Cable Box Swiped To Watch Wrestling

Cable Box Swiped To Watch Wrestling
Social Issues Government

OCEAN CITY — An Ocean City man was arrested on first-degree burglary and other charges this week after allegedly breaking into a vacant seasonal residence in the resort and swiping a cable box before running up hundreds of dollars in pay-per-view programs including professional wrestling.

On April 11, an OCPD officer was dispatched to a residence on 146th Street for a reported breaking and entering that had already occurred. The officer met with the victim, who advised police he had not been in his residence since mid-December and had returned for the first time this year on April 3. The victim told police upon his return he found two containers of change, totaling roughly $280, were missing along with one of the unit’s three cable television boxes.

The victim told police a screen in a spare back bedroom window had been removed and a light in the room had been left on. The victim told police he paid the reduced monthly rate of $11.72 for cable because his unit was only seasonally active. However, the last cable bill he received for the seasonal unit came to $465.56. When the victim saw the high balance, he contacted Comcast, which informed him the only way his account could be charged was through his cable box registered to his address and through his cable wires. Comcast cancelled the victim’s account after another mysterious charge appeared April 8.

The victim told police the cable box had apparently been stolen and gave the officers the serial number to the box. The officers observed cable wires protruding from the victim’s building across a 10-foot common area and into another building in the same complex. The victim suspected the residents of Unit 131 in the other building may have stolen his cable box.

The officers checked with the unit’s homeowners association president, who said the suspected unit had been rented by John Campbell, 29, of Ocean City, and his wife, both of whom had multiple contacts with the OCPD. The manager told police the Campbells had stayed in Unit 131 from April 1, 2014 to March 30, 2015, and they were forced to leave on April 1 when they overstayed their lease.

When police questioned Campbell, he denied breaking into the victim’s residence and denied taking the containers of loose change or the cable box. He told police he had his own cable account closed two weeks prior to being evicted on April 1. Comcast later confirmed Campbell’s unit did have cable service, but it had been terminated in February.

On April 11, Campbell told police he only had one cable box at his new residence on 138th Street. When questioned again on April 16, Campbell told police he did possess a second cable box, but it was in a storage shed in Selbyville. The next day, Campbell contacted police and told officers “I think I have the cable box you’re looking for,” according to police reports, and confirmed the serial number for the officers.

When asked how he came into possession of the cable box, Campbell told police he did not know, only that he came home from work one night and his wife told him they had cable again, according to police reports. Campbell admitted the cable box was hooked up and that he had ordered WWE Wrestlemania on March 29 for $59.99.

While speaking with police, Campbell reportedly lowered his voice and said to the officers, “I lied to you. I never had a storage unit in Selbyville,” and that he knew it was wrong to lie but he “had to get it off his chest.” Campbell told police he did not want to show the officer the cable box until he spoke first with a lawyer, which is why he lied about the storage unit. Based on the evidence, the OCPD charged Campbell with first-, third- and fourth-degree burglary, theft less than $1,000 and theft less than $100.

Citizen Tip Leads To Second Arrest

BERLIN — A Pittsville man was arrested on impaired driving charges for the second time in as many days last week after a citizen report alerted police to his allegedly erratic driving one day after an earlier tip led to his arrest.

Around 4:45 p.m. last Tuesday, a citizen reported to the Maryland State Police Berlin barrack that a vehicle was swerving from lane to lane along Route 50. A short time later, MSP troopers located the vehicle and made contact with the driver, identified as Justin Michael Sauve, 24, of Pittsville.

A background check revealed Sauve’s driver’s license was suspended and revoked. According to police reports, he also exhibited signs of impairment. A subsequent probable cause search revealed several items including trace amounts of heroin and marijuana along with several hypodermic needles. Sauve failed standardized field sobriety tests and was arrested for driving while impaired, driving while suspended and revoked and various CDS charges.

Around 5:40 p.m. last Wednesday, the very next day, the MSP Berlin barrack received another tip from a concerned citizen regarding the negligent driving of the same vehicle Sauve was driving on Tuesday. The MSP troopers responded to the area of Route 50 and Seahawk Rd. near Stephen Decatur High School and located the vehicle and found Sauve driving again, one day after his prior arrest.

Sauve was again arrested for driving on a suspended and revoked license and for driving while impaired by drugs. He was taken before a District Court Commissioner and was ordered to be held on a $5,000 bond.

Jail Time For Peeper

SNOW HILL — A Pennsylvania man, arrested last April in connection with a peeping Tom incident at the Wal-Mart in Berlin after being identified through video surveillance pleaded guilty last week to prurient intent and was sentenced to a year in jail, all but three months of which were then suspended.

Around 9:30 a.m. last April 3, the Maryland State Police received a call from Wal-Mart Security advising a white male had entered the ladies’ room and used a cell phone to take photographs or video of a victim who was using the restroom. While the victim was using the restroom, she observed a cell phone suddenly appear under the stall door and immediately confronted the suspect.

The suspect, described as a white male, roughly 35-40 years old and about 275-300 pounds, exited the restrooms and the Wal-Mart store and began running toward the Home Depot store adjacent to the Wal-Mart. The victim and Wal-Mart employees continued to follow the suspect until they lost sight of him.

MSP troopers and allied law enforcement agencies responded to the Home Depot to search for the suspect, but he was not located. Video surveillance and still images obtained by Wal-Mart depicted the suspect as a white male around 6’ to 6” and about 275-300 pounds. The suspect was wearing a dark brown, zippered, hooded sweatshirt, black or dark blue jogging pants, a black knit cap and Reebok tennis shoes with bright orange outsoles. The suspect also had a gray goatee or facial hair.

MSP troopers were able to obtain video surveillance from Wal-Mart, which revealed the suspect loitering near the entrance to the store. The video showed the victim walking into the store passed the suspect, who put his phone away at that time. The suspect then followed the victim through the store and into the restroom area. Less than a minute later, the suspect was observed running from the restroom with the victim following him while pointing and yelling.

Ten days later on April 13, detectives were able to pull additional surveillance video from a different camera at Wal-Mart. The video showed the suspect get out of a loading spot at the adjacent Home Depot and the suspect was matched to the victim running from the restroom at Wal-Mart. After speaking with employees at the Home Depot shipping and receiving area, detectives were able to identify the suspect as George Toth, of Pennsylvania, who was the driver of the tractor-trailer and the suspect in the peeping Tom case.

Worcester County Bureau of Investigations (WCBI) detectives obtained an arrest warrant for Toth charging him with Peeping Tom and prurient intent. Detectives tracked Toth to the Home Depot in Dover, Del. and contacted the Dover Police Department, which arrested Toth on the charges related to the Wal-Mart incident and an out-of-state warrant. WCBI detectives traveled to Dover to interview Toth, who was found to be a registered Tier 2 sex offender in Pennsylvania.

Last week, Toth pleaded guilty to prurient intent and was sentenced to one year in jail, all but three months of which were then suspended. He was also placed on probation for three years and fined $750.