Cops And Courts – May 18, 2018

Cops And Courts – May 18, 2018

Big Stick Assault

OCEAN CITY — A Salisbury woman was arrested on assault and weapons charges last week after allegedly striking a man with a large wooden stick during an argument over a cell phone.

Around 11:50 a.m. last Thursday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer was dispatched to the area of 6th Street and Baltimore Avenue for a reported incident on a city bus. The officer arrived and observed Kenesha Alvira-Encarcion carrying a large wooden stick approximately four feet long made of solid wood and resembling a stair railing support. When the officer arrived, Alvira-Encarcion was standing in the doorway of a municipal bus, which was stopped in the roadway because of the incident.

Police questioned Alvira-Encarcion, who said she became angry because a male was in possession of her cell phone and would not give it back. Alvira-Encarcion told police she picked up the stick in an alley to use as a weapon and that she had struck the victim several times in the back with it. She told police to check the victim because he would have bruises on his back.

OCPD officers interviewed the bus driver, who told police the male victim had gotten on the bus and paid the fare. He said Alvira-Encarcion followed the victim on the bus, but did not pay the fare and would not get off the bus, which is when he called the police. Construction workers in the area witnessed the attack and corroborated the story. Based on the evidence, Alvira-Encarcion was arrested and charged with assault, disorderly conduct and carrying a dangerous weapon.


Sister Fights With Sister

OCEAN CITY — A Dagsboro, Del. woman was arrested on assault charges last weekend after allegedly attacking her sister during an argument about whether to stay out drinking.

Last Sunday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers responded to a midtown hotel parking lot for a reported fight in progress. Upon arrival, OCPD officers located two women who appeared to have just been involved in a physical altercation. Officers spoke to one of the women who said she had been drinking with her sister, later identified as Allison Rich, 21, of Dagsboro, in an Ocean City bar earlier and the two drove north to a midtown hotel parking lot.

According to police reports, Rich wanted to drive home to Dagsboro, while the victim wanted to remain in Ocean City and continue to drink. The victim told police she was seated in the passenger seat when Rich got out of the car, came around to the other side and pulled the victim from the vehicle, throwing her to the ground.

The victim told police Rich then struck her several times in the face while they were on the ground. After collecting the evidence and testimony, Rich was arrested and charged with second-degree assault.


Resort Hotel Fire Suppressed

OCEAN CITY — A fire suppression system is being credited with quickly extinguishing a hotel kitchen fire in Ocean City last Thursday morning.

Around 9:50 a.m. last Thursday, the Ocean City Fire Department was dispatched to a reported kitchen fire at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel on 15th Street. Upon arrival, firefighters discovered the hotel’s fire alarm had been activated and an evacuation of its occupants was underway. Fire crews entered the building and located an extinguished fire that had just occurred on the third floor in the hotel’s restaurant kitchen.

An investigation by the Ocean City Fire Marshal’s Office revealed the fire started in the area of the stove top and spread vertically to the underside of the kitchen’s hood. It was determined grease and carbon buildup contributed to the spread of the fire. Employees unsuccessfully utilized three fire extinguishers to battle the blaze before activating the hood’s fire suppression system to extinguish the fire.

The hotel was re-occupied within 30 minutes of the fire department’s arrival. Ocean City Fire Marshal David Hartley said the incident proved the importance of commercial kitchen fire suppression systems.

“Having your fire protection systems inspected and maintained in accordance with local and state requirements is extremely important,” he said. “Today’s incident is another example of fire protection systems saving property and lives.”


Former Shop Owner Guilty

SNOW HILL — A former Berlin councilperson and butcher shop owner was found guilty last week in two separate cases involving theft and issuing bad checks and now awaits her fait pending a pre-sentence investigation.

Last August, Berlin Butcher Shop owner and former town councilmember and mayoral candidate Lisa Hall was charged with theft from the Acme grocery store in Ocean City where she had been picking up large orders of meat without paying for them and the reselling the meat retail at her store. Then in September, C&C Meat Sales filed charges against Hall alleging she had written checks for meat deliveries at her Berlin store knowing there were insufficient funds to pay them.

Last week, Hall entered an Alford plea to theft less than $100 for picking up the meat from the Acme store in Ocean City without paying for it. She also entered an Alford plea to writing bad checks from $1,000 to under $10,000 for floating payments to C&C Meat Sales. In an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt, but acknowledges the state has enough evidence to prosecute the cases. Sentencing has been set for July.

In the initial case from last August, the investigation revealed Hall in the months prior had been buying cases of various meat products from Acme in Ocean City and then reselling it retail in her Berlin shop. The investigation came to light because Hall was allegedly picking up the meat orders from the Acme store in Ocean City and not paying for them. In those cases, store cashiers, uncertain if Hall had made prior payment arrangements, allowed the butcher shop owner to leave the store with the large meat orders without paying.

In the September incident, it came to light Hall had written checks totaling over $5,000 to C&C Meat Sales which were returned for insufficient funds. The meat purveyor filed formal theft charges against the beleaguered butcher shop owner after attempts to have her make good on the bounced checks were unsuccessful.


Guilty Plea For Burglary

SNOW HILL — An Ocean City woman, arrested in October on burglary and theft charges after breaking into her former place of employment and stealing hundreds of dollars from the Keno machine and cash register, pleaded guilty this week and a pre-sentence investigation was ordered.

Around 10 a.m. last Oct. 25, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer responded to the Beer Barrels bar and package goods store at 137th Street to investigate a burglary that had occurred sometime earlier. The officer met with the store manager who told police as much as $500 was missing from the Keno machine drawer and another $200 was missing from the cash register. The store manager told police the business was locked at the close of the shift around 12:15 a.m.

The manager told police surveillance footage showed an unknown individual taking money from the Keno drawer and the cash register drawer. Around 1:45 a.m., the business’s surveillance video shows a suspect open the Keno drawer and empty its contents into a small bag. The surveillance footage shows the same suspect go to the cash register in the center of the business and empty its contents into a small bag.

Around 1:46 a.m., the suspect exited the business through a rear door after unlocking a deadbolt at the top of the door. The suspect did not attempt to unlock the deadbolt at the bottom of the door, which was typically left unlocked, according to the manager, suggesting the suspect had knowledge of the back door and its operations and perhaps the break-in and theft was an inside job.

After viewing the surveillance footage again, the manager told police he believed the suspect was a former employee identified as Callee Pinkowski, 29, of Ocean City, who had been fired from Beach Barrels about a month and half earlier, but still had a key. The manager told police Pinkowski had been fired from the establishment for allegedly stealing money.

The manager also told police Pinkowski was dating an individual identified as Sean Dempsey, 27, of Ocean City, who was also recently fired from Beach Barrels.

Around 1:45 p.m. the next day, OCPD officers canvassed the area around the Crab Bag. OCPD officers found in the Crab Bag’s dumpster a blue sweatshirt with white writing on the front and a ball cap with the name of the restaurant in Fenwick where Pinkowski was last working. Also found in the same dumpster was a pair of blue jeans and a white rubber glove. A restaurant employee also turned over to police a pair of Air Jordan shoes he had found in the dumpster near the jeans and rubber glove.

Footage from a surveillance camera mounted on the corner of the Crab Bag and pointed directly at the dumpster where the clothes, hat, shoes and glove were found allegedly showed a males suspect known to police as Dempsey and a female suspect later identified as Pinkowski throwing the clothes, hat, shoes and glove into the Crab Bag’s dumpster.

All of the evidence led OCPD officers to believe Pinkowski was the suspect who entered the Beach Barrels establishment after hours and stole money from the Keno drawer and the cash register. The surveillance footage showed the suspect had intimate knowledge of the establishment and how to gain access to the money in the Keno and cash drawers. In addition, the baseball-style cap found in the front pouch pocket of the sweatshirt found in the dumpster had the name of Pinkowski’s current employer on it.

Also, Dempsey was seen in the surveillance footage from the Crab Bag assisting Pinkowski throwing away the clothes, hat and other items in the dumpster about six minutes after the break-in, which led police to believe he was aware of the break-in and was assisting Pinkowski in the attempted cover-up. Both were charged with second- and fourth-degree burglary and theft.

On Monday, Pinkowski pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary. Sentencing has been set for July. Meanwhile, Dempsey is scheduled to appear for his role in the incident in June.