Charges Filed After Comfort Station Attack

OCEAN CITY — Perhaps further illustrating some of the problems during the offseason at the comfort station of Caroline Street and the Boardwalk, a Salisbury man last weekend was arrested on first-degree assault and other serious charges after allegedly beating another man during a theft of $10.

During last week’s Police Commission meeting, it came to light the Ocean City Police Department was stepping up patrols at the Caroline Street comfort station in response to complaints about illicit activity from a growing group of largely homeless individuals congregating at the downtown restroom facility. Last Saturday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer was handling an alcohol violation on the Boardwalk near Caroline Street when he was flagged down by an individual who wanted to report an assault from two days earlier.

The witness told the officer around 4 p.m. last Thursday, he was in the restroom with a group of individuals including one man who had recently been paid for helping another friend move. The witness said the man who had recently been paid decided to buy everyone in the group alcohol and they were sharing it at the comfort station when another man, identified as Shane Kulp, 21, of Salisbury, sucker-punched the man, striking him in the head and knocking him to the ground.

The witness told police Kulp stood over the victim and hit him several more times while he was down, leaving him unconscious and lying on the ground. The witness told police Kulp rolled the victim over while he was regaining consciousness and went into the victim’s pocket and took $10. Kulp allegedly then left the comfort station.

The OCPD officer interviewed a second witness who had not been privy to the conversation with the first witness. The second witness told a similar story of Kulp allegedly sucker-punching the victim and standing over him and kicking him in the head twice while the victim was unconscious. The second witness said he intervened and prevented a second potential assailant from joining the fray.

The OCPD officer then interviewed the victim, who showed signs of being in the described altercation including a black and blue eye and several other scrapes to his face. According to police reports, the victim was very reluctant to tell the officer what had happened. He said he was scared of Kulp coming after him again for talking and that he had heard Kulp was in a gang and he was scared about what might happen if he reported the robbery.

According to police reports, the victim was visibly nervous and told police he only remembered being sucker-punched and only when he regained consciousness did he realize $10 had been stolen from his pocket. The two witnesses also told police they were worried about what Kulp might do to all of them. They both said the victim was helpless once he had been sucker-punched and fell to the ground unconscious.

Based on the testimony and evidence, the officer charged Kulp with first- and second-degree assault, robbery and theft. Kulp was located and taken into custody. Following a bail review hearing on Tuesday, he was ordered to be held on a $10,000 bond.

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.