Cops And Courts – April 7, 2017

More Charges In Vehicle Theft Scheme

OCEAN CITY — An Ocean City man, arrested in February attempting to sell a skateboard stolen from a vehicle to an undercover Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer, was arrested again last week after more victims were identified in his alleged theft from vehicles scheme.

Back on Jan. 2, OCPD officers began investigating the theft of a unique Sector 9 skateboard from a vehicle on Jamestown Road sometime on New Year’s Eve. The victim told police his vehicle had been broken into and the skateboard and other items had been stolen sometime between 7 p.m. on Dec. 31 and 11 a.m. on Jan. 1.

Justin Ehmcke

Justin Ehmcke

An OCPD detective again met with the victim, who told police he had been in contact with a male through an online cell phone application called “Letgo,” essentially an Internet person-to-person mobile classified ad application that allows buyers and sellers to connect on various items for sale. The OCPD detective reviewed messages between the victim and a male suspect, later identified as Justin Ehmcke, 34, of Ocean City, who was apparently attempting to sell a skateboard matching the description of the one stolen from the victim.

The OCPD detective made contact with Ehmcke through the “Letgo” app and agreed to meet the suspect in the area of a convenience store on 26th Street to purchase the skateboard. After the time and location of the proposed meeting was changed a couple of times, the detective moved over to the new location and observed Ehmcke’s vehicle, which traveled around the parking block twice with the occupants staring at the undercover officer each time.

The officer identified Ehmcke along with a female passenger and an infant in the back seat. The vehicle finally stopped in the shopping center parking lot and the officer made contact with Ehmcke. According to police reports, Ehmcke walked to the trunk and retrieved the skateboard matching the description provided by the victim.

The victim was brought to the scene and positively identified the skateboard as the one stolen from his vehicle back in January. Ehmcke was detained and the detective observed the handle of a fixed-blade knife concealed in the suspect’s pants pocket. Ehmcke was taken into custody and voluntarily told the detective about the skateboard.

According to police reports, he told the detective he bought the skateboard for $75 and planned to sell it for $100. He then changed his story and said he planned to keep the skateboard and give it to his brother, who was a skateboarding enthusiast. Ehmcke told police he received the skateboard two months ago and utilized a pre-paid cell phone to set up the “Letgo” transaction with the victim.

Ehmcke also told the detective he had brought the knife to the potential sale of the skateboard “just in case,” according to police reports. Based on all of the evidence and the suspect’s own admissions, Ehmcke was charged with theft and possession of a concealed deadly weapon.

On March 9, the OCPD officer began exploring other reports of thefts from vehicles in the resort around the same time period in an attempt to possible connect them to Ehmcke. On Jan. 1, an OCPD officer reported to Tern Drive to investigate a report of several items stolen from a vehicle including a jump starter machine, a child’s coat and bottle of perfume.

While on the scene, the OCPD officer also met with another victim who reported around $5 in change, a pack of cigarettes and a vape smoking device valued at around $120 had been stolen from her vehicle. Based on the new evidence, OCPD detectives last Friday executed a search warrant on Ehmcke’s Robin Drive residence and his vehicle and located several items reported stolen along with items suspected of being stolen.

Among the other items located in Ehmcke’s residence and vehicle were a Patagonia backpack, a laptop computer belonging to the Worcester County Public School system, a silver Michael Kors watch, a jump starter machine and jumper cables among other things. All in all, OCPD detectives identified as many as four different victims from four separate incidents that occurred at different locations, dates and times. OCPD officers believe some of the items that were not recovered were likely discarded or sold at street level or through various applications, similar to the aforementioned skateboard sale attempt.

Based on the new evidence, Ehmcke was charged additionally last week with theft from $1,000 to under $10,000 and theft scheme from $1,000 to under $10,000. He is scheduled for trial in the initial incident later this month with a trial on the new charges set for May.

Convenience Store Drug Bust

OCEAN PINES — A Berlin woman was arrested on multiple drug charges last weekend after a Maryland State Police trooper found her passed out behind the wheel in the parking lot of a convenience store in Ocean Pines.

Around 5:10 p.m. last Saturday, a Maryland State Police trooper was dispatched to the Shore Stop store on Route 589 near Ocean Pines for a reported intoxicated individual attempting to drive away in a vehicle. The trooper met with the complainant who told police he observed silver Honda pull into the parking lot and watched the driver, later identified as Mary Kelder, 51, of Berlin, enter the store. The witness told police Kelder appeared to nod off in a corner in the store several times before dropping a coffee on the floor and then leaving.

The witness told police Kelder got back into her car and attempted to drive away, however, the vehicle would not start. Kelder then passed out in the driver’s seat with vehicle’s lights on. The trooper made contact with Kelder, who was still slumped over the wheel. According to police reports, Kelder’s movements were sluggish and her speech was slurred. The trooper also noted in the report Kelder appeared to have injection markings on her wrist.

Kelder was asked to perform a series of field sobriety tests which she did not complete to the officer’s satisfaction. At that point, she was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs. An Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) K-9 unit was brought to the scene and conducted a scan of the vehicle, returning a positive result.

A search of the vehicle turned up a clear plastic baggie with trace amounts of white powder identified as cocaine. The search also turned up three used syringes containing a dry white powdery substance identified as heroin. Kelder was charged with possession of controlled dangerous substances and driving under the influence of drugs.

Hit-and-Run, DUI Arrest

OCEAN CITY — An Elkton woman was arrested on drunk driving and hit-and-run charges last weekend after allegedly hitting a parked car on a downtown street and nearly running over a bar employee attempting to keep her from fleeing.

Around 7:30 p.m. last Saturday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer responded to South Baltimore Avenue for a reported vehicle collision that had already occurred. A concerned citizen had called in and reported observing a blue SUV hit a silver pick-up truck in the area of Wicomico Street and Baltimore Avenue. The witness told police he was standing outside a bar on Wicomico Street when he observed the SUV attempt to back out and strike the pick-up.

The SUV then pulled forward into a nearby parking lot. The witness said a bar employee attempted to prevent the driver, later identified as Laurie Veasey, 53, of Elkton, from leaving the scene, but she allegedly almost ran him over and attempted to leave. According to police reports, Veasey kept saying “I was just leaving.”

The OCPD officer approached Veasey and detected signs of apparent intoxication. She was asked to perform a series of field sobriety tests which she did not complete to the officer’s satisfaction. Based on the evidence, she was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated, leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage and multiple traffic citations.

Stumbling In Highway

OCEAN CITY — A local man was arrested on disorderly conduct and intoxicated endangerment charges last week after allegedly stumbling into traffic on the southbound lanes of Coastal Highway.

Around 4 p.m. last Thursday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer was dispatched to the area of 123rd Street to check on the welfare of an individual seen sitting in the grass near a north-end restaurant. The OCPD officer responded and observed William Livingston, 49, of no fixed address, sitting in the grass. According to police reports, the officer knew Livingston from previous encounters including an encounter just a half an hour earlier when he was seen at another nearby restaurant with an open container of alcohol. The officer noted in his report Livingston told police he was just waiting for a downtown bus.

A citizen approached the officer and told police she had seen Livingston stumble on the sidewalk and into the southbound lanes of Coastal Highway. The citizen told police she feared for his safety and pulled over to check on his welfare and that she called a cab for him and offered to pay for it, but Livingston refused.

The officer approached Livingston again and he stood up and attempted to walk away, but stumbled backward and had to be caught by an OCPD officer to keep from falling to the southbound lanes of Coastal Highway. At that point, he was arrested and charged with trespassing, disorderly conduct and intoxicated endangerment.

Reported Robbery Leads To Heroin Bust

BERLIN — A Berlin man was arrested on drug possession charges after an apparent robbery attempt at a shopping center parking lot in Ocean Pines last week.

Around 6:15 p.m. last Thursday, a Worcester County Sheriff’s deputy was flagged down in the Food Lion shopping center parking lot near Ocean Pines in reference to a possible robbery. While the deputy was speaking with the complainant, the individual spotted the suspect.

The deputy detained the suspect, identified as Christopher Gingrich, 24, of Berlin. A consent search of Gingrich turned up 10 wax paper bags containing suspected heroin. Gingrich was taken before a District Court Commissioner and was ordered to be held on a $5,000 bond.