WEST OCEAN CITY – A Fruitland man suspected of taking items from unlocked vehicles in West Ocean City was charged with rogue and vagabond and failure to obey a lawful order last week after fleeing from a Worcester County Sheriff’s Deputy and jumping into the Assawoman Bay before eventually being taken into custody.
Shortly after midnight on Oct. 17, a Worcester County Sheriff’s Deputy was patrolling in the area of Golf Course Rd. and Pine Street in West Ocean City as part of the stepped up effort in the wake of reported thefts from automobiles throughout the area. The deputy observed a white male, later identified as Scott Andrew Williamson, 32, of Fruitland, standing near a vehicle with its door open.
When the deputy approached Williamson, the suspect fled on foot and the deputy gave chase. Williamson eventually jumped into the Assawoman Bay behind the Water’s Edge community and remained in the water for a half an hour before exiting into the marsh area behind the development. With the help of additional officers, including an Ocean City Police K-9 unit, Williamson was located hiding in the marsh.
Attempts to take the suspect into custody were met with resistance, but Williamson was ultimately arrested. He was taken to Atlantic General Hospital and treated for exposure before being released. He was charged with rogue and vagabond, failure to obey a lawful order and possession of drug paraphernalia. Williamson was then taken before a District Court Commissioner and ordered held on a $2,000 bond.
Vehicle Thefts Widespread
WEST OCEAN CITY – Local law enforcement officials this week issued an urgent warning to residents throughout the West Ocean City area about the ongoing problem with thefts from motor vehicles.
From Friday to Sunday last weekend, the Maryland State Police and the Worcester County Sheriff’s Department investigated numerous incidents in West Ocean City involving the theft of items from unlocked motor vehicles during nighttime hours. The thefts occurred primarily in the Mystic Harbor, Oyster Harbor, Commercial Fishing Harbor, Captain’s Hill, Golf Course Rd. and Keyser Point Rd. areas, or essentially all over West Ocean City, between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. each day.
The suspect or suspects have been entering unlocked vehicles and stealing any items of value. MSP officials this week urged citizens in the area to make sure their vehicles are locked at all times and that any items of value are not left in a visible place. Anyone with information regarding the theft spree is urged to contact the MSP in Berlin at 410-641-3101.
Noise Leads To Cleaver Threat
WEST OCEAN CITY – A West Ocean City man was arrested on assault charges last week after allegedly threatening a roommate with a meat cleaver over “loud” noise in the apartment.
On October 13, the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office responded to an alleged assault involving a meat cleaver at an apartment on Sunset Avenue in West Ocean City. Upon arrival, sheriff’s deputies learned a suspect identified as Brian Stawinski, 40, of Ocean City, had threatened his roommate with a meat cleaver reportedly over excessive noise in the residence. Stawinski was arrested and charged with first- and second-degree assault. He was taken before a District Court Commissioner and ordered held on a $15,000 bond pending a trial date.
Family Dispute Leads
To Assault Arrest
GIRDLETREE – A Girdletree man was arrested on assault charges last week after a family dispute led to a physical altercation.
Around 9 p.m. on Oct. 16, Worcester County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a residence on Taylor Landing Rd. in Girdletree for a reported assault in progress. The investigation revealed a family dispute led to a physical altercation between two males. Matthew Ford, 18, of Girdletree, was arrested and charged with second-degree assault. He was taken before a court commissioner and released on personal recognizance pending a trial date.
Alleged Knife Assault
Case Moves Forward
OCEAN CITY – A Bear, Del. man arrested in Ocean City late last month after allegedly brandishing a knife and threatening to cut a group of individuals after a failed attempt to buy cocaine had an initial appearance in court this week and had the most serious charge against him, first-degree assault, dropped, although the case moved forward on several other charges including second-degree assault along with various drug and weapons charges.
David R. Knauer, 31, of Bear, Del., had an initial appearance in District Court in Ocean City on Wednesday following his arrest back on Sept. 29 after an incident involving a knife in the parking lot of an uptown hotel. The first-degree assault charge against Knauer was dropped during the proceeding, but the case against him moves forward on several fronts including second-degree assault, possession of cocaine and paraphernalia and deadly weapons charges.
Around 1:45 a.m. on Sept. 29, an OCPD officer was dispatched to the parking lot of the Carousel Hotel for a reported assault. The officer met with three individuals who reported they were in the hotel parking lot when they were approached by a man in a grayish Honda Civic who asked him where he could “get some powder” and threatened to cut them with a knife.
One of the men informed the suspect, later identified Knauer, that the group did not have any drugs and told him to leave them alone. According to police reports, Knauer then became agitated and got out of his vehicle and put his arm around one of the male victims’ shoulders and pulled him closer to him. The male victim then pushed Knauer away from at which point Knauer told the victim, “I will cut your face off.” Knauer then allegedly showed the group a knife he was carrying and began walking closer to the group.
The three victims all described the weapon as a fixed-blade knife with a black handle and a silver blade. When asked if they feared for their safety, the victims told police they truly thought Knauer was going to stab or cut them with the knife. The female victim told police she thought somebody was going to get stabbed and started to cry hysterically, according to police reports. The female victim told police she was extremely scared of getting hurt, stabbed or killed and was also afraid for her friends’ safety.
The victims all described Knauer as a white male about 6’ to 6’3” tall, with light brown hair and a husky build about 210 to 225 pounds wearing a black golf shirt. They also described his vehicle as a grayish Honda Civic. One of the witnesses told police there was a female in the Honda slumped over the center console. The witness said the woman was not responsive and appeared to be in distress or extremely intoxicated.
Roughly 10 minutes after their arrival on the scene and the subsequent interview with the witnesses, Ocean City police officers located a gray Honda Civic matching the description nearby in the Carousel parking lot. Standing next to the vehicle was a man matching the description provided by the victims, later identified as Knauer.
During a search of the vehicle in an attempt to find the knife, the OCPD officer located in the center console a drinking straw that had been cut down in length for the alleged purpose of snorting powder cocaine. The straw had white powder residue on one end believed to be powder cocaine. Based on the witness testimony and the discovery of the straw with the white powder residue, Knauer was read his rights and taken into custody.
When questioned about the alleged incident with the three victims, Knauer said he was never in that area of the parking lot and never had any contact with any other people recently. While the officer continued to question Knauer, he reportedly said “Oh, you going to listen to those smart [expletives deleted].” He then refused to speak to the officer any further and repeatedly told the officer to either arrest him or let him go.
Boardwalk Rioters Guilty
OCEAN CITY – Two more suspects arrested during the riot on the Boardwalk on Memorial Day weekend appeared in District Court last week with varying results including jail time for one and a hefty fine for another.
Not long after a big portion of the largest crowd to pour into Ocean City for Memorial Day weekend in 16 years had called it a night and left the Boardwalk on Saturday night, the famous promenade became the scene of one of the largest brawls in recent memory in the resort, a near-riot that ended with nine arrests and several officers assaulted.
The seeds for what would soon become a huge riot involving hundreds including as many as 40 Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers, were planted earlier in the evening. Around 10 p.m., a minor skirmish involving maybe 10 individuals broke out but the fray ended quickly before escalating further.
OCPD officers responded to the area and made their way through the Boardwalk crowd and eventually located the group arguing. According to police reports, OCPD officers were able to break up the argument before a fight began, but a portion of the group continued to walk down the Boardwalk, screaming and cursing loudly in the presence of some families who were still enjoying the holiday getaway.
While officers attempted to restore order a second time, one of the individuals, later identified as Marlon Ennis, 24, of Salisbury, continued to act disorderly by cursing and refusing the OCPD’s requests to stop using profanity and act in a threatening manner. As one officer attempted to arrest Ennis, the disorderly suspect resisted and assaulted the officer numerous times, touching off what would become a full-scale riot.
Several other members of Ennis’s group joined the fray and began assaulting the arresting officer. Ennis was eventually taken into custody. During his arrest, a female later identified as Mary Elizabeth Elzey, 21, of Baltimore, also assaulted police officers and attempted to obstruct the police from arresting Ennis. Elzey was also taken into custody and removed from the incident.
However, the arrests of Ennis and Elzey only fueled the melee as several other fights related to the first incident broke out on the Boardwalk. Also arrested that night was John O’Connor Walker, 29, of Salisbury. Walker appeared in District Court last week and pleaded guilty to resisting arrest and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. Walker also pleaded guilty to possession of paraphernalia and was fined $300. In addition, another combatant, Karone Bethune, 32, of Salisbury, pleaded guilty to failure to obey a lawful order and was fined $300.
Pier Thieves Plead Guilty
OCEAN CITY – Two of the four New York teens arrested in July on theft and burglary charges after employees on the Boardwalk pier provided their descriptions to resort police had their days in court last week with each receiving probation and fines.
Around 10:35 p.m. on July 14, employees of Pier Amusements contacted Ocean City police about a series of thefts on the popular Boardwalk attraction. Based on the descriptions provided by the employees, OCPD officers were able to locate the four suspects only a block from the crime scene. Arrested were Ian Malachy Ellis-Jones, 18, of Albany, N.Y.; Michael Thomas Dwyer, 18, of Hudson, N.Y.; Gregory Arthur Wilson, 18, of Red Hook, N.Y.; and Peter William Marvin, 18, also of Red Hook.
The investigation resulted in the recovery of several items stolen from Pier Amusements including T-shirts, stuffed toys and tools. One of those arrested was identified as the suspect in a second-degree burglary in the resort the night before. Last week in District Court, Dwyer pleaded guilty to fourth-degree burglary and was placed on probation for six months and fined $250. Marvin pleaded guilty to theft under $100 and received the same sentence.
Fine For Pot Possession
SNOW HILL – An Ocean City man arrested in September on theft and drug charges after police found him in possession of items stolen from a West Ocean City trailer park including bridal shower invitations pleaded guilty this week in District Court to possession of marijuana and was fined $500.
Around 4:20 p.m. on September 6, Maryland State Police troopers and Worcester County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the Delmarva Trailer Park on Golf Course Rd. for a reported suspicious individual seen looking into vehicles. Upon arrival, MSP troopers located a man, later identified as Robert Michael Leach, Jr., 38, of Ocean City, exiting the trailer park and stopped him for questioning.
A routine computer check revealed Leach was wanted on an outstanding bench warrant for violation of probation. Leach was taken into custody for the VOP warrant, and a search incident to the arrest revealed a metallic smoking device with marijuana residue as well as a small plastic bag of marijuana.
In addition, a large amount of coins were found on Leach’s person, which he admitted stealing from a vehicle in the trailer park. He also was found in possession of invitations to a bridal shower with the victim’s return address on them. Leach was charged with theft, trespassing, rogue and vagabond, possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia. On Tuesday, Leach pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana and was fined $500 plus court costs. The other charges against him were not prosecuted.
Grill Swiper A No-Show
SNOW HILL – An Ocean Pines man arrested on theft charges in September after allegedly stealing a grill that had just been used for the new Ocean Pines Community Center failed to appear for trial this week in District Court and had a warrant sworn out for his arrest.
On Sept. 14, Ocean Pines Police responded to the site of the new community center to investigate the theft of a grill valued at $700 that had been stolen after the dedication ceremony for the new facility. The investigation led to a suspect, later identified as Pedro Garza Gonzales, Jr., 36, of Ocean Pines. The grill was later recovered at Gonzales’ residence in Ocean Pines.
Gonzales has been charged with one count of felony theft over $500. Gonzales failed to appear for trial in District Court on Tuesday and had a warrant sworn out for his arrest.
Pocomoke Motel Fire
POCOMOKE – No injuries were reported this week in a fire at motel on Ocean Highway in Pocomoke this week.
Around 12:40 p.m. on Monday, a fire was reported at the Travelers Budget Inn on Ocean Highway in Pocomoke. First arriving units from Pocomoke reported heavy fire extending from one unit with possible extension into adjacent units. The fire was reported by cleaning personnel who were in the unit directly adjacent to the unit in which the fire originated.
Firefighters from Pocomoke, Stockton, Girdletree, New Church (Va.) and the Wallops Island Career Fire Department all responded and quickly brought the blaze under control. Fire damage was limited to the unit where the blaze originated, although adjacent units suffered heat and smoke damage.
The investigation revealed the fire originated under a wall-mounted HVAC unit in the area of the receptacle and the electric cord supplying power to the HVAC unit. The cause of the fire has been listed as accidental. No injuries were reported.
OCEAN CITY – Despite not much going on in the resort last weekend, the Ocean City Police Department was fairly busy with several arrests for crimes from the serious to the less severe.
Arrests of individuals suspected of driving under the influence led the way with seven, but there also several other arrests during the period for which little information was provided other than a single line of type in the weekly incident report including four second-degree assault, three thefts, three drug arrests, one burglary and one obstructing and hindering.