Robber Sentenced

Robber Sentenced
Social Issues Government

SNOW HILL — The third of three suspects arrested in September on strong-arm robbery and other charges after jumping a store employee on the side of Route 50 in West Ocean City was sentenced to seven years in jail, all but six months of which was then suspended.

Around 1:30 a.m. on Sept. 3, 2014, Maryland State Police received a 911 call regarding an assault in the area of the Mattress Warehouse on Route 50. Troopers arrived and met with a victim who told police she was walking home from work when a silver vehicle pulled up next to her. The victim told police two African-American women got out of the vehicle and assaulted her and stole her purse containing a large amount of money.

Berlin Police responded to assist and discovered the stolen items on the shoulder of Route 50. MSP troopers were later able to locate the vehicle in Wicomico County. Troopers approached the vehicle and located three suspects, identified as Kaleah N. McMillan, 24; Latasha Renee Tucker, 25; and John Garcia Scott, 26, all of Washington, D.C. Also located in the vehicle were four children, ages 6, 5, 4 and eight months.

A search of the vehicle resulted in the recovery of a large sum of money. McMillan, Tucker and Scott were arrested and charged with strong-arm robbery, theft over $1,000, second-degree assault and reckless endangerment.

In January, McMillan pleaded guilty to robbery and sentencing was deferred. Back in court last Friday, McMillan was sentenced to seven years, all but six months of which were then suspended. He was placed on probation for two years and was ordered to pay $305 in restitution to the victim.

Also in January, Scott pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery and was sentenced to 10 years, all but five of which were suspended. Scott was also ordered to pay restitution. Tucker pleaded guilty in January and was sentenced to six months in jail for her role in the incident.

Scamming Arrest

OCEAN PINES — An Ocean Pines man was arrested on theft and other charges last week after allegedly operating a home improvement scam on residents.

Ocean Pines Police last week arrested Larry Burton Tyre, 62, and charged him with two counts of obtaining the property of a vulnerable adult, and one count each of theft over $10,000 to under $100,000 and theft scheme over $10,000 to under $100,000. According to police reports, Tyre would stop at various locations in Ocean Pines and ask if the homeowner needed yard work or home repair services.

Tyre would take payment in advance, but not deliver on the projects. Tyre was taken before a District Court Commissioner and was released after posting a $25,000 bond. The Ocean Pines Police are asking anyone who may have been a victim of a similar scam to contact Corporal Tish Ottey at 410-641-7747.

Motorist Faces Charges

OCEAN CITY — A Millsboro woman was arrested on drunk driving and drug charges last weekend after driving on a rim for several blocks on Coastal Highway after striking a median and sign.

Around 3:40 a.m. last Sunday, an OCPD officer on patrol in the area of 26th Street and Philadelphia Ave. observed a vehicle traveling south and heard an extremely loud noise as it passed. The officer followed the vehicle and observed its front driver side tire was completely off and the vehicle was riding with its rim on the highway.

The officer stopped the vehicle at 13th Street and made contact with the driver, identified as Paige Blake, 21, of Millsboro. According to police reports, the officer asked Blake how much she had to drink at a mid-town bar and she said a little, but not a lot, according to police reports. The officers then administered a battery of field sobriety tests on Blake, which she failed to pass to the officer’s satisfaction.

Blake was arrested and take to the Public Safety Building for processing and a search revealed a rolled-up dollar bill in her jacket pocket with a residue of a white powdery substance on it believed to be cocaine. Meanwhile, another officer advised he had located a shredded tire that matched the tires on Blake’s vehicle in the roadway at 52nd Street.

The officer advised that the median had been struck and the turn lane sign in the median had also been struck. Back at the Public Safety building, Blake was administered a breath-alcohol test which registered a .16. Blake allegedly told police she struck the median and sign, but did not call in the accident because she was scared and just wanted to get home so she could go to work in the morning. She also told police it was not her vehicle and she was its only occupant.

When the officer asked Blake about the rolled-up dollar with the cocaine residue on it, she said the bill was hers but the drugs were not. She said she lent the bill to her friends, who were using cocaine at the bar, and they returned it when they were finished, according to police reports.

Blake was charged with possession of cocaine and possession of paraphernalia along with numerous traffic violations including driving while impaired and leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage, for example.

Kids Left Home Alone

OCEAN CITY — An Ocean City woman faces charges of leaving children unattended and alcohol-related charges after being found wandering around intoxicated in the street with two young kids at home alone.

Around 10:30 p.m. last Saturday, an OCPD officer on patrol in the area of 28th Street was dispatched to a residence to check on the welfare of two young children. The officer was dispatched after the child’s father, who was in Salisbury, received a text message from their mother advising that she had left them alone.

The officer arrived at the residence and knocked on the door for several minutes. Eventually, a 2-year-old answered the door and then walked away. According to police reports, the house was dark except for a light on in one room. After announcing he was a police officer and calling for an adult, the officer entered the residence. The officer asked the 2-year-old if his mother was home, to which he answered no and then began crying before returning to the lighted room. The officer entered the unit and found the 2-year-old along with an 11-month-old child unattended with no adults present.

About a half an hour later, the officer was advised by a witness who lived down the street there was a woman who was walking around in the cold and pouring rain who looked distraught. The officer located the woman, later identified as Kelly Gibbs, 35, in the middle of the street at Bayshore Drive. She was crying and saying “someone took my kids,” according to police reports.

Police questioned Gibbs, who appeared to be extremely intoxicated, and told her version of the events leading up to the incident. According to police reports, Gibbs was disoriented and changed her story several times throughout the conversation. She was found with a can of partially full malt beverage in her purse.

When questioned, Gibbs told police she left the residence four hours earlier with the father and the children at the residence to go to a laundromat. When asked what happened next, Gibbs allegedly told police, “I don’t know, it’s all a big blur after that,” and “I guess that’s when somebody called the police.” Gibbs told the officer she had no idea when or where she was when she first made contact with police. Her story changed multiple times during the interview with the officer.

The officer met again with the father, who showed police a text message from Gibbs stating “kids at home alone, be back at sunrise.” The father’s version of the story was consistent and the text messages corroborated his story. Based on the facts, the officer concluded Gibbs, during her intoxicated state, left the children alone and unattended and was wandering around in the cold and significant rain for no purpose. She was charged with leaving children unattended, negligence of a minor and open container.

Burglary Arrest

OCEAN CITY — An Ocean City man was arrested on first-degree burglary and other charges last week after his fingerprints connected him to a residential break-in in the resort in 2013 during which liquor bottles were stolen.

In May 2013, Ocean City Police responded to a residence on 143rd Street for a reported burglary. The victim told police he was last at the residence on May 17, but when he returned on May 24, he observed it had been broken into. The victim told police the front door had been forced open.

The officer observed damage to the front door frame and locking mechanism. The victim reported several bottles of liquor had been stolen from a cabinet in the kitchen area and that six to eight cans of beer and a frozen pizza had been stolen from the refrigerator. The estimated cost of the stolen goods was around $80 and the damage to the front door was estimated at around $200.

Fingerprints were recovered on a section of the broken door frame. Last week, the Maryland State Police Crime Lab notified the fingerprints collected from the broken door frame were matched to the known fingerprints of Justin McCargo, 26, of Ocean City.

Last Thursday, an OCPD detective located McCargo at a residence on 82nd Street and took him into custody. McCargo has been charged with first-degree burglary, theft and malicious destruction of property.

Sex Offense Conviction

SNOW HILL — A West Virginia man, arrested in June after allegedly raping and assaulting a passed-out girl on the grass in front of a downtown Ocean City residence, pleaded guilty last month to a third-degree sex offense and awaits his fate pending the outcome of a pre-sentence investigation.

On June 24, 2014, Ocean City Police responded to the area of Lark Lane for a reported passed-out individual, but the report was then changed to a possible rape involving a 15-year-old girl. Witnesses on the scene gave a description of the alleged suspect, later identified as Joseph Fernandez,     19, of Martinsburg, W.Va. Fernandez was located a short time later in the area of 26th Street and began making statements to OCPD detectives, including that he was sorry and that the girl told him she was over 21. At that point, Fernandez also told police he had no idea the victim was under 18 and that he did have sex with her because she said she was 18.

Detectives then met with the victim’s sister, who told police she had observed Fernandez on top of her sister on the grass outside a residence on Lark Lane allegedly having sex. The victim’s sister told police the victim was extremely intoxicated and had been unconscious and unresponsive just prior to the alleged sexual assault. Other witnesses in the area corroborated the sister’s version of the events leading up to the alleged assault.

The victim was transported to AGH for a rape kit, but because of her level of intoxication, the test could not be performed immediately. According to police reports, the hospital reported the victim’s blood-alcohol level at .21. Meanwhile, Fernandez was taken into custody and questioned by OCPD detectives. At that point, Fernandez admitted to having sexual intercourse with the juvenile victim. When asked about the victim’s level of intoxication, Fernandez told police the victim was under the influence and was “going unconscious” and that he was helping her.

As the interview went on, Fernandez then told police he did not know how he ended up having sex with the victim and later actually said he did not remember any of it. Based on observations, witness statements and Fernandez’s own statements, he was charged with second-degree rape and second-degree assault. Last week, he pleaded guilty to a third-degree sex offense and a pre-sentence investigation was ordered. Sentencing has been set for April.