OCEAN CITY — A Baltimore man was arrested for possessing multiple dangerous and deadly weapons early Wednesday morning after a routine drunk-driving traffic stop in north Ocean City.
Around 1:20 a.m. on Wednesday, an OCPD officer was on patrol in the area of 128th Street and Assawoman Drive and observed a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction fail to stop at a stop sign. As the vehicle passed, the officer noticed the driver, later identified as Michael Sciandra, 52, of Baltimore, was not wearing a seatbelt. The officer turned around and initiated a traffic stop around 131st Street.
The officer approached the vehicle and detected an odor of alcoholic beverage coming from inside and noticed Sciandra’s eyes were glassy and bloodshot and his coordination was sluggish. Sciandra was asked to step out of the vehicle for field sobriety tests, which he did not pass to the officer’s satisfaction. At that point, Sciandra was arrested for driving while impaired.
Meanwhile, another OCPD officer arrived to assist and observed a wooden club with a spider web, a skull and a swastika engraved on it on the front passenger floorboard leaning against the gear shift for easy access to the driver. A search of the vehicle also turned up a conducive electronic weapon in the shape of knuckles with “zap” written on it, a 16-inch fixed-blade knife in a sheath and pepper spray. Sciandra was also charged with carrying and possessing concealed deadly weapons.
60 Days For Heroin
SNOW HILL — An Ocean Pines man, arrested on drunk-driving and drug charges in September after getting pulled over in Bishopville, pleaded guilty to possession last week and was sentenced to 60 days in jail.
Around 12:45 p.m. last Sept. 14, a Worcester County Sheriff’s deputy stopped a vehicle for going 76 mph in a 55 mph zone on Route 113 in the area of Peerless Rd. The deputy made contact with the driver, identified as Heston Lee Medderick, 45, of Ocean Pines, and detected an odor of alcoholic beverage from the suspect’s breath and person.
Mederrick refused to submit to field sobriety tests and was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. A search of the vehicle produced heroin and paraphernalia. Medderick was arrested for driving under the influence, possession of heroin and possession of paraphernalia. He was also issued citations for DUI, speeding and other traffic offenses. Last week, Mederrick pleaded guilty to possession of CDS and was sentenced to 60 days and fined $200.
Fine For Tossing Syringe
OCEAN CITY — A Selbyville woman, arrested last November after throwing a syringe from a moving vehicle in Ocean City, pleaded guilty last week to possession and was fined $1,000.
On Nov. 15, 2014, an OCPD officer on patrol in the Jamestown Rd. area observed someone in a vehicle toss something from the window. The officer stopped to see what had been thrown from the window and discovered it was a used syringe. The officer stopped the vehicle and identified the driver as Christopher Ruff, 24, of Selbyville. The passengers were identified as Nicholas Hartsock, 22, of Ocean City, and Jessica Hopwood, 23, of Selbyville, whom the officer had observed throwing something from the window of the vehicle which later turned out to be a syringe.
During a K-9 search of the vehicle, OCPD officers found three wax paper bags containing heroin in Ruff’s wallet in the driver’s side door along with a knife belonging to Ruff. Officers also located three wax paper bags containing heroin in Hopwood’s wallet on the front-seat floor of the vehicle. Another OCPD officer found a knife on Hartsock’s person.
A search of Hartsock’s belongings turned up a Crown Royal bag containing multiple used and unused syringes, a spoon, a shoelace, a plastic eye drop container, plastic bags and other items known to be used by a heroin user. Each of the suspects was arrested and charged with possession of various drugs. Ruff and Hartsock were also charged with possession of a weapon.
Last week, Hopwood pleaded guilty to possession of CDS and was fined $1,000. The cases for Hartsock and Ruff have not yet been adjudicated.
Alleged Shooter Indicted
SNOW HILL — A Fruitland man arrested in January after allegedly shooting a man with a shotgun during a dispute over a deer hit by a vehicle on a rural Worcester County road was formally indicted last week.
Around 1 a.m. on Jan. 30, the Worcester County Bureau of Investigations (WCBI) was notified of a shooting victim at PRMC in Salisbury. The investigation revealed the victim had been shot twice near in the intersection of Whitesburg Rd. and Five Bridges Rd. in southern Worcester County.
The investigation revealed the victim and two others were traveling on Whitesburg Rd. and stopped near the intersection of Five Bridges Rd. to assist a motorist who had struck a deer with their vehicle. Witnesses told police an argument broke out between the victim and the driver of the vehicle who had struck the deer.
The driver, identified as Kenny George White, 18, of Fruitland, got a shotgun from his vehicle and fired at the victim standing in the roadway. The victim turned to flee and was shot again by the suspect. The victim sustained injuries from shotgun pellets below his torso. The victim was able to get back into his vehicle and he and his group were able to get a partial license plate number that ultimately assisted the police in finding the suspect.
The victim returned to his residence in Eden and called for an ambulance. The Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office initially responded to the victim’s residence in Eden, but it was determined the shooting had occurred in Worcester County. The Fruitland Police Department located White’s vehicle on South Camden Ave. in Fruitland. WCBI detectives made contact with White and were able to interview him, during which they established probable cause to charge him with attempted murder, first-degree assault and the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and other charges.
A search warrant was obtained for White’s residence, during which a shotgun and shotgun shells were recovered as evidence. A search of the area on Whitesburg Rd. where the incident took place resulted in the recovery of two spend shotgun shells that matched the description of the shells found at White’s residence.
Last week in Worcester County Circuit Court, White was formally indicted on several counts including first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Trial is tentatively set for July.
Phone Scam Results Costly Fraudulent Calls
SALISBURY — Salisbury Police this week are investigating a telephone fraud case involving a local business with multiple lines from which fraudulent calls were made to the tune of around $2 million.
Around 9:15 a.m. last Thursday, Salisbury Police were contacted by a business on Milford Street for a reported telephone fraud. The investigation revealed the company’s multiple telephone lines had been compromised. It was also determined an extensive number of fraudulent overseas calls had been made from the company’s line totaling roughly $2 million.
Further investigation revealed that during the month of February, the company was contacted by Verizon and AT&T and notified of suspicious activity on multiple telephone lines within their Salisbury and Ocean City locations. It was further determined an unknown individual was able to compromise the company’s voice processing system auto-attendant software.
Upon gaining access to the identified telephone lines, the individual or individuals were able to make telephone calls overseas. The calls were made to Gambia in Africa, Ascension Island off the coast of Africa and Dominica in the southern Caribbean
Salisbury Police this week are working with Verizon, AT&T, the service company that installed the company’s telephone system and the FBI in an effort to resolve the issue. In the meantime, Salisbury Police are reminding residential and business account holders to keep a close eye on their telephone bills and report any suspicious activity. The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is urged to contact the Salisbury Police Department or Crime Solvers at 410-548-1776.
Distracted Driving Initiative Launched
BERLIN — Joining police departments across the country, the Maryland State Police Berlin Barrack is increasing enforcement initiatives focused on distracted driving this month in an effort to remind drivers to focus on driving and traffic safety whenever they are behind the wheel.
Starting Wednesday, MSP troopers will conduct additional patrols with the goal of identifying drivers who are involved in activities that are prohibited by law, or significantly divert their attention from safe driving. These include, but are not limited to, texting, handheld cell phone use, grooming, reading, watching a video, using a navigation system, or even adjusting a radio or other entertainment device. Commanders at each of the 22 barracks of the Maryland State Police have been directed to conduct special distracted driving enforcement operations during April.
Texting is still what experts call the ‘most alarming distraction’ because it involves ‘visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver.’ It has been estimated that a person texting takes his or her eyes off the road for an average of five seconds when texting. This is like covering the length of a football field while driving blindfolded, if one is driving at 55 mph.
Drivers are often unaware that diverting attention from the road can unconsciously lead to unsafe driving behavior, such as failure to drive in a single lane, following too close, or failing to reduce speed to avoid a traffic crash. Drivers should eliminate any activity while driving that diverts their eyes from the road ahead, their hands from the steering wheel, or their thoughts from being aware of the traffic conditions ahead and around them.
The Maryland Highway Safety Office determined more than 31,100 people are injured each year in crashes in our state because of distracted driving. Maryland law, also known as Jake’s Law, states a driver causing serious injury or death while talking on a handheld cellphone or texting may receive up to three years in prison and a $5,000 fine. These are primary offenses and police officers can stop drivers when those activities are observed, regardless of the presence of other violations.