Plea Deal For Dragging Cop

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OCEAN CITY — A Pennsylvania man, arrested last July on first-degree assault after a wild incident that began with an attempted drug sale to an undercover OCPD officer on the Boardwalk, included the dragging of an OCPD officer alongside a vehicle and ended with the suspect jumping into the bay before being caught hours later, appeared in Circuit Court last week and now awaits his fate pending the outcome of a pre-sentence investigation.

Around 1:47 a.m. on July 16, Ocean City narcotics detectives, assisted by undercover and plainclothes officers, attempted to arrest Michael Joseph McGovern, 30, of Williamsport, Pa., for selling marijuana and ecstasy to an undercover detective. During the arrest, McGovern fled from police in the area of 19th Street and a description of the suspect was broadcast.

OCPD bicycle officers located McGovern as he was attempting to enter his vehicle. A brief struggle took place inside the vehicle with an OCPD officer on both the driver’s and passenger’s side. During the struggle, McGovern managed to start the vehicle and put it in reverse, dragging the OCPD officer on the driver’s side and nearly running over the officer on the passenger side.

The officer who was dragged on the driver’s side was eventually able to free himself by falling out of the vehicle and under the driver’s side door, which was still open. Other officers responded and a brief vehicle pursuit ensued before McGovern bailed out of his vehicle on the west side of Coastal Highway in the area of Marlin Drive.

OCPD officers continued to pursue McGovern on foot and later determined he had jumped in a canal in the area of 21st Street. OCPD officers were able to track McGovern to the area of 28th Street. The multi-agency search included the Maryland State Police Aviation Unit, the U.S. Coast Guard and a Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) marine unit.

Ocean City Police eventually located McGovern in a condominium on Eagle Drive around 4:38 a.m., or about three hours after the incident began.

The officer who was dragged by the vehicle was transported to Atlantic General Hospital and was treated for hand and arm injuries before being released. McGovern was arrested and charged with first- and second-degree assault, assault on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest, fleeing and eluding, reckless and negligent driving and two counts of distribution of marijuana and ecstasy.

Last week in Circuit Court, McGovern entered Alford pleas to second-degree assault on a police officer, attempting to flee and elude and distribution of marijuana. In an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt, but acknowledges the state has enough evidence to prosecute. Sentencing has been set for July 13.

Cab Fare Theft Nets 15 Days

SNOW HILL — A West Ocean City man, arrested on theft and other charges in October after allegedly failing to pay a cab driver who took him home after a fight in Ocean City and later scrapping with police, pleaded guilty last week to resisting and interfering with an arrest and was sentenced to six months in jail, most of which was suspended in favor of a fine and probation.

Shortly after 11 p.m. on Oct. 20, Maryland State Police troopers were dispatched to a residence in West Ocean City for a reported theft of services. Upon arrival, troopers met with a cab driver who said he picked up the suspect, identified as Joseph Scot Pietroski, from a downtown Ocean City bar and drove him to his home in West Ocean City. According to the driver, once the cab reached Pietroski’s home, the suspect exited the vehicle and ran inside his home without paying the $9 fare.

Troopers made contact with Pietroski at his residence and he appeared extremely intoxicated and agitated, according to police reports. Pietroski told police he had been involved in a physical altercation at the downtown bar and that he wanted to go to sleep. State police troopers contacted OCPD to see if they needed Pietroski for questioning in relation to a fight or incident downtown, but the OCPD declined.

Meanwhile, troopers told Pietroski he had to pay the $9 cab fare in order to resolve the issue. At that point, Pietroski allegedly became combative and increasingly agitated with the officers and told them it was not a cab that brought him home, but rather the police. He continued to curse at the officers and became physically confrontational, at which point he was arrested for resisting arrest.

During transport to the MSP Berlin barrack, Pietroski began spitting in the patrol car and continued to be physically and verbally abusive to the point he had to be controlled with violent prisoner constraints. Last week, Pietroski pleaded guilty to resisting arrest and was sentenced to six months in jail, all but 15 days of which were suspended. He was also fined $500 and placed on probation for two years.

Two Convicted In Pot Bust Spree

SNOW HILL — Two Ocean City men arrested in separate incidents during a spree of significant marijuana busts in the resort area in December had their day in court this week and came out with significant sentences.

In early December, the OCPD made three significant marijuana busts in the resort area including four arrests and the seizure of nearly five pounds of week with a street value of $43,000. Two of those arrested during the spree appeared in court this week and each was sentenced to 18 months in jail although one had much of his sentence suspended.

On Dec. 7, 2011, the OCPD conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle driven by Kimo Grant-Johnson, 24, and recovered nearly two pounds of pot worth an estimated $7,000 pounds.

Based on that arrest, the OCPD obtained search and seizure warrants for two of Grant-Johnson’s residences in Ocean City and Selbyville. With the assistance of the Delaware State Police, the OCPD executed the warrant at the Selbyville residence and found a pound and a half of marijuana. OCPD officers also searched Grant-Johnson’s Ocean City residence and found more marijuana in an amount to suggest distribution.

This week, Grant-Johnson pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute marijuana and was sentenced to three years, all but 18 months of which were suspended. He was also fined $500 and placed on probation for two years.

On Dec. 8, OCPD narcotics detectives, with the assistance of the Worcester County Criminal Enforcement Team searched a residence on 8th Street and located roughly one pound of marijuana worth an estimated $9,000. The unit’s resident, identified as Robert Wayne Pippin, Jr., 32, of Ocean City, was arrested and charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana. On Tuesday, Pippin pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 months in jail.

90 Days For Golf Course Burglar

OCEAN CITY — A West Ocean City man, arrested on burglary and malicious destruction of property charges last year after DNA evidence was able to connect him to the break-in of an ATM machine at a miniature golf course back in May, pleaded guilty last week in Circuit Court to theft and was sentenced to 90 days in jail.

Last May 3, Ocean City Police investigated a burglary and attempted theft at the Garden of Eden miniature golf course on 18th Street. The business had closed the night before around 10 p.m. and sometime during the late night or early morning hours, an unknown suspect had broken into a shed on the premises and ransacked the interior of the shed. A cash register had been opened and there were coins on the floor. In addition, the front of an ATM machine had been torn off and the suspect had tried to gain access to it.

Pry marks were observed on the ATM, and while no money had been stolen, the ATM had been damaged beyond repair. The damaged ATM was valued at $2,000. An OCPD Crime Scene Technician processed the site for evidence and recovered blood evidence on the ATM door and on the interior and exterior. DNA samples were collected from the blood evidence and submitted to the Maryland State Police Forensic Sciences Division for identification. The blood evidence collected from the ATM was then entered into a National DNA Index System for a possible match.

Last September, the OCPD crime scene technician received a report from the state police indicating the DNA matched the profile of a convicted offender identified as Alan Michael Stewart, 29, of West Ocean City. Stewart had been investigated for his possible involvement in the Garden of Eden incident back in May, along with other similar crimes that had been committed in the area between 15th and 18th Streets.

Forensics connected Stewart’s DNA evidence to the crime scene. He was arrested and charged with second-degree burglary, malicious destruction of property and theft. Last week, Stewart pleaded guilty to theft under $100 and was sentenced to 90 days in jail.

Boardwalk Assaulter Pleads Out

SNOW HILL — A Salisbury man, one of five arrested on various charges for a Boardwalk mugging last July, pleaded guilty last week in Circuit Court to possession of marijuana and was sentenced to 60 days in jail.

Around 1:45 a.m. on July 31, 2011, two OCPD officers working plainclothes detail on the Boardwalk in the area of 4th Street observed five suspects walking in a circle around a single victim. The officers observed the suspects yelling and pointing at the victim before one of the suspects took a Phillies baseball hat from the victim and kicked it across the Boardwalk.

The victim picked up his hat and continued to walk north on the Boardwalk, while the five suspects left the Boardwalk at 4th Street. The officers followed the suspects and observed one of them push a random victim into the roadway at 5th Street. One of the suspects, a juvenile, attempted to get the victim to fight by throwing his arms in the air and taking a fighting stance. The victim ignored the suspect and continued to walk south on the Boardwalk.

Meanwhile, other officers were investigating a reported robbery in the area of 4th Street. Items taken during the robbery included a red Phillies hat and a large necklace adorned with the letter “P,” which stood for Pittsburgh. The officers observing the five suspects from the earlier incident observed one of suspects, later identified as Khaizel Demarcus Nock, 18, of Salisbury, with a necklace matching the description at his feet and a red Phillies hat on his head.

The victims were brought to the scene and positively identified the hat and necklace as their property. The victims told police the five suspects surrounded them on the Boardwalk, shoved them to the ground and took the hat from one victim and the necklace from another. The victims told police they tried to be friendly with the suspects because they were afraid of them. They also exchanged phone numbers with the suspects so they could get their property back if they were willing to pay for them.

The five suspects, including Nock; Ryan Lee Mitchell, 19, of Salisbury; Shaquille Jones, 18, of Salisbury; Dabari Fisher, 24, of Cambridge; and a juvenile, were each arrested and charged with robbery, theft and second-degree assault.

Last week, Jones pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana and was sentenced to 60 days in jail. The assault and theft charges against him were dropped in exchange for the plea bargain. Earlier this spring, Nock pleaded guilty to theft and second-degree assault and was sentenced to 90 days in jail, all of which was suspended in favor of two years of probation and a $1,000 fine. Mitchell pleaded guilty to the same charges and was sentenced to 60 days in jail, which was suspended in favor of two years of probation and a $600 fine. Fisher pleaded guilty to affray and was sentenced to six months, all of which was suspended, and he was placed on probation for two years and fined $500.

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