Phony Doctor Busted

OCEAN CITY – Ocean City police this week arrested a local man who was allegedly posing as a doctor and calling in fake prescriptions for painkillers to local pharmacies.

On June 11, the Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) narcotics unit conducted a pharmaceutical drug investigation involving a suspect, later identified as Shannon Sanders Alexander, 38, of Ocean City, who had been representing himself as a doctor from Laurel, Md. and calling in fraudulent Hydrocodone prescriptions to local pharmacies. Hydrocodone is a schedule 3 controlled dangerous substance often marketed under the brand name Vicodin, a strong, potentially addictive painkiller.

OCPD detectives were made aware of Alexander’s alleged activity when they were contacted by the CVS pharmacy on 120th Street after the pharmacist became suspicious of the suspect’s request for the drugs and the manner in which they were being prescribed. Detectives later learned the individual for whom the medication had been fraudulently prescribed had recently been discharged as a patient from a Laurel, Md. doctor’s office.

During the investigation, detectives learned Alexander had been discharged as a patient from the doctor’s office several months ago because of repeated attempts to phone in fraudulent prescriptions by posing as a doctor. Last week, detectives arrested Alexander at the CVS on 120th Street as he attempted to pick up a prescription for Hydrocodone he had called in by representing himself as a doctor.

During the arrest, OCPD officers also found marijuana in Alexander’s possession. He has been charged with obtaining a CDS prescription by fraud, obtaining a CDS prescription by impersonation, possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia. He was taken before a District Court Commissioner and ordered held on a $5,000 bond before being transferred to the county jail.

Two Injured In Crash

BISHOPVILLE – Two people were hurt including one with life threatening injuries in an early morning crash on Route 113 near Bishopville last weekend.

Around 7:30 a.m. last Saturday, Maryland State Police along with the Bishopville and Selbyville Fire Departments and Showell Emergency Medical Services responded to a reported motor vehicle collision involving injuries on Route 113 near its intersection with Route 610 in Bishopville. The investigation revealed a 2006 box truck driven by Van Khuong Tran, 53, of Virginia Beach, collided with a 2001 Dodge truck driven by William Bruce Somers, 47, of Marion Station, Md.

Both vehicles then collided with a Delmarva Power utility pole and traffic light control box for the intersection. The accident reportedly knocked out power for much of the area for several hours on Saturday morning. Both drivers were taken to PRMC in Salisbury. Tran was taken to PRMC by the Showell Volunteer Fire Department, while Somers was transported to the hospital by MSP helicopter.

Somers’ injuries were listed as life threatening by the MSP and as of mid-week, he was still listed in critical condition. The accident is currently under investigation by the MSP Crash Team. Anyone with information about the collision is urged to call the MSP Berlin barrack at 410-641-3101.

DNA Closes 18-year-old Rape Case

POCOMOKE – Thanks to DNA technology, the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) this week successfully identified a suspect in a brutal rape case in Pocomoke dating back to the summer of 1991.

Early in the summer of 1991, a Pocomoke woman was raped while asleep in her home. The attacker gained entry through a doorway while the victim was asleep and she was awakened by the man assaulting her. For roughly 18 years, the case was unsolved until a recent search in a national DNA database identified the assailant was Leslie Maize, now 68, of Gowanda, N.Y.

Armed with the positive DNA identification, WCBI detectives have secured a warrant for Maize charging him with first-degree rape and first-degree burglary. Maize is currently serving a jail sentence in New York and is expected to be released in 2014. Upon his release in New York, Maize will likely be extradited to Maryland to face the charges related to the 1991 attack in Pocomoke.

Conviction For Arson Threat

SNOW HILL – A Chestertown man arrested on assault and threat of arson charges after attacking his parents at a West Ocean City campground in May pleaded no contest to the arson threat charge this week and was sentenced to 33 days in jail.

Shortly after 4 p.m. on May 23, Maryland State Police troopers responded to Frontier Town in reference to a reported fight in progress. Upon arrival, troopers made contact with the victims who advised their son, later identified as Brian Keith Neal, 32, of Chestertown, assaulted them and became violent after an argument occurred.

The female victim told police Neal grabbed her and threw her to the ground. Her husband, Neal’s father, then intervened, but was punched in the face by his son, according to police reports. Neal continued to use profanities toward his parents in the presence of his wife and children. At one point, Neal threatened to burn his parents’ house down, a statement that was made in the presence of police officers.

Neal was ultimately arrested and charged with threat of arson, two counts of second-degree assault on both of his parents and disorderly conduct. The investigation revealed Neal is currently on probation for a first-degree arson conviction in another state. This week in District Court, Neal entered a plea of nolo contendere, or no contest, to the arson threat charge and was sentenced to 33 days in jail. He was also fined $200. The status of his arson case in another state is unknown.

Sign Language Fraud Sentence

OCEAN CITY – A Delaware woman arrested in May after fraudulently requesting the town of Ocean City provide a sign language interpreter for special events over the period of several months before getting hired to provide the service herself pleaded guilty this week in District Court to one count of theft under $500 and was placed on probation for a year and fined.

In May, OCPD detectives concluded a six-month fraud investigation involving a woman, later identified as Gail S. Garner, 51, of Greenwood, Del., who allegedly sent numerous fictitious requests to Ocean City’s Recreation and Parks Department requesting a sign language interpreter for special events. According to police, Garner allegedly made false requests to the town for a sign language interpreter for various special events for personal gain in an effort to secure work for herself.

Ocean City first hired Garner, a sign language interpreter, to perform sign language at special events back in 2000 when the town first started receiving such requests for special events. The town of Ocean City hired Garner and used her on several occasions to perform sign language at special events. Late last year, an OCPD investigation revealed Garner allegedly sent numerous fictitious requests to the Recreation and Parks Department for a sign language interpreter for special events.

Part of Garner’s scheme was to send fraudulent requests to the department via email posing as different persons requesting a sign language interpreter be provided for certain events. According to police, Garner accomplished her scheme by using various different names and email addresses. Investigators believe Garner was creating a false need for a sign language specialist for the purpose of defrauding the city by being financially compensated for her services.

During 2008, OCPD investigators determined the email requests received by the city were actually sent by Garner using various aliases and email addresses. The investigation revealed Garner had allegedly bilked the town of Ocean City out of an estimated $1,300.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) laws give deaf individuals or individuals with hearing disabilities the right to request a sign language interpreter for public special events such as stage performances, concerts and speeches, for example, and the governing jurisdiction has a responsibility to provide the service when and wherever possible. Garner allegedly utilized the ADA mandate for her own personal gain by making several such requests to the town of Ocean City.

Garner was originally charged with nine counts of theft less than $500 and one count of felony theft over $500. During the investigation, OCPD detectives determined Garner has also been involved in providing sign language services to the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center, Dover Downs, Midway Slots and the Delaware State Fair.

This week in District Court, Garner pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor theft and was placed on probation for one year and fined $500.

Cop Assaulter Guilty

OCEAN CITY – A Georgetown, Del. woman arrested in May on assault charges after striking an OCPD officer outside a mid-town nightclub pleaded guilty this week to second-degree assault and was placed on probation and fined.

Around 1:30 a.m. on May 10, an OCPD officer responded to Fager’s Island for a report of disorderly subjects. Upon arrival, the officer observed several people being asked to leave the property by the management. While the officer was issuing trespassing warnings to the individuals, a woman, later identified as Kathy Pettyjohn, 24, of Georgetown, Del., started screaming. Pettyjohn was screaming the security staff of the nightclub was racist because they would not let her friends into the establishment.

The officer approached Pettyjohn and warned her to lower her voice or run the risk of a disorderly conduct arrest. According to police reports, Pettyjohn was yelling loudly enough to draw the attention of several other patrons in the parking lot. As the officer started to speak to Pettyjohn further, she allegedly struck the officer in the chest with an open right hand and turned her back and started to walk away. At that point, Pettyjohn was arrested for second-degree assault on a police officer.

This week in District Court, Pettyjohn pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and was placed on probation for one year. She was also fined $300.

Probation In Pot Case

OCEAN CITY – The second of three suspects arrested on drug distribution charges in March after a month-long investigation by the OCPD’s narcotics unit pleaded guilty last week to possession of marijuana and was placed on probation and fined.

Patrice Shelton, 18, of Ocean City, appeared in District Court last week to face possession and possession with intent to distribute marijuana charges following her arrest along with two co-defendants in March. Shelton pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana and was placed on probation for one year and fined $400. One of Shelton’s co-defendants, Sara Morells, 19, also of Ocean City, pleaded guilty to a possession charge in May and was also fined and placed on probation.

The third suspect, Donnell Lamar Taylor, 27, of Ocean City, had his case forwarded to Circuit Court last month. Taylor is facing possession and possession with intent to distribute charges and is scheduled to appear for trial in Circuit Court on July 8.

No Show For Crack Case

OCEAN CITY – A Berlin man arrested in March on crack cocaine possession charges after failing to obey an OCPD officer’s order not to drive on a suspended license failed to appear in court this week and had a warrant sworn out for his arrest.

Around 3:30 a.m. on March 17, an OCPD officer responded to a residence on Teal Drive for a report of a suspicious male banging on the door of the residence. The officer met with the suspect, later identified as Jonathan Chase Nichols, 23, of Berlin, and asked him if his license was suspended. Nichols told the officer his license was suspended, but that he had just finished the driver improvement program.

OCPD officers contacted the resident who said she did not know Nichols and did not want him on the property. Police communications, meanwhile, confirmed Nichols’ license was suspended. Nichols told police he had driven to Teal Drive to look for a former employer from which he wanted to borrow money. Nichols was told to leave his vehicle, a gold GMC Envoy, and to not drive. Nichols then left the area on foot per the officer’s instructions.

About three hours later, however, the same officer observed Nichols walking to his vehicle and driving off. The officer observed Nichols fail to come to a stop traveling east on 15th Street onto St. Louis Ave. The officer followed Nichols before pulling him over on St. Louis Ave. at 8th Street. When asked why he purposely drove on a suspended license when the officer had earlier warned him not to, Nichols allegedly responded “because man, it’s so [expletive deleted] cold,” according to police reports. Nichols was then arrested for driving on a suspended license.

During a search of the vehicle incident to the arrest, police found a burnt glass pipe in the center console and a burnt metal “Chore Boy” containing crack cocaine residue. The officer also located a Diet Coke can fashioned into a smoking device behind the passenger seat with burnt crack cocaine residue on it. Nichols was then also charged with possession of crack cocaine and possession of paraphernalia.

Nichols was scheduled to appear for trial in District Court on Wednesday, but he did not appear and a warrant was sworn out for his arrest. In addition, his bond was revoked and a new bond in the amount of $15,000 was applied.

Probation For Stealing Gas

SNOW HILL – A Worcester County Health Department employee arrested last November after a witness observed her filling her privately owned vehicle with gas from the State Highway Administration’s facility in Berlin pleaded guilty last week to embezzlement and misappropriation charges and was placed on probation and fined.

Shortly after 1 p.m. last November 5, Maryland State Police troopers responded to SHA’s facility in Berlin for a reported theft of gasoline. A witness told police Tasha Lynette Reed, an employee of the Worcester County Health Department, had been seen filling her privately owned vehicle from the state’s gas pumps.

The investigation revealed Reed had stolen around 12 gallons of gasoline valued at $29.14. She was charged with embezzlement and theft under $100. Last week in District Court, Reed pleaded guilty to embezzlement and misappropriation and was placed on probation for two years. She was also fined a little over $200.