Bank Fraud Investigation

Igor Gavryushin

Igor Gavryushin

OCEAN CITY — An Ocean City man was arrested on bank theft scheme charges last week after an investigation revealed he had deposited and then cashed over $40,000 in bad checks over a period of a couple days in late January.

On Jan. 30, Ocean City Police detectives began a theft scheme investigation on Igor Gavryushin, 29, of Ocean City, after being contacted by a local bank official. The bank fraud investigator informed OCPD detectives they had suffered a loss of approximately $31,000 as a result of deposits made by Gavryushin.

Further investigation revealed Gavryushin deposited over $43,000 into his bank account between January 21 and January 23. All of the deposited checks were later returned to the bank as either “account closed” or “unlocatable.” However, before the bank was notified the deposited checks were being returned, Gavryushin had already withdrawn $30,000 from his account.

On Jan. 31, Ocean City Police arrested Gavryushin at his home. Late on the same day, a search and seizure warrant was executed at the suspect’s home and $30,000 in cash was located in his bedroom. Ocean City Police charged Gavryushin with multiple counts of uttering bad checks and felony theft. He was taken before a District Court Commissioner and was ordered to be held on a $5,000 bond.

Laiton Blake Witkowski

Laiton Blake Witkowski

Worcester Child Porn

Suspect Turns Self In

STOCKTON — A Stockton man this week turned himself in to face child pornography charges after a search warrant was executed at his home last Friday.

On Monday, Laiton Blake Witkowski, 31, turned himself in to the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office. Witkowski had an active warrant for possession of child pornography and distribution of child pornography. A search warrant was executed at his home in Stockton last Friday.

The arrest was the result of the combined efforts of the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, the Maryland State Police Computer Crimes Unit and the Department of Homeland Security. Through their affiliation with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, detectives learned Witkowski had allegedly been sharing images of known child pornography. Witkowski was taken before a District Court Commissioner and was released on a $50,000 unsecured bond.

The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office is a member of the Maryland Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which is comprised of police agencies from across the state. Its primary mission is to protect children from computer-facilitated exploitation. The task force works directly with law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to provide resources to prevent these crimes. In addition, the task force provides community awareness campaigns to help prevent sexual exploitation crimes against children through education.

Two Arrested For

Heroin Distribution

BERLIN — The Worcester County Criminal Enforcement Team last week concluded a month-long investigation into heroin and prescription pill distribution with the arrest of a Delaware man and a 17-year-old juvenile.

Last Monday, the Criminal Enforcement Team concluded a month-long investigation with a traffic stop of a vehicle destined for the Berlin area from Delaware for the purpose of distributing a quantity of heroin to an undercover officer as part of a pre-arranged deal. During the course of the traffic stop, an individual identified as Edwin D. Horner, 45, of Milton, Del., and a 17-year-old juvenile were found to be in possession of 50 individually wrapped bags of heroin.

The same two suspects were also involved in the distribution of oxycodone to a Worcester County Criminal Enforcement Team detective earlier in the investigation. Horner and the juvenile were each charged with conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, conspiracy to possess and distribute heroin and possession of heroin. Horner was taken before a District Court Commissioner and was subsequently committed to the Worcester County Jail on a $25,000 bond. The juvenile was referred to the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Shots Fired At Horseback Riders

SALISBURY — A Salisbury man was arrested on assault and reckless endangerment charges last week after allegedly firing shots from a rifle at two women who were horseback riding in the area in an attempt to scare them off.

Around 12:18 p.m. last Friday, a Wicomico County Sheriff’s Deputy responded to the area of Spring Hill Lane in Salisbury for a reported incident involving shots fired. The deputy met with two women who were on horseback when a suspect later identified as Hiram Percival Collins, 56, of Salisbury, took exception to the activity and came out of a residence brandishing a rifle.

The two riders then proceeded to ride out of the area quickly due to the presence of Collins when they heard two shots. The riders told police the fired projectiles struck the woods close to the area where they were riding, which led them to believe Collins was intentionally firing at them.

The deputy located Collins outside his residence and the suspect told police he wanted to scare the two riders from the property. During the subsequent investigation, the deputy located the actual property owners who told police the two women had permission to ride their horses on the property.

Collins was arrested and charged with two counts of second-degree assault and two counts of reckless endangerment. He was taken before a District Court Commissioner and was detained in the Detention Center on a $50,000 bond.

Swipes Vehicle, Hits Pole

SALISBURY — A Salisbury man was arrested on motor vehicle theft and other charges last week after allegedly swiping a car warming up in a driveway before crashing into a pole and fleeing on foot.

Around 7 a.m. last Tuesday, Salisbury Police responded to a residence on Dover Street for a reported theft of a motor vehicle. The victim told police he had gone out to start his vehicle then went back inside the residence. The vehicle was unlocked with the engine running. When the victim came back outside, he saw an unknown suspect driving his vehicle out of the driveway.

The victim called police, then followed the stolen vehicle in another vehicle. Almost simultaneously while receiving the call from the victim, other officers on routine patrol in the area observed the stolen vehicle driving erratically and at a high rate of speed in the area of Route 13 and E. Church Street. The officers attempted to stop the vehicle, but the driver continued to flee until the vehicle collided into a pole in the area of Snow Hill Rd. and E. Vine Street.

The driver, later identified as Charles David Whitfield, Jr., 28, of Salisbury, then exited the vehicle and fled on foot, but was apprehended a short time later and was taken into custody. Whitfield has been charged with theft of a motor vehicle, failure to obey a lawful order, resisting arrest and obstructing and hindering.

Two Plead Guilty

In Fracas With Cops

OCEAN CITY — Two Ocean City individuals this week pleaded guilty to various charges stemming from their involvement in a fight and subsequent arrest in downtown Ocean City in December and each received various fines and probation periods.

Heather Banks, 23, of Ocean City, and Shane McQuillen, 22, also of Ocean City, appeared in District Court on Wednesday to face a variety of charges for allegedly interfering with police attempting to arrest a third individual involved in a fight along Philadelphia Ave. near 7th Street on Dec. 4. Banks pleaded guilty to resisting arrest and was fined $500 and placed on probation for one year. McQuillen pleaded guilty to failure to obey a lawful order and was fined $500.

Around 2 a.m. on December 4, Ocean City Police were in the process of arresting a suspect named James Hudson, who had been involved in a fight. Banks and McQuillen interfered with the OCPD’s attempt to arrest Hudson, according to testimony on Wednesday. Banks was reportedly in the roadway yelling at the officer attempting to arrest Hudson, while McQuillen walked toward the arrest and made contact with one of the officers.

“This case basically boils down to yelling and returning to the scene,” said defense attorney Kathy Smith, who was representing both defendants. “They were trying to get Mr. Hudson out of a jam but it obviously didn’t go too well.”

Assault Conviction

For Nudging Officer

OCEAN CITY — An Ocean City woman pleaded guilty this week to second-degree assault for an incident in August during which she “nudged” a police officer attempting to arrest her.

On Aug. 20, an OCPD officer responded to a reported domestic dispute in progress on Philadelphia Ave. near 12th Street. Upon arrival, the officer observed a woman later identified as Eleesha Frank, 26, of Paradise, Pa., crying and visibly upset. The officer separated Frank from the unidentified male suspect to make sure she was not hurt.

When the officer was talking to Frank, he observed a blue, glass smoking device on the bench where she had been sitting. Frank was arrested for possession of paraphernalia, and according to testimony during trial in District Court on Wednesday, became uncooperative and shouted expletives and slurs. When the officer attempted to make Frank sit down, she allegedly kicked the officer in the thigh.

However, Frank, who represented herself at trial on Wednesday, told a different version of the events. She told the court she barely hit the officer.

“I nudged the officer in the leg because he was straddling my leg,” said Frank on Wednesday. “I was in handcuffs so tight I couldn’t feel my hands. The officer was straddling me and when I nudged his leg, he just smiled and said ‘now you’ve assaulted a police officer.”

Frank admitted in court she was highly intoxicated. In the end, she was found guilty of second-degree assault and was fined $500. She was found not guilty on the possession of paraphernalia count.