Cops And Courts – March 10, 2017

Cops And Courts – March 10, 2017
Social Issues Government

Driver Killed In Crash

SNOW HILL — A unidentified driver was killed in an early morning crash along Route 113 in the south end of Worcester County on Sunday.

Around 2:50 a.m. on Sunday, Maryland State Police troopers responded to a motor vehicle collision on southbound Route 113 at Lambertson Road in the south end of Worcester County. The preliminary investigation revealed a 1998 Honda Civic was traveling south on Route 113 when, for reasons unknown, the vehicle left the roadway and collided with a telephone pole and several trees, bursting into flames upon impact.

Due to the severity of the accident, authorities have not yet been able to identify the victim, who was pronounced deceased upon arrival of medical personnel. The deceased has been sent to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for an autopsy and identification.

Route 113 southbound was closed for several hours after the collision. The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the Pocomoke Fire Department and the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) assisted with the incident.

Thief Nabbed After Returning To Scene

OCEAN CITY — A Pennsylvania man was arrested on multiple theft charges this week after allegedly first swiping a tablet from a north-end Ocean City wireless provider store and then returning the next day to steal an employee’s iPhone.

Around 3 p.m. on Tuesday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer responded to the Verizon store at 127th Street for a series of thefts that had already occurred. The officer met with a store employee who told police sometime between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Tuesday, an unidentified man entered the store under the guise of shopping for a cellphone, but ultimately left the store empty-handed.

A short time later, store employees determined one of the display tablets from the counter was missing, but did not immediately report that it was stolen. Around 2:25 p.m. on Tuesday, the same man re-entered the store and purchased a cell phone. A store employee helped the suspect, later identified as Robert Dale Rose, 56, of Pottsville, Pa., select his phone and assist him in completing the purchase, after which Rose left the store.

At the time, the store employee was wearing a Bluetooth hands-free ear piece connected to his cell phone that vibrates in his ear piece when someone is trying to contact him or when the phone is out of range. When the employee went to find his cell phone, he discovered it was missing from an area behind the counter where he had left it. The employee told police only Rose and no one else had been in the store during the time period.

The employee contacted the store owner, who was able to view surveillance footage of the store remotely off site. The store owner reviewed the footage, which showed Rose reach over the counter and take the employee’s phone while the employee was assisting him with the purchase. The footage allegedly showed Rose take the phone while the employee was not watching and put it in his pants pocket. The phone was valued at nearly $880 and also included a protective case valued at $50 and a $25 screen protector.

Through the investigation, the OCPD detective was able to locate a phone number for Rose and contacted him via phone. The detective was able to identify Rose through Ocean City Police Communications and observed his driver’s license picture was consistent with the images in the store surveillance footage.

Through a phone interview, Rose allegedly confessed to stealing the cell phone and the tablet from the Verizon store. The officer requested Rose return to the store, but Rose told police he was not willing to turn himself in, but rather would make sure the stolen items were returned to the store.

The OCPD officer began tracking the stolen cell phone through the “Find My iPhone” app, which allows users to remotely locate most Apple devices in the event they are lost or stolen. The officer was able to track Rose’s location to an area in Delaware, but the location changed multiple times and eventually became stationary in the area of 133rd Street and Coastal Highway.

OCPD officers responded and were able to locate Rose operating a Ford Escape with Pennsylvania tags. They officers stopped the vehicle and asked Rose if he had the tablet and phone. At that point, Rose removed a towel from the front passenger’s seat, revealing the stolen tablet and phone. Rose was then arrested and charged with theft and theft scheme.

During a subsequent interview, Rose admitted he entered the store on Monday and stole the tablet. He also admitted returning to the same store on Tuesday to purchase a cell phone, during which he swiped the employee’s phone. Rose told police he is addicted to several narcotics and steals items to support his drug habit. A check of Rose’s vehicle revealed the tags were not issued to the Ford Escape, but rather a 2002 Chevy sedan. He was charged with two counts of theft under $1,000 and theft scheme from $1,000 to under $10,000.

Assault Rifle, Knives Found

OCEAN CITY — A Pennsylvania man was arrested on multiple weapons charges last weekend after being found with a loaded assault rifle and fighting knives during a routine traffic stop.

Around 12:45 a.m. last Sunday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer in patrol in the 7th Street area observed a parked vehicle with its lights off and an occupant inside. The officer approached the vehicle and made contact with the driver, later identified as Samuel Croman, 21. While speaking with Croman, the officer detected the odor of burnt marijuana emanating from the vehicle.

Croman told the officer he had a loaded AR-15 assault rifle behind the driver’s seat. Croman also told police there were knives inside the vehicle. A subsequent search revealed an AR-15 assault rifle on the rear passenger seat floor loaded with a 30-round magazine. There was also another 30-round magazine in a bag on the front passenger seat.

OCPD officers also located two fixed-blade knives concealed in the front passenger seat map pocket. The knives were positioned so the handles were sticking out of the top of the map pocket and angled in such a way that they were easily accessible to Croman inside the vehicle. Closer inspection revealed the knives included a SOG Jungle Warrior fixed-blade knife and a Gerber Sawback machete.

At that point, Croman was placed under arrest for unlawfully possessing a regulated firearm and other related charges. During a subsequent interview, Croman reportedly told police he always carried his rifle in his vehicle with one loaded magazine in the gun and another spare magazine in the vehicle. He reportedly told police he drove to Ocean City from his home in Pennsylvania to “just clear his mind and think.” He also told police he had forgotten the knives were in the vehicle.

Hit-And-Run Charges

BERLIN — A Berlin man faces numerous charges this week after an alleged hit-and-run accident near Ocean Pines last weekend that sent a victim to the hospital with multiple injuries.

Around 5 p.m. last Saturday, a Worcester County Sheriff’s deputy responded to the area of Racetrack Road and Ocean Parkway for a reported hit-and-run motor vehicle collision. Upon arrival, the deputy located a vehicle with damage to its rear passenger side. A passenger in the damaged vehicle sustained neck and back injuries and was taken to Atlantic General Hospital.

A description of the vehicle that struck the damaged vehicle and had left the scene was broadcasted. A short time later, a Maryland State Police trooper located the suspect vehicle abandoned at the end of Beauchamp Road with its front left tire missing.

The background check revealed the suspect’s vehicle was registered to Michael Calhoun Gibson, 44, of Berlin. On Monday, Gibson turned himself in to the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office where he was interviewed about the incident. Based on the information provided during the interview, Gibson was charged with negligent driving, failure to control speed to avoid a collision, failure to return and remain on the scene of an accident involving bodily injury, failure of a driver involved in an accident to render reasonable care to an injured person and numerous other counts. He was taken before a District Court Commissioner and was released pending trial.

Assault Arrest

OCEAN CITY — A Bozman, Md. man was arrested last week after allegedly assaulting his girlfriend during a domestic incident at a north-end Ocean City residence.

Around 6:45 p.m. last Wednesday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers responded to a residence on Shipwreck Road for a reported domestic assault. OCPD officers met with a female victim who told police she had been assaulted by her live-in boyfriend, identified as Justin Bishoff, 34, of Bozman, Md. According to police reports, the victim showed signs of injury including a swollen lump on her forehead, a swollen left eye and swelling and redness on her cheek.

The victim told police she had an argument that turned physical with Bishoff, who had been drinking all day on the anniversary of the passing of his ex-wife. The victim told police Bishoff grabbed her and pulled her onto the floor of the bedroom and punched her in the face and head three or four times with a closed fist before she was able to push him off in an attempt to defend herself.

The victim told police during Bishoff’s alleged tirade, he also inflicted injuries to himself, including hitting himself in the head multiple times with a candlestick holder as well as punching himself in the face several times. The victim told police Bishoff also damaged his video game player, smashing the console and the controlling devices.

When questioned, Bishoff told police several times he did not know what had happened and could not remember because he began drinking at noon. Bishoff told police he felt alone and depressed on the three-year anniversary of his wife’s death and that “I know I’m going to jail” and “I [expletive deleted] up.”

Based on the evidence and testimony, Bishoff was arrested and charged with second-degree assault. He was taken before a District Court Commissioner and was ordered to be held on a $10,000 bond.

Five Indicted By Grand Jury

SNOW HILL — A Worcester County Grand Jury has indicted five Pocomoke men on drug-dealing charges last week after an undercover investigation carried out by allied local law enforcement agencies.

During the month of February, the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office presented evidence to the grand jury resulting in several indictments for five Pocomoke men on felony drug distribution charges. The indictments were the result of an undercover drug investigation conducted by the Worcester County Criminal Enforcement Team in the Pocomoke area.

Among those indicted were Jerren Hinmon, 28, of Pocomoke, who was charged with felony possession of cocaine with intent to distribute; Jaron Crippen, 33, of Pocomoke, distribution of cocaine in a school zone; Corey Cropper, 43, of Pocomoke, distribution of heroin; Jovon Schoolfield, 31, of Pocomoke, distribution of heroin; and Devon Hinman, 28, of Pocomoke, distribution of heroin.

Worcester County Sheriff’s Office Detective Nate Passwaters, assigned to the Criminal Enforcement Team, thanked the Pocomoke City Police Department, the Maryland State Police Criminal Enforcement Division, the Ocean City Police Department Narcotics Unit and the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office for their participation in the operation.

“The Criminal Enforcement Team continues to enjoy a well-deserved reputation as a hard-working covert unit dedicated to vigorously pursuing drug dealers and holding them accountable in every corner of the county,” he said.

Jail Time For Cop Assault

OCEAN CITY — A N.J. man arrested in July on disorderly conduct and assault charges after allegedly scrapping with cops after getting tossed from a mid-town nightclub pleaded guilty last week and was sentenced to 90 days, all but 10 of which were then suspended.

Around 1:40 a.m. on Sunday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer on bicycle patrol in the area of 49th Street observed nightclub security physically removing a patron later identified as Kevin Burns, 22, of New Milford, N.J. The officer observed Burns’ friends attempting to escort him down the sidewalk, but he struggled and staggered and fell into a group of people, according to police reports.

The OCPD officer approached Burns and handcuffed him, at which point Burns reportedly said “I am going to [expletive deleted] sue you,” according to police reports. The officer called for a transport vehicle and two other officers arrived. During the attempt to put Burns in the transport van, Burns allegedly kicked and struck the officers, wounding two of them. Burns was eventually subdued and was transported to police headquarters where he was charged with three counts of second-degree assault, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Last week, Burns pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and was sentenced to 90 days, all but 10 of which were then suspended. He was also placed on probation for 18 months.