OCEAN CITY — Throughout the course of each year, hundreds of criminals are arrested and prosecuted in the resort area for a wide variety of offenses, ranging from the gravely serious to the downright silly, and 2012 was no exception.
Crime is rarely funny and often tragic, but there are those occasions when the perpetrators’ actions are just so ridiculous, they make for perfect “Cops and Courts” fodder and lively water cooler talk throughout the area.
The following is a quick look at some of the highlights from 2012.
Smoking Weed Outside Police Station
Three Pennsylvania men were arrested on drug charges in June after getting caught smoking marijuana in the parking lot of Ocean City Police headquarters in the Public Safety Building.
OCPD officers were in the parking lot of the Public Safety Building in the process of a shift change when they observed a vehicle with the windows down and three men in and around it. As officers passed the men, later identified as Vance Embry, 19; Wayne Jelinek, 19; and Julian Jordano, 19, all of Cranberry, Pa., they noticed the strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle.
The officers ordered the three men to exit the vehicle. A subsequent search of the vehicle turned up several bags of marijuana, paraphernalia and dextroamphetamine, a schedule I controlled dangerous substance. Embry was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and three counts of paraphernalia. Jelinek and Jordano were charged with possession of dextroamphetamine.
Drunk Fights With Cops, Then Urinates On Sign
In January, a Salisbury man was arrested on assault and other charges after scrapping with Maryland State Police troopers and later urinating on a sign at the Berlin MSP barrack after the arrest of an acquaintance on drunk-driving charges.
MSP troopers made a DWI arrest and offered a ride to the suspect’s passenger, identified as Colby Wolfensberger to the Berlin barrack to wait for a ride home. While waiting for a ride, Wolfensberger allegedly became combative, cursing civilians and MSP troopers who were coming and going from the barrack.
At one point, troopers feared Wolfensberger was damaging police cruisers in the parking lot. Troopers exited the barrack and found that Wolfensberger had wandered close to Route 50 and was in danger of being struck by passing vehicles. At that point, Wolfensberger allegedly kicked the MSP Berlin barrack sign before urinating on it. As troopers approached him, Wolfensberger allegedly began to swing at the officers. A struggle ensued and Wolfensberger was eventually subdued. He was arrested and charged with second-degree assault on a police officer, malicious destruction of property and resisting arrest.
Sex Shop Break-In
Also in January, a Sykesville, Md. man was arrested on burglary, theft and other charges after admitting to breaking into a West Ocean City adult store.
The store’s video surveillance tape showed the suspect first attempting to break the store’s front door with a garden hose in the area. When that attempt failed, the suspect then picked up a cinderblock nearby and attempted to throw it through the front door, but the block broke and the suspect’s second attempt to gain entry failed. Finally, the suspect kicked the store’s front door several times, causing the glass to break.
During the break-in, the suspect was cut and DNA evidence was collected from the scene. Using analysis of video surveillance tapes and DNA evidence, the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) was able to identify the suspect as William Charles Pfister, 21, of Sykesville. When questioned about the burglary, Pfister admitted breaking into the adult store and stealing a sex toy valued at $99.
Phony Armed Robbery Story Results In Arrest
In May, a Pennsylvania man was arrested for making a false report to police last week after cooking up a phony robbery story when discovered walking down the street in only his boxer shorts.
Around 3:43 a.m. on May 12, Ocean City Police observed an intoxicated man later identified as Alexander Kerr, 22, of Downingtown, Pa., walking in the area of 10th Street and Wilmington Lane wearing only boxer shorts. Kerr told police he had just been robbed at gunpoint by a white male wearing a hooded sweatshirt during which all of his possessions including his clothes had been stolen. OCPD officers, including uniformed and plain clothes officers along with a K-9 unit, searched in vain for an armed suspect, a search made more difficult because the victim could not articulate the exact location of the incident because of his intoxicated state.
During the subsequent investigation, OCPD detectives met with Kerr at his hotel room. During the interview, police officers observed several of the items Kerr reported stolen in the hotel room. Kerr later admitted he had gotten very intoxicated and fell in the bay. Kerr said he removed his wet clothes, which he later recovered, and admitted making up the armed robbery story because he thought he would get in trouble for just wearing boxer shorts in public. After a total of eight hours of investigative time was spend on the phony armed robbery story, Ocean City Police charged Kerr with making a false report to police officers.
Naked Guy Scraps With Cop
In June, a Montgomery Village, Md. man was arrested on indecent exposure and assault charges after first running around completely naked in the dunes near a crowded beach before struggling with officers attempting to arrest him.
An OCPD officer responded to the area of 140th Street and Wight Street for a report of a completely nude man in the public dune area. Upon arrival, the officer observed a suspect, later identified as Brendan P. O’Hare, 36, of Montgomery Village, Md., who was completely naked and was running around flailing his arms while yelling and chasing another individual.
The officer noted in his report several concerned citizens including men and women had gathered and were watching O’Hare’s disorderly conduct. The officer attempted to arrest O’Hare for indecent exposure and disorderly conduct and grabbed his left arm, but the suspect resisted and struck the officer in the chest with his right hand and arm in an attempt to get away.
After a brief struggle, the officer was able to handcuff O’Hare. However, the suspect continued to kick and attempt to get away from the officer. According to the police report, O’Hare continually referred to himself as Jesus and God throughout the incident and appeared to be intoxicated from some substance. He was charged with indecent exposure, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and second-degree assault on the officer.
Arrested Twice In Same Day
Also in June, a Delmar woman was arrested twice in the span of a few hours after first wandering while intoxicated along Route 611 and later fighting with a friend who came to pick her up from jail.
Worcester County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to the area around Route 611 and Sunset Ave. for a reported intoxicated person. The reports indicated an intoxicated person had wandered into Route 611 and was lying in the roadway. When deputies arrived, they met with the individual, later identified as Karen Pledger, 32, of Delmar, who was very intoxicated and belligerent, according to police reports.
Pledger was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and was taken to the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office in Snow Hill. Pledger was processed on the disorderly conduct charge and was released to the care and custody of a male friend, who had come to the sheriff’s office to give her a ride home. Pledger than became irate with the male and began to throw pieces of paper, and eventually a pen, at him.
Pledger was then arrested again for assault in the parking lot of the sheriff’s office. She resisted arrest and that charged was also tacked on.
In July, a Salisbury woman was shot in the leg when her spouse accidentally fired a handgun in a case later deemed unintentional.
Salisbury Police officers responded to the emergency room at PRMC for a report of a female individual being treated for a gunshot wound. Detectives learned from the victim she was seated in the living room of her residence on Bayshore Court and her spouse was in an adjoining room removing papers from a security box, which also contained the spouse’s personal firearm.
The spouse went to unload the firearm, a .38 Special revolver, and in doing so unintentionally fired a round that went through a door, a wall and an entertainment center before striking the victim in the lower left leg. The victim was transported to PRMC by her spouse. After interviewing the victim, her spouse, the ER physician and meeting with the crime scene investigator, detectives determined the firing of the weapon was unintentional.
Guard Stand Carried From Beach
Two Maryland men were arrested in July on vandalism charges after carrying an Ocean City Beach Patrol lifeguard stand from the beach to Coastal Highway.
Ocean City Police responded to the area of 139th Street for a report of disorderly conduct and the possible theft of a lifeguard chair. Upon arrival, officers located a lifeguard chair near the bus lane on the northbound side of Coastal Highway. Witnesses at the scene told police they saw five men carrying the lifeguard stand from the beach and setting it in the roadway.
According to witnesses, three of the suspects fled the area when police arrived, but the other two suspects, later identified as Matthew Winemiller, 24, of Whiteford, Md., and Michael Albert, 24, of Port Deposit, Md., were located by police in the area of 138th Street. Winemiller and Whiteford were arrested and charged with theft and disorderly conduct.
Robbery Story Covers Casino Loss
A Pennsylvania woman was charged in August with making a false report to a police officer after making up a phony story about being attacked and robbed in a West Ocean City shopping center parking lot because she was embarrassed and afraid to tell her husband she had lost the money at the Casino at Ocean Downs.
The woman, later identified as Roxanne Mae Donnelly, 57, of Lancaster, Pa., walked into a jewelry store in the Tanger Outlets in West Ocean City and claimed she had been attacked in the parking lot. Police officers from the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, the Maryland State Police and the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) responded and began to search the area for a possible suspect.
Detectives from the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) arrived and spoke with Donnelly, who claimed she had been attacked from behind, physically assaulted and robbed of the $250 that had been in her handbag. After speaking with Donnelly, it became apparent to detectives her story did not make sense.
A check with the Casino at Ocean Downs revealed Donnelly had spent the exact amount she had reported stolen just prior to the time she claimed she had been attacked. When confronted, Donnelly admitted she had invented the story because she was embarrassed to tell her husband she had spent all their money.