Traffic Stop Yields Man Wanted For ’05 Condo Burglary

OCEAN CITY — A routine traffic stop in Ocean City last weekend led to the arrest of a Selbyville man wanted in connection with a condo burglary in the resort dating back to 2005.

Around 1:30 a.m. last Sunday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer on routine patrol observed a vehicle leave a north-end convenience store parking lot without stopping at a stop sign. The officer pulled over the vehicle and made contact with the driver, later identified as Michael X. Harant, Jr., 26, who allegedly told the officer he did not have a license and that it had been suspended for about five years for failing to take required DUI classes.

Harant was subsequently arrested and charged with various traffic violations including driving on a suspended license. However, it was not until after his arrest when OCPD learned there was an outstanding warrant for Harant’s arrest related to a condominium burglary dating back to December 2005.

On Dec. 9, 2005, an OCPD officer responded to the Bay One condominium building on 76th Street to investigate a reported burglary. A local Realtor had called police to report a unit in the building had been broken into and a 42-inch plasma television, a 27-inch television and other items had been stolen from the unit. The officer arrived and found a large hole had been made in an exterior wall of the condo and discovered a fire extinguisher nearby that appeared to have been used to make the hole in the wall.

The investigation continued, but no suspects were immediately identified. However, in September 2007, acting on a tip from a witness, Ocean City Police questioned an individual identified as Cameron Powell, 23, of Selbyville, who was in custody at the Sussex Correctional Institute. Powell told police he had been performing punch list jobs on condos for a local contractor at the time of the 2005 break-in.

Powell told police he and Harant, along with another man, were driving past the Bay One condo on Dec. 9, 2005 when he remembered he had a key to one of the units. It was then that Harant suggested the trio enter the condominium and Powell and the other man agreed.

Powell told police when the key didn’t work, Harant allegedly picked up a nearby fire extinguisher and used it to break through an exterior wall near the door. Harant allegedly climbed through the hole he had just made and walked through the unit to open the door for Powell and the other suspect. Powell told police Harant ripped the plasma television off the wall and the trio then proceeded to take other items from the unit, including the other television, some liquor bottles, alarm clock and a bongo drum. Powell told police the trio later took the items to Baltimore where they traded them for ecstasy, marijuana and cocaine.

Powell, who was doing time in Sussex County at the time of the interview with OCPD officers, was charged with numerous offenses related to the 2005 condo break-in in Ocean City. Last May, he pleaded guilty to theft and was sentenced to four years in jail, all of which was suspended.

In the meantime, the OCPD was unable to locate Harant and a warrant was sworn out for his arrest. Last week, OCPD officers got their break during that routine traffic stop.

It was then that OCPD officers discovered the outstanding warrant for Harant dating back to the 2005 condo burglary. He was charged this week with first-, third- and fourth-degree burglary, theft, malicious destruction of property.