WEST OCEAN CITY — The Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office last week busted a large unauthorized party at an unlicensed commercial property just off Route 50 in West Ocean City.
Around 1 a.m. last Saturday, the Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office was requested by the county Sheriff’s Department to investigate a large party going on in a commercial property on Route 50 in West Ocean City occupied by a business called “Get Gnarly.” Worcester County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Maryland State Police troopers responded and observed as many as 100 people partying inside the building with a DJ and alcohol present.
The county fire marshal’s office determined the building was being leased by “Get Gnarly,” which was utilizing the space without a certificate of occupancy. Inside the commercial space, sheriff’s deputies found a large skateboard ramp, a hot tub, permanent seating areas and a second-floor sleeping area that had been constructed without any permits or inspections.
The owner of the building, the Mariani Development Corporation, was ordered to immediately cease and desist all operations and remove all constructed structures inside the unit until a permit was obtained and inspections were performed by all county departments. It was determined by county officials the space was not zoned or authorized for such a use. Subsequent on-line research and a search of Internet social networks revealed the site had been used for several similar large parties over the last year.
Missing Kayakers Rescued
BERLIN — Four kayakers missing on the Pocomoke River late Tuesday evening were located just before darkness fell with the help of the Maryland State Police helicopter.
Around 8:20 p.m. on Tuesday, the statewide helicopter dispatch center received a request from the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office for the use of a helicopter to assist in the search for four lost kayakers on the Pocomoke River. Maryland State Police Trooper 4, based out of the airport in Salisbury, was dispatched to assist, and while en route coordinated with Worcester County Sheriff’s Office personnel conducting the search on the ground.
A sheriff’s deputy in the area was able to communicate with the lost kayakers via cell phone and narrowed the search area. The flight crew on Trooper 4 was able to quickly locate the victims, identified as only two males and two females, who had built a campfire for warmth in the heavily forested area.
By utilizing its 30 million candle power NightSun, the Trooper 4 crew provided lighting on the victims and was able to direct a deputy to the lost victims. Trooper 4 remained overhead and provided directional guidance and situational awareness as the victims were transported to the main road where a medical unit was standing by to evaluate their condition. The rescued victims were later released by the EMS crew.
SNOW HILL — A Dagsboro, Del. woman, indicted in December on 15 counts of theft and theft scheme after allegedly bilking an Ocean City condominium association out of tens of thousands of dollars while serving as the association’s bookkeeper, was cleared of all of the charges this week in Worcester County Circuit Court.
Last December, Carolyn H. Miller, 51, was indicted on 15 total counts including theft scheme over $10,000 and under $100,000 after the property management company hired to replace her by the Marlin Cove condominium and time-share complex in Ocean City discovered several “irregularities” in the association’s bookkeeping over a three-year period from 2008 to 2010, totaling as much as $75,000.
When Marlin Cove fired Miller and replaced her with Ocean Point Ltd., a reputable property management company in the resort area, the new management firm discovered several alleged improprieties or irregularities in the books. Specifically, it was discovered Miller had not paid the association’s Ocean City real estate taxes in 2009, nor any of the association’s local, state and federal taxes in 2010, despite the fact the unit owners had paid the requisite funds.
Upon closer inspection, Ocean Point discovered other alleged improprieties at best, and thefts at worst, in the Marlin Cove’s finances, suggesting there was something larger afoot then the unpaid taxes. The first major clue something was amiss came in early 2010 when one or two of the Marlin Cove’s units went up for tax sale, essentially meaning they were being offered for sale for not paying state or federal property tax. The discovery of the units being offered for tax sale triggered the probe into why the taxes were not paid.
Once the unpaid taxes and other irregularities in the books had been discovered, the Marlin Cove association and its Board of Directors sought criminal charges against Miller. After a comprehensive forensic investigation confirmed the missing money, the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office indicted Miller on 15 total counts of theft and theft scheme.
The first count alleged Miller, “pursuant to one scheme and continuing course of conduct did steal U.S. currency of Marlin Cove Owners Time Share Association, having a value of at least $10,000 but less than $100,000,” between Jan. 1, 2008 and Sept. 30, 2010. Miller faced six other felony theft scheme counts from $1,000 to $10,000 with a variety of date ranges over the same basic time period, each carrying a penalty of 10 years in jail and/or a $10,000 fine. There were also eight individual theft charges for specific dates with alleged totals ranging from $125 to $776.
On Monday, Miller appeared in Worcester County Circuit Court for trial, but each of the 15 counts against her were dismissed.
Two Arrested After Stabbing
SALISBURY — Two Salisbury women were arrested on assault and other serious charges last week after one allegedly stabbed the other.
Around 7 p.m. last Friday, Salisbury Police responded to Sandi’s One Stop on West Main Street for a reported stabbing. Upon arrival, Police located a victim identified as Yolanda Briddell, 45, of Salisbury, who had suffered several puncture wounds to her body. Briddell told police she had been assaulted by another woman identified as Beneatha Stephens, 52, also of Salisbury.
While paramedics were en route and with Salisbury Police present, Briddell attempted to attack Stephens, who had injuries of her own from the earlier altercation including a bite wound on her arm. When Salisbury Police attempted to restrain Briddell, the victim turned suspect struck one officer in the head with a closed fist and bit a second officer on the arm. Both Briddell and Stephens were arrested on multiple counts of first- and second-degree assault.
Indecent Exposer Fined
OCEAN CITY — A Salisbury man arrested in Ocean City last August after resort police discovered him knocking on motel doors while naked pleaded guilty this week in District Court to possession of oxymorphone and was fined $1,000.
Around 4:45 a.m. last Aug. 19, OCPD officers responded to the Sea Cove Motel on 27th Street for a report of a disorderly individual knocking on unit doors. An OCPD officer arrived on the scene and as he exited his vehicle, he heard someone punching or pounding something on the second floor. As the officer climbed the stairs to the second floor, he reportedly heard someone pounding on a door while mumbling.
The officer was able to locate the source of the pounding, which was growing louder, according to police reports. When the officer reached the unit in question, he encountered an individual, later identified as Matthew Jay Cline, 28, of Salisbury, who was completely naked with his back to the officer. Cline reportedly continued to pound on the door for two more minutes before the officer announced his presence.
Cline then turned around, providing the officer with a full, frontal nudity view of the suspect. Cline was ordered to the ground and was handcuffed before the officer help him put back on his clothes, which were about 20 feet away from the door he was banging on.
A search of Cline revealed 15 pills later identified as oxymorphone in the suspect’s pants pocket. When asked what the pills were for, Cline allegedly told the police they were “opana” and that they had been prescribed to him. When asked why they were loose in his pocket, Cline told police they were easier to carry that way. Police also found nearly $500 in cash on the suspect, but he denied any involvement with dealing drugs.
Cline was also found to have cuts and bruises on his face, including his left eye, which was swollen shut. When asked about his injuries, Cline told police he had been involved in an assault earlier and had already dealt with Ocean City Police for that incident. Cline was arrested and charged with indecent exposure and possession of CDS. This week in District Court, Cline pleaded guilty to possession of CDS and was fined $1,000.
OCPD Mourns Loss of K-9 Indy
OCEAN CITY — The Ocean City Police Department this week is mourning the loss of veteran K-9, Indy, who passed away two weeks ago.
Indy, who retired from the department in September 2009, came to the OCPD from Holland, at which time he became the dedicated and faithful partner to Sgt. Ronnie Townsend. Indy joined the OCPD in 2004, and spent hundreds of hours training in the Patrol-Narcotics Division. During his time on patrol, Indy assisted in the apprehension of dozens of illegal narcotics. In addition, Indy had close to 500 deployments over his career. One of the biggest professional accomplishments came when he found a kilo of cocaine in a vehicle.
“He loved his job and he loved serving the Ocean City community,” said Townsend. “He was the most loyal, hard-working and dedicated partner I could have ever asked for.”
When Indy was not working the road, he often participated in demonstrations for the Ocean City community. He enjoyed being involved in the town of Ocean City’s Bonfires on the Beach, National Night Out, the Citizen’s Police Academy, the Mayor’s Open House and the July 4th Jamboree. Along with the seizure of drugs, Indy is responsible for an estimated $15,000 in U.S. currency seizures.
“Indy was a great partner and an even better family pet,” said Townsend. “He will be remembered for his hard work and loyalty to the Ocean City Polie Department, but also as a member of my family. He will always be loved by us.”