Charges In Alleged Robbery Dropped

SNOW HILL – Two men who allegedly robbed an intoxicated woman leaving a downtown bar in August and were later caught on the Route 50 bridge had the charges against them dropped last week in Circuit Court.

Around 1:45 a.m. on Aug. 3, the female victim flagged down an OCPD officer and told them she had just been robbed by two men, later identified as Dawon Muhammad, 25, of Salisbury, and William Wilson, 27 of Princess Anne. The victim, who appeared intoxicated, according to police reports, told the officer she was leaving a downtown bar when Wilson and Muhammad were leaving at the same time.

The victim told police she was trying to catch a bus when the suspects offered to help her. According to police reports the victim and the suspects were in a parking garage on Somerset Street when Wilson engaged the victim in conversation to draw her attention. Muhammad then allegedly ran up from behind the victim and grabbed the purse from her shoulder, causing her to fall down. Both men then fled from the area.

A witness observed Muhammad and Wilson in a nearby parking lot looking through the purse and dividing up the money inside it. Wilson and Muhammad were later spotted on the Route 50 Bridge where they were detained. The victim and the witness were brought over and identified the pair as the suspects. They were each charged with robbery and theft less than $500. However, each of the suspects had the charges against them dropped last week in Circuit Court.

Jail Time For Explosive Device

SNOW HILL – A Pennsylvania man arrested in July after resort police found a makeshift bomb in his vehicle following a traffic stop was found guilty last week in Circuit Court of possessing an explosive device without a license and was sentenced to 30 days in jail.

Around 11:20 a.m. July 16, OCPD officers conducting a routine traffic stopped a vehicle in the area of 7th Street and Baltimore Ave. for a driver not wearing a seat belt. During the traffic stop, officers observed open alcoholic beverage containers and suspected marijuana in plain view inside the car.

As a result, the driver of the car, identified as Roger Lee Shipley III, 24, of Harrisburg, Pa., and the passenger, identified as Jeremiah Charles Spelas, 25, of Carlisle, Pa., were arrested and charged with possession of marijuana. During the subsequent search of the vehicle, OCPD officers discovered a suspicious item in the passenger compartment suspected of being an improvised explosive device (IED).

The object was shaped like a hand grenade and was wrapped in black tape. There also appeared to be a fuse protruding from one end of the device. Police immediately identified the object as an IED and the entire area was sealed off while the Ocean City Fire Marshal’s Office Bomb Squad responded to the scene.

Bomb Squad technicians carefully removed the device and transported it to an undisclosed area outside of Ocean City where it was destroyed without incident. Typically, bomb squad technicians removed potentially explosive devices found in the resort to an area near the Ocean City Municipal Airport in West Ocean City.

Last week in Circuit Court, Shipley was found guilty of possessing an explosive device without a license and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. He was also placed on probation for six months. Spelas went to court in November and pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana and was placed on probation for a year and fined $500.

Alleged Assault On Officer

OCEAN CITY – A Bishopville man was arrested for allegedly assaulting an officer, resisting arrest, escape and other traffic-related charges last week after first running into another vehicle and then a building before hitting an Ocean City police officer attempting to book him.

Around 9:30 p.m. last Thursday, an OCPD officer on patrol was dispatched to the area of Anderson’s Exxon on 52nd Street for a reported collision. A witness told the officer a Ford F-250 truck, driven by a man later identified as Jason Darryl Hagy, 35, of Bishopville, had failed to negotiate the turn onto 52nd Street, struck the victim’s vehicle and continued on into the service station parking lot where he struck a bank of mailboxes directly in front of the building.

The officer observed Hagy leaning on the hood of his truck in the service station parking lot. The officer observed paint damage on the truck consistent with the story told by the witness. The officer approached Hagy and asked him for his license and registration. At this point, the officer noted the smell of alcohol on Hagy and noticed the suspect’s eyes were glassy and bloodshot.

The officer asked Hagy for his license and registration, but the suspect could not immediately produce the documents and continued to fumble around in his vehicle, according to police reports. At that point, the officer told Hagy to forget about the paperwork for a minute and proceed to the back of his truck to perform field sobriety tests, which he did not pass to the satisfaction of the officer, according to police reports.

The officer then placed Hagy under arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. Hagy was handcuffed behind his back, but as the officer attempted to put him in the patrol car, Hagy attempted to push his hands around to the front of him while has cuffed. Hagy was then put in the police car with his hands cuffed behind him.

A short time later while the officer was attempting to gather more information from the witnesses, he observed Hagy, now with his hands in front of him, open the door of the police car and attempt to walk away. The officer then ordered Hagy to stop and tried to cuff him once again behind his back. When the officer removed one handcuff, Hagy grabbed the open handcuff and struggled with the officer, who was attempting to constrain him again behind his back. According to police reports, Hagy struggled with the officer and at one point told him “Let me go. I’m only one block from my house.”

The suspect reportedly pushed back against the officer and at one point closed the handcuffs on the officer’s finger. The officer then used force on the suspect and was ultimately able to get him cuffed and back in the police car, but Hagy wasn’t done fighting with the police yet, according to reports.

The first officer had contacted communications and requested a prisoner transport wagon for Hagy. Once at the police station, Hagy refused to take a breath test, as is his right, but when he was asked to take a seat on the bench by another officer, he refused and struggled with the officer, raising his hands in front of him and striking the officer in the jaw with his open palms. The officer then wrestled Hagy to the ground and was ultimately able to get him into a holding cell.

Hagy was ultimately charged with assault, escape and resisting arrest in addition to numerous traffic offenses.

Suspended Sentence

For Boardwalk Tirade

SNOW HILL – A local woman arrested in July after creating a major disturbance including an expletive-laced tirade launched at resort police was found guilty last week in Circuit Court on a malicious destruction of property charge and was sentenced to a year in jail, all of which was suspended in favor of probation and a fine.

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.

Last week, Flicop was found guilty of malicious destruction of property and was sentenced to a year in jail, all of which was suspended. She was then placed on probation for three years and fined $500. The other charges against her were dropped.

Different Sentences For

Cash Register Thieves

SNOW HILL – Two Virginia men arrested on burglary, theft and other charges in July after attempting to swipe a cash register from the roof-top storeroom of a resort nightclub during regular business hours were both found guilty last week in Circuit Court of fourth-degree burglary and received varied sentences including jail time for one.

Around 12:30 a.m. on July 6, 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.

Last week in Circuit Court, Gibson pleaded guilty to fourth-degree burglary and was sentenced to 15 days in jail and ordered to pay $650 in restitution to the owner of the establishment. Abuelhawa was also found guilty of fourth-degree burglary, but was placed on probation for 18 months. Abuelhawa was also ordered to pay his share of the restitution including the $650 plus an additional $625.

Random Door Knocker

To Serve Time In Jail

BERLIN – A Newark man was arrested on disorderly conduct, trespassing and other charges in November after police found him knocking on random doors while intoxicated at a Berlin apartment complex pleaded guilty last week in District Court to resisting arrest and was sentenced to 30 days in jail, all of which was suspended but five days.

A little after 3 p.m. on Nov. 17, Berlin police responded to the Decatur Apartments for a reported suspicious person on the premises. Upon arrival, officers came in contact with the suspect, later identified as Leonard S. Young, 54, who was knocking on random doors.

Young was observed to be extremely intoxicated, according to police reports, and continued to yell and curse at police. When advised he was under arrest, Young began to fight with police. He was eventually taken into custody and charged with trespassing, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Last week, Young pleaded guilty to resisting arrest and was sentenced to 30 days with all but five suspended. He was also placed on probation for two years and fined $200.

Charges Dropped

In Disorderly Case

OCEAN CITY – A Laurel, Md. man arrested in August on numerous charges after harassing an OCPD officer attempting to make another arrest had the charges against him dropped in District Court last week.

Around 2:30 a.m. on Aug. 3, OCPD officers were attempting to arrest a female suspect in the 18th Street area when a large crowd gathered around and refused to leave. One male individual, later identified as Joe Alvaro Valleluna, 26, of Laurel, Md., was being louder and more defiant than the others in the crowd and police warned him at least eight times to leave the area. The officers picked out a corner at least 100 feet away and told Valleluna to go stand there and not come any closer to where the arrest was being made.

However, Valleluna did not listen to the officers and continued to interfere with the arrest. He was given a final warning and three of his friends grabbed him and began to walk him away when Valleluna screamed at police, “If we were somewhere else, you’d be getting your [expletives deleted] kicked right now.”

By now, a crowd of about 40 people had gathered. Some showed their disdain for Valleluna’s actions while others applauded and egged him on, according to police reports. By then, police had had enough of Valleluna and attempted to place him under arrest, but he resisted and scuffled with police, telling them, “I ain’t going anywhere.”

He was eventually subdued and handcuffed and charged with obstructing and hindering, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and failure to obey a lawful order. Last week in District Court, Valleluna had the charges against him nolle prossed, or not prosecuted.

Bay Bridge Fatal

Accident Nets $470 in Fines

QUEEN ANNES – The Millington, Md. woman who dozed off and crossed the center line on the Bay Bridge on an early Sunday morning in August, causing a tragic accident that left one man dead, another woman in the hospital, a tractor-trailer floating in the Chesapeake Bay nearby and snarled beach traffic in both directions on a busy August weekend pleaded guilty two weeks ago in District Court in Queen Anne’s County to a handful of traffic offenses and was fined a total of $470.

Shortly before 4 a.m. on Aug. 10, a Mountaire Farms tractor trailer traveling westbound on the William Preston Lane Memorial Bridge swerved to avoid a vehicle heading eastbound that crossed the center lane, struck the Jersey wall barrier and careened over the side, plunging about 40 feet into the Chesapeake Bay below. The driver of the Mountaire truck, John R. Short, 57, of Willards, was killed in the crash and his body was later recovered from the water.

The tractor-trailer floated in the bay and was contained to an area just under the bridge until it could be removed on the next day. The driver of the vehicle that crossed the center line, identified as Candy Lynn Baldwin, 19, of Millington, Md., later admitted she likely fell asleep at the wheel as she traveled across the bridge from a party on the other side, although no criminal charges were filed against her because of lack of any sufficient evidence. Baldwin’s blood-alcohol test following the accident turned up a .03 reading.

The accident closed the eastbound span for much of the day on Sunday, one of the busiest days of the week and one of the busiest weekends of the summer, creating massive traffic jams in both directions. Many resort visitors who left Ocean City earlier that afternoon did not reach their destinations until early Monday morning and similar traffic nightmares were reported from drivers heading east to the Eastern Shore and Ocean City.

The accident revealed problems with the bridge’s concrete barriers, a section of which failed when struck by the tractor-trailer causing a massive rehabilitation project that carried over to Labor Day, further snarling traffic to and from the resort area.

Two weeks ago in District Court in Queen Anne’s County, Baldwin pleaded guilty to negligent driving and was fined $280. She also pleaded guilty to failure to drive to the right of center and was fined an additional $130. Finally, Baldwin pleaded guilty to violating a license restriction and was fined another $60, bringing the total to $470.