Suspended Sentences In Home Invasion

Suspended Sentences

In Home Invasion

SNOW HILL – A Berlin man and a Whaleyville man accused of invading a home in Bishopville, threatening the resident and stealing her money last August pleaded guilty last week to malicious destruction of property and were each sentenced to 90 days in jail, all of which was suspended in favor of fines, restitution to the victim and probation.

Last Aug. 15, Maryland State Police troopers responded to a residence in Bishopville for a reported home invasion in progress. The troopers met with the victim who said she was home doing laundry when she heard cars screech into the driveway. She then heard loud voices and a pounding on the front door, which she ran to ensuring it was locked.

She then heard loud voices on the side of the house and ran to make sure the rear door was locked. She then called 911, but while she was on the phone in the kitchen, a window above the kitchen sink shattered and several suspects outside were observed throwing objects at the house. According to court reports, the 911 dispatcher heard glass shattering and heard the victim scream for help over the phone.

The victim then heard the suspects trying to force open the side door. After several attempts, the door flew open and shattered the frame and lock mechanism. The five suspects entered the house yelling profanities and threatening the victim, who ran upstairs to a bedroom and blocked the door with a bed. Before fleeing upstairs, the victim was able to identify some of the home invaders.

The victim said she heard the suspects moving around downstairs before the house suddenly went quiet. The victim then heard vehicles peeling out of the driveway and looked in time to identify a black Ford Explorer and a gray SUV leaving the residence.

The victim came back downstairs and found her purse lying on the floor with a $100 bill missing. The side door to the house was shattered and four lights along the driveway were destroyed. Shortly after the state troopers arrived on the scene, the Ford Explorer and the gray SUV were stopped on Collins Rd. not far from the residence. In the gray SUV were Bryan Lee Wersten, 18, of Berlin, and Michael Jacob Fultz, 19, of Whaleyville, along with two juveniles. Another juvenile was driving the Ford Explorer.

Wersten, Fultz and the juveniles were taken into custody and charged with first-, second-, third-, and fourth-degree burglary as well as assault and malicious destruction. Last week, both Wersten and Fultz entered an Alford Plea to the malicious destruction of property charge and each received the same sentence- 90 days in jail, all suspended, a $500 fine, $961 in restitution to the owner of the house and two years probation.


Missing Pair Arrested

For Pot On Assateague

ASSATEAGUE – A Pennsylvania man and a juvenile girl turned up early in the morning last Sunday in the Assateague State Park just in time to face possession of marijuana and paraphernalia charges.

Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) located an abandoned vehicle partially blocking Route 611 at the entrance to the park around 7:15 a.m. last Sunday morning. An investigation revealed the vehicle belonged to Alan Robert Spencer, 22, of Sherman’s Dale, Pa., who was believed to be traveling with a 17-year-old girl from Dillsburg, Pa.

NRP officers learned the juvenile’s parents were unaware of her whereabouts. Several additional officers from NRP as well as the National Parks Service arrived on the scene and began searching the area. Both Spencer and the juvenile were located a short time later without injury about four miles north of the state park boundary and were brought back to the vehicle. A subsequent search of the vehicle turned up marijuana and paraphernalia and both Spence and the juvenile were then arrested and charged with possession of CDS and paraphernalia. Spencer was later released on his own recognizance and the 17-year-old girl was released by Juvenile Services.

Campground Break-In

BERLIN – Two homeless people who broke into the Fort Whaley campground last week looking for a place to sleep were arrested and charged with burglary and malicious destruction of property.

Last Thursday, March 16, Maryland State Police troopers responded to the Fort Whaley campground on Route 50 near Whaleyville for a reported break-in. The troopers met with employees who informed them two people, later identified as Phillip Justin Burgess and Rebecca Lynn Bacs, both of no fixed address, had gained access to a cabin by breaking a window and had been sleeping there for two days because they were homeless.

The investigation revealed Burgess and Bacs also broke into the facility’s time clock room and had attempted to break into the camp store. Burgess and Bacs were soon located and told police they broke into the cabin because they needed a place to sleep. They had been observed in the area of the campground for about two days.

A warrant check revealed Burgess was wanted on outstanding warrants in Worcester County and Salisbury. Both Burgess and Bacs were arrested and charged with burglary and malicious destruction of property. Burgess was held on a $28,000 bond while Bacs was held on a $25,000 bond.

First Case In Stabbing

Over Noise Cleared

SNOW HILL – An Ocean City man arrested last fall for stabbing another man during a fight over noise at a downtown apartment building was cleared of all charges last week in Worcester County Circuit Court while the second combatant who severely stabbed the first awaits trial early next month.

Vernon Knox, 34, of Ocean City, was in Circuit Court last week facing first-degree assault, second-degree assault and reckless endangerment charges stemming from a fight with another Ocean City man, Ambrose Rawls, Jr., 27, after a fight over noise last fall that left both men with stab wounds. The charges against Knox were “nolle prossed,” or not prosecuted, while Rawls still awaits trial set for April 9.

Last November, Ocean City Police responded to the Kitchen Apartments on Wicomico Street for a reported fight in progress involving knives. Upon arrival, the officers located Knox, who had been stabbed several times about the face and neck. The officers determined the man who attacked Knox was Rawls, who also received a stab wound in the arm during the altercation.

Both men lived at the apartment building and the incident started over a complaint about noise. Knox was taken to PRMC and later Shock Trauma in Baltimore for treatment of his injuries. Rawls was treated at the scene but refused transfer to the hospital. 


NYE Trespasser Fined

OCEAN CITY – A New Year’s Eve party patron paid the price for getting too inebriated and losing his friends during the holiday evening, ultimately becoming disoriented, when he plead guilty to trespassing last week in District Court.
Justin David Lawrence, 22, of Chesapeake Beach, Md., found himself wandering into the Princess Bayside early in the morning on Jan. 1 in an attempt to find a bathroom. Having become separated from friends earlier in the night, Lawrence found himself alone at the main entrance of the hotel.
Becoming disorderly due to his amount of intoxication, hotel security escorted him off the premises once and gave him a warning, according to court records. Soon after, Lawrence was back and was subsequently arrested for trespassing.
At District Court last week, Lawrence’s lawyer said his client was sorry for being "beyond normal intoxication levels" and had since completed a 26-week counseling program and 30 hours of community service. Judge Daniel R. Mumford said he was pleased with how Lawrence had conducted himself since the incident and fined him $100.

Whaleyville Fire

WHALEYVILLE – A fire at a two-story residential structure last Thursday afternoon completely destroyed the home and all of its contents, however, no injuries were reported.

The fire at the residential structure on Long Ridge Lane in Whaleyville was reported shortly before noon last Thursday. Firefighters from Berlin and Showell in Worcester County and Willards in Wicomico County quickly extinguished the fire, but remained on the scene for about three hours.

The initial investigation determined the fire was accidental and began behind a wall in the kitchen. No injuries were reported, but the blaze destroyed the structure and its contents.

10 Days In  Burglary Case

SNOW HILL – A Berlin man arrested last July for stealing a case full of money for his girlfriend’s mother’s home was found guilty last week of third-degree burglary and was sentenced to 10 days in jail.

On July 21, 2006, a West Ocean City woman reported someone stole a case containing money and other belongings from under her bed in a location few people knew about. The victim suspected her daughter’s boyfriend, Shawn White, 20, of Berlin, because he knew about the case. The day after the report was filed with police, the case was returned to the victim’s place of employment. Everything was returned but $400 in paper currency and about $200-$300 in change.

Police interviewed White who initially denied stealing the case, but later admitted the theft. White told police he used a keypad to gain entry to a storage shed where he knew a spare key was hidden. He then used the spare key to enter the house and steal the case. White told police he returned the case to the victim’s workplace because “he felt sorry for her.”

White was arrested and charged with multiple counts of burglary. Last week in Circuit Court, he was convicted on third-degree burglary charges and sentenced to 10 days in jail, which he is serving on consecutive weekends.

Belgian Man To Do Time

OCEAN CITY – Although a man from Belgium was looking to head home as soon as possible to be with his family, he will have to wait a bit longer after he was found guilty of theft Monday morning in District Court and ordered to serve jail time.

Keith Hared Sigafoose, 37, of Belgium, was arrested back in January after it was found that he stole the credit card of a person he was living with to purchase cigarettes and gas at a local Wine Rack.

The crime when unnoticed until the victim received her credit card bill in the mail and later contacted police. It wasn’t until officers used the Wine Rack’s archived video surveillance to match Sigafoose as the subject with the times of the purchases.

Sigafoose plead guilty to the theft charge and Judge Daniel R. Mumford sentenced him to 90 days in jail, with 56 of those days suspended for time served since January. 


Man Fined For Drug Charges

OCEAN CITY – A Salisbury boy who was arrested back in May after an off-duty Baltimore officer called OCPD dispatchers regarding two males in a suspicious vehicle that was later found to contain marijuana, was in court Monday to face his drug charges.

According to police records, it was back on May 21 when OCPD Officer Mark Wolinski and Officer Michael Stoner were in the area of 49th Street when they received a communications dispatch regarding a vehicle in their area with two subjects believed to be smoking marijuana. According to dispatchers, the call came when an off-duty Baltimore police officer noticed the slight smell of burnt marijuana emanating from a silver Honda parked next to him at a red light.

The officers soon spotted the car and made a traffic stop, noting the slight smell of marijuana as they spoke with the occupants. The driver of the car was identified as Joshua Noel Smith Canopii, 19, of Salisbury. According to police records, when the passenger of the vehicle opened the glove box to get the car’s registration, officers noticed a baggie that looked to contain marijuana.

A closer look confirmed their suspicions and both subjects were then arrested. Although Canopii plead guilty to the charge Monday morning, Judge Daniel R. Mumford determined it was not the plea Canopii wanted to make and changed it to a not guilty, ensuring a trial.

However, Canopii followed the testimony of Wolinski without a rebuttal and was ultimately found guilty and fined $500.


Guilty To Marijuana Charge

OCEAN CITY – A Jarrettsville man who was pulled over back in January for a routine traffic stop concerning a malfunctioning headlight and later found to be in possession of marijuana plead guilty to the charge Monday at District Court.

It was approximately 11 p.m. on Jan. 5 when Troy Earl Burriss, 20, was driving northbound on Pennsylvania Avenue when OCPD Officer Edward Newcomb noticed the oncoming car only had one functioning headlight. Newcomb pulled Burriss over, and after checking his license and registration, began to issue Burriss a repair order when Officer Earl Campbell arrived on the scene with his K-9 partner Charlie to conduct an exterior search of the vehicle.

K-9 unit Charlie alerted fellow officers twice in two scans of the vehicle. Newcomb had Burriss and his three passengers exit the vehicle for an interior search. According to police reports, Newcomb found several partially smoked cigars containing marijuana and continued to search the car.

Upon further inspection, Newcomb also came across a BB/pellet gun under the driver’s seat that was said, according to police reports, designed to look and operate just like a real gun, however, the gun was not loaded. Burriss was charged with carrying/concealing a gun replica and possession of marijuana.

The gun replica charge was dropped and Judge Daniel R. Mumford fined Burriss $400 for the possession of marijuana.

Woman Detained

In Bust Sentenced

OCEAN CITY – Following the arrest of two Delaware residents found to be selling drugs from a room at the Holiday Inn on 66th Street back in February, one of the subjects, Jaime Beth Lewis, was in District Court Monday for her trial.

According to police records, OCPD detectives had been tracking a man by the name of Darrell Brooks Belle, 41, of Frankford, Del., for several days before learning about the place at the Holiday Inn. Based on the type of case, a “No Knock” search and seizure warrant was then signed.

The Ocean City Police Quick Response Team (QRT) served the warrant Feb. 9 at approximately 10:15 p.m. Upon entry, members of the QRT saw Belle running away from an entertainment system in the living room as well as a female, later identified as Jaime Beth Lewis, 25, of Laurel, Del., standing in the kitchen.

A search behind the entertainment system revealed a Crown Royale bag containing three individually wrapped bags of crack cocaine, as well as a bag of marijuana and a digital scale.

Belle admitted that everything belonged to him and was placed under arrest for intent to distribute a controlled deadly substance (CDS), possession of a CDS, possession of marijuana and possession of CDS paraphernalia. However, since hotel receipts showed that Lewis was the registrant of the room, she was arrested as well and charged with possession of a CDS and possession of marijuana due to the fact that the drugs were in her immediate control.

Judge Daniel R. Mumford suspended all but 38 days of a six-month jail sentence for time she had already served awaiting her trial and placed Lewis on three years of supervised probation instead.

Shoplifters Arrested

For Selling Stolen Tools

OCEAN CITY – Two men who stole numerous saw blades from the Ace Hardware store were recently arrested when local construction workers tipped off the OCPD about two individuals trying to sell the blades at various construction sites around town.

According to a press release from the OCPD, officers began to interview construction workers in the resort when contractors told the owner of the Ace Hardware store that two men were going around the island in an attempt to sell the blades cheaper than their retail value.

The officers soon found two men matching the descriptions others had given them and with the help of a gentleman who purchased 19 blades for $40, they were able to positively identify the suspects.

Officers recovered the stolen saw blades and returned them to the owner and arrested Mark A. Meekins, 53, of Ocean City, and David J. Pierce, 29, of Frankford, Del., for misdemeanor theft.

Five Years For Sex

Assault On 4-Year-Old

SNOW HILL – A Parsonsburg man was convicted on second-degree assault charges last week in Worcester County Circuit Court for a sexual assault on a 4-year-old girl at a farm in Berlin and was sentenced to five years in jail.

Edward James Maycock, 20, of Parsonsburg, was found guilty last week in Circuit Court of second-degree assault after being arrested last fall for sexually assaulting a four-year-old girl at a farm in Berlin. Maryland State Police troopers began an investigation into the allegations of the victim last October. The victim told her mother, a doctor and eventually police about a pattern of sexual assault and abuse dating back to the end of last summer.

At the end of August, the victim told her mother that Maycock, whom she called Eddie, had taken her to his “secret place” and shown her his private parts and touched the victim’s private parts. When confronted by the mother about the allegations, Maycock said the victim has simply walked in on him while he was in the bathroom.

Again in September, the victim told her mother Maycock took her to the “secret place” where he kissed her and touched her backside. The secret place turned out to be a shed on the farm in Berlin used for butchering deer. This time, the mother reported the offenses to police, who began an investigation. On Oct. 4, the victim was taken to her pediatrician for an examination, which revealed physical evidence consistent with the victim’s story.

When police interviewed the victim, her story was consistent with the stories she told her mother and the doctor. Maycock was arrested and charged with second-degree assault, second- and third degree sex offense and child abuse. Last week in Circuit Court, Maycock pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and was sentenced to five years in jail.

Berlin Assault Suspect Sought

BERLIN – Berlin police are looking for a suspect in an apparent assault at an apartment complex on Tuesday night that drew the attention of Maryland State Police and Worcester County Sheriff’s deputies.

Around 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Berlin Police responded to the area of Flower Street for a reported disturbance involving several subjects. Worcester County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the scene as did Maryland State Police troopers. Several state police cruisers were seen racing down Assateague Rd. en route to the disturbance at a high rate of speed.

Upon arrival, Berlin police found an ambulance had already responded to the scene. Berlin police found the victim, Dewayne Ballard, lying unconscious on the ground suffering from an apparent head wound.

Witnesses told police Ballard was punched and kicked in the head by an unknown black male. Ballard was taken to Peninsula Regional Medical Center by the Berlin Fire Company where he was treated and released. Berlin police are still seeking the unknown suspect and the investigation is ongoing.