DNA Solves Year-Old Burglary

BERLIN – An Ocean City man was arrested on burglary charges this week after DNA analysis linked him to the break-in of a Berlin business last January.

Last Jan. 22, Maryland State Police troopers and Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) detectives responded to Atlantic Aquatec on Route 50 near Berlin for a reported burglary. The investigation revealed a suspect or suspects entered the building and stole a number of items including power tools.

No suspect was identified and the case remained open as detectives collected evidence from the scene. Last week, using DNA evidence collected from the scene, WCBI detectives were able to identify Martino Galeaz, 39, of Ocean City, as the suspect in the Atlantic Aquatech burgarly nearly a year ago. Galeaz was arrested this week and charged with second-, third- and fourth-degree burglary and felony theft over $1,000. He is being held at the Worcester County Jail on a $10,000 bond.

Credit Card Thief Sought

BISHOPVILLE – Selbyville, Del. authorities this week are looking for a Bishopville man wanted on dozens of counts of theft, forgery and fraud after the suspect allegedly stole a credit card belonging to an elderly neighbor’s credit card and used it in several locations in Sussex County.

The Selbyville Police Department this week is attempting to locate Thomas Bowen, Jr., 49, of Bishopville. Bowen is wanted on dozens of counts of criminal impersonation, theft, forgery, and unlawful use of a credit card after allegedly taking a credit card belonging to an elderly neighbor. All in all, Bowen is being charged with 42 felony counts of unlawful use of a credit card, 42 counts of criminal impersonation and 28 counts of forgery.

According to Selbyville Police, the charges are the result of an investigation involving the illegal possession and use of the credit card discovered by family members when the 77-year-old victim was hospitalized. The card is believed to have been taken from the victim’s home and subsequently used at various locations around Selbyville.

Two Years For Resisting Arrest

OCEAN CITY – An Ocean City man arrested in November on assault and malicious destruction of property charges last week after getting bounced from a north-end restaurant before assaulting two OCPD officers pleaded guilty last week in District Court to resisting arrest and was sentenced to two years in jail.

On Nov. 13, Ocean City Police responded to Duffy’s Tavern in north Ocean City for a reported disorderly male who had damaged restaurant property. Police officers spoke with tavern employees and learned that earlier in the evening, a male suspect later identified as Matthew William Gruber, 26, of Ocean City, had been in the establishment and was allegedly intoxicated.

The management reportedly asked Gruber to leave but he kept returning. Eventually, tavern employees removed Gruber from the establishment. Later that evening, Gruber was located near the rear of the establishment near a refrigeration unit that had been damaged. OCPD officers located Gruber nearby in the Montego Bay area and attempted to take him into custody for the malicious destruction of property at Duffy’s earlier.

Gruber allegedly resisted arrest and assaulted two police officers. Gruber was eventually subdued and charged with two counts of second-degree assault on a police officer, malicious destruction of property and resisting arrest. The next day, on November 13, OCPD officers responded to the Montego Bay community in reference to several damaged sidewalk light posts owned by the Montego Bay Association.

The investigation revealed that sometime during the night before prior to his arrest, Gruber had allegedly damaged the light posts and additional counts of malicious destruction of property were tacked on.

Last week in District Court, Gruber pleaded guilty to resisting arrest and was sentenced to two years in jail. He was given credit for the 33 days he spent in jail awaiting trial.

Family Displaced On Christmas

BISHOPVILLE – A family of four including two children was displaced by a fire at their residence in Bishopville on Christmas Day.

Around 2:25 p.m. last Saturday, firefighters responded to a reported fire at a residence in the Riverview Mobile Home Park in Bishopville. First arriving units from the Bishopville Volunteer Fire Company reported smoke coming from the eaves of the residence. Fire companies from Showell, Selbyville and Roxana responded and assisted with bringing the fire under control quickly.

The residence’s four occupants were not injured, although they were displaced by the fire. The American Red Cross responded and assisted the family with lodging arrangements. The cause of the fire is undetermined.

Strong Arm Robberies 
Forwarded To Circuit

OCEAN CITY – Two of three local residents arrested on robbery and assault charges in November after allegedly strong-arming a pizza delivery driver and stealing his money and wallet before fleeing the scene appeared in District Court for preliminary hearings last week and each had probable cause determined to forward their cases to Circuit Court.

Around 10:30 p.m. on Nov. 26, an Ocean City Police officer responded to the area of 74th Street for a reported strong-arm robbery. Upon arrival, the officer met with a victim who told police he was a Domino’s Pizza delivery driver and that he had just been assaulted and robbed while making a delivery.

The victim said one of the suspects had placed him in a chokehold and thrown him to the ground while the other suspect grabbed the money and wallet from his pants pockets. According to the victim, the two suspects then fled south through an alley between 74th and 73rd streets. The victim told police he had chased the suspects, but lost sight of them in the area of 73rd Street.

While the first officer was investigating the reported robbery and assault, another OCPD officer had stopped a black Ford Crown Victoria in the area of 71st Street for speeding and negligent driving. The second officer told the first officer the two individuals in the vehicle appeared to match the descriptions provided by the robbery victim.

The victim was transported to the 71st Street area to identify the suspects. Based on the physical appearances of the suspects, along with the clothing they were wearing, the victim positively identified the suspects as Cassandra Pike, 20, of Ocean City, and Mark Scaniffe, 18, of Berlin. The officers also found a wad of money near the rear seat where Scaniffe was sitting at the time the vehicle was stopped totaling $155.

When the officers asked the victim how much money had been stolen from him during the robbery, he said it was around $160. The victim told police he had seen Pike and Scaniffe and the Crown Victoria earlier in the evening when he was making a delivery in the Jamestown Rd. area. Another officer reported he had been called to Jamestown Rd. earlier in the evening to investigate a call about suspicious persons and a dark Crown Victoria.

Based on the evidence and the testimony and descriptions provided by the victim, Pike and Scaniffe were arrested and each was charged with three counts of felony robbery, theft and second-degree assault. During a follow-up investigation, OCPD detectives learned a third suspect, identified as Brandon M. Hilliard, 22, of Berlin, was involved in the strong-arm robbery and was later arrested.

Last week, Scaniffe and Pike appeared for preliminary hearings and had their cases forwarded to Circuit Court. Hilliard is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing on Jan. 3.

Local Man Burned In Fire

WEST OCEAN CITY – A West Ocean City man was seriously burned last week after his clothing caught fire from a portable space heater.

The Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office this week is investigating a burn injury caused by a portable propane heater catching fire to the victim’s loose clothing. According to the Fire Marshal’s Office, the victim was working in his garage at a residence on Route 611 in West Ocean City when his loose clothing caught fire after coming in contact with the portable heater.

The victim suffered first-, second- and third-degree burns and was treated initially at AGH before being transferred to the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore for specialized treatment.

Car Punching Charges Dropped

OCEAN CITY – A Pennsylvania man arrested on malicious destruction of property charges in August after allegedly punching the side of a car leaving a midtown restaurant had the charges against him dropped last week in District Court.

Around 12:30 a.m. on Aug. 15, an OCPD officer working patrol in the 49th Street area responded to incident involving a suspect punching a vehicle as it left the parking lot at Dumser’s. The victim told police she was in the front passenger seat of her vehicle with someone else driving when a suspect, later identified as Justin J. Grimm, 26, of York, Pa., struck the side of her vehicle while it was pulling out of the restaurant parking lot.

The victim said her vehicle was pulling out of the parking lot when she saw Grimm give her “a dirty look” and shout something that included an expletive, but couldn’t make out any more of what he said. The victim said she looked in the rear view mirror and saw Grimm allegedly punch the back rear quarter panel of her car with a closed fist.

The victim called police over as Grimm attempted to leave the scene. Grimm was detained by the officers told police he had been drinking, but wasn’t drunk, and that he didn’t strike the vehicle with his fist. However, the victim was brought over and identified Grimm as the man who punched her vehicle. Grimm was arrested and charged with malicious destruction of property over $500. Last week in District Court, the charges against Grimm were dropped.

Charges Dropped In Cop Assault

OCEAN CITY – A Trappe, Md. man arrested in August for allegedly assaulting an OCPD officer and interfering with resort firefighters attempting to put out a fire at a tiki bar adjacent to his residence had the charges against him dropped last week in District Court.

Around 6:15 a.m. on Aug. 3, OCPD officers responded to a reported house fire on Flounder Lane in Ocean City. When the officers arrived, they discovered firefighters were already on the scene. The firefighters had located the source of the fire, which was a tiki bar connected to the side of the modular home. There was heavy smoke emanating from the bar and firefighters were attempting to access an area behind a grill to extinguish the fire.

Around that time, a man later identified as Edward S. Moore, 37, of Trappe, Md., came out of the residence and walked over to the area where the firefighters were working. Moore was advised to stand back, and did for a brief moment, but came right back to the area a short time later and actually stepped on a fire hose, according to police reports.

Firefighters allegedly told Moore again to stand back and the OCPD officers also told him to stand back and get anyone inside out of the residence. Moore allegedly went back inside to wake the other occupants of the home and emerged a short time later with a woman and a child.

Meanwhile, the firefighters had begun to pull apart the bar in order to access the areas where the fire still needed to be extinguished. The woman who had earlier exited the residence told Moore the firefighters were going to ruin their granite, to which Moore allegedly responded “Oh no they’re not,” and began to push his way into the area where the firefighters were working.

Moore allegedly told police the firefighters did not have to destroy the granite and that he could help them, but the officers told Moore he needed to step back and let the firefighters do their job. Moore allegedly told police “there is no fire” and “they ain’t going to destroy my granite.”

One of the officers put his arm up to hold Moore back and keep him from interfering with the firefighters, but Moore allegedly pushed the officer’s arm down and pushed him backward. The officer grabbed more, but he continued to pull away until he was pushed against a fence and handcuffed. Moore was charged with assaulting an officer and interfering with firefighters. Last week in District Court, however, the charges against more were “nolle prossed” or not prosecuted.

Emergency Alert Test Tomorrow

BERLIN – Tomorrow, Saturday, Jan. 1, Worcester County residents will again be hearing the emergency alert signals from their local fire sirens and it won’t have anything to do with ringing in the New Year. Worcester County has taken this step to provide additional means to warn the surrounding communities of imminent danger and the need to tune to either radio, television or the internet for information in the event of emergencies.

Sirens are tested the first Saturday of each month. Residents will hear a steady alert tone sound at 10 a.m. for approximately one minute. Since the end of the Cold War, most serious threats to areas of the Eastern Shore have been weather related, and the emergency alert sirens have gone unused.