Church Break-In Probed

NEWARK — The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office this week is seeking the public’s help in identifying a suspect or suspects who broke into a Newark church last Friday and stole a keyboard and amplifier.

Last Friday, the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office responded to the Williams AME Church in Newark for a reported burglary complaint. Deputies met with the trustees of the church and observed a rear door to the sanctuary ad been forced in.

Once inside, the suspect or suspects stole a roughly eight-year-old Rowlands keyboard and a one-year-old Cherokee 550 amplifier. The Sheriff’s Office is asking for anyone who might have seen something suspicious between last Wednesday and Friday in the area of the church to contact the department at 410-632-1112. Any information provided can remain confidential.

Guilty Plea For Solicitation

SNOW HILL — A Mexican national arrested last August on charges of solicitation of prostitution of a minor pleaded guilty this week and was sentenced to five years, all but six months of which was suspended, and will face deportation upon his release from jail.

Around 10 a.m. on Aug. 12, 2014, the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI), with assistance of the Criminal Enforcement Team, the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, the Maryland State Police and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) arrested Carlos O. Mejia, 35, of Seaford, Del., and charged him with solicitation for prostitution and sexual solicitation of a minor. The joint investigation revealed Mejia had traveled from Seaford to an undisclosed location on northern Worcester County in order to engage in sexual intercourse with a 12-year-old juvenile.

The Delaware State Police assisted WCBI in executing a search and seizure warrant on Mejia’s residence in Seaford. During the warrant execution, several items were seized to assist with the investigation. Mejia was charged as part of the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office “Operation Worcester Safety Net.”

After pleading guilty on Monday, Mejia was sentenced to five years, all but six months of which were then suspended. When he completes his sentence, deportation proceedings will start for Mejia, who is a citizen of Mexico but was living legally in the U.S. at the time of his arrest last August.

Just last week, the Sheriff’s Office announced “Operation Worcester Safety Net” had resulted in the arrests of 21 individuals who had attempted to engage in sexual contact with minors or used the Internet to share child pornography. Mejia is now one of the 21 defendants whose cases have been adjudicated.

Halloween Vandalism Fine

OCEAN CITY — A Laurel, Md. man, arrested last October for a Halloween vandalism spree in Ocean City, pleaded guilty last week to malicious destruction of property and was sentenced to 18 months, all of which was suspended in favor of a fine and restitution.

On Oct. 31, 2014, Ocean City Police observed multiple acts of vandalism to city property in the area of 2nd Street and the Boardwalk. A fire hydrant, dumpsters and a railing had been marked using spray paint. Through the investigation, OCPD officers were able to identify two suspects, William Placek, 23, of Laurel, Md., and Poppy Walker, 25, of Washington, D.C. OCPD officers were also able to determine the two suspects were still in Ocean City.

Placek and Walker were located a short time later in the area of 112th Street and Coastal Highway after officers located a vehicle registered to Placek. The officers located empty spray paint cans in the vehicle and placed Placek and Walker under arrest. Also found in the vehicle was a knife.

In addition, OCPD officers were able to determine the Placek and Walker were responsible for three additional markings throughout Ocean City previously reported to police. While in custody at the Ocean City Public Safety Building, Placek destroyed a sprinkler head in his jail cell.

Placek was charged with six counts of malicious destruction of property, malicious destruction scheme and concealing a deadly weapon. Walker has been charged with one count of malicious destruction of property. Last Friday, Placek pleaded guilty to malicious destruction of property and was sentenced to 18 months, all of which was suspended. He was fined $1,000 and ordered to pay $950 in restitution to the victims. Walker is scheduled to appear for trial on March 11.

Guilty Plea For Break-Ins

OCEAN CITY — A Churchton, Md. man arrested in November after Ocean City Police were able to connect him to a series of vehicle break-ins in the resort and traced the stolen merchandize to outlet stores in West Ocean City pleaded guilty last week and was sentenced to three years, all of which was suspended in favor of probation and restitution.

Around 8:30 a.m. on Nov, 29, 2014, Ocean City Police were dispatched to the Sand Piper Dunes condominium to investigate a reported breaking and entering and thefts from vehicles that had already occurred. It was soon learned that four vehicles had their windows broken out and property, including recently purchased merchandize, stolen from them.

OCPD detectives met with the first victim, who said he left his truck in the condo parking lot around midnight the night before and went out to find property stolen, including merchandize purchased from Tanger Outlet stores the day before, along with sunglasses and a radar detector. Detective met with a second victim who reported similar circumstances, including vehicle windows broken and recently purchased goods from the outlets in West Ocean City stolen.

OCPD investigators met with two other victims who explained similar circumstances. The rough total of the value of the stolen goods from the four incidents came to around $800, while the property damage to the vehicles totaled well over $1,000.

Ocean City Police then contacted each of the stores from which the victims’ stolen property had been purchased and advised staff to contact the department if anyone attempted to return the items. Around 5:45 p.m. the next day, a Maryland State Police trooper called the OCPD to advise that he had responded to the Bass outlet in West Ocean City in regard to a female and male attempting to return clothing items that had been flagged as stolen.

The trooper advised store staffers did not allow the suspects to return the items and photos were taken by a store employee of the two suspects as they walked away from the business.

The MSP trooper advised the OCPD the female in the photos was known to police through prior encounters with her, but did not recognize the male suspect.

Last week, OCPD officers responded to a condo unit on 57th Street for a reported 911 call hang-up. The residence was occupied by the female identified in the photos taken at the Bass outlet a week earlier. The female told police she believed her boyfriend, identified as Tony Childs, 27, who also lived in the residence, was stealing. When asked to elaborate, the female said Childs had come home around 5 a.m. on Nov. 29 with bags of clothing with the tags still on them and that the items Childs had seemed strange. For example, there were bags of children’s clothing from Children’s Place and Carter’s.

The female allowed a search of the unit and OCPD officers pulled from beneath a bed bags of clothing with tags still on them consistent with the items reported stolen a week earlier during the car break-ins just a block away. Also located was a radar detector stolen from one of the victims. The female said she believed Childs had attempted to return the items to the stores for cash.

Last week, Childs pleaded guilty to rogue and vagabond and was sentenced to three years in jail, all of which was suspended. He was then placed on probation and ordered to pay $2,170 in restitution to the victims.