Cops And Courts – August 5, 2016

Cops And Courts – August 5, 2016
Social Issues Government 1

Chat With Detectives Results In Charges

OCEAN CITY — A Delaware man was arrested on weapons charges last weekend after twice asking uniformed Ocean City Police where the party was while stopped at red lights.

Around 2:40 a.m. last Saturday, three Ocean City police officers were in their vehicle stopped at a red light at 49th Street when a red BMW pulled up next to them at the signal. The occupant in the passenger seat across from the police vehicle started a conversation with one of the officers. According to police reports, the passenger asked the OCPD detective where the party was and where the women were and the officer told the passenger 65th Street on the bayside, the location of the Public Safety Building and police headquarters.

The light turned green and traffic started moving again, but the OCPD vehicle and the red BMW were stopped again side by side at a red light at 52nd Street. Again, the passenger struck up a conversation with the officer and asked the officer if he was going to the party on 65th Street. The passenger said he and his friend were looking for girls and that they had “bottles and weed,” according to police reports.

The officer asked the passenger how much marijuana they had and the passenger said he and his friend had a little over two grams between them and did not have enough to sell. It’s important to note at this point while the officers were in an unmarked police vehicle, they were wearing modified uniforms including black tactical vests with the word “police” written in bold white letters on both the front and back.

When the BMW pulled ahead of the police vehicle, the officers noticed it had a license plate cover that obstructed the view of the license plate and a traffic stop was initiated. One detective walked up to the passenger side and another walked up to the driver’s side and made contact with the driver, identified as Liam Delucia, 18, of Hockessin, Del. According to police reports, the officers detected the odor of raw marijuana.

One of the detectives saw Delucia open the glove box and noticed a 30-round AR-15 magazine loaded with ammunition. The officer also noticed multiple rounds of loose ammunition in the glove box. In addition, the officers observed the handle of a Ka-Bar knife sticking out between the center console and the driver’s seat.

The officers asked Delucia if there were any other weapons in the vehicle and Delucia told them there was an AR-15 rifle in the trunk. Both Delucia and his passenger were removed from the vehicle and handcuffed while officers continued their investigation.

The officers recovered the knife near the center console that was found to be easily accessible for the driver. Police also seized the AR-15 rifle from the trunk along with the magazine and the loose ammunition from the glove compartment. Delucia was charged with possession of a concealed dangerous weapon, possession of an assault weapon and possession of a firearm by a minor.

Refused To Leave Smoke-Filled Room

OCEAN CITY — A Pennsylvania man was charged with obstructing and hindering, reckless endangerment and other charges last week after allegedly refusing to exit a smoke-filled hotel room during a fire and preventing police and firefighters from doing their jobs.

Around 12:30 a.m. last Friday, two Ocean City police officers were first on the scene at a reported building fire at a hotel on 16th Street. Police Communications alerted the officers there was an active fire in room 609, and has the officers arrived, there were fire alarms going off and hundreds of guests were exiting the hotel. The officers responded to the sixth floor and observed the entire floor was filled with smoke including smoke pouring out of room 609.

The officers observed a male individual, later identified as Jeff Rotz, 44, of McConnellsburg, Pa., standing in the doorway of room 609. According to police reports, the officer told Rotz to move away from the doorway and come into the hallway. The officer walked to the doorway of room 609 and could only see about five feet into the unit, which was filled with thick smoke.

The officer observed a stove just inside the door to the room which he determined was the source of the fire. Prior to the officers’ arrival, a guest in an adjacent room had put the fire out with a fire extinguisher. The officer began to suffer symptoms of smoke inhalation and moved away from the doorway and next to Rotz, who was complaining about the stove and arguing with his girlfriend over the cause of the fire.

The officer requested Rotz and his girlfriend exit the hotel based on the condition of the room for their own safety, but Rotz refused to leave and launched a profanity-laced tirade at police, telling them they could not force him to leave and that he didn’t have to listen to them. Rotz then walked back into the room, which was still filled with thick smoke, according to police reports.

Rotz entered the room and began grabbing various items, including a melted plastic bin that had previously been on fire, and threw it into the hallway. OCPD officers ordered Rotz to leave the room several times but he refused. Finally, an officer entered and found Rotz in the smoke-filled room, but Rotz allegedly jerked his arm away and told police to “get the [expletive deleted] off me,” and “you’re not going to make me do anything.”

Because of the heavy smoke, the officers could no longer see Rotz in the room. With the room filled with smoke and Rotz’s alleged aggressive and uncooperative behavior, the officer did not immediately go back into the room and Rotz disappeared in the smoke.

A short time later, Ocean City firefighters arrived and officers explained the situation with Rotz in the smoke-filled room refusing to leave. The firefighters entered the room and located Rotz, but could not remove him because he was still being combative. The firefighters requested the OCPD officer to go in and remove Rotz so they could carry out their duties in regards to the fire.

OCPD officers went back into the smoke-filled room and found Rotz standing next to the bed. After another altercation with police, Rotz reluctantly left the room, according to police reports. Rotz’s behavior prevented the police and firefighters from executing their duties to safely evacuate the hotel guests and make the hotel safe.

Rotz was arrested and escorted from the hotel in handcuffs through around 200 guests who had evacuated the hotel and continued to curse at the large crowd. He was charged with obstructing and hindering, obstructing firefighters, disorderly conduct and reckless endangerment.

Hit-And-Run With Child In Truck

OCEAN CITY — A Georgia man was arrested on drunk-driving and other charges this week after allegedly hitting another vehicle at a midtown restaurant and leaving the scene with a child in his truck.

Around 12:10 a.m. on Monday, OCPD officers responded to a hit-and-run collision at a restaurant parking lot at 53rd Street. The restaurant manager and the victim both provided detailed descriptions of the Ford F-150 truck that had backed into a van and then left the scene. The restaurant manager told police the driver, later identified as Leonard Kibe, 43, of Sandy Springs, Ga., had asked him what other restaurants in the area were still serving food. The manager also told police Kibe had a child in the truck as well.

A description of the truck was broadcasted and another officer located it a short time later in a different restaurant parking lot. The truck had damage on its bumper consistent with the damage on the van back at the original scene. The officer spoke with Kibe, who said he had no knowledge of striking the van. The officer told Kibe there was surveillance video of his truck hitting the van and leaving the scene.

While speaking with Kibe, the officer detected an odor of alcohol on the suspect’s breath and person. The officer also noticed a child in the passenger seat whom Kibe identified as his son. When interviewed, Kibe told police he had consumed three bottles of beer. Kibe told police he was from Connecticut and he and his son were camping in the Pocomoke State Forest and only came to Ocean City for the day.

The officers asked Kibe to submit to a battery of field sobriety tests which he did not complete to the officer’s satisfaction. Based on the evidence, Kibe was arrested and taken to the Public Safety Building where a breath test revealed a reading of .14. Kibe was cited on multiple charges including driving under the influence and DUI while transporting a minor. The child was taken to police headquarters because Kibe told police he had no friends or family in Ocean City to take custody of his son.

Heroin Bust

OCEAN CITY — A Pennsylvania man was arrested on hit-and-run and drug charges last week after allegedly rear-ending another vehicle on Philadelphia Avenue and abandoning his vehicle before fleeing on foot.

Last Friday, Ocean City Police responded to the 7-Eleven convenience store on North Division Street for a reported hit-and-run incident. The officers met with a victim who said a Kia Optima parked in the store’s parking lot was the vehicle that had hit his and that the driver had fled the area on foot.

Officers located the driver, identified as Jeffrey Andrews, 37, of Leola, Pa., a short time later walking on Baltimore Avenue. Andrews was detained and walked back to the 7-Eleven where a search of his vehicle revealed hypodermic syringes and Baggies of suspected heroin. Andrews was arrested and charged with leaving the scene of an accident along with possession of heroin.

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.