Cops And Courts – December 9, 2016

Cops And Courts – December 9, 2016
Social Issues Government

Pocomoke Homicide Under Investigation

POCOMOKE — The Maryland State Police (MSP) this week continue to investigate a fatal shooting in Pocomoke last Friday night.

Shortly after 10 p.m. on Dec. 2, a motorist called 911 from the area of Market Street and 4th Street in Pocomoke to report seeing a man stagger across the road and fall in the middle of the street. Pocomoke Police officers were dispatched immediately along with emergency medical service personnel. Upon arrival of EMS, the victim appeared to have suffered multiple gunshot wounds. The victim, identified a James Allen, Jr., 26, of Pocomoke, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police believe the incident occurred in the area of Oxford Street and 4th Street, about an eighth of a mile from where the 911 caller observed the victim staggering. Investigators have been interviewing witnesses and residents in the area. Crime scene evidence has been transported to the MSP Forensic Sciences Division crime laboratory for analysis.

Investigators from the MSP Homicide Unit responded and have taken the lead on the investigation. MSP Homicide Unit investigators are being assisted by the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation, the MSP Criminal Enforcement Division, the Pocomoke Police Department, the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office and MSP Berlin barrack personnel.

The Worcester County State’s Attorney and members of the Pocomoke Volunteer Fire Department also responded to the scene to provide assistance. Anyone who may have information relevant to the investigation is urged to contact the MSP Berlin barrack at 410-641-3101 or the Pocomoke Police Department at 410-957-1600. Crime Solvers of the Lower Eastern Shore is offering a reward of up to $2,000 for information leading to an arrest in the case. Crime Solvers can be reached at 410-548-1776 and callers may remain anonymous.

Tried To Swipe A Spare

OCEAN CITY — A Lanham, Md. man was arrested on theft and other charges last week after allegedly blowing out two tires when hitting a curb on Coastal Highway and then attempting to steal a spare tire from a similar vehicle before driving down the highway with two flat tires.

Around 9:30 a.m. last Tuesday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer responded to a call from communications to be on the lookout for suspects in a red Jeep Wrangler who attempted to steal a spare tire from another Jeep Wrangler in the parking lot of an uptown hotel. The OCPD officer then located the driver of the red Jeep Wrangler, later identified as Cole Fletcher, 20, of Lanham, Md.

Fletcher was detained and after he was read his rights agreed to speak with the officer. Fletcher told police earlier in the morning he was driving his Jeep on Coastal Highway in the area between 66th Street and 85th Street when he crashed into the curb in the center median around 85th Street. According to police reports, Fletcher told the officer the force of the collision caused both tires on the driver’s side of his Jeep to blow out, shred in pieces and go flat.

Fletcher told police he was able to enlist the help of some bystanders to replace his rear driver’s side blown tire with his own spare tire because he did not want to get the police involved. Fletcher then told police he was able to locate a similar black Jeep Wrangler in the parking lot of a north-end hotel with a spare tire mounted on the back.

Fletcher told police he attempted to take the spare tire from the other Jeep to replace the blown-out tire on the front driver’s side of his vehicle, but did not have the proper tools to remove it. A witness reported seeing Fletcher attempt to steal the spare tire from the other Jeep and said the suspect then headed south on Coastal Highway with one flat tire.

Around 9:40 a.m., OCPD officer observed Fletcher in his red Jeep heading south on Coastal Highway in the area of 81st Street. The front driver’s side tire was completely flat and shredded and Fletcher was reportedly driving down the highway on the rim. OCPD officers stopped Fletcher around 78th Street and learned that while he had been living and working in Maryland for six months, he was still driving on a New York license.

While interacting with Fletcher, police reported detecting a strong odor of alcohol and burnt marijuana coming from his vehicle. A search of the vehicle turned up a smoking device near Fletcher’s seat in the front of the vehicle. There was also an open container of beer in the vehicle. According to police reports, Fletcher exhibited signs of impairment including mumbled and slurred speech and was confused about his whereabouts and direction of travel. At that point, Fletcher was arrested for trying to steal the spare tire from another vehicle, rogue and vagabond, driving without a required Maryland license and driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

Jail Time For Squatting

OCEAN CITY — A local homeless man, arrested in October after a contractor working on a condominium building found him setting up shop in one of the units, pleaded guilty this week to burglary and was sentenced to 18 months in jail.

Around 10 a.m. on Oct. 31, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers responded to the area of 94th Street for a reported burglary. The officer met with the property manager who was on the scene with representatives from a contracting company which will be completing various repairs within the building. The property manager told police one of the units had been unsecure and unlocked for several days, but attempts to enter it had been unsuccessful.

The property manager told police he was able to observe through a window that a chair had been propped under the door knob preventing access to the unit. The property manager was finally able to gain access to the unit through a sliding door to one of the bedrooms and found a male suspect inside, later identified as Nathan Wilkins, 24, of no fixed address.

OCPD officers contacted the owner, who told police nobody should be inside the unit. The owner allowed police to access the unit and they discovered Wilkins still inside and placed him under arrest for burglary and trespassing. Wilkins told police the owners should not have left the unit unlocked and that he discovered it while exploring the building earlier that morning. According to police reports, Wilkins said he used the facilities and had left the homeowners a note. On Monday, Wilkins pleaded guilty to fourth-degree burglary and was sentenced to 18 months in jail.

Fine, Probation For Frontier Town Trouble

SNOW HILL — A Woodbine, Md. man, arrested in August after causing a disturbance at Frontier Town, pleaded guilty last week to disorderly conduct and was fined and placed on probation.

Around 6 p.m. last Aug. 14, Worcester County Sheriff’s deputies responded to Frontier Town for a reported disorderly suspect. Deputies met with park security who told police a suspect identified as Ryan Horst, 26, of Woodbine, Md., was seen violating campground rules. After park security attempted to stop Horst to speak with him, the suspect allegedly started yelling obscenities and ran his golf cart into a parked security’s golf cart.

Deputies made contact with Horst, who allegedly became argumentative and refused to cooperate with the investigation. Horst was placed under arrest and was issued criminal citations for disorderly conduct and trespassing. Last week, he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was fined $300 and placed on probation for one year.

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.