Cops And Courts – February 9, 2018

Cops And Courts – February 9, 2018

Former Bookkeeper Sentenced For Theft

SNOW HILL — A former town of Snow Hill account manager, indicted last fall by a Worcester County grand jury after absconding with over $169,000 in public funds over a couple years, pleaded guilty last week to felony theft and was sentenced to 15 years in jail, all but five of which was then suspended.

Erica M. Holland, 32, a former account clerk with the town of Snow Hill, was first arrested last April under circumstances unknown at the time. The situation became clearer in September when the Office of the Maryland State Prosecutor announced Holland had been indicted by a Worcester County grand jury on one count of felony theft scheme over $100,000.

The charges alleged between August 2014 and April 2017, Holland, while employed as a town clerk, stole over $169,000 from the Snow Hill coffers. After an investigation, the matter was referred to the Office of the State Prosecutor by the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office. In September, a grand jury, after hearing evidence in the case indicated Holland.

Last week, Holland pleaded guilty to one count of theft scheme over $100,000. She was sentenced to 15 years in jail, all but five of which was then suspended. She was also placed on supervised probation for five years upon her release and was ordered to pay $169,000 in restitution to the town of Snow Hill.


First-Degree Burglary Charges For TV Thefts

OCEAN CITY — An Ocean City man was arrested on first-degree burglary and other charges last week for allegedly swiping two televisions from a condo in which he had been hired to complete home improvement projects.

Around 12:30 p.m. last Thursday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers were dispatched to a condominium building on 123rd Street for a reported theft in progress. The officers arrived and observed a witness holding on to a suspect later identified as Justin Scanlon, 31, of Ocean City. The witness was holding Scanlon at the top of the stairs on the third floor and announced to police Scanlon had just stolen a television from a third-floor unit.

A background check revealed Scanlon was wanted on a warrant for failing to appear in court for another case and he was taken into custody at that time. A search of Scanlon’s person revealed two television remotes. The witness told police he observed Scanlon exiting one of the building’s units carrying a flat-screen television. When the witness confronted Scanlon, he placed the television on the floor in the hallway and attempted to flee, but the witness was able to detain him and hold him until police arrived.

The television was still sitting in the hallway when police arrived, according to police reports. The brand of the television in the hallway matched the brand of remote control found on Scanlon. OCPD officers contacted the owner of the unit from which the television was allegedly stolen.

The owner told police he had hired Scanlon to complete some home repairs at his unit, including paying him $600 to replace two closet doors. However, Scanlon never completed the project and the owner agreed to terminate their agreement provided Scanlon paid back the $600 within two weeks. OCPD officers entered the unit with the owner’s permission and found that two televisions were missing. It also appeared as if someone had been living in the unit, according to police reports.

When police interviewed Scanlon, the suspect told detectives he had been hired to complete some home repair projects in the unit and that he had been pre-paid $600, which he had used to pay rent and buy heroin. Scanlon admitted to police he had a heroin addiction. Scanlon also told police he had been using the unit to avoid apprehension by the police because of his outstanding warrant.

During the interview, Scanlon admitted entering the unit with the intent of stealing two televisions. Scanlon was charged with first-degree burglary, theft and other charges.


Intoxicated Man Threatens Kids

OCEAN CITY — A homeless man was arrested on intoxicated endangerment and disturbing the peace charges last weekend after allegedly threatening three juvenile boys on an uptown sidewalk.

Around 3:15 p.m. last Saturday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer responded to the area of Old Landing Road and Coastal Highway for a report of an intoxicated, disorderly individual threatening people. The officer met with three juvenile males who were standing on a second-story balcony on Old Landing Road.

The juveniles told the officer while they were walking on the sidewalk, they are approached by an unknown male adult who had threatened to kill them. The juveniles told police the suspect appeared to be intoxicated and told them he had a gun and had concealed his hand in his pocket and made furtive movements to suggest he had a gun.

The three juveniles quickly walked away and went back to their residence on Old Landing Road and called the police. The juveniles advised the OCPD officer the suspect was sitting on a balcony just below theirs. The officer observed an individual he knew as Aleh Matveyeu, 38, of no fixed address, from previous encounters, hunched over the balcony with his eyes closed. At that point, a mother and two young daughters stepped out onto the balcony and attempted to speak with Matveyeu, asking him why he was on their porch.

At that point, Matveyeu stumbled to his feet, left the porch and began walking south on Coastal Highway, according to police reports. The officer then observed Matveyeu walk across Old Landing Road. Vehicles on Old Landing Road had a green light to enter Coastal Highway and a large work truck had to quickly apply its breaks in order to avoid striking Matveyeu. At that point, the OCPD officer arrested Matveyeu for disorderly intoxication and intoxicated endangerment.


Jail For Armed Hold-Up

SNOW HILL — One of two Berlin men, arrested on armed robbery and assault charges after robbing another man at gunpoint in last June in Ocean City, pleaded guilty this week and was sentenced to five years, all but one of which was then suspended.

Around 7 a.m. last June 9, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer met with the victim of an armed robbery at the police substation on the south end of the Boardwalk. The victim told police he had been robbed at gunpoint by two suspects, one of whom he had met a week earlier and had been in contact with in the days leading up to the incident.

The victim told police on Saturday, June 2, he met a man, later identified as Trenton Smith, 19, of Berlin, outside a downtown underage club. According to police reports, the victim exchanged phone numbers and Snap Chat names with Smith and discussed meeting up later in the week. Smith and victim exchanged Snap Chat messages throughout the week leading up to their renewed meeting on June 9.

The victim told police he and a friend began walking south on the Boardwalk from 8th Street around 2:30 a.m. At some point, the victim’s friend returned to their hotel room and the victim continued walking south alone. Along the way, the victim ran into Smith again, along with another man, later identified as Darry Ames, Jr., 26, of Berlin.

The victim engaged in conversation with Smith and Ames, who invited him to go with them to a party. The victim agreed and walked with Smith and Ames to an area on Washington Lane, which runs north-south parallel to the Boardwalk. At that point, Ames allegedly pulled out a handgun and pointed it at the victim and told the victim to give him $60. It later turned out the weapon was a BB gun.

The victim told police he removed $750 from his wallet and Ames grabbed all of the money from him along with a 24-carat gold ring valued at $900. Also taken from the victim was a mini glass vaporizer valued at $300, a backpack containing a Bluetooth speaker, his key ring, which included the key to his house, his Ocean City hotel key and a Bluetooth keychain device which could be used to track the location of the keys.

At that point, Smith and Ames fled north on foot up Washington Lane and the victim ran south, re-entering the Boardwalk at 2nd Street. The victim then ran south on the Boardwalk to North Division Street where he called police.

Within an hour of the armed robbery, Smith began sending public snap chat messages of the victim’s stolen property for sale. The investigating officer was able to utilize Facebook and Snap Chat to pull up pictures of Smith and the victim stated he was “100 percent sure it was him.”

Through the investigation, OCPD officers were able to identify Smith and Ames and the suspects and located them a short time later. Trying the cases against Ames and Smith became challenging when the victim did not want to cooperate and appear as a witness, likely because he was also involved in illicit activity.

Nonetheless, Ames pleaded guilty on Monday to robbery and was sentenced to five years with all but one suspended. Last month, Smith also pleaded guilty to robbery although he has not yet been sentenced.


Probation For Cocaine

OCEAN CITY — A Dunkirk, Md. Man, arrested on cocaine possession charges in October after resort police found him lying across a north-end sidewalk, was found guilty of possession of cocaine and was placed on supervised probation for three years.

Around 2 a.m. on Oct. 5, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers were checking on the welfare of a man later identified as Travis Atwell, 28, of Dunkirk, who was lying across the sidewalk along Georgia Avenue in north Ocean City. OCPD officers attempted to wake Atwell from their vehicle to no avail. In order to make sure Atwell was not a victim of a crime or was having a medical emergency, an OCPD officer got out of his vehicle and approached the suspect.

The officer was able to awaken Atwell, who showed signs of being highly intoxicated, according to police reports. The officer asked Atwell for permission to search him for weapons or other contraband and the suspect assented. During the search, an OCPD officer found on Atwell’s person a cylindrical container resembling a prescription pill bottle with a white, powdery substance inside the officer recognized as powder cocaine.

Also located in the same pocket was a tightly-rolled $5 bill which the officer recognized as paraphernalia used for snorting powder cocaine. Based on the evidence, Atwell was arrested and charged with possession of cocaine and paraphernalia. This week, Atwell was found guilty of possession of cocaine and was placed on supervised probation for three years.