Cops And Courts – October 21, 2016

Cops And Courts – October 21, 2016
Social Issues Government

Armed Robbery Charges Dropped

SNOW HILL — A Cambridge man, arrested in June on armed robbery and assault charges after allegedly holding up two other men at gunpoint at a midtown condo, had the charges against him dropped last week when prosecutors learned the victims were involved in a drug deal gone bad and would not or could not testify.

Around 10 a.m. on June 5, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers responded to the area of Bayview Lane for a reported armed robbery that had already occurred. OCPD officers met with two alleged victims who told police they had met an individual, later identified as Brandon Fooks, 24, of Cambridge, who had offered to sell them some athletic shoes. The alleged victims told police Fooks drove them to a condo building in the area of 63rd Street in order to complete the transaction for the athletic shoes.

According to the victims, Fooks told one of them to wait in the car while he went inside with the other victim to get the shoes. Once Fooks and the first victim were in an elevator inside the condo building, Fooks allegedly pulled out a handgun and pointed it at the victim’s head.

The victim said he attempted to take the handgun from Fooks and the two fought briefly in the elevator before Fooks subdued the victim by striking him in the face with the handgun. The victim told police Fooks then racked the slide on the handgun and told the victim “give me the stuff in your pockets or I’m going to shoot you,” according to police reports.

The victim told police he complied with Fooks’ demands and handed over somewhere between $200 and $500 in cash because he was not certain how much money he had on him at the time, along with an Invicta watch valued at $1,000 and a cell phone valued at $500.

The victim told police Fooks then ordered him to walk south in the alley along the condo building with his hands in the air and he complied with the demands. According to police reports, the victim had an injury on his right cheek bone consistent with being struck by a handgun.

The second victim told police while he was waiting near the car, Fooks approached him and raised his shirt to display a handgun in his waistband. The victim told police Fooks ordered him to empty his pockets and the victim complied, turning over $4 in cash and pack of cigarettes.

Fooks was apprehended a short time later and was charged with armed robbery and assault, among other charges. He was scheduled to appear for trial last week, but the charges against him were dropped for a variety of reasons. For example, prosecutors had learned the apparent sale of athletic shoes was actually a drug deal gone bad.

In addition, one of the so-called victims was incarcerated in West Virginia and barring a complicated extradition process could not be brought back to testify. The second so-called victim was also in West Virginia and had told prosecutors he would not come back to Maryland and refused to participate in the adjudication of Fooks’ case. In the end, the charges against Fooks were nolle prossed, or not prosecuted.

Busted Crossing The Street

OCEAN CITY — A Whaleyville man was arrested on disturbing the peace and resisting arrest charges last week after allegedly sauntering across Coastal Highway at a slow speed, causing traffic to brake, before defying police attempts to question him.

Around noon last Thursday, an Ocean City Police Department officer was on marked patrol in the area of 114th Street when he observed an individual, later identified as Ethan Bezold, 23, walking across the highway at an unusually slow pace with both hands in his pockets. The officer noted in the report Bezold was crossing the highway about 20 feet north of the clearly marked crosswalk.

The officer observed a work truck heading south on Coastal Highway dramatically decrease its speed in order to avoid hitting Bezold, who was still in the traffic lanes and had not quickened his pace. The officer circled around and located Bezold in the Gold Coast Mall parking lot. According to police reports, the officer rolled down his window and told Bezold to stop, but Bezold looked at him and continued to walk away at the same slow pace.

The officer then pulled his vehicle in front of Bezold and told him to stop, but Bezold continued to refuse to comply. The officer got out of his vehicle and ordered Bezold to stop and to take his hands out of his pockets, but Bezold continued walking. When the officer asked Bezold to produce some identification, Bezold reportedly told the officer he did not have to because he had done nothing wrong and continued to walk away.

The officer attempted to grab Bezold to make him stop and comply with directions, but Bezold attempted to push the officer away. After numerous attempts to detain Bezold and have him sit on the curb, Bezold reportedly told the officer he could not be stopped for simply crossing the street. He continued to resist and became argumentative, at which point the officer took him to the ground and handcuffed him. Bezold was charged with disturbing the peace, hindering free passage and resisting arrest.

Guilty Plea For Hatchet

OCEAN CITY — A Delaware man, arrested in September on multiple concealed deadly weapons charges after resort police found him in possession of a hatchet and several knives on the Boardwalk, pleaded guilty this week and was sentenced to 31 days, but was given credit for the 31 days spend in custody awaiting trial.

Around 1:45 p.m. on Monday, an Ocean City Police Department officer responded to the area of Somerset Street and the Boardwalk for a reported of two men sitting on a bench rolling what appeared to be cigarettes although the complainant was not sure if what the men were rolling was marijuana. The officer responded and found the two men, who were panhandling on the Boardwalk, according to police reports.

The officer questioned one of the suspects, later identified as John Bryant, 31, of New Castle, Del., who informed police he may have an active warrant through Delaware. While speaking with Bryant, the officer noticed a knife clipped to the left side of his pants. The officer asked Bryant if he was in possession of any other weapons and Bryant reportedly told police he had a hatchet and a fixed-blade knife in his book bag.

The officer located the hatchet, which was concealed with a sheath that hid the blade. The hatchet also had an orange rope around the handle to improve the grip. The officer acknowledged it would be unreasonable for anyone to be in a crowded area such as the Boardwalk with multiple concealed deadly weapons on their person and offered Bryant an opportunity to explain why he was carrying the hatchet and knife.

According to police reports, Bryant only offered that he traveled often, but could not explain why he was carrying the weapons. A further search of Bryant’s bag revealed another fixed-blade knife and a razor knife. Bryant was arrested and charged with multiple counts of possession of a concealed deadly weapon.

Bryant was arrested and charged with multiple counts of carrying concealed deadly weapons. This week, he pleaded guilty to one count and was sentenced to 31 days in jail. He was then given credit for the 31 days he spent in jail awaiting trial, resulting in no new jail time.

Fine For Hit-and-Run

OCEAN CITY — A Snow Hill woman, arrested on hit-and-run and other charges in August during which she changed her story several times, pleaded guilty last week to leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage and was fined $500.

Around 3 a.m. on Aug. 26, Ocean City police officers responded to a reported hit-and-run motor vehicle collision at 62nd Street and Coastal Highway. Officers arrived and found the victim’s vehicle with damage and the victim complaining of back pain. The victim described the vehicle that struck hers as a tan Jeep Commander.

An OCPD officer followed a fluid trail leading away from the accident scene and located a tan Jeep Commander at around 85th Street. The officer followed the Jeep as it traveled through the Little Salisbury neighborhood and soon after found it parked in front of a residence on Chesapeake Drive. Through the registration, the officer was able to identify the vehicle’s owner as Billie Ann Bradford, 22, of Snow Hill.

A few minutes later, Bradford came out of a residence on Chesapeake Drive and met with police. Bradford allegedly told police she never drove her vehicle that night. According to police reports, she told officers she had been at a bar with a group of friends and had taken a cab home. She then told police her friend “Brittany” had driven the car home, but could not provide police with any more information about Brittany other than she had the same hairstyle as Bradford.

The officer then observed Bradford text messaging a person named Jordan, and although she had claimed to have been sleeping for four hours, the text messages had been going back and forth almost continually all night, including a recent entry that showed damage to her vehicle caused by the hit-and-run collision taken just before the officers’ arrival based on the timeline of the thread.

According to police reports, Bradford’s story changed multiple times with no explanations and poor excuses. After questioning and changing stories multiple times, Bradford reportedly told officers “I’m done with this. It’s my fault. I didn’t do it, but I’ll take the blame, Just arrest me.”

OCPD officers did just that, arresting Bradford and charging her with failure to stop at a motor vehicle collision, failure to immediately stop at the scene of an accident involving bodily injury, failure to stop after an accident involving property damage and other traffic offenses including driving on a suspended license. Last week, Bradford pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage and was fined $500.

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.