OCEAN CITY — Three area homeless citizens were arrested on assault and robbery charges last week for their roles in a knife-point robbery on the Boardwalk in the middle of a Friday afternoon.
Around 3:30 p.m. last Friday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer responded to the area of South 1st Street and the Boardwalk for a report of a male being robbed and threatened with a knife. The victim told police he had just finished a shift at a nearby restaurant and was sitting on a bench on the Boardwalk and looking at his cell phone when he suddenly felt someone grab him from behind by his hair and pull his head backwards.
The victim told police the suspect, later identified as Rebecca Cakar, 45, of no fixed address, demanded he give her money and cigarettes. The victim told Cakar he did not have any money or cigarettes and attempted to stand up, but another suspect, identified as William Acosta-Barbosa, 37, of no fixed address, confronted him along with Cakar.
When the victim attempted to stand up, Cakar allegedly grabbed his arm and prevented him from standing. The victim told police he sat back down on the bench and observed Cakar asking other people on the Boardwalk for money and cigarettes. At one point, Cakar grabbed a drink from a Boardwalk patron and poured its contents into her own cup, according to police reports.
The victim told police he attempted to confront Cakar about her actions when Acosta-Barbosa walked toward him again. The victim said he heard a clicking noise and saw Acosta-Barbosa now holding a knife in his hand, according to police reports. The victim said Acosta-Barbosa walked toward him with the knife pointed in his direction until he got about two feet away. The victim told police he was able to move behind a table to gain some space between himself and Acosta-Barbosa at which point Acosta-Barbosa allegedly said “that’s what I thought punk.”
The victim said Cakar, Acosta-Barbosa and the third suspect, later identified as Vanessa Rusch, 41, of no fixed address, left the area. A short time later, Acosta-Barbosa and Rusch were located at the municipal transit station on South Division Street. The victim was brought over and positively identified Acosta-Barbosa as the suspect who had threatened him with the knife and Rusch as the suspect who had accompanied the other two during the incident.
Acosta-Barbosa and Rusch were arrested. During a search of Rusch’s backpack, the knife matching the description provided by the victim was located. During a subsequent interview, Acosta-Barbosa told police he had taken the knife from Rusch’s bag. He admitted pointing the knife at the victim with the intent of scaring him, but had never opened it. Based on the evidence, Acosta-Barbosa was charged with first-degree assault, robbery and weapons charges. Cakar was charged with assault and robbery, while Rusch was charged with possession of a deadly weapon.