Recovered Cell Phone Helps Track Boardwalk Theft Suspects

Recovered Cell Phone Helps Track Boardwalk Theft Suspects
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OCEAN CITY — Two Anne Arundel County teens were arrested on multiple charges of thefts from several Boardwalk stores last week after allegedly assaulting a store clerk and later being found by police through a cell phone left behind at the crime scene.

Around noon last Friday, Ocean City Police responded to the Cool Topics store on the Boardwalk for a reported assault and theft that had already occurred. Store employees told police two individuals, later identified as Joel Swabon, 19, of Pasadena, and a 17-year-old female from Annapolis, had attempted to steal multiple items from the Boardwalk establishment.

A Cool Topics employee told the officers he had observed four individuals shopping in the store, two of whom were attempting to steal items. The clerk told police he confronted Swabon and the juvenile female, who attempted to flee. The clerk stood in front of Swabon in an attempt to prevent him from leaving and a physical altercation ensued. The clerk said during the altercation Swabon bit him on the hand, causing a visible injury. The two suspects then fled the store, but not before leaving a cell phone behind.

OCPD officer viewed the phone’s screen and saw an image of a male and a female. The store clerk identified the couple as the two suspects who had attempted to steal and assaulted him. About an hour later, the phone rang and an OCPD officer answered it. A female asked how and where the phone had been recovered. The officer told the female he was vacationing in Ocean City with his family and would like to return the phone to its owner.

The female agreed that a male would meet with the individual, who was unknown to her at the time as a police officer, at the 7-Eleven on North Division Street. OCPD officers went to the 7-Eleven for the pre-arranged meeting and police made contact with the individuals, who said they were not the phone’s owners, but were sent by Swabon to recover it. The individuals then told police Swabon was staying at the Madison Beach Motel on Baltimore Ave.

OCPD officers met with Swabon, who allowed them into the motel room. The officers observed marijuana throughout the unit.

Joel Swabon

Joel Swabon

Swabon admitted stealing items from various Boardwalk stores. Most of the stolen merchandise was located and still had the price stickers on them. The police also located a switch-blade knife in Swabon’s rear pants pocket.

Swabon was placed under arrest for theft. He agreed to walk with OCPD officers on the Boardwalk to point out what was stolen from several shops. For example, six hemp necklaces had been stolen from Cool Topics. From the May Talk store, a pair of sunglasses and two seashells had been stolen. From the T-Shirt Factory, four key chains, a shot glass, a mini lava lamp, an electronic gun and a seashell decoration were swiped. From the Sunsations, four knives, a bottle of sand, three bells and another shot glass were stolen. From the Summer Breeze store, a big yellow lighter valued at nearly $11 was stolen. The total value of all the stolen items came to $321.63.

The OCPD has charged Swabon with six counts of theft less than $100, second-degree assault, possession of an assisted-opening knife and theft scheme less than $1,000. He was held initially on a $15,000 unsecured bond and was later released. The 17-year-old juvenile female was also charged with six counts of theft less than $100, possession of drug paraphernalia and theft scheme less than $1,000. She was released to a guardian a short time after her arrest.