Nearly Stabbed Security Guard

OCEAN CITY – A Pennsylvania man was arrested on first-degree assault and other charges this week after arguing with a security guard at a north-end condominium, banging on a window causing it to break, and then picking up a large shard of the broken glass and attempting to stab the guard with it.

Around 3:30 a.m. last Sunday, an OCPD officer responded to the Golden Sands condominium near 109th Street for a reported malicious destruction of property. Upon arrival, police encountered a man sitting on the curb in front of the lobby with blood on his clothing and a large laceration on his arm. The man, identified as Brian D. Wampole, 42, of Douglasville, Pa., told police he broke the window during an argument with a security guard and apologized several times for his actions.

When police went inside, they observed the sliding glass window that separated the front desk area from the rest of the lobby had been shattered and observed blood droplets all over the lobby area. The security guard had cuts on his face and arms from the shattered glass. At that point, Wampole was arrested for malicious destruction of property and reckless endangerment, but more serious charges were added when the security guard told his version of the events.

The security guard told police after Wampole broke the window, he picked up a large, triangular piece eight to 10 inches long and tried to climb through the hole in the glass. Wampole allegedly reached his arm through the hole up to his shoulder and lunged at the security guard with the large piece of glass and threatened to kill him. The security guard said Wampole had “the wildest look on his face” and he was certain he would have killed him if another man he was with hadn’t interceded.

When questioned about the incident, Wampole acknowledged a piece of glass might have fallen into his hand and he might have made a motion toward the guard with the shard of glass. After listening to the testimony of those involved, police also charged Wampole with first- and second-degree assault.

Tried To Swipe Cash Register

OCEAN CITY – Two Virginia men were arrested on burglary, theft and other charges last weekend after attempting to swipe a cash register from a roof-top store room of a resort nightclub during regular business hours.

Around 12:30 a.m. last Sunday, an OCPD officer on routine patrol in the area of 17th Street was flagged down by members of the security staff of the Paddock nightclub who were chasing a man, who, along with another suspect, had attempted to steal a cash register from the establishment. OCPD officers caught up to the suspect, identified as Justin Michael Gibson, 24, of King George, Va., and questioned him about why he was running.

Gibson told police he was just going home, but when the officers presented a cell phone found at the Paddock near the spot where the chase began, Gibson identified it as his phone. The background picture on the phone was a photo of Gibson’s face, further connecting him to the Paddock and the attempted theft.

Back at the Paddock, security staff told police they had observed a man on the roof of the building and went up the back stairs to access the roof and question the man, later identified as Ali Nawef Abuelhawa, 29, of Ashburn, Va. When the security staff opened the door to the roof, they saw Abuelhawa cradling a stolen cash register in his arms. They also saw another man, later identified as Gibson, lurking in the shadows.

Gibson pushed his way past the security staff and ran down the stairs, which is when the foot pursuit began just before police arrived. Abuelhawa was unable to flee with the cash register in his hand, and dropped it causing it to break before being detained by security staff until police arrived.

The investigation revealed Gibson and Abuelhawa had gone up the back stairs of the establishment and used a flat tool, such as a credit card or license, to gain access to an attic storage area where they found the cash register. Both Abuelhawa and Gibson were charged with burglary, malicious destruction of property, theft and alcohol-related charges. Gibson was also charged with second-degree assault for pushing the security staff in his attempt to flee.

Cop Biter Arrested

OCEAN CITY – A Brooklyn Park, Md. man was arrested on assault and other charges after allegedly biting two OCPD officers during his arrest in connection with a fight in the downtown area last Sunday.

Around 9:40 p.m. last Sunday, OCPD officers observed two men arguing on Worcester Street. When they approached the men, the observed one of the suspects, later identified as Jeffery Patrick Settle-Yocum, 22, of Brooklyn Park, violently push the other man, according to police reports. The officers broke up the fight and arrested Settle-Yocum for assault and disorderly conduct.

After the arrest, Settle-Yocum began to verbally threaten the OCPD officers and then assaulted and bit two officers, causing minor injuries. Settle-Yocum has been charged with four counts of second-degree assault including three on police officers, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

Local Up To Her Old Tricks

OCEAN CITY – A local woman who has had more than her share of run-ins with resort police over the years was at it again last week when she caused a major disturbance while hurling profanity and ethnic slurs at an OCPD officer in the downtown area on the Fourth of July.

Around 12:30 p.m. on July 4, OCPD Officer Tarek Dagstani responded to the area of 11th Street and the beach for a reported disorderly female. A Beach Patrol sergeant told police a woman, identified as Norma Flicop, 47, of Ocean City, was causing a major disturbance on the beach. Dagstani approached Flicop, who was immediately hostile to the officer, telling him to “[expletive deleted] off.” She then left the beach area and headed to her car parked illegally on 11th Street.

Dagstani could hear Flicop arguing with two men, later identified as her husband and her father, as he approached her vehicle. At that point, Flicop allegedly lit into the officer with a barrage of profanity and ethnic slurs, some of which were directed at the officer’s wife and children. By then, a large crowd had gathered and many were shocked by the scene, according to police reports.

Dagstani then told Flicop she was under arrest for disorderly conduct, but she got in her car and locked the doors. Dagstani and the other officers, who had arrived at the scene, attempted to stop Flicop, but she started to drive off heading north on Washington Ave. All the while, she continued her expletive-laden attack on the officers. She was finally stopped when a police cruiser blocked her way, but she still refused to get out of the car.

Flicop’s husband arrived and was able to talk her into letting him into the passenger door, and when he opened it, he unlocked the other doors with the electronic locks, allowing the officers to get to Flicop. She was eventually removed from the car, but continued her barrage of vulgarities as the crowd grew larger.

Once she was placed in the police cruiser, Flicop kicked a computer keyboard into the computer terminal mounted to the dashboard, causing damage to the computer. She was ultimately charged with disorderly conduct, malicious destruction, attempting to elude police and willfully disobeying a lawful order.

Jail Time For Inlet Drug Bust

SNOW HILL – A Pennsylvania man arrested last August in the Inlet parking lot after resort police found him in a vehicle with a significant amount of marijuana and loaded guns pleaded guilty last week to possession with intent to distribute and was sentenced to 110 days in jail.

Ronald Lee Ziegel, 22, of Listie, Pa., was in Worcester County Circuit Court last week to face several charges stemming from an arrest last August. Ziegel pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute marijuana and was sentenced to 110 days in jail. He was also fined $500 and placed on probation for two years upon release.

Last Aug. 18, an OCPD officer on routine patrol at the Inlet parking lot observed four people in a Chevy Cavalier with the two front doors of the vehicle standing open. The officer observed a man, later identified as Ziegel, sitting in the front passenger seat with a magazine open on his lap with marijuana on it.

Ziegel noticed the officer and quickly put the marijuana in a clear plastic baggie and handed it to a female in the right rear passenger seat. The officer placed Ziegel under arrest, and while searching his person found a marijuana grinder in his pants pocket and another baggie of pot in his shirt pocket. At that time, Ziegel spontaneously stated “All the marijuana in the car is mine,” according to police reports.

The initial officer, with the help of assisting officers, searched the vehicle and found marijuana and paraphernalia all over the passenger compartment including marijuana and rolling papers in the center console, a loaded flare gun in the glove compartment, more marijuana in the back seat and throughout the vehicle, a hypodermic needle, a spoon with suspected heroin residue and other evidence.

When the officers searched the trunk of the vehicle, they found even more damaging evidence against the four suspects. Inside a blue satchel in the trunk was a loaded 9 mm handgun with nine rounds in the magazine, one knife, two large bricks of pot, several boxes of clear plastic Baggies, two scales and various other amounts of marijuana and paraphernalia.

Five Years For Cocaine Bust

SNOW HILL – A Virginia Beach man arrested in March for attempting to transport a significant amount of cocaine through Worcester County pleaded guilty this week in Circuit Court to possession with intent to distribute and was sentenced to five years in jail.

Michael Thomas Jamison, 23, of Virginia Beach, appeared in Circuit Court on Monday to face a myriad of charges stemming from an arrest on March 18. Jamison pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute a large amount of cocaine and was sentenced to five years in jail.

Shortly after 11 p.m. on March 18, a Maryland State Police trooper from the Berlin barrack working routine patrol on Route 13 near Pocomoke observed a 2007 Dodge Charger with an equipment violation. The trooper pulled over the vehicle for the equipment repair order and found the driver had no license and noticed both the driver and the passenger acting suspiciously.

Additional units were requested and responded to the scene of the traffic stop. A K-9 unit dog was brought in to scan the vehicle for illegal controlled dangerous substance. The dog alerted positively either in the vehicle or recently in the vehicle. Both the driver, identified as Umar Yunsuf Adams, 22, of Jamaica, N.Y., and Jamison was found to be concealing large amounts of crack cocaine on their persons.

The total weight of crack cocaine seized during the search of the suspects came to about 258 grams. The estimated street value of the seized crack cocaine came in between $20,000 and $30,000.

The suspect’s vehicle was towed to the Maryland State Police barrack in Berlin for a more thorough search. During the search, troopers found a hidden compartment in the center console of the vehicle and inside the compartment was a loaded handgun.

Adams and Jamison were each charged with transporting crack cocaine across state lines, possession of large amounts of crack cocaine, possession with intent to distribute controlled dangerous substance and possession of a loaded handgun. Adams has not been to trial yet.

Probation In False Rape Report Case

SNOW HILL – An Ohio woman who last June falsely reported being raped, setting off an extensive investigation, pleaded guilty last week to making a false statement to a police officer and was placed on probation for 18 months.

Last June 11, Elizabeth Russick, 21, of Canton, Ohio, called Ocean City police to report a rape. Investigators then spent several hours investigating the alleged rape before detecting many inconsistencies in her story.

After confronting Russick with the inconsistencies, she admitted the truth to the officers. She admitted having consensual sex with a friend but became angry when she learned he had not used a condom. She then told police she had reported the incident as a rape because she was “scared and confused.”

Last week in Circuit Court, Russick pleaded guilty and was placed on probation for 18 months.

Suspended Sentence In False Imprisonment Case

SNOW HILL – An Ocean City man arrested in March for allegedly holding his live-in girlfriend hostage and threatening to kill her with a knife pleaded guilty this week in Circuit Court to second-degree assault and was sentenced to 18 months in jail, all of which was suspended.

Michael Todd Banzhoff, 36, of Ocean City, was in Circuit Court on Monday facing several serious charges including first-degree assault and false imprisonment for an incident in March during which he allegedly held his live-in girlfriend hostage and threatened to kill her. He pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and was sentenced to 18 months in jail all of which was suspended. He was also placed on probation for three years and fined $500.

On March 10, an Ocean City Police Department officer responded to a residence on Edward Taylor Rd. in reference to a reported assault. The victim, who was reportedly very upset and scared, told police her boyfriend, identified as Michael Todd Banzhoff, 36, of Ocean City, had come home intoxicated from a bar and started an argument with her. Banzhoff allegedly broke the victim’s cell phone before throwing her on the floor and holding her against her will.

Banzhoff allegedly held her down while she tried to get away and she screamed as loud as she could. The victim told police every time she attempted to leave, Banzhoff grabbed her and threw her down, punching her one time in the jaw with a closed fist. As the victim cried and screamed louder, Banzhoff just laughed at her and even got out a camcorder to tape the situation. At one point, Banzhoff used his cell phone to record the incident, according to police reports.

The victim continued to try to leave, but every time she made an attempt, Banzhoff prevented her escape. At one point, Banzhoff threw the victim on the floor and stood on her back, jumping up and down, when she said she was going to call the police. Banzhoff continued to record the incident with a camcorder, saying into it several times he never touched her and that she was crazy.

Banzhoff then allegedly grabbed the victim by her hair, threw her back on a bed and grabbed a folding knife from the nightstand. He allegedly held the knife to the victim’s throat and threatened to kill her. The victim was finally able to flee the residence and went to the police station.

At the station, police observed scratches and bruises on several parts of the victim’s body that were consistent with her account of the attack. Banzhoff was later arrested and charged with first- and second-degree assault, false imprisonment, reckless endangerment and malicious destruction of property.

Drug Dealer Gets Probation, Fine

SNOW HILL – An Ocean City man arrested in April on drug and weapons charges after an extensive two-month investigation by resort narcotics officers pleaded guilty last week to possession of crack cocaine and was sentenced to 18 months in jail, all of which was suspended in favor of probation and fines.

A two-month investigation culminated in the arrest of Marvin Jefferson Mitchell, 24, of Ocean City, in April when an undercover OCPD narcotics detective purchased an undisclosed amount of crack cocaine from the suspect. After the transaction, a search and seizure warrant was served at Mitchell’s Ocean City residence during which detectives seized 4.6 grams of crack cocaine, 14 grams of marijuana, two digital scales, $1,435 in currency and a Ruger semi-automatic 9mm handgun.

Mitchell was charged with distribution of crack cocaine, possession of crack cocaine and marijuana and possession of CDS paraphernalia. Last week, he pleaded guilty to possession of crack cocaine and was sentenced to 18 months in jail, all of which was suspended.

60 Days For Resisting Arrest

OCEAN CITY – An Ocean City man arrested last October on several charges including assault after attempting to bite an Ocean City Police officer pleaded guilty last week in Circuit Court to resisting arrest and was sentenced to 60 days in jail.

Last October 18, an Ocean City Police officer on routine traffic patrol stopped a vehicle for numerous traffic violations in the area of 32nd Street and Baltimore Ave. The officer approached the driver, Charlene Battaglia, and started to tell her why he had stopped her when the front seat passenger interceded. The passenger, later identified as Robert William Chester, 42, of West Ocean City, first argued with the officer about the registration for the vehicle, which he said he owned.

The officer asked the driver to step out of the vehicle so he could talk to her unimpeded when Chester and another man got out of the truck and approached the officer. The officer told Chester he was free to leave but could not keep coming back to the vehicle. Chester went into a nearby bar and returned a short time later, standing on the sidewalk and yelling obscenities at the officer while he was waiting for a license check on Battaglia.

The officer told Chester again to leave because he was impeding an investigation. The officer noted in his report Chester had a “violent history and liked to resist and assault police.” Chester refused to leave, telling the officer he was on a public sidewalk and could not be forced to leave. He continued his expletive-laced tirade until the officer told him if he did not leave the area, he would be arrested.

The officer was preparing to write a repair order for the vehicle when Chester emerged from the bar again, this time carrying a pool cue. The officer pulled out his handcuffs and prepared to arrest Chester when Chester squared up in a fighting posture, clenched his fists and said, “looks like I’m going to have to take another assault charge,” according to police reports.

The officer took out his Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) Spray and pointed it at Chester, stating he would use it if the suspect did not cooperate. When other officers arrived to assist, Chester put his hands behind his back and was handcuffed, but the incident was not over. When the arresting officer attempted to serve Chester with a citation, he noticed a cigarette pack in the suspect’s shirt pocket.

When the officer attempted to remove the cigarette pack to investigate it, Chester lunged his head toward the officer’s hand and attempted to bite the officer. In his report, the officer said he felt Chester’s mouth on his hand before he pulled it away. The other officers on the scene said in the report they saw Chester attempt to bite the arresting officer.

PWC Accident Sends One To Hospital

OCEAN CITY – A Wilmington, Del. man was transported to PRMC with serious injuries last weekend after the personal watercraft (PWC) he was operating collided with another PWC in the Assawoman Bay.

Around 6:30 p.m. last Saturday, Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) investigated a boating accident in Assawoman Bay near Drum Point.

The investigation revealed Joshua N. Greenberg and Asa B. McCune, both 28 and of Wilmington, Del. were each operating PWCs when the vessels collided. Greenberg was transported to the Peninsula Regional Medical Center in serious condition. NRP charged McCune with negligent operation of a PWC.

NRP reminds persons operating personal watercraft within 100 feet of the shore, wharfs, piers, pilings, jetties, bridge structures or abutments, individual or individuals in the water, and other vessels may not exceed a speed of six knots at anytime.

Silent Defendant Found Guilty

OCEAN CITY – A Gaithersburg, Md. man faced fourth-degree burglary charges this week in District Court, but caused confusion amongst courtroom officials when it was learned he does not speak.

William Edward Thornton, 21, appeared at the defense table with the assistance of a sign-language interpreter Monday morning. The interpreter explained to the court that it was her understanding that Thornton was hearing impaired, but noted she was only getting blank stares from him and no response when she would sign to him.

Three police officers addressed the situation, explaining that Thornton could indeed hear, but refused to speak for unknown reasons. The officers cited various encounters with Thornton in which he communicated with them via writing. He reportedly told one officer, in writing, that he could hear fine, but stopped speaking two years ago because it hurt him to talk.

After clearing up the confusion, the prosecution offered Thronton a plea agreement for the fourth degree burglary charge, offering 24 hours of community service, which Thornton accepted in writing.

According to police reports, officers responded to the Madison Hotel on April 18 in response to a reported burglary. Witnesses explained that an individual had been staying in rooms on the premises without permission. After questioning Thornton, he admitted to staying in unit number two on April 16 and 17, prompting officers to charge him with fourth-degree burglary.

Kayaker Caught In Storm

OCEAN CITY – A Rockville, Md. man was charged with operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol after he got caught in the storm after the Fourth of July fireworks in Ocean City last Friday.

Around 10 p.m. last Friday, Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) received a report of a kayaker in distress in the marsh in Assawoman Bay near 120th Street. The call came during the height of the severe storm that arrived in the resort area immediately following the completion of the Fourth of July fireworks.

NRP located the distressed kayaker, later identified as Christen C. Jorgensen, 49, of Rockville, unharmed and charged him with operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol, operating a vessel while impaired by alcohol and operating a vessel while impaired by alcohol and or drugs.