Plane Hits Deer On Runway

WEST OCEAN CITY – A private plane attempting a take-off at the Ocean City Municipal Airport last Saturday night had to abort its flight after colliding with a deer on the runway.

Shortly after 10 p.m. last Saturday, Maryland State Police troopers responded to a report of a deer colliding with a plane at the Ocean City Municipal Airport in West Ocean City. The investigation revealed a Piper Saratoga II with four occupants bound for Allentown, Pa. after a day trip to the resort area had attempted a take-off when it collided with a deer. It remains uncertain if the deer was stationary on the runway or was dashing across it.

The deer was struck by the plane’s propeller and it collided with the body of the plane, causing some damage to the aircraft. The plane was able to cruise to a stop after the collision, which happened before the aircraft became airborne. According to police reports, the plane was traveling nearly 70 mph at impact.

The pilot maintained control throughout and taxied off the runway. The deer was killed in the collision, but there were no injuries reported to the pilot or his passengers. The plane suffered an undetermined amount of damage and did not continue on its flight plan.

The Maryland State Police, the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI), the National Transportation Safety Board and airport personnel participated in the investigation and in clearing the runway.

 Five Arrested After Chase, Crash

BERLIN – Five suspects from the Washington, D.C. area wanted in connection with a stolen car from Ocean City and a theft at a West Ocean City store were arrested this week after a high-speed chase resulted in a crash and a flight on foot.

The bizarre case began on Monday when Worcester County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the Wine Rack in West Ocean City for a reported theft. A witness provided a description of the suspected getaway vehicle, which was broadcast to all area law enforcement agencies. While en route to the crime scene, a deputy sheriff observed a vehicle matching the description heading west on Route 50 near Friendship Rd and attempted to stop the vehicle.

The suspect vehicle fled at a high rate of speed as the deputy began to chase it. Other law enforcement agencies in the area, including the Maryland State Police, the Berlin Police Department, and Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) joined the pursuit and followed until the suspect vehicle crashed near Germantown Rd.

The six occupants of the vehicle then fled on foot, but they were quickly captured by the collaborative efforts of the local law enforcement agencies. The investigation revealed the suspect vehicle had been reported stolen in Ocean City. Theodore Derwin Bucknere, 23, Lowell Dante Allen, 24, and Alton Lamen Smith, 20, all of Washington, D.C., were each charged with theft of a motor vehicle, theft over $500 and theft under $500.

Bucknere was also wanted by the Montgomery County Police on outstanding warrants, while Smith was also charged with carrying a concealed deadly weapon. Also arrested were two juveniles from the Washington, D.C. area.

Drug Dealer Nabbed In Sting Gets Jail Time

SNOW HILL – An Annapolis man arrested last January after being set up by an undercover OCPD narcotics agent last winter was found guilty this week in Worcester County Circuit Court of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and was sentenced to three years in jail with all but one year suspended.

Michael Paul Stellabotte, 20, of Annapolis, was arrested in March in Ocean City for attempting to sell cocaine to an undercover OCPD narcotics agent after a pre-arranged deal that began in an Annapolis restaurant last January. The narcotics officer was off-duty at an Annapolis restaurant and bar with friends when he was approached by Stellabotte who asked him if he “needed anything.”

The off-duty officer assumed Stellabotte was asking him if he needed any drugs and continued the conversation with the suspect. The officer told Stellabotte he didn’t need anything at the time, but asked the suspect if he ever came to Ocean City, to which the suspect replied he did. Later in the evening, they exchanged cell phone numbers and the two never spoke again until the officer decided to call Stellabotte weeks later while on duty in Ocean City.

Stellabotte answered and the officer told him he was the guy he met in Annapolis a few weeks earlier and that he was interested in buying some cocaine. Stellabotte told the undercover officer he remembered him and would be in Ocean City on Feb. 27 if he wanted to arrange a deal. The officer then called Stellabotte the next day and the two arranged a deal involving the purchase of two ounces of powder cocaine for over $1,500. Stellabotte told the officer he would be in Ocean City by 5 p.m. the next day.

Around 4 p.m. the next day, Stellabotte called the officer and told him he was in Salisbury and would be in Ocean City shortly. The two arranged to meet at a mid-town convenience store parking lot to complete the deal. When Stellabotte arrived at the convenience store, he and his passenger were detained by OCPD officers. Stellabotte cooperated and said his passenger had nothing to do with the proposed deal.

He was arrested and charged with possession and possession with intent to distribute. The investigation revealed two ounces in the front seat intended for the deal, and 33 other individually wrapped bags of cocaine in a jacket, which Stellabotte told police was for personal consumption. This week in Circuit Court, Stellabotte was found guilty of possession with intent to distribute and sentenced to three years in jail, all but one year of which was suspended. He was also fined $500.

Resort Knife Wielder Sentenced

SNOW HILL – A Salisbury man who attacked another man with a knife in an Ocean City apartment during a fight that apparently began over the use of racial slur plead guilty to second-degree assault this week in Worcester County Circuit Court and was sentenced to 18 months in jail with all but three months and 13 days suspended.

In June, OCPD officers responded to an apartment complex on 21st Street for a report of a disorderly crowd. Upon arrival, a witness told police a man later identified as John Talley, 19, of Salisbury, had come into his apartment and attacked his roommate, later identified as William Scott Mathews, because the latter allegedly called him the “n” word. The witness said he and his friends attempted to break up the fight.

Mathews told police Talley came into his apartment and said, “I see you guys want to jump me like that. I’ll be right back.” Talley returned a short time later with a folding knife with the blade open and began swinging the knife at Mathews, missing by just a couple of feet on several occasions. At one point, Talley was holding the knife over Mathews head and telling him he was going to kill him.

Police found Talley in his apartment and questioned him. He later told police he had gotten into a fight with Mathews over a racial slur and gone back to his apartment before returning with the knife. He was charged with first- and second-degree assault, carrying a dangerous weapon with intent to injure and reckless endangerment. This week, he pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and was sentenced to 18 months, all but three months and 13 days of which were suspended.

Paycheck Scammer Gets Seven Days

SNOW HILL – A Berlin man who knowingly received more in his paycheck than he was supposed to from checks written by a bookkeeper who was later caught embezzling from her employer plead guilty this week to one count of theft under $500 and was sentenced to one year in jail with all but seven days suspended.

According to court documents, between July 2006 and January 2007, contractor Paul Weisengoff, 27, of Ocean Pines, received considerably more in his paycheck that he was supposed to for the hours he submitted to his employer, Fowler Construction, to the tune of about $2,800. Weisengoff was a contract laborer for Fowler Construction scheduled to make $20 per hour, but his theft scheme aided by former bookkeeper Janet Parks paid him more than he was supposed to receive for several months.

Parks was arrested early this year on nearly 50 counts of theft scheme and fraud for her own embezzlement scheme and was convicted and sentenced to eight years in jail with all but 18 months suspended and was ordered to pay nearly $120,000 in restitution to the company. The investigation into Parks’ activities turned up more theft and led to the charges against Weisengoff.

In the theft scheme, Weisengoff would submit his hours to Parks and the bookkeeper would write him a check from the company check book for more than he was supposed to receive. In one example, Weisengoff submitted 16 hours, which, at $20 per hour, should have paid him $320. Instead, Parks wrote him a check for $480.

In another example, Weisengoff was paid $800 for 33 hours of work, for which he should have been paid $660. There were 16 examples cited in court documents where Weisengoff knowingly participated in the scheme. This week in Circuit Court, Weisengoff plead guilty to one count of theft under $500 and was sentenced to one year in jail, all of which was suspended but seven days, which he was supposed to have begun serving this week. He was also ordered to pay $2,800 in restitution to the victim.  

Shoplifter Nabbed

BERLIN – A Berlin man was arrested for theft and other charges recently after getting caught shoplifting from the Food Lion grocery store.

On Aug. 27, Berlin Police responded to the Food Lion for a reported shoplifting incident. The store manager told police the suspect was last seen heading south behind the store and the officers soon located a man matching the description on Route 113 near Franklin Ave.

The suspect first gave police a false name and date of birth, but the person named was wanted on a warrant. Police took the suspect into custody for the warrant and the theft from the grocery store, and while he was being processed, the suspect confirmed his real identity, Gary Belote, 35, of no fixed address. His identification was later confirmed and has taken before a court commissioner and held on a $5,000 bond.

Assault, Child Abuse Arrest

BERLIN – A Berlin woman was arrested and charged with second-degree assault and child abuse after a domestic altercation involving her teenage children.

On Aug. 28, Berlin Police responded to a residence on Bay Street for reported domestic dispute. The investigation revealed a suspect, Rachel Crenshaw, 34, of Berlin, was involved in a physical altercation with her two children, ages 13 and 14, and had assaulted them. Crenshaw was arrested and taken before a court commissioner and was held on a $50,000 bond.

Virginia Rape Suspect Nabbed in Berlin

BERLIN – A New Jersey man wanted in Virginia for the charge of rape was captured in Berlin and held without bond.

On Aug. 30, Berlin Police conducted a routine traffic stop and discovered the driver was a fugitive from the state of Virginia on rape charges. Berlin Police stopped Javier Vega-Acevedo, 55, of Willingboro, N.J., for a routine traffic violation when a background check revealed he was wanted in Virginia for rape. He was arrested, processed and taken before a court commissioner, who ordered him held without bond. There is no information available about when Vega-Acevedo will be extradited to Virginia.

Tip Leads To Arrests

BERLIN – Two local men were arrested on a variety of charges ranging from assault and disorderly conduct to resisting arrest and driving while suspended last week after Berlin Police received a tip about a pending drug transaction.

Last Friday, Berlin Police received a tip about a possible drug sale and a description of the suspect vehicle. Police observed the vehicle leaving the area in question and commit a traffic violation. A stop was conducted and both of the suspects in the vehicle were observed reaching under the front seat.

During the investigation, the passenger, later identified as Alan Forsythe, Jr. 37, of Berlin, attempted to flee and briefly fought with the officers. The driver, Stephen Sawka, 45, of Ocean City, was found to be driving on a suspended license. Both were arrested and processed.

Sawka was charged with driving on a suspended license and was allowed to sign his citation and was released. Forsythe was charged with second-degree assault, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and failure to obey a lawful order and was held on a $5,000 bond.

Food Lion Shoplifter Arrested

BERLIN – A Berlin man was arrested last weekend for shoplifting from the Food Lion after a manager was able to identify him.

Last Saturday, Berlin Police responded to the Food Lion at Routes 113 and 346 for a reported shoplifting. The suspect had fled the area on foot and police were able to locate him a short time later. The store manager was brought over to the scene of the arrest and was able to identify the suspect, later identified as Tony Mills, 27, of Berlin, as the man who allegedly stole food.

The store’s surveillance tapes also identified Mills as the suspect. He was arrested and charged with theft under $500 and taken before a court commissioner, who ordered him held on a $5,000 bond.

Guilty Sentence Despite Unusual Circumstances

OCEAN CITY – A Pennsylvania man appeared in District Court Monday morning, pleading not guilty to the charge of possession of marijuana.

Ronald Anthony Carter, Jr., 23, of Aston, Pa., pleaded not guilty to the charges that stemmed from a June arrest.

On June 30, police stopped a vehicle for having handwritten, cardboard tags in a back window that was also tinted. Upon pulling the vehicle over, police noticed the odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle. Officers searched the car and found trace amounts of marijuana along with two handguns, a nine-millimeter and a 40 caliber.

Carter explained to the police that he had a gun permit for the state of Pennsylvania, but did not have a permit for Maryland. Carter was placed under arrest and faced charges for possession of marijuana in District Court Monday.

Carter’s attorney explained to the court that Carter was in a wheelchair permanently due to medical malpractice following a car accident that he was in. Carter’s attorney explained that Carter received a lot of money from the malpractice suit, but fears for his safety. As a result, Carter carries guns with him most of the time. 

Both Carter and his mother spoke, maintaining that he was simply trying to enjoy himself after a rough chain of events that he had endured. “I was just trying to go on vacation and have a good time,” Carter said.

Despite pleas from Carter, his attorney, and Carter’s mother, Judge Daniel Mumford found Carter guilty. “I’m not going to treat him any different that I treat anyone else for possession of marijuana,” Judge Mumford said. Carter was sentenced to probation before judgment with one year of unsupervised probation and $357.30 in fines.

Guilty Sentence For Local Man

OCEAN CITY – A local man appeared in District Court Monday morning to face charges from an incident in August 2006.

Edward Eugene Lyles, 30, of Ocean City, pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana on Monday after spending the past 50 days in jail for the 2006 offense.

On Aug. 25, 2006, officers were patrolling the area of 1st Street and Philadelphia Avenue when they spotted Lyles jaywalking. The police searched Lyles and found marijuana in his wallet and arrested him for possession.

On Monday, Lyles appeared in court to face the charges from last summer, pleading guilty. His attorney explained to the court that Lyles’s mother had been killed by his uncle, who is now in jail for the murder, and that he has been having a hard time since then.

Lyles told Judge Daniel Mumford that he was sorry, that it was only a “roach”, and that he felt he had already been punished by serving 50 days in jail. Mumford agreed, finding Lyles guilty and sentencing him to 50 days with time served for all 50 days.

Pa. Man Found Not Guilty

OCEAN CITY – A Pennsylvania man was found not guilty in District Court Monday morning after he pleaded not guilty and defended himself against charges of violation of an out-of-state order.

Jesse James Pickering, 25, of Allentown, Pa., pleaded not guilty on Monday, explaining that he was unaware of any wrongdoing.

On Aug. 4, police stopped Pickering for a routine traffic stop. Pickering was driving the vehicle and had a female passenger in the car with him. Police soon found out that Pickering had a protection order from abuse filed against him that had been filed by the passenger of the car at the end of May.

The passenger explained that she had been the one to re-establish contact with Pickering and that there was no problem. Police arrested Pickering anyway, due to the fact that the protective order stands regardless of her re-establishing contact with Pickering.

The passenger appeared in court Monday, testifying that she had re-established contact with Pickering and that she had been under the impression that if she contacted him the protective order would be dropped. She testified that Pickering had even asked her to drop the protective order and that she had assured him there would be no problems.

Pickering also testified that he and the passenger were unaware they were breaking any laws. “We wouldn’t have come down here if we had known,” Pickering told the court. After explaining the misunderstanding, and adding that the protective order had since been lifted, Pickering was found not guilty.

Double Guilty Sentence For Possession Charges

OCEAN CITY – Two Pennsylvania men appeared together in District Court Monday morning to plead guilty to similar charges.

Joseph Saleem Khal, 19, of Allentown, Pa., and Rami Youseff Mamari, 20, of Whitehall, Pa., came before the District Court Monday after being arrested together in June for possession of marijuana.

On June 30, officers were in the area of 9th Street and the Boardwalk when the noticed the odor of marijuana. They spotted two individuals, Khal and Mamari, with their backs turned away from the officers. The officers approached them and after performing and consented search, found marijuana on both individuals.

Both Khal and Mamari were found guilty of possession of marijuana and sentenced to probation before judgment with one year on unsupervised probation with a $257.50 fine.