OCEAN CITY — A vigilant downtown motel employee this week is being credited with nabbing a pair of vending machine burglars wanted by resort police after observing their latest break-in early Monday morning.
Throughout much of the summer, the Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) has been pursuing the unidentified suspect or suspects wanted in connection with a string of vending machine break-ins throughout the resort area to no avail. Early Monday morning, a maintenance man at the Eden Roc Motel on 20th Street and the Boardwalk, which had been hit several times, decided to conduct his own investigation and observed the two suspects, later identified as Daniel Robert Myers, 33, and David Kyle Edwards, 25, both of Ocean City, allegedly breaking into a vending machine on the motel premises.
Eden Roc maintenance employee Randy Noble set up surveillance on the balcony of an oceanfront unit early Monday morning and waited for the arrival of the suspects. Noble said this week the motel’s vending machines had been burglarized several times and he had made the necessary repairs and fashioned different security measures, but the burglars had kept finding ways to break into the machines.
“Our machines were getting hit often, like three times a week,” he said. “Finally, I decided to conduct a stakeout of my own to see what was going on out there. I went up to a unit on the third floor overlooking the beach and Boardwalk and laid flat on the balcony until something happened.”
Several hours went by before the would-be thieves made a return visit to the motel’s vending machines.
“I was lying flat on the balcony and quietly kept peaking over to watch the machines,” he said. “Sure enough, a little before 5 a.m., I see this guy trying to break into the Coke machine with a crowbar.”
Noble said he quietly snuck back into the motel room to call the police, fearing if he made the call from the balcony, the suspects would be alerted and would flee.
“I kept going in and out of the room to talk to the police,” he said. “When I went out the last time, the suspect had finished breaking into the machine and I ran down the steps to at least see which way he was going.”
Noble said his intent was never to catch the burglars, but rather gain some information into their pattern and perhaps get a good description. When he ran down the stairs, the main suspect, Myers, had removed his hooded sweatshirt, revealing his face. When Myers left the immediate area, Noble said he heard a scooter start up in a nearby parking garage, which is when he first caught a glimpse of Edwards, presumably the lookout during the crime.
By the time Noble reached the street level, around seven to 10 OCPD officers had responded to the area. OCPD officers activated their lights and sirens, but the suspects continued to flee, resulting in a brief chase. The scooter, with Myers driving and Edwards on the back, continued south on Baltimore Ave. and west on 21st Street before turning north on Philadelphia Ave. with several OCPD officers in pursuit.
OCPD officers on foot eventually tackled both Myers and Edwards off of the scooter in order to get it to stop. Once the suspects were detained, a search of Myers turned up a crowbar stuffed in his pants along with $4 in cash. A search revealed several burglary tools used to pry open vending machines including two screwdrivers and a pair of pliers.
Noble was brought to the scene to positively identify the suspects. He is expected to receive a commendation from the police department for his actions in thwarting the crime.
Myers and Edwards were each charged with second- and fourth-degree burglary, malicious destruction of property and theft. Myers was also charged with traffic infractions including eluding police. Both men were found to have active warrants for their arrests.