Armed Robber Convicted

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SNOW HILL — A Bowie man arrested on armed robbery and assault charges in June after wielding a machete to steal hundreds of dollars from a victim in a downtown Ocean City motel room pleaded guilty to robbery last week in Circuit Court and was sentenced to four years in jail, all but 18 months of which were suspended.

On June 16, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) detective responded to a room at the Riviera Motel for a reported armed robbery that had taken place. The detective met with the victim, who told police he was sitting on a bed counting money when a man he knew only as Gary pulled a machete from under his shirt, held the weapon to the victim’s throat and grabbed the $350 in cash from his hand.

The victim told police the suspect, later identified as Gary Gordon Ogilvie, 20, of Bowie, held the machete to his throat and said “get the [expletive deleted] out before I stab or kill you,” according to police reports. OCPD detectives talked to a female witness who was present in the room at the time of the robbery. The female witness said she and two of her friends had brought Ogilvie to the room at the Riviera.

The witness also corroborated the victim’s story about the robbery, the machete and what was said. The victim said Ogilvie fled the scene immediately after the robbery, but soon after the incident, she received a text message from one of her friends telling her they were with Ogilvie at the nearby Suntan Motel. The witness also told police Ogilvie was driving a silver Dodge Neon.

Ocean City Police detectives went to the Suntan Motel and observed the Dodge Neon with the tag numbers provided by the witness. A check with the front desk clerk confirmed Ogilvie was staying in Room 21 at the motel. A short time later, OCPD detectives observed Ogilvie exit the motel room and the suspect was arrested on suspicion of armed robbery. The victim was brought to the scene and identified Ogilvie as his assailant. During a search of Ogilvie’s motel room, police recovered a black-handled machete and a black sheath along with $500 in cash in the pocket of a pair of shorts.

During a subsequent interview, Ogilvie admitted possessing the machete and also admitted stealing $100 in cash from the victim. He was charged with armed robbery, robbery, first- and second-degree assault and theft.

Last week in Circuit Court, Ogilvie pleaded guilty to one count of robbery and was sentenced to four years in jail, all but 18 months of which was suspended. He was also placed on probation for two years upon his release.

10 Years For Dealing Crack

SNOW HILL — A Snow Hill man convicted in July on a cocaine distribution charge was sentenced this week to a mandatory minimum of 10 years in jail.

On March 9, Maryland State Police arrested Tony Harmon, 27, after he jumped out of a moving vehicle on Route 113 and fled on foot. Harmon was eventually apprehended after a brief chase, during which officers found a large plastic bag containing three smaller individually-wrapped bags of crack cocaine.

Harmon left the engine running on his vehicle, which eventually collided with a guard rail on Route 113. A search of the vehicle turned up more cocaine. A background check revealed Harmon’s license had been suspended and revoked by the state of Maryland. Harmon was arrested on nine total charges including possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine and reckless driving.

In July, Harmon was found guilty of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine and a pre-sentence investigation was ordered. Back in court on Monday, Harmon was sentenced to a mandatory minimum of 10 years in jail. The penalty for possession with intent to distribute is ordinarily five years, but the state filed a notice to seek enhanced punishment for Harmon due to an earlier conviction for the same offense.

Attempted Murder Alleged

SALISBURY — A Salisbury man was arrested on attempted murder, assault and other charges last weekend after allegedly choking and attempting to stab a victim during a domestic dispute.

Shortly after 4 p.m. last Saturday, Salisbury Police responded to a residence on Marley Manor Drive for a reported domestic assault. The adult female victim told police she had been in a verbal argument with a suspect, later identified as Hammond Cleo Taylor, 17, of Salisbury, who had allegedly struck her in the chest and choked her. Taylor allegedly locked the victim in a bedroom, but the victim was able to escape through a window and run to a neighbor’s house to call police.

The victim told police she had been in another altercation with Taylor the day before, during which Taylor allegedly held her against a wall and attempted to stab her in the leg with a kitchen knife. Taylor was arrested and charged with two counts of attempted murder, first- and second-degree assault, false imprisonment, reckless endangerment and possession of a deadly weapon. He has been charged as an adult.

Traffic Stop Nets Oxy Bust

BERLIN — A Berlin woman was arrested on oxycodone possession charges last week after a routine traffic stop.

Last week, a Berlin Police officer pulled over Candice Nicole Evans, 20, for a routine traffic stop on Old Ocean City Blvd. During the stop, Berlin Police K-9 “Ike” was utilized and alerted for the presence of controlled dangerous substance.

During the subsequent search, a spoon with a large amount of residue on it was located, along with a syringe. The residue was later determined to be oxycodone and Evans was arrested and charged with possession of CDS-not marijuana.

110 Years For Sex Offender

SALISBURY — A Mardela man convicted in August on three counts of sexual abuse of a minor and five counts of third-degree sex offense for crimes committed against eight minor children was sentenced to a combined 110 years in jail last week.

In August, Stephen James Merritt, 38, pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual abuse of a minor and five counts of third-degree sex offense against eight minors who were in his care and custody. Merritt was arrested in March after several male teens came forward and told police they were sexually assaulted by him while they lived under his care and custody at the Last Chance Farm in Wicomico County.

Merritt faced a maximum sentence of 125 years in jail and a pre-sentence investigation was ordered following his conviction. Back in court last week, Merritt was sentenced to a combined 110 years in jail.

“The state commends the bravery of the victims and their families,” said Wicomico County State’s Attorney Matt Maciarello. “Their courage to come forward and be heard has resulted in the removal of a sex offender from our community for a very long time.”

Auto Theft Alleged

SNOW HILL — A Pocomoke woman was arrested on auto theft charges this week after allegedly swiping a motor vehicle belong to a Pocomoke business.

Around 4 a.m. on Wednesday, Maryland State Police troopers responded to a residence in Pocomoke for a reported auto theft. The troopers met with the victim, who told police a 1998 Mercury Mystique belonging to Nock’s Tire Service had been taken from the residence. The victim told police the suspect, later identified as Rebecca Lynn Bell, 40, of Pocomoke, had likely taken the vehicle and that she didn’t have permission to do so. The victim told police Bell lived in a separate apartment at the residence.

A description of the stolen vehicle and the suspect was broadcasted. A short time later, Pocomoke Police observed the vehicle in the area of Old Snow Hill Rd. and initiated a traffic stop. Pocomoke Police identified the driver as Bell and she was taken into custody. Bell was charged with theft of a motor vehicle, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and driving while suspended.

Suspect Tossed Loaded Gun

SALISBURY — A Salisbury man was arrested on various weapons charges and trespassing charges last week after tossing a loaded handgun while police were chasing him through yards and over fences.

Shortly before 9 p.m. last Friday, the Salisbury Police Safe Streets Unit was on routine patrol in the area of Smith and Newton streets and observed several individuals walking in the roadway and impeding traffic. As the officers approached the group, one of the suspects, later identified as Gerard Dawson Dennis, 17, of Salisbury, fled southbound on Smith Street on foot.

Salisbury Police pursued Dennis through a number of yards and over several fences. During the chase, a Salisbury Police officer observed Dennis discard an unknown object under a parked car. Dennis was caught a short time later and the object he discarded under the parked car turned out to be a loaded .22 caliber revolver.

Dennis was arrested and charged with possession of a handgun, possession of a regulated firearm, altering the identification of a firearm, possession of a firearm under the age of 21 and four counts of trespassing. Because of the serious nature of the offenses, Dennis has been charged as an adult.

Illegal Cigarette Bust

BERLIN — A New Jersey man was arrested for possession and transportation of untaxed cigarettes last weekend after getting pulled over on Route 113 just south of Berlin.

Around 3 p.m. last Sunday, a Maryland State Police trooper pulled over a vehicle on Route 113 near Langmaid Rd. for speeding a failing to use headlights in a required area. Upon making contact with the driver, later identified as Ralph Schaffer, 68, of Wildwood, N.J., the officer observed a blanket covering cargo in the rear of the van.

The subsequent search of the vehicle resulted in the seizure of 114 cartons of unstamped and untaxed cigarettes with a street value of just under $5,000. Schaffer’s vehicle was also seized as was over $2,900 in cash. Schaffer was arrested and charged with possession and transportation of untaxed cigarettes. He was taken before a District Court Commissioner and ordered held on a $10,000 bond. The state Comptroller’s Office was contacted and has taken over the investigation.

Split Decisions For Graffiti Artists

OCEAN CITY — Two Baltimore men, arrested in June on numerous counts of malicious destruction of property after a graffiti spree involving Ocean City buses and other town property at as many as 50 locations, appeared in court this week and ended up with different outcomes with one cleared of the charges against him and the other placed on probation, fined and ordered to pay restitution.

Around 12:20 a.m. on June 14, Ocean City Police responded to the 64th Street area for a reported malicious destruction of property case. An OCPD officer met with a municipal bus driver who reported an unknown suspect or suspects had spray-painted “Moob” and had written “K$N” on his bus with a yellow grease pen. The officer also met with a witness who told police he saw an individual put the graffiti on the bus around 11:45 p.m., or a little over a half an hour earlier, in the area of 94th Street. The witness was riding the bus when he saw the suspect.

Meanwhile, other officers were canvassing the area looking for the suspect based on the description provided by the witness. Around 2:10 a.m., OCPD officers observed a suspect, later identified as Daniel Lorden, 28, writing on a town-owned dumpster in the area of 12th Street. Lorden had written “K$W” on the dumpster and later told police the graffiti represented the initials of a deceased friend.

Standing next to Lorden was another man identified as Howard Kuhn, 32, of Baltimore, who had black paint on his hands. The officers realized Kuhn matched the description provided for the graffiti artist who marked the town bus back up on 94th Street. The witness was brought to the scene and identified Kuhn as the suspect. Lorden and Kuhn were arrested and charged with malicious destruction of property.

During a search, the suspects were found to be in possession of three grease pens. In addition, police recovered a cell phone that included pictures of town buses marked with the graffiti, including the subject of the original complaint. Two Ocean City buses and the dumpster were vandalized by the graffiti artists, but the investigation is ongoing and police believe Kuhn and Lorden, and possibly other suspects, hit as many as 50 other locations with their message.

This week in District Court, Lorden pleaded guilty to one count of malicious destruction of property and was placed on probation for two years, fined $500 and ordered to pay $1,000 in restitution to the town of Ocean City. Meanwhile, Kuhn also appeared in court on Monday and was cleared of all of the charges against him.

OCPD Pistol Team Wins Honors

OCEAN CITY — Four Ocean City Police officers won high honors during the recent 2011 Maryland State Police Pistol Combat competition.

Team captain Sgt. Mark Paddack, along with Cpl. Greg DeGiovanni, Pfc. Daniel Jacobs and retired Lt. Mark Doyle, scored well at the Maryland State Police Pistol Combat competition last week, finishing at or near the top in several categories. For example, DeGiovanni and Jacobs finished third overall in the two-man team competition, while all four members finished second overall in the four-man team competition.

The team also collected several individual honors. For example, DeGiovanni was the first-place winner in the sharpshooter class with the semi-automatic and was second in the sharpshooter class with a revolver. Jacobs placed first in the marksman class in both the revolver and semi-automatic events, while Doyle finished second in the expert class with the revolver.

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