Cops And Courts – July 14, 2017

License Plate Reader Detects Stolen Car

OCEAN CITY — A Frankford, Del. man was arrested on auto theft and other charges this week after an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer monitoring a license plate reader on Route 90 detected a reported stolen rental car from the Philadelphia area.

Around 1:10 a.m. on Monday, an OCPD officer was operating a mobile license plate reader on the shoulder of Route 90 west of Coastal Highway when the device alerted to a reported stolen vehicle heading into Ocean City. The OCPD has license plate readers situated at various entry points to Ocean City that alert officers of possible stolen vehicles, drivers with active warrants and other information.

The OCPD officer confirmed the vehicle had been reported stolen by Philadelphia police back on June 4. Responding officers conducted a high-risk traffic stop at 64th Street and identified the front seat passenger in the stolen vehicle as Dupree Phillips, 25, of Frankford. Phillips and two other occupants of the vehicle were detained while OCPD officers attempted to sort out who had stolen the vehicle.

Phillips initially told police his sister, whom he identified as Opra Hudson, had rented the vehicle for a month and allowed him to use it to come to Ocean City. Phillips said he brought along the two other occupants to help with the driving. However, that story began to unravel quickly. Witnesses on the scene told police Phillips had been in possession of the vehicle for the last month and he was regularly seen driving it. The witness told police the vehicle had been parked in front of Phillips’ residence in Frankford for the last month. Yet another witness told police Phillips had gotten the vehicle from Philadelphia.

OCPD officers were able to make contact with Opra Hudson, who told police she neither rented a car nor did she provide a rental car for Phillips. When confronted with the information, Phillips changed his story and told police he met a guy whose name he did not know at an Uncle Willie’s store and the “guy” allowed him to drive the vehicle for two months for $575.

OCPD officers were able to confirm the vehicle had been stolen from the parking lot of a Dollar Rental facility in Philadelphia. Phillips was arrested and charged with motor vehicle theft, rogue and vagabond, theft from $10,000 to under $100,000 and making a false statement to police officers.

Stolen Golf Cart Joy Ride On Boardwalk

OCEAN CITY — A Hyattsville, Md. man was arrested on motor vehicle theft charges last weekend after allegedly swiping a hotel golf cart and driving down a crowded Boardwalk before crashing into a parked vehicle and a sign.

Around 7:30 p.m. last Saturday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer was on patrol on the Boardwalk when he responded to a reported golf cart stolen from a nearby hotel that had crashed into a parked vehicle and a Town of Ocean City sign. Subsequent interviews, video evidence and witness statements revealed a suspect, identified as Corlos Diaz-Majano 23, of Hyattsville, had arrived in Ocean City hours earlier after consuming multiple alcoholic beverages.

Diaz-Majano arrived in the area of a hotel on 22nd Street and the Boardwalk and allegedly continued to consume alcoholic beverages. Witnesses said Diaz-Majano then stole a golf cart belonging to the motel at 22nd Street and took it for a joy ride while intoxicated. Video evidence collected from the city-watch surveillance system showed Diaz-Majano driving the golf cart down the crowded Boardwalk through heavy pedestrian traffic in the area of 27th Street.

Additional witnesses reported Diaz-Majano drove the stolen golf cart off the Boardwalk and down a sidewalk in the area of 27th Street where he struck and damaged a Ford Explorer. The golf cart also damaged a sign pole owned by the Town of Ocean City. Diaz-Majano then fled the scene on foot.

When OCPD officers arrived, they found the golf cart still in contact with the front end of the Ford Explorer and the sign post, which was bent from the force of the collision. Diaz-Majano was located a short time later and taken into custody. OCPD officers administered a series of field sobriety tests on Diaz-Majano, who did not pass to the officers’ satisfaction. He was arrested and charged with driving under the influence and while impaired, motor vehicle theft and numerous traffic violations.

Arrests For Fighting Cops

OCEAN CITY — Two Washington, D.C. area men were arrested on multiple charges last weekend after causing a scene and fighting with police on the Boardwalk on a crowded summer night.

Around 7:30 p.m. last Sunday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers were on bicycle patrol on the Boardwalk in the area of 13th Street when they observed a group of four or five males walking south. As the officer rode north on the Boardwalk passed the group, they heard one group member later identified as David Cho, 23, of Rockville, yelling “[expletive deleted] 12” over and over again and louder each time.

The OCPD officers circled around and began following the group walking south down the Boardwalk. The officers observed one member of the group light a cigarette in violation of a town ordinance. The group members also danced and performed phantom basketball moves on the crowded Boardwalk, impeding the flow of pedestrian traffic.

Around 12th Street, one OCPD officer put his hand on Cho’s shoulder and told him to sit on a Boardwalk bench. Cho and other members of the group began shouting “What for?” and “He didn’t do anything,” according to police reports. Another member of the group, later identified as Scott Roberson, 24, of Washington, D.C., then approached the officers who were detaining Cho and said “you have to tell us what you’re stopping them for,” according to police reports. Roberson was warned to stay back, but continued to approach the officers.

Several members of the group then attempted to encircle the officers who were still dealing with Cho. One OCPD officer was struggling with Cho and had to perform a take-down move in an attempt to place handcuffs on him. Meanwhile, Roberson attempted to pull the arresting officers off Cho. The officer pushed Roberson back, but Roberson continued to advance and cocked his arm and attempted to punch the officer with a closed fist.

As the officer moved toward Roberson, he allegedly swung a closed fist at the officer, striking him lightly in the side of the head. The officer wrestled with Roberson and got him to the ground, but Roberson continued to resist being handcuffed.

An off-duty West Virginia Sheriff’s deputy intervened and helped OCPD officers get handcuffs on Roberson.

Cho and Roberson was ultimately subdued and placed in the back of an OCPD patrol car while the crowd that had gathered dispersed and thanked the officers. Roberson was charged with assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. Cho was charged with resisting arrest and malicious destruction of property.

Personal Watercraft Collides With Bridge

OCEAN CITY — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reported a fairly calm Fourth of July weekend on the water around the state with 15 reported boating accidents, including the most serious being a personal watercraft that struck the Route 90 bridge in the bay behind Ocean City.

Around 4:30 p.m. on July 1, a Kawasaki personal watercraft struck the Route 90 bridge. The operator, identified as Yash Bhargava, 28, of Cumberland, R.I., was taken to Atlantic General Hospital with head and internal injuries before being transferred to Peninsula Regional Medical Center for additional treatment. His passenger was not injured. Bhargava was cited for negligent operation and operating in excess of six knots within 100 feet of a structure.

From June 30 through July 2, the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) teamed up with the U.S. Coast Guard for Operation Dry Water, a nine-year-old campaign to crackdown on impaired boating. The allied agencies conducted saturation patrols in high traffic areas and traditional hotspots across Maryland including the Ocean City area.

All in all, there were 15 boating accidents statewide, representing an increase of three over the same period in 2016, and 12 arrests for operating under the influence of alcohol, which was the same number as last year. Officers issued 526 citations during the holiday, a 6.2-percent increase over 2016.

Jail For Heroin In Cemetery

SNOW HILL — A Berlin man, arrested in May for using heroin in the Bishopville Cemetery in the middle of a Friday afternoon, pleaded guilty last week to possession and was sentenced to 90 days in jail.

Around 12:40 p.m. on May 5, Worcester County Sheriff’s deputies conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle in the area of the Bishopville Cemetery. During the traffic stop, the driver, identified as Christopher Kirkpatrick, 38, of Ocean City, admitted he had drugs and paraphernalia in the vehicle. Fitzpatrick also told police he and his passenger, identified as Gordon Walters, 45, of Berlin, had been snorting heroin in the cemetery during their lunch break.

A search of the two men yielded 12 bags of suspected heroin and one hypodermic syringe. Last week, Walters pleaded guilty to possession of heroin and was sentenced to 90 days in jail.