Cops And Courts – June 24, 2016

Cops And Courts – June 24, 2016
Social Issues Government 1

Citizen Input Helps Nab Armed Robber

OCEAN CITY — With the help of input from private citizens, the Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) has arrested one suspect and identified two others in connection with an armed robbery at a downtown hotel last week.

The investigation revealed three unidentified men accosted a victim, who was struck by an expandable baton. It is also believed one of the suspects displayed a silver revolver-style handgun with a wooden handle during the incident. Late Thursday, June 16, the OCPD released information about the incident at the Tidelands Hotel on 4th Street along with surveillance pictures of the three suspects.

By Friday morning, after receiving information from the public, OCPD detectives were able to identify the three suspects and make one arrest. Erik Clemons, 19, of Blandon, Pa., was arrested and charged with armed robbery. After a bail review on Friday morning, Clemons was ordered to be held on a $25,000 bond.

The OCPD Criminal Investigation Division’s Major Crimes Unit is continuing the investigation and additional arrests stemming from the incident are probable, according to detectives. The OCPD would like to thank the numerous citizens and businesses who contributed to the identification of the suspects. The information provided by the community was critical in aiding the department in the case, according to a statement from the OCPD.

Sentences Handed Down

SNOW HILL — The first batch of arrestees snared in a months-long multi-agency drug investigation in Worcester County this spring went through the judicial process this week with substantial sentences handed down in many cases.

Throughout the spring, allied law enforcement agencies in Worcester including Ocean City, conducted an extensive investigation into drug trafficking in response to the growing epidemic in the county. The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Enforcement Team along with the Ocean City Police Narcotics Division and other allied agencies across Worcester and into Delaware conducted the eight-month investigation appropriately named “Operation Street Sweeper,” which resulted in 61 arrests or warrants issued.

The investigation, which included overt and covert operations over an eight-month period, resulted in dozens of arrests from significant mid- and upper-level dealers down to the street level. Operation Street Sweeper targeted street-level dealers and users and information obtained from them resulted in arrests of dealers further up the chain.

This week, the first batch of arrestees snared in Operation Street Sweeper went through the court system with varied results although some considerable sentences were handed down. Trisha Parker, 35, of Powellville, pleaded guilty to distribution of cocaine and was sentenced to seven years.

Eric Bolt, 45, of Berlin, pleaded guilty to distribution of buprenorphine and was sentenced to six years with all but three years suspended. Bolt was also placed on probation for two years upon his release and was fined $500. Margie Chambers, 53, of Berlin, pleaded guilty to distribution of cocaine and was sentenced to five years with all but 18 months suspended. She was also placed on probation for three years and fined $500.

Zephaniah Pritchett-Coles, 20, of Salisbury, was found guilty of distribution of heroin and cocaine and was sentenced to six years with all but 18 months suspended. He was placed on probation for two years and fined $500. Devin Hahn, 20, of West Ocean City, was found guilty of distribution of cocaine and was sentenced to three years with all but six months suspended. He was also placed on probation for two years and fined $500. The remainder of the Operation Street Sweeper arrestees have court dates scheduled throughout the summer.

Swiped Bike Results In Larger Theft Investigation

OCEAN CITY — Five Pennsylvania men were arrested on various theft, deadly weapon and forged currency charges last weekend after OCPD officers observed them with stolen bicycle.

Around 2 p.m. last Friday, OCPD officers were on routine patrol in the area of 17th Street when they observed five males walking south on Baltimore Avenue. A short time later, the officers observed the same five men walking north on Baltimore Avenue, but now one of them had a silver beach cruiser. When the five males emerged from a parking garage, one of them, later identified as Daquan Reid-Hayes, 24, of Philadelphia, was not riding the beach cruiser.

The officers observed the bicycle to be an Electra beach cruiser with an Eden Roc rental sticker on it. The officers knew the bike belonged to the Phillips Beach Plaza due to several other investigations of bike thefts in the same area over the prior several days. The officer stopped Hayes and asked him where he got the bike and the suspect replied he had found it and pointed south toward the Beach Plaza.

At that point, Reid-Hayes was placed under arrest for theft, but his companions, identified as Troy Street, 21, Donte Yates, 20, Lorenzo Rowland, 30, and Saleem Mayfield, 19, all of Harrisburg, Pa., left the area. Reid-Hayes was searched incident to his arrest and he was found to be holding marijuana and a grinder in his hand. When asked for identification, Reid-Hayes told police it was in Yates’ black car in the parking garage at a nearby hotel.

Earlier in the day, Ocean City police got a report from several unknown citizens about five African-American males in possession of a handgun in a black car parked in the same parking garage and that they had stolen items from them the prior evening. One of the victims reported a belt valued at $400 had been stolen from his apartment. That belt was later found in the trunk of Yates’ vehicle.

The OCPD officers had Reid-Hayes walk with them to the vehicle in the parking garage. During a K-9 scan, the presence of controlled dangerous substance was detected. A search of the vehicle netted a replica Powerline handgun in a black backpack that contained several IDs with the name Troy Street, another TDP replica handgun in a black duffel bag, $700 worth of fraudulent $100 bills in a blue duffel bag, the aforementioned expensive belt, a black Coach belt, a wallet, two Nixon watches and a Canon digital EOS Rebel camera.

Each of the replica handguns had similar design components of real handguns, but were only capable of firing BBs. Based on the evidence, OCPD officers believe the camera, the Nixon watches and the Coach merchandize had been stolen because they were randomly located in the trunk with no shopping bags, but with the price tags still on them. There were also no store receipts in the vehicle.

Based on the investigation, police believe the five suspects had been using the replica handguns and participating in stealing belongings from individuals and stores in the Ocean City area. Each was charged with multiple counts of theft, possession of forged currency and possession of a gun replica.

More Stolen Bicycles

OCEAN CITY — Three Pennsylvania men were arrested on theft charges last week after Ocean City police saw them riding three bicycles reported stolen from a downtown condo balcony.

Around 11 p.m. last Thursday, police were dispatched to a condo at 12th Street for a reported theft of bicycles. The officers met with the victim who told police her family left the condo around 5:45 p.m. and when they returned at around 8:45 p.m., they learned three of their bicycles had been stolen from the front porch.

The victim told police the three bikes were not secured on the porch and provided detailed descriptions of each, down to the paint scheme, decals and other identifying marks. The bikes were each valued between $125 and $200. The responding officer broadcast a description of the bicycles and almost immediately another officer observed three suspects riding bikes matching the descriptions in the area of 4th Street and Baltimore Avenue.

The officer on the scene detained the three suspects, later identified as Kiandre Nobblem, 18, and Dandre Bethea, 18, both of Harrisburg, Pa., and Ramadan Abdusalaam, 18, of Lancaster, Pa., while the initial officer brought the victim to the area to identify the bikes. The victim positively identified the stolen bicycles and the three suspects were placed under arrest for theft.

The bicycles were returned to the victim, who said each had damages that were not present before they were stolen. One had a broken chain, another had a chain guard missing and the third was missing a right hand grip. Based on the evidence, the three suspects were also charged with malicious destruction of property.

Two Nabbed In Sting

OCEAN CITY — A pair of Newark, Del. men were arrested on felony distribution charges last weekend after allegedly selling marijuana to undercover police officers on the Boardwalk.

Around 8:50 p.m. last Saturday, two undercover Ocean City police officers were working in the area of 6th Street and the Boardwalk attempting to purchase controlled dangerous substances from various individuals. While walking south on the Boardwalk, one of the officers approached two males, later identified as Damon White, 20, of Newark, and Brian Arriaza-Garcia, 24, also of Newark, and began a conversation about the possible purchase of marijuana.

White allegedly asked the officer what he needed and the officer said he was looking to purchase “dubs,” or street slang for $20 worth. According to police reports, Arriaza-Garcia told the officers they couldn’t do two “dubs,” but could do one. White and Arriaza-Garcia then walked over to a Boardwalk bench. White stood behind the bench while Arriaza-Garcia sat down.

From a knapsack, Arriaza-Garcia produced a tan, plastic bag and began removing what appeared to be marijuana from a black plastic container. A short time later, the undercover officers completed the transaction with Arriaza-Garcia and White. After the transaction, the two suspects and the undercover officers parted ways and the suspects walked north on the Boardwalk.

An arrest signal was provided to additional OCPD officers in the area, who immediately approached and detained Arriaza-Garcia and White. Each was charged with conspiracy to distribute marijuana, Arriaza-Garcia because he made the actual transaction, and White because he initiated the conversation and observed the transaction in plain view. A search of the backpack incident to the arrest revealed a black container with additional marijuana.

Too Touchy With Horse

OCEAN CITY — A Catonsville man was arrested for interfering with a police animal last weekend after being told repeatedly not to touch an Ocean City police horse.

Around 10:50 p.m. last Saturday, two mounted officers were on patrol in the area of 17th Street when they were approached by an evidently intoxicated male, later identified as Joseph Goins, 22, of Catonsville. Goins allegedly asked one of the officers if he could touch his horse to which the officer responded “please don’t touch him,” according to police reports.

Meanwhile, another unidentified male approached the mounted officers and smiled at Goins, who then made a gesture toward the horse’s side in a petting manner. Again, the officer warned Goins not to touch the police horse. After Goins reached out to pet the horse, the officer placed him in handcuffs and arrested him on charges of interfering with a police animal.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.