Cops And Courts – March 17, 2017

Social Issues & Government

Speeding Stop Nets Gun Arrest

OCEAN CITY – A Laurel, Del., man was arrested last weekend on drunk-driving and weapons charges after getting pulled over for speeding at over 70 mph across the Route 50 bridge.

Around 6:30 p.m. last Sunday, a Maryland State Police trooper was conducting radar enforcement in the area of the Route 50 bridge entering Ocean City when the officer observed a Ford F250 pickup truck traveling at 73 mph in a 35 mph zone. The trooper stopped the truck at Talbot Street and St. Louis Avenue and identified the driver as Jay R. Rider, 47, of Laurel. According to police reports, the officer detected the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from Rider and after a battery of field sobriety tests, he was placed under arrest for driving under the influence.

While the trooper was searching the suspect, Rider told police he had a handgun tucked inside his boot and that he had a permit through the state of Delaware. Troopers then located a .38 caliber Kel-Tec pistol in Rider’s boot. Rider did provide police with his Delaware carry permit, but it was not valid in the state of Maryland.

The handgun was seized and placed into evidence. The Maryland Gun Center was contacted and told police the gun had not been reported stolen. Rider was charged with driving while intoxicated, driving under the influence and carrying or wearing a handgun in a vehicle. He was taken before a District Court Commissioner and was released on personal recognizance.

Unconscious In Vehicle

SNOW HILL – A Snow Hill man was arrested on drug and weapons charges last week after police found him unconscious behind the wheel.

Around 3:50 p.m. last Thursday, a Worcester County Sheriff’s Deputy responded to a residence on Snow Hill Road for a reference check. The deputy had been advised there was an unconscious male behind the wheel of a vehicle. A Snow Hill Police Department officer assisted on the welfare check.

Officers responded and located Joshua King, 21, of Snow Hill as the unconscious occupant in the vehicle. A search of the vehicle was conducted and turned up suspected marijuana and cocaine. A handgun was also located.

King was arrested and charged with possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana, wearing, carrying and transporting a handgun in a vehicle and knowingly carrying, wearing or transporting a handgun on one’s person. He was taken before a District Court Commissioner and was released on recognizance pending trial.

Eye Dotted During Rent Dispute

OCEAN CITY – An Ocean City man was arrested on assault charges this week after allegedly punching his roommate during a dispute over rent.

Around 3:40 p.m. on Tuesday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer responded to the 7-11 convenience store at 139th Street for a reported assault that had just occurred. The officer met with the victim who had fresh cut above his right eyebrow. The victim told police his roommate, identified as Suraj Joshi, 29, of Ocean City, had been talking about the rent that was due the next day and the verbal argument turned physical when Joshi allegedly punched the victim above the right eye.

The victim told police he left the residence and went to the 7-11 after the altercation, which is where he called police. OCPD officers located Joshi walking in the area of 142nd Street a short time later. Joshi admitted there had been an argument over the pending rent and that a fight had occurred. Joshi was arrested at that point and charged with second-degree assault.

Alleged WOC Deal Leads To Pot Bust

OCEAN CITY – An Ocean City man was arrested on marijuana possession charges this week after an undercover Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer allegedly observed him purchasing weed from a known supplier at the outlets in West Ocean City in the middle of the afternoon.

Around 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, an OCPD officer working in a plainclothes capacity at the outlets in West Ocean City observed a man later identified as Louis Rychwalski, 22, of Ocean City, sitting in his car with the engine running while talking on his cell phone. The officer observed Rychwalski then drive over to another area of the parking lot and a short time later, another vehicle pulled up next to him and parked.

The officer observed as the second man, who was known to police from prior encounters, according to police reports, got out of his vehicle and into Rychwalski’s front passenger seat. A short time later, the second driver got out and returned to his vehicle and they drove off in opposite directions.

According to police reports, based on the officer’s knowledge of Rychwalski and the other man and their alleged drug dealings in and around Ocean City, the officer believed he had witnessed a transaction and advised OCPD units in the south end of the resort that Rychwalski would soon be coming across the Route 50 bridge. OCPD officer stopped Rychwalski’s vehicle a short time later at Somerset Street and Philadelphia Avenue.

According to police reports, Rychwalski was asked to exit his vehicle and officers frisked him for weapons. Rychwalski had been identified as a possible suspect in a separate malicious destruction of property case during which a knife was used to slash a victim’s tires. During a search of Rychwalski, an odor of marijuana was detected and officers observed a clear plastic baggie containing suspected marijuana hanging from his open front jacket pocket.

The OCPD officers noted in their report because of the size of the baggie, they knew it contained more than 10 grams and he was placed under arrest. According to police reports, Rychwalski admitted paying $250 for the ounce of marijuana but did not have any intent to distribute it. He told police he purchased the large amount for personal consumption and bought an ounce during the West Ocean City deal because it was cheaper in the larger volume.

Rychwalski was arrested and officers determined he was not eligible to be released on a citation because he is currently on release for felony CDS charges. Rychwalski was also a suspect in the unrelated malicious destruction case in which a victim’s tires were slashed and was found to be in possession of a folding knife at the time of his arrest on Tuesday.

Guilty Plea In Phony Shooting Story

OCEAN CITY – A Pennsylvania man arrested in August on drunk-driving and other charges after crashing into parked cars and telling police a wild story about being shot at by individuals in another vehicle pleaded guilty last week to multiple counts although sentencing has been deferred for now.

Around 9:20 p.m. last Aug. 6, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) bicycle officer was on patrol in the area of 21st Street when he heard a loud crashing noise from about a block away. Multiple witnesses in the area told police a blue Toyota FJ Cruiser had crashed into numerous vehicles parked along Baltimore Avenue and attempted to leave the scene.

An OCPD officer observed the driver, later identified as Leonard Tarreto III, 40, of Dallas, Pa., operating the vehicle in the area of 20th Street. The officer observed the front passenger-side wheel was bent inward, causing Tarreto to have trouble leaving the scene because the wheel was skidding across the pavement. The officer also observed extensive damage to the front passenger side of the vehicle.

The investigation revealed damage to eight vehicles parked along Baltimore Avenue from 21st Street to 20th Street, ranging from minor the severe disabling damage.

According to police reports, Tarreto exhibited signs of impairment and when questioned about what he had consumed, he reportedly told police he had three double Jack and Cokes along with two beers and admitted to police to being drunk. According to police reports, Tarreto told police the reason he was fleeing and ultimately collided with eight parked cars on Baltimore Avenue was because he had been shot at by an individual from another vehicle at least five times in the area of 49th Street.

However, the details of the alleged shooting provided by Tarreto were inconsistent. For example, the OCPD officer made contact with other police officers in the area of 49th Street, who reported no instances of any shots fired. In addition, there was fresh fast food in Tarreto’s vehicle and a receipt indicated he had stopped for food sometime between the alleged shooting and his subsequent crash into the parked cars.

Based on all of the evidence, Tarreto was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, leaving the scene of an accident and multiple other offenses. During a search of the vehicle, an assisted opening, switchblade-style knife in the vehicle was located near the driver’s seat. Tarreto was arrested and charged with DUI and other offenses. He agreed to a blood-alcohol test that returned a result of .16. Last week, Tarreto pleaded guilty to DUI per se, negligent driving and failure to provide insurance and was placed on probation for two years.

10 Days for False Identity

OCEAN CITY – An Ocean City man arrested in November after providing false information to an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer attempting to detain him on a traffic violation pleaded guilty last week and was sentenced to 10 days.

Around 10 a.m. on Nov. 15, an OCPD officer on patrol in the area of 94th Street was alerted to a vehicle in his area driven by a suspect believed to have had his license suspended for an earlier incident. The OCPD officer stopped the suspect, much later identified as Joshua Sparks, 34, of Ocean City. The off-duty officer who had alerted the patrol officer said he recalled Sparks’ license was suspended but could not immediately recall his name.

The OCPD patrol officer made contact with Sparks at an uptown convenience store and Sparks allegedly told the officer he had a valid driver’s license from North Carolina, but that he had lost it. When the officer asked Sparks for his full name, date of birth and address, Sparks allegedly identified himself as Jacob Raymond Clay. The OCPD officer ran a background check and determined there was a Jacob Raymond Clay with a valid North Carolina driver’s license and at that point, Sparks was free to go.

In the meantime, the OCPD officer requested a visual copy of the North Carolina driver’s license for Jacob Raymond Clay and when the officer compared the picture on the license to Sparks, he determined while there were similarities, the two did not likely match. The OCPD officer located Sparks again at a midtown restaurant parking lot and compared the North Carolina license again to Sparks, who continued to insist he was Jacob Raymond Clay. Sparks’ girlfriend, Natalie Clay, also insisted Sparks was her brother Jacob Clay, and again Sparks was allowed to leave.

The OCPD officer then contacted the other officer who had initial contact with Sparks days earlier and who had determined Sparks’ Maryland driver’s license was expired. The OCPD officer again located Sparks in a parking lot at Montego Bay and the second officer was brought over and identified the suspect as Sparks, and not Jacob Clay. After more than a half an hour, Sparks was eventually arrested and charged with failure to identify himself for a traffic violation, attempting to avoid apprehension, driving on a suspended out-of-state license and making a false statement. Last week he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 days in jail.

St. Patrick’s Day DUI Enforcement

BERLIN – The Maryland State Police and its allied local agencies will be conducting a two-day DUI saturation initiative this weekend in conjunction with the St. Patrick’s Day holiday. MSP troopers and Worcester County Sheriff’s deputies will begin working the saturation patrol in the early afternoon hours on Friday and continue the operation into the early morning hours on Sunday. There will be several waves of officers working at different times and locations around the county including Ocean City.