OCEAN CITY — A homeless man was arrested on motor vehicle theft and drunk-driving-related charges this week after allegedly swiping a Ford Explorer with its keys in it and the engine running from a downtown street before abandoning it a short distance away.
Shortly before 3 p.m. on Monday, Ocean City police was dispatched to the area of Dorchester Street and the Boardwalk for a reported motor vehicle theft that had just occurred. OCPD officers met with a witness and the victim, who told police he had left his Ford Explorer at the head of the street with the engine running for less than three minutes.
The victim told police when he came back around the corner, he saw his vehicle driving away. Meanwhile, a witness told police she had been sitting on the porch of a nearby condominium and watched two male individuals approach the running vehicle and look inside. The witness told police the two suspects were obviously “very drunk.”
A short time later, the witness said she saw the Ford Explorer back up rapidly, ride up onto the curb and nearly strike the condominium building. The witness said one of the suspects she observed earlier, later identified as David Griffith, 52, of no fixed address, behind the wheel of the vehicle as it fled the scene and continued north on Baltimore Ave.
About five minutes later, a city employee advised OCPD that the stolen vehicle was located in a motel parking lot a few blocks away still running with its flashers on, but nobody was behind the wheel. OCPD responded to the scene and observed Griffith and the other unidentified suspect coming around the corner.
Griffith was staggering and stumbling as he approached the officer, according to police reports, and the officer ordered the suspect to get down on the ground. After he was detained, the officer had to help the allegedly intoxicated Griffith from the ground so he could question him further. At first, Griffith agreed to speak to the officer, but when the line of questioning got around to the stolen vehicle, the suspect told police “I want my damn lawyer” and became uncooperative, according to police reports.
The victim and the witness were brought to the scene and identified Griffith as the suspect who stole the Ford Explorer. A background check revealed Griffith was homeless with no fixed address, and that his license had been revoked and suspended in the state of New York.
Griffith was charged with motor vehicle theft and numerous charges related to drinking and driving.