SHOWELL — A Millsboro, Del. man was charged with theft and theft scheme charges last week after Worcester County detectives were able to connect him to the theft of copper and aluminum from the heating and air-conditioning system of a Perdue facility in Showell.
Last July 10, a Worcester County sheriff’s deputy took an initial report of a theft and malicious destruction of property case from a Perdue Farms facility in Showell. The investigation revealed HVAC units on the roof of the facility had been stripped of their precious metals including aluminum and copper. Several cooling fans along with duct work for the chillers were also taken. In addition, a ground-based York air conditioning unit was also taken from the facility.
To repair the facility’s HVAC to environmental standards cost an estimated $500,000. Because of the monetary loss, the investigation was turned over to the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI). Working with Perdue security staff, WCBI detectives were able to identify a suspect, John Charles Woodward, 56, after a review of surveillance video put him on the Perdue property during the time frame the thefts occurred.
A search of invoices from area salvage yards where precious metals are often exchanged for cash was completed and several invoices from Woodward were located during the timeframe the thefts occurred. Many of the invoices were for copper and aluminum with amounts consistent with the thefts from Perdue. Based on the investigation, detectives prepared an application for charges for Woodward for review and consideration by a District Court Commissioner. A summons was issued in mid-January and Woodward was served with the charging documents last week. He was been formally charged with two counts of theft from $1,000 to $10,000, theft scheme from $1,000 to $10,000 and malicious destruction of property. An initial appearance has been set for Feb. 24.
Little League Funds Swiped
POCOMOKE — A Pocomoke woman last week was arrested on multiple counts of theft and theft scheme after allegedly absconding with over $17,000 in funds from the town’s Little League program.
During the month of January, Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) detectives conducted an investigation into a reported theft from the Pocomoke Little League. The investigation revealed a suspect, later identified as Carolann Chandler, 40, had been installed as the treasurer of the Little League at the beginning of 2011.
The investigation revealed Chandler had allegedly written numerous checks from league accounts and cashed them after endorsing them with her signature. Chandler also allegedly used withdrawal slips for the account to obtain cash from the bank. The total amount verified during the investigation came to $17,495.
Chandler was arrested last week at her residence and was interviewed about the missing funds, during which she admitted her involvement in the scheme. She has been charged with 13 counts of theft under $1,000, five counts of theft from $1,000 to $10,000 and one count of theft scheme from $10,000 to under $100,000. Chandler was taken before a District Court Commissioner and was released after posting a $25,000 unsecured bond.
Suspended Sentence for Exposer
OCEAN CITY — A Bel Air man, arrested last June on indecent exposure charges after allegedly exposing himself to mothers and their children on at least three different occasions on the beach, entered an Alford Plea last week to disorderly conduct and was sentenced to 60 days in jail, all of which was suspended in favor of a fine and probation.
Around 8:50 a.m. on June 10, 2011, OCPD officers were dispatched to the beach at 123rd Street for a complaint about a man exposing himself. The officers met with an adult female victim who told police just minutes before they arrived an adult male, later identified as Conrad Joseph Jablecki, 24, allegedly approached her and her 5-year-old daughter and smiled at them before unbuckling and pulling down his shorts to expose his penis. The suspect then left the area on foot.
While police were searching the area for Jablecki, they received a report of a similar incident on the beach at 133rd Street that had occurred around 9:46 a.m., or about an hour after the first reported incident. In the second incident, a suspect matching the original description had exposed himself to the mother and her son in much the same way as the original incident.
Over two hours after the first report, a witness pointed out Jablecki to OCPD officers on the beach in the area of 132nd Street. The officers approached Jablecki, but he fled the area on foot, according to police reports. He was detained a short time later. The second victim arrived on the scene, but could not positively identify Jablecki as the man who had exposed himself to her and her child. However, the first victim was able to identify Jablecki as the exposer and he was arrested.
Last week, Jablecki entered an Alford plea to disorderly conduct. In an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt, but acknowledges the state has enough evidence to prosecute. Jablecki was sentenced to 60 days in jail, all of which was suspended. He was also placed on supervised probation for two years and fined $500.
Blunt Nets 30 Days In Jail
OCEAN CITY — A Salisbury man arrested last October on drug charges during an OCPD investigation in West Ocean City pleaded guilty this week in District Court to possession of marijuana and was sentenced to 30 days in jail.
In 2011, OCPD narcotics officers were sworn in as fully vested law enforcement officials giving them full police powers outside town limits. In August, OCPD undercover narcotics officers began an investigation into the alleged drug distribution activities of Edward Lee Byrd, 31, of Pocomoke, in the resort area. For example, on Aug. 19, 2011, an undercover OCPD officer made arrangements to purchase crack cocaine from Byrd at the Royal Farms store on Route 50, a transaction later completed in the store’s restroom.
On Aug. 30, a similar deal with Byrd was arranged and completed at the Royal Farms store in West Ocean City following the same basic procedure. On Sept. 16, another transaction was arranged, again at the Royal Farms, but this time, Byrd changed the location to the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant on the opposite side of Route 50. Around 2:40 p.m., while the officer waited inside the restaurant, Byrd arrived in a nearby parking lot as the sole occupant of the vehicle. The crack cocaine purchase was then completed inside the restaurant’s restroom.
On October 12, a similar transaction was arranged and completed, again in the restroom of the Kentucky Fried Chicken. Immediately after the last transaction, three other OCPD officers entered the restroom and took Byrd into custody without incident. He was charged with four counts of possession and distribution of crack cocaine.
After Byrd was arrested, an OCPD officer observed a vehicle in which Byrd had traveled before in the parking lot of the Wendy’s nearby. A suspect, later identified as Shannon William Marshall, 35, of Salisbury, was waiting in the vehicle. OCPD officers, one of whom recognized Marshall from prior interactions, detained Marshall based on the evidence.
In the center console, in plain view, was a Baggie of marijuana and a “blunt.” Also observed in plain view was a baggie of powder cocaine on the front passenger seat. Marshall was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and cocaine.
On Tuesday, Marshall pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana and was sentenced to 30 days. Byrd is scheduled to appear for trial in March.
Arson Suspects Sought
SALISBURY — The Office of the State Fire Marshal this week is seeking the public’s help in identifying the suspect or suspects responsible for setting two dwelling fires within a 20-minute time frame last Friday.
The first fire occurred at an occupied two-story single-family home on East Line Rd. in Willards. The occupants, George and Hope Harman, were alerted to the fire when smoke detectors sounded inside their home. They quickly escorted their 10-year-old son outside and found the front porch ablaze while calling 911. Roughly 50 firefighters responded from Willards, Pittsville, Gumboro, Parsonsburg and Millsboro and extinguished the fire within two hours. A 2003 Cadillac Escalade was destroyed in the fire. Damage to the home, its contents and the vehicle is estimated at $350,000 and the occupants are being assisted by family members.
A passerby stopped at the scene and alerted firefighters of another house fire a short distance away on Tingle Rd. in Willards. Firefighters were not able to save to two-story vacant dwelling, owned by Nancy Ennis and Barbara Parker. Damage to the home and its contents is estimated at $155,000.
State Fire Marshals determined both dwelling fires to be arson-related and are working to identify the suspect or suspects before someone is seriously injured. Investigators ask that anyone who may have been in the area of the two fires to contact the Lower Eastern Shore regional office of the State Fire Marshal’s Office at 410-713-3780, or the Maryland Arson Hotline at 1-800-492-7529.
Couple Held On Child
Sex Abuse Charges
SALISBURY — A Delmar couple is being held on a $1 million bond in Wicomico County this week after being charged with multiple counts of child sex abuse over a roughly one-year period from June 2010 to August 2011.
Last week, Wicomico County Sheriff’s Department detectives and Child Protective Services of Wicomico County investigators concluded an investigation with the arrest of Thomas John McGuire, 43, and his wife, Nicole Crystal McGuire, 28, on multiple charges of child abuse, child sex abuse and assault among others. The investigation revealed the McGuires allegedly sexually abused a 15-year-old male and a 14-year-old female from June 2010 to August 2011.
The investigation is ongoing in efforts to locate any additional victims. The McGuires have been charged with one count of child abuse, two counts of child sex abuse, two counts of second-degree assault, one count of reckless endangerment and one count each of second-degree sex offense and fourth-degree sex offense. Anyone with additional information is urged to contact the Wicomico Sheriff’s Office or the Wicomico County Child Advocacy Center at 410-713-3476.
24-Year Sentence For Invasions
SALISBURY — A Salisbury man was sentenced this week to 24 years in prison for a pair of home invasions in Salisbury and Pittsville in July.
On Monday, Clifton Brimer, 26, of Salisbury, was sentenced to a combined 24 years after pleading guilty to a pair of home invasions last July 23-24. In one of the home invasions, Brimer forced his way into the home of an elderly couple and assaulted an 80-year-old male resident. That investigation led Wicomico Bureau of Investigation (WBI) detectives to link Brimer to a second location in Salisbury where he allegedly committed another burglary and theft. The investigation also linked Brimer to a third burglary and theft in the area.
After Brimer pleaded guilty, a Wicomico County Circuit Court judge sentenced him on Monday to a combined 24 years, including 15 years for robbery, eight years for burglary and one year for theft. Wicomico County State’s Attorney Matt Maciarello praised the investigation and prosecution teams for bring Brimer to justice.
“Nothing is more important to me than protecting those who are unable to protect themselves,” he said. “Moreover, we strive to ensure that people can feel safe in their own homes in Wicomico County. It is gratifying that the Wicomico County Bureau of Investigation was able to solve this case and the public will be protected from Brimer for a good bit of time.”