Cops And Courts – July 22, 2016

Cops And Courts – July 22, 2016
Social Issues Government 1

DUI, Assault Charges After Bridge Collision

OCEAN CITY — A Pennsylvania man was arrested on drunk-driving and other charges early Wednesday morning after his vehicle collided with a school bus carrying two young children on the Route 50 Bridge.

Around 7:15 a.m. on Wednesday, Maryland State Police troopers were dispatched to the area of Talbot Street and Philadelphia Avenue for a reported motor vehicle collision involving a school bus. The investigation revealed a Lincoln sedan driven by Kyle Kenney, 21, of Orrtanna, Pa., was traveling east in the slow lane on the bridge when it crossed over into the fast lane and collided with a school bus driven by Donald Moore, 53, of Berlin.

The school bus was carrying two children, ages 7 and 8 years old. The two vehicles involved in the collision continued east across the bridge and stopped at Philadelphia Avenue and Talbot Street. No one was injured in the collision, but both vehicles sustained damage.

Kenney was administered field sobriety tests, which he did not pass to the troopers’ satisfaction, and he was subsequently arrested for driving under the influence.

While in custody at the MSP barrack in Berlin, Kenney allegedly became combative and assaulted a trooper although the trooper was not injured. Kenney was charged with DUI, second-degree assault on the police officer, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, negligent driving and other counts.

First-Degree Assault For Stabbing Attempt

OCEAN CITY — A Leesburg, Va. man was arrested on first-degree assault and other charges last weekend after allegedly chasing another man with a knife during an intoxicated, racially-charged, expletive-laced tirade on a downtown resort street.

Around 12:30 a.m. last Friday, an Ocean City police officer on uniformed patrol responded to the area of Lark Lane for a citizen’s report of two men yelling profanities and appearing as if they were going to fight in the middle of the street. As the officer approached, even from a distance of at least 100 feet away, he observed the suspect, later identified as Jermell Norris, 33, screaming racial slur-laced profanities in the street as a crowd began to form.

The officer observed Norris chasing after a male victim with a metal folding knife. The officer approached in his vehicle and observed Norris continuing to chase the victim with the knife. According to police reports, the victim was covering his side and complained of pain in his rib cage. The officer ordered Norris to sit down, but when Norris failed to comply and continued his tirade, the officer utilized his Taser to gain compliance.

Even after Norris was handcuffed, he continued his racially-charged, expletive-laced tirade. Officers interviewed witnesses in the area who told police Norris was threatening everybody and charged after the victim with the knife. Witnesses told police they believed Norris would have stabbed the victim if he had gotten close enough. Norris was arrested and charged with first- and second-degree assault, disorderly conduct, disorderly intoxication and a noise violation.

Snared In Barbed Wire

OCEAN CITY — A Scranton, Pa. man was arrested on trespassing charges last weekend after allegedly getting caught in barbed wire while attempting to climb a fence into a secure area at the Public Safety Building in Ocean City.

Around 1 a.m. last Saturday, an Ocean City police public safety aide watching the surveillance cameras that monitor the outside of the Public Safety Building told uniformed officers there was a man, later identified as Alexander Chesney, 31, attempting to climb the barbed wire fence around the rear parking lot. An OCPD officer responded and located Chesney on top of a 10-foot barbed wire fence.

According to police reports, Chesney was stuck on top of the fence due to getting snared in the barbed wire and could not immediately come down on either side. He eventually freed himself and fell to the ground, landing inside the restricted area. The officer approached Chesney who was now standing and told him to get on the ground.

However, according to police reports, Chesney attempted to run away, despite being enclosed in the fenced-in area. The officer pushed Chesney to the ground and told him to place his hands behind his back. Chesney resisted, placing his hands under his body, but the officer struck him twice in the side with his knee and Chesney finally complied. He was arrested and charged with trespassing on property of the Ocean City Police Department.

Theft Scheme Alleged

OCEAN CITY — A resort hotel restaurant worker was charged this week with theft and theft scheme after an alleged scheme during which he applied a discount to guest’s dinner checks and kept the money.

Last Friday, Ocean City police responded to the Hilton Suites on 32nd Street to investigate a reported theft scheme. Officers met with the manager who told police he had discovered one of the restaurant servers had been stealing from the hotel. The manager said hotel guests received a 20-percent discount at the restaurant.

The manager told police one of the servers, identified as Leo Clarke, 43, of Pocono Pines, Pa., had been giving the guests the appropriate 20-percent discount on their restaurant bill. However, when the guests left, Clarke would allegedly apply the 20-percent discount for the second time, keeping the money and applying it to his tips.

The manager told police he became suspicious and had gone through the records starting on July 1. The manager told police Clarke worked at the restaurant at least five to six days a week and had apparently been conducting the theft scheme everyday he worked. The manager told police he had only gone through the records for July, although Clarke began working at the restaurant on June 1.

The following day, officers met with another hotel employee who was able to partially estimate how much Clarke had stolen through the scheme. Hotel guests at the restaurant pay their checks in one of three ways- cash, room charge or credit card. The hotel employee had gone through Clarke’s cash and room charge transactions, but had not yet gone through the credit card transactions.

The hotel employee calculated the amount of theft through room charges at $903.85, and the theft through cash transactions at $137.80, bringing the total to $1,041.65 without the credit card transactions, although those would be more difficult to alter. Therefore, the total amount of theft was over $1,000 just for the two weeks in July, not counting any scheme Clarke may have allegedly carried out during June.

Hotel employees did not have a local address for Clarke and told police he occasionally stayed in a room at the hotel. The only address police had for Clarke was his Pennsylvania address on his job application. A background check revealed Clarke was also wanted in Pennsylvania and New Jersey for theft. Clarke was eventually located and was charged with theft and theft scheme.

Jail For Car Thief

OCEAN CITY — One of two Washington, D.C. area residents arrested in Ocean City in May after stealing a car in Montgomery County with a 9-year-old boy inside was found guilty this week and sentenced to 30 days, while the other failed to appear for trial and had a warrant sworn out for his arrest.

Around 9 a.m. on May 28, Ocean City police received a broadcast regarding a reported stolen vehicle crossing the Route 90 Bridge. The black Honda had been reportedly stolen in Hyattsville, Md. A check with the Hyattsville Police Department revealed the vehicle had been stolen when the owner forgot her glasses and left the vehicle running in the driveway to go inside and find them.

The owner left her nine-year-old son in the vehicle when she went inside to retrieve her glasses and a Hispanic male holding a beer bottle jumped into the vehicle and drove away. The vehicle owner reported hearing her son screaming as she came outside after retrieving her glasses. The Hyattsville Police explained the nine-year-old boy was able to exit the vehicle shortly after it was stolen.

Meanwhile, back in Ocean City, an OCPD officer was traveling south on Coastal Highway when he received the broadcast about the stolen vehicle and observed a black Honda waiting at the light at the foot of the Route 90 Bridge. The officer made a U-turn and picked up the stolen Honda on northbound Coastal Highway at around 70th Street. The officer broadcast the situation and was joined by other OCPD patrol vehicles, which stopped the Honda around 84th Street.

The multiple OCPD units performed a high-risk traffic stop and got the driver, identified a Erika Velasquez, 27, of Mount Rainier, Md., to get out and walk backwards toward them until they could handcuff her. They attempted to get the passenger, identified as Alex Quinteros, 21, of Hyattsville, to come out, but Velasquez advised them he was highly intoxicated and would not wake up. The OCPD officers were eventually able to handcuff Quinteros and requested OC EMS respond to evaluate his condition. Quinteros was ultimately transported to AGH.

Velasquez told police Quinteros had met with her with the Honda at her residence in the D.C. area and they proceeded to drive to Ocean City. Velasquez told police Quinteros was driving and continued to drink and she took over the driving because he had become intoxicated.

While at AGH, Quinteros told police he had a large sum of cash in the vehicle and asked if it would be returned to him. The officers told Quinteros if the cash was him, he would be returned to him when he was released. He was later released from the hospital and returned to Ocean City for processing.

Meanwhile, OCPD officers contacted the stolen vehicle’s owner and advised her it had been recovered. The owner was able to provide a description of the suspect who car-jacked the vehicle from her driveway that was consistent with that of Quinteros. The OCPD officers asked the victim if she had a large sum of cash in the vehicle and she told police he had $2,600 in her purse in the trunk that she had just withdrawn to pay her rent. It was later determined Quinteros had $1,100 in $100 bills and a total of $1,239 on his person when he was taken into custody. What was left of the money was seized and returned to the victim.

On Monday, Velasquez was found guilty of unauthorized removal of property and was sentenced to 30 days. Quinteros was also scheduled for trial on Monday, but failed to appear and had a warrant sworn out for his arrest.

Animal Cruelty Charges

SALISBURY — Two Wicomico residents were formally charged this month with 84 counts each of animal cruelty for the roles in maintaining over 300 small dogs, mostly Pomeranians, in deplorable conditions at their Eden farm.

On April 6, the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office assisted Wicomico County Animal Control with a kennel inspection at a farm in Eden after receiving information there was a large number of dogs being kept in deplorable conditions in the main residence and two outbuildings and spread over the entire property. Officials contacted one of the residents, Susan Murphy, 67, who advised she had not been in the kennels for some time at that her husband, Robert Murphy, 60, had been taking care of the dogs. When told the Sheriff’s Deputies and Animal Control were going to inspect the conditions of the kennels and the care of the animals, Susan Murphy told police she was “afraid it was not going to be good.”

Her assessment was clearly understated. When police and Animal Control officials inspected the property, they discovered over 300 small dogs in various stages of poor health and housed in deplorable conditions. About 200 of the dogs were found in two outbuildings, with another 100 or so found inside the residence itself.

The Sheriff’s Office and Animal Control then began the tedious process of removing the ill and injured dogs from the property. Most were taken to the Wicomico County Humane Society for treatment, while others were taken to similar facilities in neighboring areas because of the sheer volume of mistreated dogs.

The Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office then began an extensive investigation in conjunction with the Wicomico State’s Attorney’s Office. The Humane Society of the United States was also consulted, as was the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office because of their experience in animal cruelty cases.

Last Tuesday, the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office and the Wicomico State’s Attorney’s Office announced Robert Murphy and Susan Murphy were each being charged with 84 counts of animal cruelty. Each charge is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of 90 days, but because of the sheer volume of the counts, each could face up to 20 years if convicted.

At the announcement of the charges, Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis called the case one of the worst he had ever seen or heard of.

“We have never in our lives seen such abusive treatment of pets,” he said. “This was a case that quite frankly shocked us. We had never seen anything like it. This case certainly garnered national media attention as it should. We all love our pets and this was one of the worst cases in the state’s history.”

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.