Violent Predator Nabbed

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BERLIN — A violent sexual predator and fugitive from justice in Virginia was apprehended while riding a moped on Route 90 near Route 589 on Saturday afternoon.

Around 2:15 p.m. on Saturday, a Maryland State Police trooper initiated a traffic stop on a moped on Route 90 in the area of Route 589 near Ocean Pines. The suspect, later identified as Larry Wayne Gregory, 46, of Fredericksburg, Va., gave the officer several false names before his identity was ascertained.

The investigation revealed Gregory was a registered violent sex offender and fugitive from justice in Virginia. The investigation also determined Gregory had been living and working in the area since April after removing his court-ordered ankle bracelet, including a GPS tracking device and fleeing from Fredericksburg.

Virginia State Police advised Maryland State Police that Gregory was homeless and failed to register when he went missing in April. Virginia State Police searched for Gregory at various homeless shelters in the Fredericksburg area and placed a fugitive warrant on the suspect when he was not located.

On Monday, the Maryland State Police contacted the Virginia State Police sex offender unit and the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office sex offender unit in reference to additional charges on Gregory for failing to register as a sex offender in Maryland. Gregory was taken before a District Court Commissioner and was ordered to be held in Worcester County without bond pending an extradition hearing.

Police Officer Assaulted

BERLIN — A Berlin man was arrested on various charges last week after allegedly assaulting two individuals and then a Berlin Police officer before attempting to escape while being transferred to the Worcester County Jail.

Shortly before 5 p.m. last Thursday, Berlin Police responded to a residence on Maple Ave. for a reported assault. When officers arrived, the suspect, later identified as Kenneth Foreman, 23, of Berlin, fled on foot. With the assistance of Worcester County Sheriff’s Deputies, Foreman was located after a foot chase and was placed under arrest.

After being transported to the police station in Berlin, Foreman allegedly assaulted a Berlin Police officer. The officer was transported to AGH for treatment of minor injuries and was released. Foreman is also accused of assaulting a male and female victim at the residence on Maple Ave.

Foreman was taken before District Court Commissioner and was ordered held on a $10,000 bond. After leaving the District Court Commissioner’s Office, Foreman allegedly attempted to escape from custody but was quickly apprehended. It was later determined Foreman had been using an alias during the booking process.

Body Recovered In Bethany

SOUTH BETHANY — Delaware State Police this week are investigating the discovery of the body of an elderly South Bethany woman found floating in the ocean early Tuesday morning.

Around 6:20 a.m. on Tuesday, the South Bethany Police Department was dispatched to the area of South Ocean Drive for a reported body discovered floating in the ocean. A witness, who had been taking an early morning walk on the beach, observed the body floating in the ocean and called police.

The body was later identified as Graciela Huegel, 71, of South Bethany. Huegel was last seen around 3 a.m. on Tuesday by her husband, who told police she had left the residence to take a walk. The body was retrieved from the ocean and transported to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Georgetown where an autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death. According to Delaware State Police, foul play is not suspected and the investigation is ongoing.

Alleged Drug Money Seized

SNOW HILL — The Maryland State Police last week seized over $11,000 in U.S. currency believed to be connected to illegal drug activity following a routine traffic stop in the south end of Worcester County.

Around 12:40 p.m. last Wednesday, a Maryland State Police trooper patrolling the south end of Worcester near the Virginia line stopped a vehicle with New York tags for speeding and following another vehicle too closely. When the trooper approached the driver, later identified as Kenrick Nairne, 41, of Brooklyn, N.Y., and the passenger, identified as William Tilley, 42, also of Brooklyn, he detected the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle.

A subsequent search of the vehicle was conducted and a duffle bag containing $11,575 in U.S. currency was found in the back of the van. Because of the totality of the circumstances, the MSP trooper seized the money because it is believed to have been the proceeds of criminal activity.

Tragic Gun Accident

WILLARDS — Tragedy struck late last week when an accidental shooting at a residence in Willards resulted in the death of a 12-year-old girl.

Around 3 p.m. last Friday, Wicomico County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a residence on State Street in Willards for a reported shooting. On arrival, deputies discovered 12-year-old Taylor Lewis with a gunshot wound to the head. Lewis was taken to PRMC where she was pronounced dead.

The preliminary investigation revealed a 13-year-old boy, already with his arm in a sling from an earlier collarbone injury, was carrying a 22-caliber rifle when the weapon accidentally discharged and shot the victim. The Wicomico Bureau of Investigation (WBI) interviewed the boy, whose version of the events was corroborated by the physical evidence in the case.

The 13-year-old boy reportedly used the rifle for hunting and had completed a hunter’s safety course. The investigation is ongoing, but no charges have been filed nor are any charges expected to be filed in the incident deemed a tragic accident.

Sex Offender Grant

SNOW HILL — The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office this week secured an $8,510 grant from the state which will be used to support its sex offender registry program.

The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office applied for and received the $8,510 grant from the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention. The grant will help fund the sheriff’s office monitoring support compliance of local sex offenders who are required to register or re-register with the Maryland Sex Offender Registry.

The program benefits Worcester by ensuring sex offenders are in full compliance as required by Maryland law and also provides reassurance to county residents. The grant funds will be used to support the two part-time deputies who have done outstanding work in keeping track of multiple offenders in Worcester County, according to Sheriff Reggie Mason.

Guilty Plea Leads To Jail

OCEAN CITY — An Ocean City man, who was behind the wheel during one of the first pedestrian-vehicle collisions of the year in April, pleaded guilty this week to driving on a suspended license and was sentenced to 60 days in jail, but could face more time after the guilty plea triggered a violation of the conditions of a probation for an arson in the downtown area in 2010.

John Edward Cropper, 47, of Ocean City, pleaded guilty in District Court on Tuesday to driving while suspended and was sentenced to 60 days in jail. Cropper was driving the vehicle that struck a Pennsylvania man attempting to cross Coastal Highway at 81st Street in April, the first of several pedestrian collisions this year.

Cropper was not charged with any violations related to the collision with the pedestrian nor was he suspected of driving under the influence, but he was found to be driving on a suspended or revoked license. The guilty plea on Tuesday and the subsequent 60-day sentence triggered a violation of Cropper’s probation for an arson conviction in Ocean City dating back to March 2010.

Cropper, the notorious Ocean City arsonist who over 20 years ago went on a burning spree throughout the resort causing millions of dollars in damages, was arrested in March 2010 after resort police were able to connect him to an attempted arson at the now-defunct Cropper Concrete Plant along the bay at 1st Street.

On March 28, 2010, OCPD officers on patrol in the area of 1st Street detected the odor of something burning. They entered the concrete plant property through an unsecured gate and located two small fires inside a brick office building. The officers were able to quickly extinguish the fires and began to search around the property. During the search, they observed Cropper walking back and forth on the sidewalk adjacent to the property.

The deputy entered the structure and quickly noticed the strong odor of a flammable liquid in the area where the fires were extinguished. When the fire detective interviewed Cropper, who had been detained by police on the scene, he noticed a strong odor of a flammable liquid on his person consistent with the odor he discovered at the scene of the fire.

Cropper then allegedly told the detective he had nothing to do with the fire, which perplexed the detective because he had never said anything about investigating a fire. The detectives said he knew all about Cropper’s “history” and his prior convictions, but the suspect continued to deny any involvement in the two fires in the office building. He was arrested and charged with second-degree arson, malicious destruction of property.

In January 2011, Cropper was found guilty of second-degree arson and was sentenced to 10 years in jail, all but 18 months of which were suspended. However, his conviction this week on the driving while suspended charge triggered a violation of his probation and a VOP hearing has been set for today.

Scooter Stabber Arrested

SALISBURY — A Salisbury woman was arrested on first-degree assault and other charges after allegedly attempting to stab a man with a knife pulled from the scooter she was riding.

Around 11 a.m. on Monday, Salisbury Police responded to the Claiborne Street area for a reported assault with a knife. The victim told police he was talking to a woman on a scooter when the two became involved in an argument. The suspect, later identified as Maxine Gary, 54, of Salisbury, removed a knife from the scooter and attempted to stab the victim.

The victim was able to flee and escaped injury. The victim provided information about Gary, who was located a short time later and taken into custody. Gary has been charged with first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and carrying a dangerous weapon with intent to injure.

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