Child Abandonment Alleged

WEST OCEAN CITY — Charges are pending this week against two Wilmington mothers for allegedly neglecting and abandoning their young children at a West Ocean City motel while they went to the Boardwalk.

Around 9:40 p.m. last Saturday, Maryland State Police responded to the Bed Time Inn in West Ocean City in reference to an allegedly abandoned 3-year-old girl located by a waiter in the hotel restaurant. The waiter located the child after she approached him and clung to his leg.

The investigation revealed the girl had walked from her first-floor room through the parking lot adjacent to Route 50, passed the swimming pool and into the restaurant. While troopers were looking into the whereabouts of the child’s parents, a 10-year-old child approached them and told police she was the cousin of the 3-year-old and that they were staying in the same room. The girl told police she had just awoken and found her cousin missing.

The investigation revealed there were three related families staying in three separate rooms in the motel. In one of the rooms, there were five unattended children ages 8-13, which is not a violation of Maryland state law because of the presence of the 13-year-old.

However, troopers went to the room where the 3-year-old and 10-year-old girls were staying and found it unoccupied with the door open. The mothers of the two children were contacted by cell phone and were found to be on the Boardwalk in Ocean City. They were instructed to return immediately to the Bed Time Inn in West Ocean City.

Through the investigation, troopers learned the two mothers planned to leave the children after they had fallen asleep. The investigation is ongoing and charges are pending. Social Services also responded and interviewed the two mothers, identified as Adrian Henry, 31, and Sharon Henry, 23, both of Wilmington, Del. Child Protective Services, Social Services and the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office are involved in the investigation.

First Of Three Alleged Armed Robbers Sentenced

SNOW HILL — The first of four men arrested in January for a spree of armed robberies in northern Worcester County and Wicomico County last December pleaded guilty this week in Circuit Court to armed robbery and the use of a handgun in the commission of a felony and was sentenced to a combined 20 years in jail, all but five of which were then suspended.

Last Dec. 2, Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) detectives and deputies from the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office responded to the Shore Stop convenience store on Route 589 near Ocean Pines for a reported armed robbery. The investigation revealed two suspects, later identified as Akeem Mason, 17, of Painter, Va., and Dalton Entzminger, 17, of Accomack, Va., entered the store with Mason armed with a handgun and robbed the clerk. 

The two suspects stole an undetermined amount of cash and cigarettes from the clerk before exiting the store and fleeing in a vehicle. A short time later, the same suspects, along with Jordan Criner, 23, of Berlin, and Takeyah Mason, 21, of Melfa, Va., robbed the Dash In convenience store in Willards in Wicomico County using the same basic method.

Wicomico County Sheriff’s deputies apprehended the four suspects a short time later and held them on charges related to the Willards armed robbery. The four suspects were then connected to the armed robbery of the Shore Stop near Ocean Pines. Each was charged with 16 total counts including armed robbery, assault, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and handgun charges.

After the arrest, WCBI detectives were able to connect Criner to a pair of armed robberies in the area in August, including the same Shore Stop convenience store on Route 589 near Ocean Pines. Around 1 a.m. on Aug. 25, two masked men entered the Shore Stop on Route 589, brandished a handgun and demanded money from the clerk. The clerk complied and the suspects fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of cash. About a half an hour later, the same suspects entered the Shore Stop store in Pittsville and robbed the clerk. Detectives were able to connect Criner to the August armed robberies in the same areas.

On Wednesday, Akeem Mason pleaded guilty to armed robbery and the use of a handgun in the commission of a felony. He was sentenced to 10 years in jail for each conviction, with all but five years of the combined sentence suspended. He was also placed on probation for three years upon his release. Criner, Takeyah Mason and Entzminger are each scheduled to appear for trial next week in Worcester County Circuit Court for their roles in the numerous armed robberies.

Guilty Plea For Armed Robber

SNOW HILL — An Ocean Pines man, one of two arrested in January on armed robbery and other serious charges after a joint investigation by the Ocean City and Ocean Pines Police departments connected him to a pair of strong-armed robberies of taxicab drivers last December and now awaits his fate pending the outcome of a pre-sentence investigation.

Around 1:15 a.m. last Dec. 30, Ocean City police responded to the area of 5th Street and Edgewater Ave. in the resort in reference to an armed robbery that had taken place. The victim, an on-duty cab driver, told Ocean City police he had received a call from a restricted number requesting a taxi from Ocean Pines to Ocean City.

The victim told police he had picked up two unidentified individuals on Marview Drive in Ocean Pines about 25 minutes earlier and brought them into Ocean City. The driver dropped the two suspects, later identified as Thomas Scaniffe, 17, of Ocean Pines, and Joshua Hohman, 19, of Marion Station, off in the area of 5th Street, at which time the two suspects allegedly assaulted the victim and stole money and other belongings.

A second similar incident took place later on Dec. 30. Around 9:30 p.m., a taxicab driver responded to Brandywine Drive in Ocean Pines to pick up a fare bound for Ocean City. Two males entered the cab at that time and demanded money before assaulting the driver with an unidentified weapon.

Two days later, on Jan. 1, after a joint investigation conducted by the Ocean City and Ocean Pines Police departments, Ocean City Police were able to identify Scaniffe as one of the suspects wanted in connection with the two taxicab armed robberies. Hohman was later arrested for his alleged role in the cab robberies.

On Wednesday, Scaniffe pleaded guilty to two counts of armed robbery and a pre-sentence investigation was ordered. Each conviction carries a maximum penalty of 25 years. Sentencing has been set for July 15.

State Police Busy With Drug Arrests

BERLIN — During routine traffic patrols throughout northern Worcester County last weekend, Maryland State Police (MSP) arrested 10 individuals on drug charges including seven in the span of a couple hours on Saturday.

Around 1:50 p.m. last Saturday, an MSP trooper stopped a Dodge Ram pick-up on Route 113 at Harrison Rd. for speeding. When the officer approached the vehicle, he detected the strong odor of marijuana coming from the passenger compartment. A probable search turned up three Baggies of marijuana on the person of the suspect, identified as Cory Hendricks, 20, of Dagsboro. Hendricks was arrested and charged with possession.

Around 2:30 p.m. last Saturday, a MSP trooper stopped a vehicle for speeding on Route 50 near Route 346. During contact with the occupants, the trooper detected the strong odor of marijuana. A probable cause search revealed marijuana in the glove compartment along with more pot on the person of a suspect identified as Khalifa Woods, 19, of Glen Burnie. The driver, Jeremy Harsanyi, 20, of Pasadena, and passenger Matthew Polm, 18, also of Pasadena, were arrested for possession.

At about 4:30 p.m. last Saturday, a MSP trooper pulled over a van in the parking lot of the Sunoco station on Sunset Ave. in West Ocean City for a traffic violation. Upon contact with the driver, identified as Carl Sickler, 35, of Berlin, the officer observed drug paraphernalia and burnt crack cocaine residue in the vehicle. Sickler was arrested and charged with possession of crack cocaine and paraphernalia.

At 6 p.m. last Saturday, an MSP trooper stopped a vehicle on Route 50 near Route 346 in Berlin for following another vehicle too closely. As the trooper approached the vehicle and made contact with the driver, identified as Mark Wade, 23, of Landover Hills, he detected a strong odor of burnt marijuana. A probable cause search turned up an undisclosed amount of marijuana. Wade was also found to be wanted on a fugitive warrant through the Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Office for failing to appear on traffic charges.

Around 7 p.m. last Saturday, an MSP trooper pulled over a vehicle on Route 50 and Main Street in Berlin for going 76 miles per hour in a 55 mph zone. The trooper learned the vehicle was a rental and the operator was in violation of the rental agreement because he was not the authorized driver. A K-9 scan of the vehicle was positive and an undisclosed amount of marijuana was discovered under a large speaker in the trunk. The driver, identified as Presley Burnett, Jr., 24, of Laurel, Md., was arrested for possession.

Shortly before 4 p.m. last Sunday, a Maryland State Police trooper pulled over a 2005 Jaguar on Route 50 at Dale Rd. for going 70 mph in a 55 mph zone. As the officer approached the vehicle, he detected an unusually strong odor of air fresheners. The officer asked the driver, identified as Joseph Nkata, 23, of Beltsville, Md., even he had any illegal drugs in the vehicle, to which he replied, “a little bit,” according to police reports.

A subsequent search revealed marijuana in the vehicle as well as in a backpack belonging to the passenger, identified as Phillip Springs, 23, of Bowie. Both Nkata and Phillips were arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and were later released.

Alleged Stabber Charged As Adult

SALISBURY — A 17-year-old juvenile was arrested on first-degree assault and other charges last week after allegedly stabbing an adult male during a domestic argument.

Shortly after 2 a.m. last Saturday, Salisbury Police responded to PRMC to meet with a stabbing victim. The victim told police he had been involved in a domestic argument with the suspect, later identified as Shatazia Monique Driggins, 17, of Salisbury. The argument turned into a physical altercation during which Driggins allegedly obtained a small knife from her residence and stabbed the victim in the back.

The victim was treated for a wound determined not to be life threatening. Driggins is a juvenile, but is being charged as an adult because of the severity of the crime. She has been charged with first- and second-degree assault and reckless endangerment.

Attempted Slashing

SALISBURY — A Hebron man was arrested on assault and other charges last week after allegedly attempting to slash a man with a knife on the victim’s porch following an earlier altercation.

Around 5:15 p.m. last Saturday, Salisbury Police responded to a residence on Homer Street for a reported assault. The victim told police he was in his residence when he heard a lot of banging and noise at the front door. The victim went to the door and found the suspect, later identified as Paul Joseph Kelly, 24, of Hebron, trying to force his way in.

The victim allegedly told Kelly to quit banging on the door and to leave the property. Kelly then allegedly produced a knife from his pants pocket and slashed at the victim, attempting to cut him. Kelly was arrested and charged with attempted first-degree assault, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and carrying a dangerous and deadly weapon.

Alleged Counterfeiter Nabbed

SALISBURY — A Willards woman was arrested on counterfeiting charges this week after passing a phony $20 bill to a victim in a convenience store parking lot for change early Monday morning.

Around 12:48 a.m. on Monday, Salisbury Police responded to the Wawa on S. Salisbury Blvd. for a report of a suspect passing counterfeit currency. Police met with the victim, who said a woman later identified as Brooke Joseph, 20, of Willards, approached her and asked for change for a $20 bill. Only after the trade did the victim realize the $20 bill she had just obtained was counterfeit.

Police located Joseph still on the convenience store property and arrested the suspect on charges of theft and possession of counterfeit currency. The authentic currency was returned to the victim.

Traffic Stop Yields Loaded Guns

SNOW HILL — A Georgia man was arrested on possession of concealed deadly weapons charges last week after a cache of loaded guns was found in his vehicle during a speeding stop on Route 113 in Snow Hill.

Around 2:15 last Thursday, a Maryland State Police trooper pulled over a Ford pick-up truck bearing Georgia tags on Route 113 in Snow Hill for a speeding violation. As troopers approached the driver, identified as Jeremiah Smith, 30, of Haddock, Ga., they noticed a rifle lying on the passenger seat.

Troopers asked Smith if he had any other weapons in the vehicle and he told police he also had a Glock handgun. The handgun was also located and Smith was placed under arrest. Troopers conducted a search, which revealed a total of five rifles and four handguns. Two of the rifles and three of the handguns were loaded.

Smith was arrested and charged with possession of a concealed deadly weapon and wearing and carrying a concealed weapon. Smith was held initially on a $10,000 bond, but was later released after posting bail.

Copper Wire Thief Nabbed

SALISBURY — A Salisbury man was arrested on burglary and theft charges last week after maintenance workers caught him allegedly stealing copper wire from a vacant property.

Around 1 p.m. last Friday, a Wicomico County Sheriff’s Deputy responded to a vacant property on Nokomis Ave. in Salisbury for a reported burglary. The deputy met with a representative from a local property management company who said they arrived at the property earlier to do maintenance work when they discovered a suspect, later identified as Paul D. Green, 51, of Salisbury, inside attempting to steal copper wire.

Green attempted to flee from the building, but maintenance workers were able to detain him until police arrived. The investigation revealed Green had entered the building by breaking a rear window. Green was arrested and charged with first-degree burglary and theft. He was taken before a District Court Commissioner and was ordered held on a $50,000 bond.