Believe In Tomorrow House Burglarized

OCEAN CITY — A Delaware man was arrested on burglary and malicious destruction of property charges after allegedly breaking into the office at the Believe in Tomorrow House by the Sea in Ocean City early Wednesday morning.

Shortly after 1 a.m. on Wednesday, Ocean City police responded to a reported break-in on 66th Street. The caller said she watched a white male suspect pull out a screen from the second-floor window of a building that is home to Believe in Tomorrow House by the Sea, a non-profit organization that provides a relaxing retreat in the resort for children with long-term illnesses and their families. The caller told police she watched the suspect, later identified as Jamon Eugene Knaub, 34, of Selbyville, Del., break the window and climb through it.

Ocean City police officers arrived and went to the second floor where they observed a window had been smashed with glass on the ground underneath it. One of the officers looked through the broken window and saw Knaub asleep in a chair inside. The officers ordered Knaub to come to the door and he was taken into custody and handcuffed.

Once Knaub was removed from the office of the Believe in Tomorrow House by the Sea, the caller was brought over to identify him as the suspect she saw break the window and climb inside. During the officers’ interaction with Knaub, it became apparent he was intoxicated and he became uncooperative, cursing and flailing around, according to police reports.

At one point, Knaub had to be forced to the ground as he kicked and fought with police officers. His feet ultimately had to be tied in a violent prisoner restraint device to keep him from kicking. Knaub was charged with fourth-degree burglary and malicious destruction of property.

Holy Places Vandalized

BERLIN — Two local teens were arrested on malicious destruction of property and other charges this week after allegedly damaging two places of worship in the Berlin area during an incident considered more of a drunken vandalism spree than a hate crime.

Around 11:20 p.m. on Monday, Maryland State Police troopers responded to the Temple Bat Yam near Berlin for a reported malicious destruction of property. The troopers discovered the temple’s landscape lighting and plant containers had been destroyed. Troopers also noted similar damage at the nearby Holy Trinity Church.

The complainant was able to identify two suspects, including Nicholas Scott Pletcher, 19, of Bishopville, and a female juvenile, who were both located a short time later in Ocean Pines. The suspects were both reportedly intoxicated at the time and were arrested.

The juvenile female was processed and charged through the Department of Juvenile Services. Pletcher was charged with malicious destruction of property under $500, disorderly intoxication, trespassing and possession of alcohol under 21. He was taken before a District Court Commissioner and released on his own recognizance. The MSP emphasized the crime was not racially, religiously or ethnically motivated.

Boat And Trailer Swiped

BERLIN — Maryland State Police this week are looking for the suspect or suspects who stole a boat and trailer from the side of Route 50 west of Berlin sometime late Saturday or early Sunday morning.

Last Sunday, Maryland State Police received a call from a victim reporting an EZ Load boat trailer carrying a 13-foot-plus Boston Whaler had been stolen from the side of Route 50 near its intersection with Route 610. The victim told police the trailer and boat were left on the side of Route 50 around 8 a.m. last Saturday because of a flat tire.

The victim returned to the area around 11 a.m. on Sunday, only to find the trailer and boat combo had been stolen. Maryland State Police troopers reported last seeing the boat and trailer around 3 p.m. on Saturday. Anyone with information is urged to contact the MSP Berlin barrack at 410-641-3101.

Missing Boater Recovered

SALISBURY — Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) last week recovered the body of a Tyaskin man after his sailboat was found unoccupied and run aground in the Nanticoke River near Salisbury days earlier.

On April 29, a sailboat that had run aground in the Nanticoke River was discovered, but its owner and operator, Edwin Thomas Smullen, 59, of Tyaskin, was no where to be found. The discovery touched off a massive search effort by land, water and air conducted by the NRP, the Coast Guard, Maryland State Police and the Westside and Allen Volunteer Fire Companies.

The NRP search effort included side-scan sonar, K-9 cadaver dogs and dragging operations. On May 3, NRP recovered Smullen’s body from near the location where the sailboat was found. The body was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for autopsy.

First-Degree Murder Conviction

SALISBURY — A Wicomico County jury last week found a Salisbury man guilty of first-degree murder for the shooting death of a man outside a convenience store last September.

Walik Evans, 26, of Salisbury, was found guilty last week by a Wicomico jury of first-degree murder and seven other related charges. Evans was arrested following the shooting death of Devan Walls outside the Royal Farm store on Route 13 in Salisbury on Sept. 19, 2010.

Evans faces a maximum penalty of life in prison for the first-degree murder conviction and could face additional incarceration time for the related convictions. Sentencing is expected within the next 30 days.

Assault Arrest

GIRDLETREE — A Girdletree man was arrested on assault charges last week after allegedly injuring a woman to the point she needed to be taken to the hospital.

Around 10:40 p.m. last Sunday, Worcester County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the Girdletree area after receiving a 911 call reporting a woman screaming for help. The caller told deputies a man was assaulting the victim. The suspect, later identified as Steven Vilsack, 45, of Girdletree, had fled the scene before the deputies’ arrival.

The victim was transported to the hospital for treatment of undisclosed injuries. Vilsack was located a short time later and was arrested and charged with second-degree assault.

Seven Of Nine Not Compliant

BERLIN — The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office last week conducted alcohol compliance checks on nine establishments across Worcester County, seven of which sold booze to minor cadets.

The seven establishments that failed the compliance checks included the Super Soda Center in Snow Hill, Town Basket in Snow Hill, Newark Station in Newark, Shop Kwik in Berlin, 7-Eleven in Ocean Pines, Barley Hops and Grapes in Berlin and Trader Lee’s in West Ocean City. The two establishments that did not sell alcohol to a minor included the Friendship Exxon in Berlin and the Wine Rack in West Ocean City. The Sheriff’s Office is encouraging all businesses that sell alcohol to check their customer’s identification thoroughly.

DUI Stop Nets Drug Bust

BERLIN — A Berlin man was arrested on drunk-driving and illegal drug possession charges after a routine traffic stop on Route 113 near Bishopville.

Last Sunday, a Worcester County Sheriff’s deputy conducted a stop on Route 113 near Bishopville for a traffic violation. Upon making contact with the driver, identified as Larry Elton Duffy, 32, of Berlin, the officer detected a strong odor of alcohol. Duffy was subsequently arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

A Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit arrived on the scene and conducted a scan of the vehicle, which met with positive results. A search of the vehicle turned up 28 ecstasy pills, and a search of Duffy’s person yielded several pieces of crack cocaine. Duffy was charged with driving under the influence, possession of controlled dangerous substance (CDS) and possession with intent to distribute CDS. He was ordered held without bond pending trial.

Salisbury Officer Assaulted

SALISBURY — A Salisbury man was arrested on first-degree assault and other serious charges last weekend after first allegedly choking a female victim before attacking a police officer during an incident that ended with him being pepper-sprayed.

Around 1:30 a.m. last Saturday, Salisbury Police were dispatched to the Light Street area for a reported fight in progress. The first officer to arrive on the scene saw a suspect later identified as Jeason Cintron Quinonez, 29, of Salisbury, with his arm around a female victim’s throat as he attempted to pull her into a residence.

When the officer approached Quinonez, the suspect struck the officer in the throat and pushed him backward. Quinonez then jumped onto the officer, knocking him to the ground, according to police reports. The suspect then jumped on the officer and wrapped his legs around the officer’s neck in an attempt to choke him.

The officer was eventually able to free himself and deployed pepper spray into Quinonez’s face and eyes. Other officers were then able to detain the suspect. Quinonez was charged with first-degree assault, assault on a police officer, two counts of second-degree assault, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and numerous other charges.

Illegal Cigarettes Seized

SALISBURY — Maryland Comptroller’s Office agents this week confiscated nearly 5,000 packs of contraband cigarettes and arrested a New York man along Route 13 at Perry Rd. in nearby Somerset County last Friday.

Comptroller’s Office agents last Friday stopped a 2011 Toyota Sienna van on Route 13 for a traffic violation and a search incident to the stop turned up 4,690 packs of illegal cigarettes valued at over $28,000. Comptroller’s officers arrested the vehicle’s driver, identified as Paata Money, 51, of Brooklyn, N.Y. and charged his with transporting and possessing contraband cigarettes in the state of Maryland.

The transporting charge is a felony, which carries a $50 per carton fine and/or two years imprisonment, while the possession offense is a misdemeanor, carrying a $1,000 fine and/or imprisonment, not exceeding one year.

“The economy has yet to fully recover and we are all trying to stay afloat, however, it does not give anyone an excuse to blatantly disregard tax laws,” said Comptroller Peter Franchot.

The contraband cigarettes and the vehicle were seized as evidence and are subject to state and federal forfeiture laws. So far in fiscal year 2011, Comptroller agents have arrested 93 individuals for tobacco violations and seized approximately 169,000 packs of contraband cigarettes valued at nearly $900,000.

Jail Time For Indecent Exposure

SNOW HILL — An Ocean City man convicted on indecent exposure charges last year stemming from an incident in 2009 during which he exposed himself to a juvenile girl on the Boardwalk went back in jail for the weekend last week after a trespassing conviction last month triggered a violation of probation hearing.

Around 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 5, 2009, Ocean City Police responded to the area of 4th Street and the Boardwalk in reference to a reported indecent exposure incident. The officers met with a complainant, who told police a white male had exposed himself to his juvenile daughter earlier that morning.

The 14-year-old juvenile victim provided police with information regarding the incident and was able to provide a description of the male suspect. Based on proactive police initiatives and the description provided by the victim, the officers were able to develop a suspect, later identified as William Glenn Stauffer, now 46, of Ocean City. The next day, Ocean City police located and arrested Stauffer and charged him with indecent exposure.

Last May, Stauffer was found guilty of indecent exposure and received a suspended sentence. However, in April, Stauffer was found guilty of trespassing for a separate incident in Ocean City and was sentenced to four days in jail, but was given credit for the four days he spent in jail following his arrest.

The trespassing conviction triggered a probation violation for his original indecent exposure conviction. During a violation of probation hearing on Tuesday, Stauffer was sentenced to two days in jail, which he served last weekend.

Underage Drinking Warning

BERLIN — With prom season in full swing and graduations just around the corner, Maryland State Police this week issued a stern message to teens and their parents that underage drinking is not only dangerous, but also illegal.

Each year, thousands of teens are killed or injured in traffic crashes as a result of underage drinking. In the hopes of saving more lives in Maryland, local community leaders, concerned citizens and law enforcement officials are joining together to crack down on underage drinking.

The Maryland State Police in Berlin are reminding teens and their parents this week that underage drinking is deadly serious. Parents should be aware that hosting a party where alcohol is being served to minors is not only illegal, but extremely dangerous for their teens, for others in the community, and for the parents themselves, given the legal liabilities they face.

“If an underage teen drinks and drives, the parent may be legally liable for any damage, injury or death caused by the teen driver,” said MSP Sgt. Chris Davala of the Berlin barrack this week. “This is especially true of the parent hosts the party of provides the alcohol. They could even go to jail.”

Local law enforcement officers will be out in force targeting underage drinkers through stepped up compliance checks and saturation and party patrols. Law enforcement will be paying strict attention to parents who provide teens with alcohol or host drinking parties for underage teens.

“We’re asking teens to avoid alcohol and we ask parents to make a new or renewed commitment to never being a party to underage drinking,” said Davala.