Fingerprint Nabs Alleged Bike Thief

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OCEAN CITY — An Ocean City man was arrested on felony theft charges last week after a fingerprint identification connected him to the theft of a bicycle over two years ago.

Around 1:30 a.m. on May 18, 2009, an OCPD officer responded to a residence on Old Wharf Rd. for a reported theft of a Trek bicycle worth $1,300. The officer met with the victim, who said he had just arrived in Ocean City and was moving his belongings into the residence. During his last trip in and out of the residence, the victim noticed his bicycle had been stolen.

About 10 minutes later, another OCPD officer observed an unidentified man walking through a nearby condominium parking lot with a bicycle, but when the officer approached the man, the suspect dropped the bike and fled toward the beach and was never located. The bicycle was recovered and taken to the Public Safety Building for forensic processing and the victim later identified it as his property.

Over two years passed without any resolution to the case. However, in October, the OCPD Criminal Investigations Division (CID) received a fingerprint match lifted from the stolen bicycle from the Forensic Science Division Laboratory of the Maryland State Police. The report indicated a single print had been successfully lifted from the frame of the bicycle and matched a prior print on record belonging to Pavel Rosca, 24, of Ocean City.

On October 27, OCPD detectives questioned Rosca about the stolen bicycle. Rosca confirmed he was living in Ocean City at the time of the theft in 2009, but denied any involvement in the bike theft. When asked how his fingerprints could have ended up on the stolen bicycle, Rosca offered no explanation other than to say he worked for a pizza delivery company at the time and it was possible he moved the bike out of the way or off of the company’s property.

OCPD then questioned the victim, who told them he had just bought the bike in North Carolina before moving to Ocean City and had never even taken it out of his truck before moving into his new residence on the night it was stolen. The victim said the only prints that could have been on the bike were his and his father’s.

Based on the fingerprint evidence and the fact the bicycle was recovered just a few blocks from where it had been taken, the OCPD applied for felony theft charges against Rosca last month and he was arrested and charged with felony theft last Friday.

Untaxed Cigarettes Bust

BERLIN — A New Jersey man was arrested for possession and transportation of unstamped cigarettes last weekend after over 13,000 packs of untaxed smokes were found in his vehicle following a traffic stop in Berlin.

Shortly after 9 a.m. last Saturday, a Maryland State Police trooper pulled over a vehicle on Route 113 near Route 589 for negligent driving. When the trooper made contact with the driver, later identified as Charles H. Davis, Jr., 49, of Carteret, N.J., a strong odor of tobacco was detected emanating from the vehicle.

A probable cause search revealed all of the seats had been removed and the cargo area was filled with cartons of cigarettes. A total of 1,324 cartons, or 13,240 individual packs, with an estimated street value of over $79,000 were discovered and confiscated, along with $276 in currency. The estimated tax loss for the state of Maryland came in at $26,480, or $2 per pack.

Davis did not have an invoice or bill of lading for the untaxed cigarettes, nor did he have a permit or license with the State Comptroller’s Office to transport or possess the cigarettes. The Comptroller’s Office was contacted and responded to the MSP Berlin barrack to assume the investigation. The cigarettes, vehicle and cash were seized, although the money was later returned to the suspect.

Davis was charged with possession and transportation of unstamped cigarettes, which is a felony in Maryland. He was taken before a District Court Commissioner and was ordered held on a $25,000 secured bond.

Pharmacy Burglarized

BERLIN — Berlin Police this week are looking for the suspect or suspects who broke into a pharmacy early last Thursday morning and stole pain medication.

Shortly after 3 a.m. last Thursday, Berlin Police responded to Apple Drugs on Franklin Ave. for a reported burglary. The investigation revealed an unknown suspect or suspects had forcibly entered the business by shattering the glass of the front door. Once inside the business, the suspect or suspects stole and undetermined amount of pain medication from the pharmacy.

A search of the area was conducted to no avail and the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information about the break-in and theft is urged to contact the Berlin Police Department at 410-641-1333, or the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) at 410-352-3476.

Pool Deck Arson Investigated

BERLIN — The Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office this week is looking for the suspect or suspects wanted in connection with a fire last Friday that damaged a community pool.

Late last Friday evening, the Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office responded to the St. Martin’s on the Bay community to investigate a fire at the community pool that was deemed to have been set intentionally. The investigation revealed the burning of wooden pallets had damaged the pool’s concrete decking.

Several suspects believed to be responsible for the fire had fled the scene before police arrived. The damages are estimated at around $500. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Deputy Fire Marshal Rob Korb, Jr., at 410-632-5666, of the Maryland Arson Hotline at 800-492-7592. Information can be provided anonymously.

More Of Boardwalk Nine Convicted

SNOW HILL — A few more suspects from the group of nine Delaware men arrested in April on first-degree assault and gang-related charges after an unprovoked and “vicious” attack on the Boardwalk appeared in Circuit Court last week with varying outcomes in their cases.

Around 1:15 a.m. on April 24, the OCPD was dispatched to a reported fight in progress on the Boardwalk at Somerset Street. Upon arrival, an OCPD officer made contact with a male victim whose shirt was stretched and ripped at the collar and whose face was visibly bruised and swollen along with cuts and abrasions on its left side. The victim told police he and his three cousins were “jumped and assaulted” on the Boardwalk.
The victim told police he tried to ignore the group, but was soon surrounded by as many as 15 assailants who attacked them. Two of the victims were able to flee, but two were not able to get away because of the physical attack they were enduring. One of the victims told police he was tackled by the large group, who continuously punched him with closed fists and began kicking him in the head, face, abdomen and back while he was “helplessly lying on the ground trying unsuccessfully to block some of the vicious blows he was receiving,” according to police reports. The victim told police he felt he was on the ground for a significant amount of time as he was being battered.
The victims told police once the group finished their attack, they fled the area on foot. The victims were able to provide physical descriptions of their attackers, but told police they were more concerned with protecting themselves if the group returned and started beating them again. The victims told police they didn’t do anything to provoke the beatings. In fact, the victims told police they “felt as if they just did it for fun,” according to police reports.
A description of the assailants was broadcast and another OCPD officer immediately recognized the alleged attackers as a group he had observed earlier in the night. A description of the vehicles in which the assailants were traveling was broadcast and the two vehicles were located a short time later in the area of 54th Street. The victims were brought to the area to identify the attackers and positively identified six members of the group including Robert Hill, 20, of Camden, Del.; Jamera Fisher, 19, of Dover; Julian Freeman, 22, of Dover; D’Andrew Chandler, 18, of Dover; Duante Morrison, 18, of Magnolia; and Craig Powell, 25, of Dover.
Around two hours later, at 3:39 a.m., police located a third vehicle containing three more suspects in the area of 21st Street. Again, the victims were brought to the scene to identify the suspects, including Randall Harris, 18, of Dover; Keontre Hynson, 18, of Dover; and Zamale Bull, 19, of Harrington.

Last week in Circuit Court, Morrison was found guilty of participating in gang-related activity and was sentenced to eight years in jail, all but three of which was suspended. Harris pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and was sentenced to three years in jail. Bull was found guilty of second-degree assault and was sentenced to one year in jail. Trials are still pending for the remaining defendants.

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