Downtown Robbery Arrests
OCEAN CITY -- Ocean City Police arrested four individuals early Tuesday morning after bike officers witnessed an assault and robbery taking place in the downtown area.
Around 12:30 a.m. on Tuesday, OCPD officers on bicycle patrol in the area of 1st Street and Philadelphia Ave. witnessed found suspects including a juvenile involved in a robbery and assault. The four suspects, including Vaughn Jones, 19, Averee Robinson, 18, Larry Rascoe, 18, and a juvenile, all from Harrisburg, Pa., fled the area when they saw the OCPD officers approaching the scene.
After a brief pursuit, each of the suspects were located and placed under arrest for robbery, second-degree assault, theft and disorderly conduct. After being seen by a District Court Commissioner, Jones, Robinson and Rascoe were each being held on $25,000 bonds as of mid-week. The juvenile suspect was released to the custody of the Department of Juvenile Services
Arrests Made In Burglary Spree
OCEAN CITY -- Two Berlin residents were arrested last weekend on first-degree burglary and other charges last weekend after Ocean City police were able to connect them to a series of residential break-ins in the resort earlier this month.
The Ocean City Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division, in conjunction with the Patrol Division and with assistance from the Ocean Pines Police Department, earlier this month began investigating a series of burglaries at various locations throughout the resort during the early part of June. The investigation revealed the common link in the burglaries was that they were each serviced by the same property management company.
During the course of the investigation, detectives established a primary suspect, identified as Justin Mathew Caple, 23, of Berlin, after learning he was a new employee of the property management company who had access to the burglarized units. Based on information obtained during the investigation, detectives obtained arrest warrants for Caple and a known associate, identified as Lindsay Marie Lopez, 23, of Berlin.
Last Sunday, Caple and Lopez were located and arrested. Caple was charged with first-degree burglary and two counts of theft, while Lopez was charged with theft and rogue and vagabond. Each was seen by a District Court Commissioner and Caple was ordered held on a $25,000 bond. Lopez was released on her own recognizance.
OCPD Makes Burglary Arrest
OCEAN CITY -- An Ocean City man was arrested on burglary charges last week after resort police were able to connect him to a residential break-in in mid-May after finding several items reported stolen in his home.
On June 7, the OCPD arrested Alexander Ellis, 19, of Ocean City after connecting him to a burglary in the north end of town back on May 11. During the course of the investigation into several north-end burglaries, OCPD detectives developed Ellis as a suspect. OCPD officers served a search and seizure warrant on Ellis’ residence in regards to a separate incident when they discovered several items reported stolen in a burglary on May 11.
An arrested warrant was issued and Ellis was taken into custody. He has been charged with first-degree burglary, felony theft and malicious destruction of property. He was taken before a District Court Commissioner and was transferred to the Worcester County Jail without bond.
8th Drunk Driving Arrest
SALISBURY -- A Berlin man was arrested on drunk driving charges for the eighth time last weekend after running a red light and causing an accident on Route 50 near Salisbury.
Around 3 a.m. last Sunday, Maryland State Police troopers responded to a reported motor vehicle accident involving injuries in the area of Route 50 and Walston Switch Rd. The investigation revealed the victim and her four passengers were stopped at a red light on eastbound Route 50 when a 2002 Ford Explorer, driven by James Nibblett, 47, of Berlin, failed to stop and struck the victim’s vehicle from behind.
The victims suffered various minor injuries, but refused medical treatment and none were transported to the hospital. Meanwhile, troopers suspected Nibblett was under the influence and he was arrested after failing field sobriety tests. For Nibblett, it was his eighth arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol charges including two still pending in Wicomico County. He has also been arrested several times in Worcester County in and around Ocean City and West Ocean City over the years on drunk-driving related charges. For his previous and pending arrests, Nibblett was required to have an ignition interlock device on his vehicle, but there was not such device on the Ford Explorer he was driving at the time of the accident last Sunday.
Alleged “Molly” Dealer Busted
OCEAN CITY -- Ocean City police last week arrested a Columbia woman on drug distribution charges after undercover officers allegedly purchased MDMA, more commonly known as “Molly” from her in the downtown area.
Around 10:45 p.m. on June 8, Ocean City police officers were working an undercover detail in the area of 26th Street and Philadelphia when they struck up a drug-related conversation regarding the purchase of MDMA, or “Molly.” During the course of the conversation, OCPD detectives were informed of a woman who was selling Molly in the area earlier that day. Undercover detectives arranged to meet with the suspect, later identified as Seyeanen Lucia Gilman, 21, of Columbia, Md. that evening.
Around 12:20 a.m., OCPD officer met Gilman and purchased four capsules containing Molly with an estimated street value of $160. During a search of Gilman, Ocean City Police located several individually wrapped bags of marijuana. An OCPD K-9 scan of Gilman’s vehicle resulted in the seizure of $2,300.
Along with the charges for possession and distribution of “Molly,” Gilman was also charged with possession and possession with intent to distribute marijuana. Gilman was taken before a District Court Commissioner and was released after posting a $15,000 bond.
Nine Years For Bank Robber
SALISBURY -- A Lewes, Del. man this week was sentenced to nine years in prison in U.S. District Court for robbing two banks in Salisbury and a third in Seaford in 2009 and 2010.
Robert Joseph McLaughlin, 39, of Lewes, was sentenced on Monday to nine years in prison for the three bank robberies in Salisbury and Seaford. He was also placed on supervised probation for three years following his release and was ordered to pay $7,448 in restitution to the three banks he victimized.
According to his plea agreement, on December 9, 2009, McLaughlin entered the Citizens Bank in Seaford and demanded the tellers fill a plastic bag he brought with him with money. The tellers filled the bag with $1,673 and dye packs. McLaughlin took the bag of money, removed the dye packs and fled the bank.
On Feb. 27, 2010, McLaughlin entered the Shore Bank in Salisbury, patted his pockets and mumbled he forgot something. A short while later, he returned, having changed his clothes and was wearing glasses and a baseball cap. He showed the teller a note demanding money and the teller handed over $3,990 from her bank drawer. McLaughlin took the money, wrapped it in his note and fled on foot. On August 3, 2010, McLaughlin entered the Farmer’s Bank in Willards, produced a note demanding money and fled with $1,785.
U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein, who prosecuted the case, commended the FBI, Salisbury Police, the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office, the Wicomico County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Ocean City Police Department and the Seaford Police Department for their work in the investigation and prosecution.
Dewey Beach Murder Investigation
DEWEY BEACH- Just one day after a Pennsylvania woman was found murdered in a Dewey Beach motel room, the main suspect in the case was found dead in a motel room in New Jersey.
On Monday morning, an employee at the Atlantic Oceanside Motel in Dewey Beach entered a ground floor room and found a female victim, later identified as Danielle Mehlman, 26, of Bensalem, Pa., on the floor, the victim of an apparent homicide. A knife was found on the floor near the victim’s body. It was reportedly the first homicide in Dewey Beach history.
By Tuesday morning, Delaware State Police had identified a possible suspect identified as Pawan Kumar, 26, of Wilmington. Photographs of Kumar were circulated throughout the media across Lower Delaware and the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland as the investigation continued.
However, by late Tuesday afternoon, Delaware State Police investigators were informed Kumar had been found dead in a motel room in Bellville, N.J. The Essex County N.J. prosecutor’s officer informed Delaware State Police that Kumar had been found deceased in a motel room. Meanwhile, the investigation into Mehlman’s murder continued late this week.
More “Tipsy Taxi” Cases Clear Court
SNOW HILL -- More cases were heard in Worcester County Circuit Court last week stemming from arrests made this winter during the Ocean City’s Police Department’s Operation Sand Dollar, which involved an undercover officer posing as the owner and operator of a cab company in and around the resort area.
In February, the OCPD announced a two-year undercover initiative titled Operation Sand Dollar had culminated in grand jury indictments for 34 suspects resulting in 119 total counts including 91 distribution charges and 28 conspiracy to distribute charges. During the operation targeting drug trafficking in the resort area, an undercover narcotics officer posed as a cab driver to infiltrate Ocean City’s shadowy social circles.
During the operation, which included cooperation from allied law enforcement agencies along with the state’s attorney’s office, the officer turned cab driver made some buys and sells out of the taxi, but also established connections that led to further indictments. With the cooperation of the city, the department was able to set up a legitimate can complete with one of Ocean City’s limited taxi medallions operating as the “Tipsy Taxi.”
Throughout the prosecution phase, the ongoing cases have shown a vast disparity in the charges and the ultimate outcomes. Most have cleared the courts already with varying outcomes from acquittals to lengthy sentences depending on a variety of factors including the prior records of the defendants. Last week, a few more “Tipsy Taxi” cases were heard in Worcester County Circuit Court.
For example, Guy Erbe, 52, of Ocean Pines, last week was found guilty of distribution of cocaine and was sentenced to four years in jail, all but one year of which was suspended. He was also fined $500 and placed on probation for two years.
Also last week, Mary Baker, 55, of Ocean City, pleaded guilty to distribution of oxycodone and was sentenced to three years in jail, all but 18 months of which were suspended. Baker was placed on probation for three years and fined $500. Another “Tipsy Taxi” defendant, Ronald Alimo, 51, of Ocean City, was acquitted of all of the charges against him.