emergency inspections.” In addition, each health inspector carries a state of Maryland (MDHMH) picture identification with his or her name displayed on the front and the document never includes an identification number. Local health inspectors also carry a Worcester County Health Department identification badge.
Health Department officials also warned local businesses this week the agency’s health inspectors will never ask for or accept money for an inspection. Finally, businesses are warned to never give personal, private or detailed business information to anyone over the phone. The health department is urging anyone with questions regarding inspectors, inspector identity or inspection procedures to contact the agency at 410-352-3234.