Roofer Without A License Probed

BERLIN – A local roofer charged with operating without a contractor’s license is out of jail this week after posting a $20,000 bond after a joint investigation conducted by the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) and the Maryland Home Improvement Commission resulted in as many as five charges of felony theft and failure to perform a contract.

The investigation began after WCBI and the commission received numerous complaints from local citizens about Jimmy Lewis Roofing based in Ocean City. The company is listed in the Yellow Pages as a roofing contractor, but has been allegedly taking jobs and down payments for jobs without a contractor’s license.

Investigator Thomas Marr of the Maryland Home Improvement Commission, based in Baltimore, has charged Jimmy Lewis Roofing with five separate cases of operating without a contractor’s license, failure to perform a contract and numerous felony thefts.

Detective Mike Lupiwok of WCBI is investigating one case in Berlin in which Jimmy Lewis Roofing had taken a $12,000 down payment from an elderly victim to replace a roof. The victim had found someone else to complete the job. Eight months later, after repeated requests to return the down payment, the victim has not received any money back.

WCBI is reminding local citizens to be careful whom they select to do home improvements and make sure the contractors they select are licensed. WCBI is also requesting anyone in Worcester County who has had work done by Jimmy Lewis Roofing to contact the agency at 410-352-3476, or the Maryland Home Improvement Commission at 1-888-218-5925.

‘He Took It Out’ On The Beach

OCEAN CITY – A Baltimore man was arrested and charged with indecent exposure and disorderly conduct last week after complaints he was exposing himself on the beach at 70th Street.

On July 19, OCPD Officer Justin Weber was dispatched to the beach at 70th Street for a report of indecent exposure. The officer met with a witness who told him she had observed a man, later identified as Michael Scott Buckheit, 40, of Baltimore, exposing his penis and fondling it in front of several people including a group of young females sitting on the beach in front of him.

The witness said she first noticed Buckheit’s exposed penis hanging out of the left side of his swim trunks and thought it was an accident at first, but his behavior after she first noticed it led her to believe it was not an accident. For example, when she walked down to the water’s edge and looked back, he was still handling his exposed private parts. The witness also said Buckheit was allegedly pretending to read a book when he was actually staring at two young girls seated in front of him on the beach while fondling his exposed penis.

Another witness and the lifeguard on duty at 70th Street corroborated the story of the first witness. The officer approached Buckheit, who was identified by the witnesses as the offending fondler. He was arrested and charged with indecent exposure and disorderly conduct. According to the police report, the beach was crowded with both children and adults.

Paint Sprayer Swiped

OCEAN CITY – Resort police this week are searching for suspects in the theft of an expensive commercial paint sprayer from a construction site on 42nd Street.

Sometime during the night on July 17 or the early morning hours on July 18, unknown suspects entered the construction site for the Makai Condominium on 42nd Street and proceeded to the third floor where the paint sprayer and other equipment were stored. The suspects then cut the hoses that connected the paint sprayer to the paint drum.

Once the hoses were cut, the suspects carried the sprayer down the stairway where it was loaded into a vehicle. The sprayer is a Graco Gmax 59000 commercial paint sprayer valued at $5,500. Anyone with information about the theft is urged to contact the OCPD Criminal Investigation Division at 410-723-6604.

Virginia Pair Arrested On Drug Charges

OCEAN CITY – A pair of Virginia men were arrested and charged with a wide variety of drug and traffic charges last weekend after leading resort police on a wild chase through downtown, first in their vehicle and later on foot.

A little before 3 a.m. last Friday, an OCPD bicycle officer on routine patrol in the downtown area observed a black Toyota Scion traveling at a high rate of speed on Baltimore Ave. between 3rd and 4th streets. The officer watched as the vehicle swerved to miss a marked OCPD vehicle at 4th Street. The officer stepped into the roadway and held up his hands motioning the vehicle to stop, but the driver just looked at the officer and sped by.

The vehicle then drove north on Wilmington Lane, running stop signs at several crossing streets along the way. Back-up officers then found the Scion abandoned on Wilmington Lane near 8th Street and observed the two suspects, later identified as David Michael Briner, 25, of Chesapeake, Va., and Devin Lee Rippel, 22, of Virginia Beach, fleeing on foot from 8th Street.

One OCPD officer who responded as back-up in the incident caught Rippel near the Ambassador Hotel on 5th Street. Briner, meanwhile, continued to flee on foot near 5th Street and ran toward the Boardwalk. At one point, Briner stopped a hotel security guard on the Boardwalk and told him, “I’m running from the police.”

Briner was finally subdued by police on the Boardwalk at 2nd Street. The officers noticed a strong odor of alcohol on Briner and he was arrested and charged with driving under the influence, fleeing and eluding police and numerous traffic charges. In the meantime, Rippel was being detained back on 5th Street. He told police Briner was driving the vehicle and refused to stop for police.

A search of the vehicle revealed a small quantity of marijuana and paraphernalia in the center console. Rippel was then charged with possession of marijuana and paraphernalia.

Money, Smokes Stolen

OCEAN CITY – A Bel Air man was charged with assault and robbery last week after punching another man in the face and stealing his money and cigarettes at a residence on 40th Street.

Early last Saturday morning, OCPD officers were dispatched to a residence on 40th Street for a report of a disorderly suspect. Upon arrival, the officer met with a man named Scott Calero, who had a swollen lip and was holding an ice pack on his face. The victim told police he had been assaulted by a man later identified as Patrick Hanley, 22, of Bel Air.

The victim said he went to the bathroom and when he opened the door, Hanley punched him in the face. Calero told police he was knocked out and didn’t remember everything that happened, but his friend said he heard a loud noise from the hallway and when he went to see what it was, he saw Calero knocked out on the floor with Hanley standing over him with his fist drawn back.

The friend interceded to help the victim, but Hanley turned on him before the rest of people in the residence kicked Hanley out. The owner of the residence found out Hanley had assaulted Calero and stole his pack of cigarettes and $175 in cash. The owner demanded Hanley return the money and cigarettes, than through him out of the residence again.

Hanley stayed outside of the residence for about a half an hour, yelling and screaming, until the police were finally called. By the time the police arrived, Hanley had fled the scene, but he was located by another officer a few minutes later on 43rd Street. In the meantime, Calero was treated by Ocean City EMS. He suffered injuries to his lip, left cheek and left eye, including a broken blood vessel in the eye itself.

Calero was treated at the scene but refused further medical treatment. Hanley was arrested and charged with robbery, second-degree assault and theft.

 Traffic Stop Yields Large Drug Bust

BERLIN – A routine traffic stop on Route 50 near Berlin last weekend resulted in two arrests and the seizure of a significant amount of marijuana.

A Maryland State Police trooper on routine patrol last Friday night observed a traffic violation on Route 50 near Route 346. As the officer was approaching the vehicle, he observed the driver and the passenger quickly switch positions. A background check on the individuals, identified as Johnny Ray Holland, 21, of Salisbury, and Jermaine Heath, 25, of Pocomoke, revealed both had suspended driving privileges and one was wanted.

A search of the vehicle incident to the arrest revealed 60 grams of marijuana wrapped individually for distribution. Both suspects were arrested and charged with possession of marijuana, possession with intent to distribute and various traffic charges.

Crack Recovered

BERLIN – A Newark man was arrested on crack cocaine possession charges last week after a routine traffic stop.

Last Wednesday, a Maryland State Police trooper on patrol in the area of Trappe Rd. and Assateague Rd. pulled a vehicle over for a traffic violation. As the officer contacted the vehicle’s occupants, one of them made furtive movements as if he were trying to hide something under his seat. Armed with probable cause, the trooper searched the vehicle and located a rock of crack cocaine under the seat. Mark Bunting, of Newark, was then arrested and charged with possession of cocaine.

Partying With Kids On Assateague

ASSATEAGUE – On Sunday, July 22, at 1:20 a.m., the Maryland Natural Resources Police charged six juveniles and one adult with alcohol violations in the campground of Assateague State Park. NRP entered the campsite to investigate a quiet hour noise violation.

Officers observed and identified six 15- and 16-year-olds from Howard County consuming alcoholic beverages while sitting around the campfire. Thomas F. Ricciuti, 51, of Columbia, was the only adult at the campsite.

NRP charged the six juveniles with possession of an alcoholic beverage by a person under 21 years of age, referred the charges to the Department of Juvenile Services and contacted their parents. NRP also charged Ricciuti with furnishing alcoholic beverage for underage consumption.

Disorderly Conduct Charges Stick

OCEAN CITY – A local man pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct charges in District Court Monday, despite his claim that he was intervening in a fight between a man and a woman.

Alan Edward Martin, 38, of Ocean City, pleaded guilty Monday to disorderly conduct charges that stemmed from an event this past June. On June 12, police were responding to an EMS call at Sea Watch when they spotted two people across the street engaged in an altercation.

The police crossed the street and saw two men, one identified as Martin, yelling and pushing one another. There was also an unidentified woman present who was near the altercation.

The police separated the men and heard claims that Martin had threatened the other man with a knife. Police searched Martin and found a small folding knife in his possession. They then placed Martin under arrest for disorderly conduct.

Martin claimed that he was stepping outside of work when he observed a man yelling and pushing his girlfriend. He said that he stepped in to help the girl, which resulted in the altercation between him and the man.

“I was basically stepping in between him and his girlfriend,” Martin said in his own defense.

Despite the claim that he was caught in the middle of a dispute between a couple, Martin was found guilty of disorderly conduct. He was sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation with $357.50 in fines.

Not Guilty Plea Fails

OCEAN CITY – After pleading not guilty to charges of resisting arrest and open container, a man was found guilty of both charges and sentenced to 60 days in jail Monday.

Michael Anthony Hilton Jr., 19, of Upper Marlboro, Md., came before the District Court Monday morning, without a defense lawyer, in an attempt to plead not guilty to the charges presented to him.

Despite the prosecutor’s initial offer of a plea agreement, Hilton maintained that he would plead not guilty to the charges.

On June 11, police officers spotted Hilton drinking out of a cup and a woman with him drinking a Sparks alcoholic beverage. Officer Ryan Sweet testified that he approached the pair and asked Hilton what he was drinking. Hilton told the officer that it was beer. The officer testified that Hilton’s eyes were red and glassy and that his speech was slurred.

Sweet began to place Hilton under arrest, but Hilton pulled away violently, telling the officers that he was not going to be arrested.

Despite Sweet’s explanation that he was being placed under arrest, Hilton began to walk away from the officers. He again repeated loudly that he was not going to be arrested. Sweet testified that he attempted to grab Hilton, holding on to the back of his shirt as Hilton walked away. Hilton pulled away violently, causing his shirt to rip.

Hilton was ultimately placed under arrest. It was also explained that Hilton is currently in jail for a violation of probation, with a trial pending. Judge L. Bruce Wade found Hilton guilty of all charges and sentenced him to 60 days in jail.

Pair Face DestructiveDevice Charges

SNOW HILL – The Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office this week charged two juveniles with placing a destructive device in a mail box in Snow Hill and detonating it.

The juveniles placed a destructive device in a mail box at a residence on Taylor Rd. in Snow Hill. Both have been charged with manufacturing a destructive device, malicious burning and reckless endangerment. The case has been forwarded to the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Vehicle Strikes Condo

OCEAN CITY – A Pennsylvania man crashed his truck into a condominium building in 83rd Street in Ocean City last Saturday afternoon after apparently having a seizure.

Ocean City Police responded to the accident at 83rd Street shortly before 4 p.m. last Saturday afternoon. A Ford F150 truck driven by Robert Vuksta of Pine Grove, Pa. was crossing 83rd Street from south to north when it veered off the roadway and collided with the Atlantic View Condominium. According to police reports, it is believed Vuksta had a seizure prior to the collision.

Three Families Homeless after Fire

POCOMOKE – A fire last weekend at an apartment house in Pocomoke left three families homeless this week.

The Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating a residential structure fire last Saturday night shortly after 11 p.m. The fire occurred in a renovated house which had been converted into three apartments and did extensive damage to the structure. A total of five residents occupied the house, all of whom were home at the time of the blaze, however, no injuries were reported.

The Pocomoke Volunteer Fire Company responded to the blaze and stayed on the scene for several hours. It has been determined the fire started between the second floor and attic apartments. Faulty wiring is being blamed for the fire.