OCEAN CITY — Tips from a few anonymous concerned citizens this week helped the Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) nab the suspect in a string of residential burglaries and the burglary of a downtown pharmacy.
On Monday, an OCPD detective met with the victim of a burglary on Pacific Ave. that had occurred sometime between Jan. 29 and Feb. 2. The victim told police someone had gained entry to his residence and stolen around $450 in cash from his girlfriend’s purse along with a Sony digital camera. The investigation revealed a window screen had been removed and the window was unlocked. Police also discovered pry marks on a locked closet door inside the residence.
During the investigation, the detective learned from a few anonymous citizens a suspect, later identified as William K. Freeman, 25, of Ocean City, had allegedly been breaking into houses in the 94th Street area not far from where he lived. The detective also learned from witnesses Freeman was allegedly connected to a break-in at Bailey’s Pharmacy a week earlier.
Witnesses told police Freeman was in possession of about 1,000 Vicoden pills allegedly stolen from the pharmacy. The detective knew from earlier reports the pharmacy burglary had been reported on Jan. 31. The suspect or suspects had gained entry to the business by removing an air conditioning unit from the exterior of the building. During the burglary, six bottles containing a total of 1,000 hydrocodone and clonazepam pills had been stolen, along with the pharmacy’s video surveillance system and computer equipment.
Through the investigation, OCPD detectives were able to connect Freeman to a string of residential burglaries in the 94th Street area dating back to last fall. For example, sometime between Oct. 31 and Nov. 19, a residence on 94th Street had been burglarized and a wooden bed frame, mattress, box spring, bedding, a home sound dock, a lamp, a couple of paintings and a watch valued at $3,000 had been stolen.
Around the same time, at unit at the Nassau Village had been burglarized, along with a residence on Chesapeake Ave. Nothing was taken during the latter, but the door had been pried open and it appeared someone had slept in a bed in the master bedroom. During another burglary linked to Freeman back on Nov. 19, a different residence on Chesapeake Drive was broken into and a painting and some cash was stolen.
While police were investigating those burglaries, a different resident on Chesapeake Drive told police two beach cruiser-style bicycles were stolen in mid-October. The bikes were later found on the south side of Freeman’s residence. In addition, Ocean City police learned during the investigation Freeman was the suspect in a first-degree burglary on Jan. 23 on Madison Ave. in West Ocean City that was being investigated by the Maryland State Police. During that break-in, a large amount of cash and a computer bag had been stolen.
Based on all of the evidence collected, police obtained a search and seizure warrant on Monday for Freeman’s home. During the search, a large number of items stolen were found in Freeman’s home including a bottle of bills stolen from Bailey’s Pharmacy. In addition, while searching the residence, the odor of marijuana was detected in a bedroom and additional drug possession charges were added.
Freeman was arrested at the residence during the execution of the search warrant. He later admitted committing the burglaries at the various residences in the 94th Street area. He also admitted driving another individual to the Bailey’s Pharmacy break-in, but told police he waited outside during the commission of the crime. Freeman also told police he committed the crimes because he has an addiction to prescription drugs.