Potential Armed Robbery Averted

OCEAN CITY — A potential armed robbery was averted last week after a concerned citizen got involved in a fight outside a resort convenience store and noticed one of the combatants was carrying a gun.

Around 8:30 p.m. last Wednesday, Ocean City Police responded to a reported fight outside the 7-Eleven store on 26th Street after receiving a call from a citizen reporting the incident. The citizen told police three younger white males had gotten into a fight with an older white male, and when the citizen intervened and tried to separate the combatants, one of the suspects wearing a tan, puffy jacket produced a nickel-colored handgun out of his waist or pocket and told the citizen to go away.

The witness told police he last saw the three suspects walking west on Sunset Avenue. One of the OCPD officers was circling the area when he saw one of the suspects, later identified as Andrew James Hayes, 19, of Bishopville, walking down Robin Drive before heading up the stairs to an apartment. Hayes was wearing a tan, puffy jacket consistent with the description provided by the witness.

The officer called Hayes and asked him to come back down the stairs for questioning about the incident that had just occurred near the 7-11 store nearby. Hayes agreed to come down, and when the officer asked if he could pat the suspect down for a weapons check, Hayes consented and raised his arms up to allow the search. According to police reports, the officer immediately detected what he believed was a gun inside the jacket pocket.

When the officer asked Hayes what the object was, the suspect responded it was his cell phone, according to police reports. Hayes was detained and handcuffed at that point for safety reasons while the investigation continued. A second officer arrived and removed the handgun from Hayes’ jacket pocket. It turned out to be a .38 special revolver, silver in color with a brown handle. Police noted in their report the weapon was not loaded at the time.

The officers also recovered Hayes’ cell phone and searched its text messages for further information. According to police reports, Hayes got a message from a contact named Ben at 7:53 p.m. that same night that read “I am about to rob someone for percs, come on.” Percs is a slang term for percocets. Hayes’ responded by text message a minute later, “who I got you lets do it now.” Hayes was arrested and charged with carrying or transporting a handgun on or about one’s person.  

Burglary Arrest

OCEAN PINES — Ocean Pines Police this week arrested a Salisbury woman on multiple counts of burglary, theft and drug charges after connecting her to break-in in the community.

Ocean Pines Police on Monday arrested Catherine Alice Schanno, 22, of Salisbury, and charged her with two counts each of first- and third-degree burglary, along with theft over $1,000 and under $10,000, theft under $1,000, possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia.

Schanno was taken before a District Court Commissioner in Snow Hill and was ordered held on a $10,000 bond.

Four Fail Compliance Checks

BERLIN — The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office last week completed its most recent round of alcohol sales compliance checks and nearly all of the businesses passed, but four fell victim to the underage sales identification check operation.

Worcester County Sheriff Reggie Mason this week announced his department conducted 57 business checks in the county from March 12 to April 6. A total of 53 of the businesses checked by undercover officers were in compliance, however, four were not. The four businesses that sold alcohol to underage cadets included the 7-Eleven on 26th Street in Ocean City, the Shop Kwik Exxon Station in Berlin, the Liquor Mart in Berlin and Newark Station in Newark.

The Sheriff’s Office is asking business owners not to sell alcohol to underage individuals, and to take more time and examine all identification carefully. Deputy Jen Hall was in the charge of the latest operation.

Armed Robbery Arrest

SALISBURY — A Salisbury man was arrested on armed robbery charges last week after allegedly robbing a convenience store clerk at knifepoint.

Around noon last Wednesday, Salisbury Police responded to the Eagle Express Mart on N. Salisbury Blvd. for a reported robbery. The investigation revealed an unknown suspect had entered the store, walked to the rear of the establishment and loitered around while watching a Keno monitor. The suspect then approached the clerk, produced a knife and demanded money from the cash register.

The suspect took the currency and fled on foot. The clerk was not injured during the robbery. A search of the area did not turn up the suspect. However, Salisbury Police detectives arrived and conducted numerous witness interviews, both in Salisbury and in nearby Delmar, Del. and were able to identify the suspect as Kenneth Robert Worley, 44, of Salisbury. An arrest warrant was obtained, but Worley was not immediately apprehended.

The next day, around 8:15 a.m., Salisbury Police responded to a reported motor vehicle accident on Union Ave. Police officers determined Worley was the driver involved in the accident and he was taken into custody and charged with armed robbery, robbery, first-degree assault, theft and possession of a dangerous and deadly weapon.

Left Child To Play Keno

SALISBURY — A Salisbury woman was arrested on reckless endangerment and other charges last week after allegedly locking a toddler in a room while she went to play Keno.

Around 10:20 a.m. last Thursday, Salisbury Police received a call to respond to an apartment on Adams Ave. for a reported child in need of assistance. Upon arrival, officers met with a witness who told police he was trying to assist a small child that was calling for help from a second-story window. Officers made contact with the child, who said he could not open the door to his bedroom.

Attempts to open the front door of the residence were unsuccessful and the Salisbury Fire Department was called in to gain entry into the apartment. The investigation revealed the child’s bedroom door had been secured to another door with a scarf, which had to be cut to gain entry to the bedroom. The child was not harmed.

The child’s mother, Latoya Shonette Walker, 36, of Salisbury, returned to the apartment a short time later and met with police. Walker told police she left the child, who was two-years-old, secured in the bedroom while she was playing Keno. Walker was arrested and charged with reckless endangerment, unsafe conditions for a child and leaving a confined child unattended.

Hefty Sentence For Forgery Scheme

SNOW HILL — A Laurel, Del. woman arrested last May on theft and forgery charges after stealing checks from a local man and his forging his signature on them to the tune of over $48,000 pleaded guilty this week in District Court to one count of forgery of a private document and was sentenced to 10 years in jail, half of which was suspended.

Last May, the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) was investigating a case of stolen checks and forgery. The investigation revealed a female suspect, identified as Amber Nicole Payne, 23, of Laurel, Del., had stolen as many as 20 of the victim’s checks and forged his signature on them before cashing them at various Taylor Bank branches throughout Worcester County. The amount of the stolen and forged checks totaled $48,100.

Around 3:30 p.m. on May 10, Payne was arrested in Delaware and was later extradited to Worcester County. She was charged with 19 counts of forgery, 16 counts of theft from $1,000 to under $10,000, three counts of theft less than $1,000 and one count of theft scheme from $10,000 to under $100,000.

On Monday in District Court, Payne pleaded guilty to one count of forgery and was sentenced to 10 years in jail, five years of which were suspended. She was also ordered to pay $48,100 in restitution to the victim and was placed on probation until 2019.

No New Jail Time
In Slashing Incident

SALISBURY — A Salisbury woman arrested in February on first-degree assault and other charges after allegedly slashing her boyfriend in the face with a knife during a domestic dispute pleaded guilty last week in District Court to resisting arrest and was sentenced to 180 days in jail, all of which was either suspended or erased by time already served.

Around 1 p.m. on February 25, a Wicomico County Sheriff’s Deputy responded to a location on East College Ave. for a reported altercation. The deputy arrived on the scene and met with a male victim who told police he was involved in an argument with his girlfriend, identified as Tiffany Caldwell, 24, of Salisbury, who allegedly slice him on his face with a knife.

During the initial investigation, officers located the suspected knife used in the incident and observed injuries to the victim’s face that corroborated his account of the incident. Caldwell had already left the residence when police arrived, but was located a short time later on a nearby street and was taken into custody.

Last week in District Court, Caldwell pleaded guilty to resisting arrest and the other charges against her were dropped. She was sentenced to 180 days in jail, of which 177 were suspended. She was then given credit for three days spent in jail following her arrest, resulting in no new jail time. Caldwell was fined $300.

30 Days for Shoplifting

SNOW HILL — A local woman arrested on theft charges in January after shoplifting from the Berlin retail store pleaded guilty last week in District Court and was sentenced to 30 days in jail.

Around 9:20 a.m. on Jan. 14, Berlin Police responded to the Dollar General Store for a reported shoplifting complaint. Berlin officers made contact with the alleged suspect, identified as Pamela Michelle Williams, 46, of Berlin, who was found to be in possession of numerous items belonging to the store that had not been paid for.

Williams was arrested and charged with theft under $100. She was also found to be wanted in the state of Delaware for violation of probation. Last week in District Court, Williams pleaded guilty to theft and was sentenced to 30 days in jail.

OCPD Mounted Unit Expanded

OCEAN CITY — The Ocean City Police Department’s Mounted Patrol Unit has grown significantly, adding a few new horses to the stable along with additional riders.

Most recently, Officer Joseph Zurla completed his training program and was officially added as a member of the unit. Zurla, who completed over 320 training hours with the mounted unit, joins three additional full-time unit members and two part-time riders. Zurla, who began his full-time police career with the OCPD in fall 2007, is proud to be a member of one of OCPD’s most popular units.

“I am very excited to be a part of such a prestigious unit,” he said. “I look forward to greater interaction with the Ocean City community and my fellow police officers.”

The OCPD Mounted Unit also added rookie horses this year. Some of the horses have already seen one summer of duty and are being used as lead-training horses to get the new rookie horses up to speed for the upcoming season.

“We are continuing to pursue new and innovative strategies that incorporate our mounted patrol in both pro-active and reactive enforcement roles,” said OCPD Chief Bernadette DiPino. “The Mounted Unit will support every facet of our departmental deployment strategy, not to mention it is wonderful to see these beautiful animals on our Boardwalk.”