SNOW HILL — An Ocean City man arrested in July in connection with a strong-armed robbery of a West Ocean City store along with other crimes pleaded guilty this week in Worcester County Circuit Court and was sentenced to a combined 25 years in jail.
Around 4 p.m. on July 3, Worcester County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the Cholula authentic Mexican store on Route 611 in West Ocean City for a reported strong-armed robbery. Deputies met with the store clerk, who told them a man later identified as Kenneth Mearle Larkin, 34, of Ocean City, entered the store and inquired about cell phones for sale.
When the clerk showed Larkin a pre-paid cell phone for sale, he said he did not want it and instead grabbed a bottle of soft drink from a cooler and put it on the counter as if ready to pay for it. As the clerk was preparing to complete the sale, Larkin attempted to walk behind the counter. The victim blocked Larkin, who then pushed the clerk to the floor and grabbed a PNC Bank bag with an undisclosed amount of cash from behind the counter.
Larkin then fled the store on foot and was not immediately located. The clerk said Larkin had been in the store before to cash checks. The victim reviewed earlier transactions and positively identified Larkin as the suspect in the strong-armed robbery. Based on the investigation, an arrest warrant was obtained for Larkin, charging him with robbery, theft and second-degree assault.
The search for Larkin continued throughout the weekend. Four days later, Larkin was apprehended in Baltimore by the Capital Area Regional Task Force. He was taken into custody and extradited to Worcester County where he was taken before a District Court Commissioner and was ordered to be held without bond.
Larkin was charged with robbery, theft and second-degree assault for the July 3 incident in West Ocean City and was also charged with theft and forgery of private documents from cashing of checks at the store dating back to June 20.
On Monday, Larkin pleaded guilty to robbery for the West Ocean City store incident and was sentenced to 15 years in jail. He will be required to serve at least 50 percent of that sentence. Also on Monday, Larkin pleaded guilty to theft from $10,000 to under $100,000 for the June check-cashing and forgery schemes and was sentenced to an additional 10 years in jail.