Cops & Courts

Knife Pulled In Bar

BERLIN – A Berlin man was arrested on disorderly conduct and carrying a concealed deadly weapon charges this week after allegedly leaving a local bar after a dispute and returning with a large knife.

Shortly after 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Berlin Police responded to Goober’s Bar for a report of a man wielding a knife. The investigation revealed the suspect, later identified as Frederick Von Schilgen, 48, had been involved in a argument with somebody in the establishment before leaving and returning a short time later with a large knife.

Berlin police located Von Schilgen a short time later walking down Pitts Street and were able to retrieve the knife and arrest the suspect without further incident. Von Schilgen was charged with disorderly conduct and carrying a concealed deadly weapon. He was taken before a District Court Commissioner and released on his own recognizance.

Vending Machine Thief Sought

OCEAN CITY – The Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) is seeking the public’s help in identifying a suspect wanted in connection with break-in spree involving vending machines in a downtown hotel.

Last Tuesday, Nov. 30, OCPD responded to the Hilton on 32nd Street for a report of a theft from a soft drink vending machine. The officers learned a soft drink vending machine on the 12th floor had been pried open and an unidentified amount of money from inside the machine had been stolen. Through the course of the investigation, OCPD officers learned similar machines had been broken into on the 11th, 10th and 9th floors.

The total value of the money stolen and the value of the damage to the machines is unknown. The suspect, who was seen walking into each vending machine room with his head down, moved the surveillance cameras from their original positions during the break-ins, but still images of the suspect were obtained.

The suspect is described as a white male who was carrying some type of shoulder bag or brief case at the time of the thefts. The OCPD is asking for the public’s help in identifying the suspect. Anyone with information regarding the suspect or the thefts is urged to call the OCPD Criminal Investigation Division at 410-723-6604.

One Year For Burglary Spree

SNOW HILL – A Takoma Park, Md. man, one of two men arrested in August on multiple charges including burglary and breaking and entering after an OCPD informant implicated them in an ongoing theft scheme in the resort, pleaded guilty last week in Circuit Court to one count of theft under $1,000 and was sentenced to a year in jail.

In August, OCPD detectives met with a reliable confidential informant, known only as CI 600, concerning stolen property in Ocean City. According to police reports, the informant told detectives there were three suspects staying at a residence on S. Baltimore Ave. that would be in possession of the stolen property on which they were seeking information. The informant provided identity information on two of the suspects including Reggie Stevenson, also known as “Twin,” 20, of no known address, and Harouna Bangoura, also known as “Shadow,” 18, of Takoma Park, Md.

The informant also advised the detectives there would be a third suspect for whom he did not have a description. The informant told police the three suspects would be exiting the residence on Baltimore Ave. in possession of the stolen property and leaving town in a gray Kia Rio between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on August 11.

Sure enough, around 3 p.m. on Aug. 11, Stevenson, Bangoura and the third unidentified suspect left the residence on Baltimore Ave. and walked south before heading west on Dorchester Street while carrying backpacks. A short time later, the gray Kia moved from its parking space on Dorchester Street and the three suspects got in. Detectives followed as the vehicle traveled west on Talbot Street before turning on St. Louis Ave. to go under the Route 50 bridge, which is when police pulled it over.

A search of the vehicle revealed a black backpack on the floor of the front passenger seat and inside the backpack police discovered suspected marijuana in a sock. At that point, Stevenson, Bangoura and the third suspect, identified as Anthony Francis, were taken into custody for possession of marijuana. A further search revealed two Olympia digital cameras in a black backpack and an Apple Ipod in the center console. The items were taken to police headquarters and the investigation revealed the cameras had been reported stolen during a burglary at a residence on Somerset Street a day earlier.

During the burglary, the suspect or suspects gained entry to the residence through a window near a stairwell. Once inside, the suspects stole multiple items including the cameras. Further investigation revealed the Ipod had been reported stolen during a burglary at a residence on St. Louis Ave., also on Tuesday. During that burglary, the suspect or suspects made entry into the residence through a window on the porch and stole multiple items including money. The total value of the items reported stolen during the Somerset Ave. burglary came in at around $600, while the value of the thefts from the St. Louis Ave. burglaries came in at over $2,800.

During a subsequent interview with the third suspect, Francis, OCPD detectives learned Stevenson and Bangoura had made multiple trips from Ocean City to Montgomery County, where they sold items stolen during burglaries on the street. Francis further told police he had seen two lap-top computers and an Apple Ipod inside a room at the residence on Baltimore Ave. and that Stevenson and Bangoura had taken the items to the Boardwalk earlier that day to sell them.

The descriptions of the lap-tops Stevenson and Bangoura allegedly tried to sell on the Boardwalk matched the descriptions of the computers stolen during the St. Louis Ave. burglaries a day earlier. Stevenson and Bangoura were each charged with two counts of first-degree burglary, two counts of third-degree burglary, three counts of theft and possession of marijuana.

Last week in Circuit Court, Bangoura pleaded guilty to one count of theft under $1,000 and was sentenced to a year in jail. Stevenson is scheduled to appear for trial on Jan. 5.

One Year For 75 Pounds Of Pot

SNOW HILL – A Virginia man arrested in May after police discovered 75 pounds of marijuana in the trunk of a vehicle in which he was traveling pleaded guilty last week in Circuit Court to one count of possession with intent to distribute and was sentenced to five years in jail with all but one year suspended.

On May 19, Maryland State Police stopped a vehicle heading south on Route 113 for speeding. During a search incident to the speeding stop, an MSP K-9 unit alerted on the trunk of the vehicle and 75 pounds of marijuana was discovered in two gym bags. Two men were arrested including Darnell Kelley, 24, and Modis Chandler, 40, both of Newport News, Va.

Last week in Circuit Court, Kelley pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana and was sentenced to five years in jail. All but one year of the sentence was then suspended and Kelley was placed on supervised probation for three years upon release and was fined $1,000. Chandler is set to appear for trial on Jan. 12.

Jail Time For Burglary

OCEAN CITY – A Pennsylvania man arrested in July on first-degree burglary and other charges after allegedly stealing two book bags from two different residences in the Judlee Ave. area, although he apparently had no recollection of the thefts, was found guilty last week in Circuit Court on one count of third-degree burglary and was sentenced to 60 days in jail, all but two of which were suspended.

On July 27, an OCPD officer was flagged down by a cab driver, who told the officer to keep an eye on a suspicious individual walking around the area. The cabbie told police the suspect, later identified as Joseph Samuel Lakata, 20, of Weatherly, Pa., had walked by once with nothing in his hands and walked by a second time with two book bags in his hands. The cab driver told police Lakata had walked by his residence at least five times.

The officer detained Lakata and asked him what he was doing in the area. Lakata told police he had met a girl on the Boardwalk and was supposed to meet her at a residence on Judlee Ave. but she had stood him up and he decided to walk back to his motel room nearby. When the officer asked Lakata about the book bags, he told police he had found them on the ground nearby and had taken them back to his motel room.

Based on the information provided by the suspect, police went to Lakata’s motel room and found the two book bags described by the victims. The two bags contained various items of clothing and shoes. Also found in one of the bags was a Bob Marley banner that had been hanging in the residence of one of the victims.

Lakata initially stuck to his story about finding the bags on the street, but when police interviewed the victims, they each told different stories. One victim told police he had come home from work earlier, tossed his bag behind a couch and met his roommates on an outside deck and had no idea Lakata had allegedly come into the house and taken his property.

Another victim at a different residence said he was sleeping on a couch and woke up to find someone had entered the house, but when he called out to him, the suspect turned and left. The victim told police the suspect had a book bag on his back when he left, but didn’t know it was his at the time. By the time he went to the door, the suspect, presumably Lakata, had disappeared.

Lakata was arrested on suspicion of theft and burglary and asked the officer he was in trouble. When the officer asked him if he had done anything to get into trouble, Lakata allegedly said, “yeah, I stole those bags and I should be in a lot of trouble.”

Last week, Lakata entered an Alford Plea to one count of third-degree burglary. In an Alford Plea, a defendant does not plead guilty but acknowledges the state has enough evidence to prosecute the case. He was sentenced to 60 days with all but two days suspended and was placed on probation for 18 months.

PBJ For Motorcycle Ditcher

SNOW HILL – A Pennsylvania man arrested on drunk driving and drug charges in September after crashing his motorcycle into a ditch on Assateague Island pleaded guilty this week in District Court to driving under the influence and was placed on probation and fined.

Shortly after noon on Sept. 19, Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) responded to a motorcycle accident on Route 611 at Bayberry Drive on Assateague. Upon arrival, NRP officers found the driver, later identified as Robert Vernon Laukhuff, 48, of Pequea, Pa., standing next to a motorcycle that was in the bushes at the bottom of a ditch.

After failing field sobriety tests, Laukhuff was arrested and charged with driving under the influence, driving while impaired and other related offenses. A search of Laukhuff subsequent to his arrest revealed suspected marijuana in his pants and possession charges were tacked on. This week in District Court, Laukhuff pleaded guilty to DWI and was fined $300 and placed on probation.

West Ocean City Fire

WEST OCEAN CITY – The cause of a West Ocean City residential fire early Monday morning was accidental, according to the Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office.

Around 6 a.m. on Monday, firefighters responded to a reported fire at a residence on Stephen Decatur Highway in West Ocean City. First arriving units from the Ocean City Volunteer Fire Company reported heavy smoke showing from the interior of the two-story residence. The fire was brought under control quickly and no injuries were reported.

The investigation revealed the fire originated near a fireplace, which was being utilized just prior to the blaze. Heat from the fireplace ignited a portion of the surrounding combustible flooring. The cause of the fire has been listed as accidental.