Men Arrested After Allegedly Killing Bird, Using It As Bait

OCEAN CITY — In what appears to be an early candidate for knucklehead crime of the year, a Pennsylvania man was arrested on animal cruelty, escape and other charges early Wednesday morning when he was found him on the beach with another man attempting to fish with a dead bird on a fishing line attached to a broom handle.

Around 3 a.m. on Wednesday, an OCPD officer observed a man later identified as Parkes Knepfield, 42, of Slippery Rock, Pa., on the beach at 51st Street with another man in violation of a city ordinance that prohibits individuals from being on the beach between midnight and 5 a.m. The officer observed the two men manipulating a broom handle with a fishing line attached to it. When the two men noticed the officer, they began frantically attempting to cover up the makeshift fishing pole with sand and started to walk away.

The officer then observed the broom handle with the fishing line attached had a dead bird on the end of it. The bird was small and may have been a swallow, according to police reports. When the officer asked Knepfield and the other man what the bird was for, they did not answer but suddenly became nervous.

When the officer was attempting to identify the second man, who took off running, Knepfield allegedly interrupted the officer as he spoke over the police radio and then began to flee also. The officer attempted to detain Knepfield with handcuffs, but the suspect resisted several times and the officer then had to use tactics to get him into handcuffs. When the officer told the handcuffed Knepfield to sit down, he took off running with his hands cuffed behind his back.

Knepfield made it across the dune and onto 51st Street where he was detained by a second OCPD officer arriving on the scene for backup. A few minutes after Knepfield was apprehended on 51st Street, the first officer met with a witness who was staying in the same condo with the suspects. The witness told police the two men killed the bird and planned to use it for bait to catch fish in the ocean.

When questioned, Knepfield told police he knew the bird had been flying around on the porch of the condo and that a pillow was used to smother it. However, he denied any involvement and did not knew who killed it. Based on all of the evidence, the officer charged Knepfield with animal cruelty, escape for attempting to flee, theft for running with the police-owned handcuffs and obstructing and hindering.