Cops & Courts For the week of March 16th 2007

Under Cover Sting

Nets Two Arrests

OCEAN CITY – By the time an Annapolis man realized he was selling cocaine to an undercover OCPD narcotics officer, it was too late.

Michael Stellabotte, 20, of Annapolis, arranged to meet the narcotics detective behind the 59th Street 7-Eleven store last week. When Stellabotte pulled up to the store, the officers were waiting for him. Stellabotte and another passenger in the vehicle, Robert Witten, 21, also of Annapolis, were immediately taken into custody.

When officers searched the vehicle, they discovered 33 individually wrapped baggies of powder cocaine. The total weight was around three and a half ounces, with a street value of approximately $10,000.

Both men were charged with possession of cocaine and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. Stellabotte was held on $100,000 bond, and Witten was held on $25,000 bond.


Nine City Benches

Stolen From Boardwalk

OCEAN CITY – There is a saying that says, “If it’s not bolted down someone will take it,” and sure enough that is the case with nine city benches that were recently stolen between Jan. 1 and March 1.

The benches, valued at $1,375 each, were taken from the Boardwalk between 2nd and 4th streets, as well as Dorchester Street and 27th Street. According to a press release, the benches are made of wood grain looking PVC slats and white iron legs, each of which is stamped with “Victor Stanley Company.”

Otherwise, the benches are generic and carry no other markings or serial numbers. Anyone with information on the benches is urged to contact the Ocean City Police Department.


Man Assaults Officers

After Traffic Stop

OCEAN CITY – A Pennsylvania man was arrested Saturday evening after police found him to be under the influence while operating his vehicle. Things only got worse for him when he began resisting officers after failing several field sobriety tests.

It was approximately 10:30 p.m. when OCPD Officer Sara Dorsey responded to a traffic stop at 98th Street to assist Officer Natalie Smolko. According to police reports, Smolko told Dorsey he pulled the subject over for swerving into a nearby lane, nearly hitting another car. Smolko also told Dorsey the subject smelled of alcohol and had admitted he had been drinking.
Dorsey identified the driver as Charles Joseph Rappa, 47, of Landenberg, Pa. Rappa admitted he had been at an area bar for a couple hours and had consumed two drinks. After speaking with the subject a bit longer, Dorsey also observed Rappa slurred his speech and his eyes were glassy and bloodshot, all signs of intoxication.
Dorsey then asked Rappa to recite his alphabet starting at D and ending at T, something he was unable to accomplish successfully after he made a few mistakes and soon passed the letter T, saying, "I don’t know where you wanted me to stop," according to police reports.
He was then asked to count backwards from 75 and stop at 57, something Rappa said he was unable to do. However, after the officer asked why he couldn’t do that, he tried anyway, doing so perfectly until he went down to 47 instead and was finally told to stop. Rappa went on to fail a few other field sobriety tasks as well.
Rappa was then told he was being placed under arrest and was handcuffed behind his back. According to police reports, Rappa then began to complain about the handcuffs and became uncooperative when police began to search him. Only when Dorsey removed Rappa’s cell phone did he turn violent, kicking and shouting despite the officer’s orders to calm down.
He continued to resist and was restrained on the sidewalk with the assistance of Smolko, however Rappa went on kicking, striking both officers and using his hands to grab onto anything he could find, including the officers themselves. Additional assistance was then called for and Rappa was placed in a violent person restraining device and transported by paddy wagon.
According to OCPD Officer Shawn Beach, Rappa was not done just yet. When Dorsey arrived to process Rappa, another officer told her Rappa had attempted to knee him in the crotch and kicked a chair into a cabinet, denting and scuffing it. He was then read his Miranda rights, all the while shouting, and refused to submit to a Breathalyzer test. 

Six Months Jail Time

For Stolen Necklace

OCEAN CITY – An Essex man is facing six months in jail after he plead guilty to theft Monday in District Court following his arrest back in September where he has been in jail since.
According to court records, it was back in September of 2006 when David Edward Taylor, 32, of Essex, Md., was a member of one of numerous cleaning crews working to clean up 8006 Coastal Highway that had previously suffered fire damage. That evening, the owner of the property noticed a diamond encrusted gold cross necklace, valued at approximately $3,000, had become missing. The owner believed the necklace to be stolen by someone of the cleaning crews and called the OCPD to start an investigation.
According to the investigation, Taylor quit his job with the cleaning company the day after the necklace was reported missing, raising suspicion among the police. The investigation continued and made a huge leap when the necklace was later identified at a pawnshop in Ocean City. Following up on the lead, OCPD detectives were able to link the necklace to Taylor with help from the pawnshop owner and arrested him soon after.

At District Court Monday, Judge Daniel R. Mumford expressed his displeasure with a crime like this, one where Taylor not only let his client down, but his employer as well. "You took something that’s sentimental and that’s a terrible thing to do to somebody," he said.
Taylor was sentenced to six months in jail, with 51 days he had already served awaiting trial suspended.

Case Of Mistaken Identity
OCEAN CITY – After being a little embarrassed for chasing down someone who he thought had stolen his bike and later becoming uncooperative with police, a local man was arrested and plead guilty to disorderly conduct Monday in District Court.
Back on Jan. 4, OCPD Officer Michael Richardson was dispatched to 307 Coastal Highway in regards to a reported theft. Upon arrival on the scene, Richardson said he spotted several individuals holding down another, according to court records. After breaking up the group, a gentleman identified as Ty Daniel Wyatt, 32, of Ocean City, spoke up and said the man they had pinned down was the one he thought had stolen his bike earlier.
However, according to court records, Richardson was unsure of Wyatt’s statements since he seemed to be somewhat intoxicated. After further speaking with Wyatt, he began to act disorderly, making profane statements to nearby individuals. As more and more people became disturbed by Wyatt’s actions, Richardson placed him under arrest for disorderly conduct.
At court on Monday, Wyatt admitted he had been drinking and apologized to Richardson for chasing down someone who he had thought stole his bike. Wyatt was fined $500 for his inebriated hastiness that evening.

Man Pleads Guilty

To Cocaine Charge
OCEAN CITY – After observing an area known for drug activity back in January of 2006, a Delaware man was arrested after OCPD officers found him leaving the residence possessing crack cocaine. At District Court Monday, Anthony D. Harmon, 46, of Selbyville, Del., plead guilty to possession of a dangerous controlled substance.
On Jan. 21, 2006, OCPD officers were observing a residence on 135th Street known for drug activity from recent controlled buys through the OCPD Narcotics Unit when they saw a car approach and its driver enter the residence. Soon after, the driver got back into his car and drove off. According to court records, that was when the officers followed the subject and made a high-risk traffic stop on 136th Street.

The driver was identified as Anthony D. Harmon and since he had just left an area known for drug activity, it gave the officers enough reason to perform a search of Harmon’s vehicle. Inside, police found a baggie of crack cocaine and placed Harmon under arrest.
Judge Daniel R. Mumford suspended a year of jail time and instead placed Harmon on three years of supervised probation and fined him $500.

Man Wanted On

Warrant Arrested

OCEAN CITY – A Perryville man wanted on a warrant for failing to appear in court for previous charges was arrested early Saturday morning.

Around 2 a.m., OCPD Officer Earl Campbell responded to the Burgundy Inn on Philadelphia Avenue to assist other officers with an incident involving someone screaming around back. Upon arrival, Campbell learned the other officers had discovered there was an argument between a female and another subject identified as David Boyd Amato, 37, of Perryville, Md.

Officers went to find Amato when they found him leaving his unit, which officers noticed was also on fire. According to police reports, Campbell apprehended Amato and OCPD Officer Jeff Smith put out the fire and called the fire department.

Knowing Amato had a history of fighting with officers, they placed him in handcuffs while they waited on a confirmation of a warrant they believed was out for his arrest. The warrant was confirmed and Amato was officially placed under arrest.

However, during the search of his person, Amato became belligerent, attracting the attention of sleeping neighbors. According to police reports, Amato only became angrier during the search and told Campbell, “I’m gonna kick your ass,” and “Come on Sarge, take me on.”

Once the search was complete, Amato continued to resist the officers as he was placed on a bench, then moved to the ground because of his actions and previous attempt to bite Smith. Amato kept being combative so officers then decided to put him in a violent person restraining device.

According to police reports, he only continued to resist, at this point yelling he was going to kill the officers, Osama Bin Laden and George Bush. Soon after Amato was transported to police headquarters in a prisoner transport vehicle.

Another Mobile Home Fire

OCEAN CITY – The second mobile home fire in the resort in a week occurred early Wednesday morning but this time no one was killed and only one firefighter was slightly injured.

The Ocean City Volunteer Fire Company responded to a reported fire at Warren’s Mobile Home Park on 51st Street around 12:20 a.m. on Wednesday morning. Initial crews arrived on the scene within minutes of the call and found heavy fire and smoke showing from a mobile home. Fire crews aggressively attacked the blaze and managed to quickly get it under control.

Firefighters remained on the scene for about two hours performing overhaul operations. Investigators from the Fire Marshal’s Office were called to the scene and determined the fire started in the northwest corner of the mobile home, which received extensive smoke and fire damage. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. One firefighter was treated on the scene for a minor abrasion.

Backpack Snatcher Convicted

SNOW HILL – A Baltimore man who ripped a backpack from a woman’s hands as she loaded her belongings into her vehicle before fleeing on foot in Ocean City last August was found guilty this week of attempted robbery and second degree assault and now awaits his fate pending the outcome of a pre-sentence investigation.

Larry Leon Kintzer, 27, of Baltimore, was arrested in August and charged with robbery, second-degree assault and theft under $100 when he allegedly grabbed a woman’s backpack and attempted to rip it from her hands.
On Aug. 1, around 9:30 a.m., OCPD Officer Charles Zukas responded to 1st Street and St.Louis Ave. for an attempted theft. When the officer arrived, he spoke with a female victim who said she was loading belongings into her vehicle with a friend when a man, later identified as Kintzer, intercepted a backpack and tried to rip it from her hands.

According to court documents, Kintzer held on to one end as the woman grasped the other and he reportedly said, “I’m going to break your arm if you don’t let go.”
As the struggle continued, a male witness noticed what was happening and attempted to help the woman. Kintzer then dropped the backpack and the male witness chased him down the street before losing sight of the man. About an hour later, police located Kintzer. He was positively identified and placed under arrest.

This week in Circuit Court, Kintzer was found guilty of attempted robbery and second-degree assault and a pre-sentence investigation was ordered.

Beach Week Thief Gets Probation

SNOW HILL – A Pennsylvania man, convicted in November on first-, second- and fourth-degree burglary charges after financing his Senior Week trip in Ocean City last summer by stealing money and other personal property was granted two years probation this week in Circuit Court following a pre-sentence investigation.

William Anthony Packer, 19, of Glen Rock, Pa., was in Worcester County Circuit Court this week facing a sentencing hearing for convictions on charges related to a crime spree in Ocean City in June during Senior Week.

According to the police report, OCPD Officer Earl Campbell responded to the Hitch Apartments in Ocean City after other officers reportedly heard screaming coming from inside one of the building’s units. When the officer arrived, he met with the victim who said a man later identified as Packer had gone into her room without permission and was going through her personal belongings.

Several witnesses told police they entered the room and found Packer standing in the kitchen with a purse that didn’t belong to him. According to charging documents, Packer appeared drunk and earlier attempted to pay the victim to not call the police.

Later, a witness told police that Packer had come to Ocean City with no money, but somehow bought $300 worth of clothes days later and told his friends that all the newfound money was wired to him from his mother. During the investigation, several other victims approached the officer and reported missing money. A search of Packer revealed several bundles of cash matching reported denominations, according to charging documents.

Packer was convicted on the burglary and theft charges in November and a pre-sentence investigation was ordered. Back in Circuit Court this week, Packer was granted two years probation for the convictions.

One Year For Sex With Minor

OCEAN PINES – A 42-year-old Ocean Pines man, arrested in August and charged with two sex offense counts and two counts of child abuse after an investigation determined he had sexual relations with the 15-year-old daughter of his live-in girlfriend, was found guilty this week of fourth-degree sex offense and was sentenced to one year in jail.

Thomas Allan Kelly, 42, of Ocean Pines, was arrested in August after an investigation revealed he had sex with a 15-year-old girl he lived with along with the alleged victim’s mother. On Aug. 17, the victim’s mother told detectives she had received a call from her daughter earlier that day telling the mother her live-in boyfriend, later identified as Kelly, had sex with the teen on two separate occasions, first on Aug. 3 and again on Aug. 8.

According to court documents, the victim told police and Social Services workers Kelly had forced himself on her once in the kitchen of their Ocean Pines home and again five days later in the victim’s bedroom. According to the report, Kelly told the victim during the first alleged incident that “he had to hurry because her mother would be home soon.”

Kelly was later arrested and charged with two counts of fourth-degree sex offense and two counts of child abuse. This week in Circuit Court, he was found guilty and sentenced to a year in jail.

Store Theft Nets 10 Days

SNOW HILL – A Berlin man charged with theft last October after swiping a night deposit bag from an Ocean Pines grocery store where he worked was found guilty this week to an amended charge of misdemeanor theft and will serve 10 days in jail for five weekends.

On Oct. 13 of last year, Maryland State Police Trooper Tim Corbin responded to the Fresh Pride grocery store for a reported employee theft. The trooper met with an employee who said another employee, later identified as Christopher Meals, 37, of Berlin, was in charge of dropping off two night deposit bags at the Taylor Bank, but only one of the bags reached its final destination.

The Fresh Pride manager called the first employee the next day and told him one of the night deposit bags was missing. The employee called the bank and found out only one of the bags had been dropped in the night deposit slot and the other was still missing. The bank only received one of the two bags.

The manager asked Meals about the situation and the suspect claimed the bank must have lost the second bag. The trooper then interviewed Meals and told him the store had surveillance cameras and if he had taken the bank bag, it would surely be on video. Meals then admitted taking the second deposit bag, telling the officer he was having financial troubles and needed the money.

Meals had spent $1,200 from the bank deposit, but returned other money as well as several checks. He was arrested and charged with felony theft. This week, Meals pleaded guilty to a modified charge of misdemeanor theft and was sentenced to 60 days in jail, all of which but 10 days was suspended. Meals with serve the 10 days on consecutive weekends.

Major Drug Dealer

Gets Suspended Sentence

SNOW HILL – A Frankford, Del. man who made several large transactions with an Ocean City undercover narcotics agent last spring and summer plead guilty this week to a single charge of distributing cocaine and was sentenced to five years in jail with all suspended but the time he has already served.

Joshua Boyer, 29, of Frankford, Del., was in Worcester County Circuit Court this week facing a slew of drug distribution charges after selling large quantities of various illegal drugs to an Ocean City Police undercover narcotics agent last spring and summer. The undercover slowly built his case against Boyer during several pre-arranged drug buys throughout the resort area over a period of several months.

For example, on May 9, 2006, the undercover officer successfully completed a purchase of two ounces of cocaine from Boyer on the parking lot of a north-end shopping center. Ten days later, on May 19, the officer again contacted Boyer and attempted to buy more cocaine, but the drug was not available so he opted to buy an ounce of marijuana instead.

On July 6, the undercover officer arranged to buy a half-ounce of psilocybin, or “boomers,” from Boyer. Boomers is a street slang name for mushrooms. On July 27, the same officer arranged to buy Oxy 40s from Boyer and the dealer came through with 100, 40-milligram tablets of illegal oxycontin.

Finally, on July 28, the officer arranged to buy two ounces of marijuana from Boyer. This time, when the transaction was successfully completed, the officers gave the arrest signal and Ocean City narcotics detectives swarmed in and took Boyer into custody.

Boyer was charged with several counts of possession and possession with intent to distribute the various illegal narcotics. This week in Circuit Court, he pleaded guilty to a single distribution charge and was sentenced to five years in jail, all of which was suspended but the 128 days he had already served awaiting trial.

Beefed Up DWI

Patrols For St. Pat’s

SNOW HILL – The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office this week announced it will be conducting saturation patrols to combat drunk driving on St. Patrick’s Day, tomorrow, March 17.

The Sheriff’s Office will have more deputies patrolling county roads tomorrow, March 17, looking for drunk and impaired drivers. The patrols will target areas that have high incidents of crashes or drunk-driving arrests.