High Beams Lead To Gun Charge

OCEAN CITY – A Virginia woman was arrested on a gun possession charge this week after the vehicle in which she was riding as a passenger was pulled over for having its high beams on and speeding.

Shortly after 2 a.m. on Monday, an Ocean City police officer on routine patrol observed a white Jeep heading southbound on Coastal Highway around 140th Street with its high beams on. According to the police report, the officer noticed the Jeep’s headlights were bright and could have affected the vehicle traveling in front of it.

The officer made a U-turn and began following the Jeep as it proceeded south on Coastal Highway at a high rate of speed. According to police reports, the vehicle was clocked going 62 mph in a 40 mph zone for several blocks. The officer activated his vehicle’s emergency lights and pulled the Jeep over at 118th Street. The driver, identified as Shane Jamal Austin, told police he and his passenger were returning to Virginia after a trip to New York.

Austin presented his driver’s license, but when the officer asked for the vehicle’s registration, he noticed the front seat passenger, identified as Dolores Lorraine Mitchell, 26, of Chesapeake, Va., open the glove compartment and search through papers with her right hand while trying to shield the officer’s view with her left hand.

The officer then asked Austin if there were any weapons in the vehicle, to which he replied, “yes, she’s got her gun,” according to police reports. As Austin was making this statement, the officer observed Mitchell hold up a black, semi-automatic handgun using both hands with the barrel pointed away from the officer. When asked if there was any ammunition in the vehicle, Austin replied the ammunition and holster for the gun were under the driver’s seat.

Under the seat, the officer found a nylon holster and one magazine containing 17 rounds of ammunition. Mitchell told police the gun was hers and that she took it on the trip to New York for protection. She told police the state of Virginia did not require a permit to carry the gun. Mitchell was then arrested and charged with transporting a weapon in a vehicle

Rifle Assault Alleged

SNOW HILL – A Snow Hill man was arrested on assault charges last weekend after allegedly pointing a loaded rifle at another man during a dispute.

Around 5 p.m. last Sunday, Worcester County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a residence on Snow Hill Rd. in reference to a reported assault with a rifle. Upon arrival, deputies met with the victim who told police he had been in a verbal argument with another man later identified as Juan Terrones Castillo, 64, of Snow Hill.

During the course of the argument, Castillo allegedly pointed a loaded rifle at the victim and threatened him. Castillo was arrested and charged with first- and second-degree assault and reckless endangerment. He was taken before a court official and later released on a $25,000 unsecured bond. A 30-30 rifle was recovered from Castillo at the scene.

Speeding Leads To Drug Bust

BERLIN – A West Ocean City woman was arrested on drug possession and resisting arrest charges last week after a routine traffic stop on Seahawk Rd.

Around 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 24, Berlin police officers patrolling in the area of Seahawk Rd. observed a 2003 Ford Expedition traveling 41 mph in a post 25 mph zone. The officer initiated a traffic stop and identified the driver as Wendy Joan Ichniowski, 42, of West Ocean City. At first, Ichniowski provided police with a false name, but the officer was able to determine her true identity and that her Maryland driver’s license had been revoked.

When the officer attempted to take Ichniowski into custody, she resisted arrest. A subsequent search revealed a crack pipe in the suspect’s purse. Icniowski was arrested and charged with possession of CDS and driving on a revoked license. She was taken before a court commissioner and was ordered held on a $25,000 bond.

Convenience Store Rant

WEST OCEAN CITY – A Berlin man was arrested on disorderly conduct charges last weekend after allegedly unleashing a stream of profanities in a West Ocean City convenience store.

Around 12:45 a.m. last Sunday, Maryland State Police troopers were at the Wawa in West Ocean City speaking with employees when a man later identified as Lawrence Williams, Jr., 29, of Berlin, entered the store and began yelling profanities. Troopers confronted the suspect, who allegedly continued to raise his voice and use profanity for no apparent reason, according to police reports.

Williams was warned, but he continued to yell profanities and raised his voice, becoming visibly agitated. At one point, he approached one of the troopers with clenched fists. Williams, who was reportedly intoxicated at the time, was taken into custody without further incident and charged with disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace. He was taken before a District Court Commissioner and released on his own recognizance.

Jail Time In Berlin

DNA Burglary Case

SNOW HILL – A Berlin man arrested on burglary charges in August after a DNA sample left at the crime scene connected him to a break-in at a local pharmacy last March pleaded guilty this week in Circuit Court to fourth-degree burglary and was sentenced to three years in jail, all of which but about three months was suspended.

Last March 8, Berlin police responded to the Apple Drugs pharmacy for an activated burglary alarm. The investigation revealed a suspect or suspects forcibly entered the business and stole an undisclosed amount of prescription medication. During the processing of the crime scene, detectives were able to locate and collect several samples of blood left by the perpetrator or perpetrators.

The blood samples were sent to the Maryland State Police Crime Lab where a DNA profile was established. The suspect’s DNA was then entered into the national DNA database for comparison. As a result, detectives were able to determine the DNA of the suspect at the pharmacy burglary matched the DNA profile of Van Kirk Bland III, 50, of Berlin.

An arrest warrant was obtained for Bland charging him with theft and burglary. Detectives then located Bland at his residence and he was taken into custody without incident. This week in Circuit Court, Bland pleaded guilty to one count of fourth-degree burglary and he was sentenced to three years in jail, all but three months of which were then suspended. He was also placed on supervised probation for two years and was ordered to pay nearly $775 in restitution to Apple Drugs.

Suspended Sentence

In Handgun Case

SNOW HILL – A Georgia man arrested in Ocean City in June on weapons charges after brandishing a handgun at a group of people pleaded guilty this week in Circuit Court to reckless endangerment and carrying a concealed deadly weapon and was sentenced to 18 months in jail, all of which was suspended.

Around 10:40 p.m. on June 24, Ocean City Police responded to the area of 9th Street and the Boardwalk in reference to a man threatening a group of people with a gun. OCPD officers arrived on the scene and met with several citizens who advised police a man, later identified as James Edward Mansfield, 21, of Hinesville, Ga., had been involved in an argument with a female acquaintance.

During the argument, Mansfield was reportedly confronted by several of the female’s friends who interceded on her behalf. At that point, Mansfield allegedly produced a loaded .40 caliber Glock handgun and pointed it at the group while on a public street.

The female victim called police from a cell phone and reported the incident as it was happening, according to police reports. Mansfield had left the scene, but his description was broadcast over the OCPD radio system and he was spotted a short time later in the area of 7th Street and Baltimore Ave. Mansfield was ultimately apprehended by officers at 6th Street and Wilmington Lane, but he had allegedly dropped the loaded .40 caliber pistol while fleeing the area. OCPD officers recovered the gun shortly after Mansfield was arrested.

Mansfield was charged with first- and second-degree assault, wearing and carrying a handgun on his person and reckless endangerment. This week in Circuit Court, he pleaded guilty to the latter two charges and was sentenced to 18 months in jail for each, all of which was then suspended.

Probation In Explosive Case

SNOW HILL – A Pennsylvania teen arrested in July for detonating explosive devices in Ocean City pleaded guilty this week in Circuit Court to disorderly conduct and was placed on probation and fined.

Around 8:20 p.m. on July 9, OCPD officers responded to the area of Rusty Anchor Rd. in reference to a report of people throwing explosives in milk cartons. While at the scene, the officers observed the grass and asphalt in front of a unit on the street had been charred and the remains of aluminum foil was spread out over a wide area. Based on the evidence, police determined an improvised explosive device had been detonated in the immediate area.

While on the scene, OCPD officer located two suspects, Jesse Paul Armstrong, 18, and a 17-year-old juvenile, both of Woodland, Pa., who were staying in the unit where the evidence of a detonated explosive device was found. The officers entered the unit and found items and materials that had been used to construct several self-igniting improvised explosive devices.

Members of the Ocean City Bomb Squad responded to the scene and rendered all of the materials and partially constructed devices safe. The items were seized as evidence and safely removed from the property. Both suspects were charged with manufacturing and/or possession of a destructive device and disorderly conduct.

This week in Worcester County Circuit Court, Armstrong pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and received probation before judgment. He was placed on unsupervised probation for one year and fined $500.

Fine, Probation For Weed

SNOW HILL – One of two Pennsylvania men arrested on marijuana charges in July after a Maryland State Police trooper observed them in the parking lot of a West Ocean City business that was closed at the time pleaded guilty this week to possession of paraphernalia and was placed on probation and fined.

A little after 5 a.m. on July 23, a trooper on patrol observed a black Volkswagen with Pennsylvania tags in the parking lot of a mattress store on Route 50. The trooper observed the vehicle’s passenger sitting up with his head partially out of the window. There was no driver behind the wheel when the trooper first observed the vehicle.

The trooper approached the area and detected the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. At around that time, the driver appeared from the direction of the parking lot of a nearby convenience store. The two suspects were identified as Andrew J. Metzinger, 24, of Lancaster, Pa., and Joshua A. McSorley, 23, also of Lancaster.

A probable cause search of the vehicle revealed a silver metallic and white plastic smoking device with marijuana residue in the back seat, a tin-foil smoking device with marijuana residue above the vehicle’s radio and a plastic baggie with a trace amount of marijuana in it in a cigarette box under the passenger seat. Metzeiger and McSorley were both arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and paraphernalia.

This week in District Court, Metzinger pleaded guilty to possession of paraphernalia and was placed on probation for one year and fined $200. McSorley is set to appear for trial in February.

Barn Fire Cause Undetermined

WEST OCEAN CITY – The cause of a fire that claimed a barn in West Ocean City on Tuesday night has not been determined, according to the Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office.

Shortly after 9 p.m. on Tuesday, the Ocean City Fire Department responded to reported fire at a barn on Pony Rest Lane off Elm Street in West Ocean City. First arriving units discovered the 10-foot by 50-foot structure completely involved with fire. Fire crews extinguished the blaze and remained on scene for about 90 minutes to assist with cleanup and overhaul operations. One firefighter received minor injuries while fighting the fire.

The Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office has listed the cause of the fire as undetermined. The barn was not insured and contained items of no particular value, according to reports. Anyone with additional information is encouraged to contact Deputy Fire Marshal Rob Korb at 410-632-5666, extension 4.

Warrant Issued For

Long Island Tea Drinker

OCEAN CITY – A Pennsylvania man arrested in August on drug possession and resisting arrest charges during an incident on the Boardwalk failed to appear for trial this week and had a warrant sworn out for his arrest.

Around 10:40 p.m. on Aug. 30, an OCPD officer on bike patrol in the area of 7th Street and the Boardwalk observed a man drinking from a large blue plastic cup inconsistent with any of the drink cups used by merchants in the area. As the officer walked by, the suspect, later identified as Samuel Louis Wyland, 20, of Manor, Pa., took a long drink from the cup, according to police reports.

The officer approached Wyland and another man, who was carrying a clear plastic Gatorade bottle containing what appeared to be beer. The officer spoke with Wyland and asked him if he had any alcohol in the blue cup. Wyland at first said “No, it’s just iced tea,” but then told police after a pause, “Iced tea with a little bit of alcohol. It’s a Long Island iced tea.” When asked if he was 21, Wyland told police he was 20, but that he would turn 21 soon.

Wyland was then arrested for public consumption. When the officer was attempting to place handcuffs on the suspect, he resisted and tried to flee the police. Another officer eventually had to tackle Wyland on the Boardwalk, but he continued to struggle, refusing to give up his arms so he could be handcuffed. The officers had to use force including several knee strikes and a strike to the suspect’s elbow to force his arm behind his back.

Once Wyland was in custody, the arresting officer noticed what appeared to be a white lollipop on the ground in the area where the scuffle occurred. Based on the markings on the object, the officer was able to determine it was Fentanyl, a prescription pain killer classified as a schedule II controlled dangerous substance. Wyland denied having any knowledge of the Fentanyl or possessing the illegal drug.

Wyland was ultimately charged with public consumption, resisting arrest and possession of CDS, not marijuana. Wyland failed to appear for trial this week and had a warrant sworn out for his arrest.

Pines Woods Fire Suspicious

OCEAN PINES – A fire in the woods near an Ocean Pines shopping center on Tuesday appears suspicious, according to the Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office.

On Tuesday, the Ocean Pines Police responded first to a reported fire in the woods near the Food Lion grocery store on Route 589. The Ocean Pines Fire Department was dispatched to the fire and quickly brought the blaze under control. The county Fire Marshal’s Office investigated and has listed the cause as incendiary. Anyone with additional information is urged to call the Fire Marshal’s Office at 410-632-5666.

OCPD Chief Appointed

To International Board

OCEAN CITY – Ocean City Police Chief Bernadette DiPino has been appointed to the executive committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the department announced this week.

IACP President Michael Carroll, a frequent visitor to Ocean City, appointed DiPino to the executive committee. The appointment to the IACP executive committee is an extremely prestigious honor afforded to chiefs of police who demonstrate exemplary leadership as well as progressive law enforcement programs. DiPino is one of only 33 law enforcement executives appointed to the board.

The executive committee is the policy making body of the IACP and is responsible for developing the means by which the association provides leadership in the world of law enforcement. DiPino’s appointment fills the “Cities under 10,000 population” position through the 2010 term.