OCEAN CITY — Ocean City Police have charged a Taneytown, Md. couple with 19 counts of theft, malicious destruction of property and burglary after connecting them to the theft of several brass fire standpipe valves in December.
On Dec. 2, 2017, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers began investigating the theft of a standpipe valve after a private citizen reported the suspicious behavior of two people in a white work van who claimed to be working on the condominium’s sprinkler system. The standpipe valves allow fire department personnel to quickly provide a water source from the ground level to the upper levels of a building in the event of a fire. A missing standpipe valve renders a building’s entire fire suppression system inoperative.
The valves are utilized by firefighters to fight fires on upper floors and remote areas of buildings. Not are the very costly to replace, but missing valves could potentially endanger the lives of residents and firefighters by impacting their ability to fight fires in impacted buildings. When the private citizen made contact with the two suspicious individuals, the suspects quickly fled the scene, but the caller was able to record a partial license plate tag number on the van.
Later that evening, OCPD officers encountered the white work van and the suspects, identified as John A. Hurley, 37, and Amy Logsdon, 36, both of Taneytown, who matched the description provided by the witness. OCPD officers approached Hurley and conducted a probable cause search of the van. In the van, offices located 10 brass standpipe valves, a brass fire hose valve and multiple tools.
With the assistance of the Ocean City Fire Marshal’s Office, dozens of properties were searched in order to identify victims. After a thorough investigation by the OCPD and the Fire Marshal’s Office, it was determined seven locations throughout Ocean City had been victimized with a total of 23 valves reported stolen.