OCEAN CITY — A vigilant citizen observing a group of suspicious individuals peeking in houses in the area of Teal Drive on Sunday afternoon led to the capture of five suspects wanted in connection with a spree of motor vehicle thefts and burglaries.
Around 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Ocean City Police were dispatched to the area of Teal Drive after a vigilant resident told a Public Safety Aide working an Ocean City Air Show traffic detail he had seen three suspicious individuals peering into area homes. Upon arrival, the officers located a vehicle in which the resident believed the suspects were traveling. The investigation revealed the vehicle had been reported stolen in Montgomery County.
OCPD officers quickly located three suspicious individuals who were seen exiting the vehicle and each was arrested for theft of a motor vehicle. Those suspects were identified as Christopher Bussey, 25, Dominique Burton, 19, and Shinecia Mercer, 19, all of Washington, D.C. An investigator with the Ocean City Fire Marshal’s Office also assisted and located and arrested a fourth suspect in the area of 20th Street and Philadelphia Ave., identified as Heather Haire, 25, of Washington D.C., who was linked to the theft of the motor vehicle.
While officers were still on the scene at Teal Drive, two residents reported burglaries of their homes and the loss of electronics, jewelry and other items totaling roughly $60,000. Many of the items were recovered in the stolen vehicle, in the suspects’ possession or had been discarded by the suspects. During that investigation, OCPD officers developed a fifth suspect and had still not recovered some of the property stolen during the burglaries.
Around 6:40 p.m., OCPD officers responded to the area of 32nd Street and Baltimore Ave. for a report of a stolen vehicle. Believing the stolen vehicle at 32nd Street could be related to the earlier recovery of a stolen vehicle and the burglaries on Teal Drive, OCPD officers broadcasted lookouts for the fifth suspect and the stolen vehicle to surrounding jurisdictions.
Around 9 p.m., OCPD detectives learned the Maryland State Police and Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office were involved in a vehicle pursuit near Hebron just west of Salisbury involving the vehicle reported stolen from the 32nd Street area. The pursuit ended with a single-vehicle crash. The driver was transported to PRMC with injuries not believed to be life threatening.
According to a Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office release, a deputy attempted to stop the vehicle that had run a red light and reached speeds of 120 mph in a 35 mph zone. Instead of stopping, however, the driver, identified as Joshua Robinson-Gripper, 22, of Washington, D.C., continued to run through red traffic signals and even went westbound on the eastbound lanes for a brief period.
Traffic stopped at Naylor Mill Rd. forced Robinson-Gripper off the road and the vehicle crashed into a guardrail. Believing the pursuit had ended, the deputy exited his vehicle and approached what he believed was a disabled vehicle. However, Robinson-Gripper again drove away, dragging the vehicle’s rear and front bumpers. Robinson-Gripper drove west on the eastbound lanes of Route 50 before crashing into a dirt embankment near Hebron that permanently disabled the vehicle.
Inside the crashed vehicle stolen from the 32nd Street area, OCPD detectives recovered electronics and jewelry stolen during the burglaries on Teal Drive. All five suspects were charged with multiple theft and burglary charges.