Cops And Courts – December 7, 2018

Cops And Courts – December 7, 2018

Speeder Refuses To Stop

OCEAN CITY — A Selbyville man faces numerous traffic charges after allegedly cruising the bus lane along Coastal Highway last week at a high rate of speed before reportedly refusing to cooperate with police attempting to detain him.

Around 4 p.m. last Wednesday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer patrolling in the area of Convention Center Drive and Coastal Highway observed a vehicle traveling 50 mph in a 35-mph zone. The officer turned around and followed the vehicle, which stopped at a red traffic signal at 36th Street.

According to police reports, when the light turned green, the vehicle accelerated rapidly and reached speeds of 55 mph while moving over into the lane dedicated to buses, bicycles and right turns. The officer activated his emergency lights and siren and began following the vehicle.

According to police reports, the vehicle did not slow down or brake as it continued down the bus lane for eight blocks at a high rate of speed with the OCPD officer following with emergency lights and siren activated. The vehicle finally came to a stop in the area of 26th Street and Philadelphia Avenue as other OCPD units arrived on the scene to assist.

The driver, later identified as Jason Bernstein, 49, reportedly put his hands out of the front driver’s side window and yelled he did not have to get out of the vehicle because of his constitutional rights, according to police reports. Bernstein continued to yell he did not want to talk to the OCPD officer because he did not trust him and that he was going to call 911 because he wanted to feel safe, according to police reports.

OCPD officers approached the vehicle and ordered Bernstein to get out of the vehicle, but he continued to scream he did nothing wrong, according to police reports. The officers attempted to remove Bernstein from the vehicle, but he refused to unlock the doors and remained in his seat belt with the engine running. OCPD officers ultimately had to forcibly enter the vehicle, unlatch Bernstein’s seat belt and remove the keys from the ignition.

Multiple OCPD officers had to forcibly remove Bernstein from the vehicle and he was ultimately pulled out and wrestled to the ground. At that point, he was taken into custody. While OCPD officers were walking Bernstein to a transport vehicle, he continued to tell police he did nothing wrong and that his best friend was an attorney and that he knew his rights, according to police reports.

Bernstein reportedly told police the reason he did not stop was that he was scared of the police and wanted to call 911 before stopping his vehicle. Bernstein reportedly told police he was looking for a safe spot to stop the vehicle and also told the officers he did not realize how fast he was going because the speedometer in the vehicle was broken. He was charged with resisting arrest, obstructing and hindering, fleeing and eluding and a slew of other traffic violations.


Burglary Plea Nets One Month In Jail

OCEAN CITY — One of three suspects arrested in July after allegedly taking an early morning swim in a community pool before entering the unit of a woman and swiping valuables pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary last week and was sentenced to two years in jail, all but 30 days of which was then suspended.

Around 6:50 a.m. on July 5, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers responded to a motel at 27th Street and Baltimore Avenue for a reported trespassing and theft incident. The officers met with a victim who told police she observed three young people arrive at the motel and climb the fence to swim in the pool in violation of posted no trespassing signs.

The victim told police she spoke to the three individuals, later identified as Brandon Harrison-DiFranco, 20, of Adelphi, Md., Mariah Miller, 20, of Bowie, and Samuel Krauland, 20, of Bethesda, outside her unit before going back inside to use the restroom in her unit. The victim told police while she was in the bathroom, she heard someone enter the unit and a rustling sound.

The victim said she called to her husband with no response and then heard the door close. When she exited the bathroom, the victim discovered a shoulder bag had been stolen from her luggage. The victim opened the door and saw the three individuals who had earlier climbed the fence to enter the pool walking away, ending up on the third floor of an adjacent motel.

The victim told police the stolen shoulder bag contained her cell phone, valued at $800; prescription glasses, valued at $300; eight sets of earrings, valued at $400; and a clutch wallet containing credits cards, bank cards, her driver’s license, passport and other items. The estimated value of the items removed was over $1,500.

While speaking with the officers, the victim observed the three suspects coming out of a third-floor unit of the adjacent motel. The OCPD officers responded and met with Krauland at the third-floor unit. According to police reports, Krauland admitted having a bag matching the description provided by the victim and it could be seen in plain view on a dresser inside the unit.

The red shoulder bag was returned to the victim, who reported most of the contents were still in it except for the cell phone and $20 in cash. The victim identified Harrison-DiFranco as the suspect she had seen running across the motel parking lot with her red shoulder bag. Krauland told police his friend “Brandon” had stolen the bag.

At that point, Harrison-DiFranco was arrested. A search of his swimming trunks pocket revealed the victim’s cell phone. The phone’s case was missing and the data function had already been set, wiping out all of the victim’s pictures, contacts and other data. The phone case was discovered inside the suspect’s unit.

At that point, Krauland was arrested. When questioned, Miller said they had been in the area of the victim’s unit and had collected their belongings, taking the victim’s red bag by mistake. According to police reports, Miller later recanted, telling officers the suspects knew the bag belonged to the victim and had no intentions of returning it.

Based on the evidence and testimony, Harrion-DiFranco was charged with first-degree burglary and theft from $1,500 to under $25,000. Miller was charged with theft from $1,500 to under $25,000 and Krauland was charged with theft under $100 and possession of over 10 grams of marijuana.

Last week, Harrison-DiFranco pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary and was sentenced to two years, all but 30 days of which was then suspended. Krauland and Miller are scheduled to appear for trial in January.


Jail For Possession, Weapons Charges

SNOW HILL — An Elkton man, arrested in June on drug and weapons charges after allegedly admitting to police he was attempting to sell marijuana, pleaded guilty last week and was sentenced to a combined 18 months in jail.

Around 11 p.m. on June 13, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers were patrolling the area of Worcester Street and Baltimore Avenue when they observed a vehicle with an odor of marijuana emanating from it. OCPD officers approached the vehicle and made contact with the driver, identified as Seamus McNicholl, 18, of Elkton.

OCPD officers ordered McNicholl and his passenger out of the vehicle and a subsequent search revealed a backpack with three clear plastic bags of marijuana in it. Inside one of the backpack’s compartments, OCPD officers also located a glass smoking device with marijuana residue in it. The search also revealed a larger plastic back with the picture of a red apple and the words “made in China 2020” written on the front.

The search also revealed a digital scale and another bag of marijuana containing over 10 grams, according to police reports. Between the center console and the driver’s seat, officers located a pellet gun that replicated a Glock 19. OCPD officers also located another jar of marijuana and McNicholl’s wallet containing over $900 in currency.

At that point, McNicholl was arrested for the possession of a replica handgun. A search of McNicholl’s person revealed 10 pills individually wrapped in his pants pocket believed to be ecstasy. Upon questioning, McNicholl told police he had come to Ocean City with the intent to make some money selling marijuana and ecstasy. McNicholl reportedly told police he had not sold any on that day, but his intention was to drive around and ask people if they wanted to buy marijuana and ecstasy from him. The plan was to sell the drugs directly from his vehicle.

Based on the evidence collected from McNicholl’s vehicle and person, along with his own admission to selling marijuana and ecstasy out of the vehicle, he was arrested and charged with multiple drug distribution charges and possession of a replica handgun.

Last week, McNicholl pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute marijuana and was sentenced to 18 months in jail. He also pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine and was sentenced to one year, and possession of a gun replica and was sentenced to six months.


Scrap in Hotel Bar Leads to Jail Time

OCEAN CITY- A Parkville, Md. man arrested in November after allegedly scrapping with employees at a midtown hotel bar and then exposing himself to police officers while in custody pleaded guilty to assault and indecent exposure this week and was sentenced to six months in jail.

Around 7 p.m. on November 4, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers were dispatched to a hotel at 54th Street for an alleged disorderly individual. The officer met with a bartender and bouncer who told police a suspect later identified as Ryan Lewis, 25, of Parkville, came behind the bar and pushed the bartender. The witnesses also told police Lewis was screaming loudly and causing a scene in the establishment.

According to police reports, the witnesses were able to get Lewis out of the bar and into the hotel lobby where Lewis reportedly took a fighting stance against the bouncer. Lewis reportedly attempted to strike the bouncer, but the bouncer was able to avoid the punches and knocked Lewis to the floor.

Lewis was ultimately removed from the lobby, but remained in the parking lot, according to police reports. When the OCPD officer arrived on the scene, Lewis was in the parking lot and was detained. The hotel manager told police there was surveillance video of the incident, which corroborated the employees’ account. Lewis was issued a trespassing warning and was advised not to come back on the property or he would be arrested.

According to police reports, Lewis continued to scream obscenities and told the officer “just take me to [expletive deleted] jail.” When Lewis walked back onto the hotel property, the OCPD officers obliged his request. Ultimately, Lewis was arrested and taken to the Public Safety Building for processing.

While in a holding cell, Lewis began to soak toilet paper with water in an attempt to cover the lens of the security camera in the cell. When OCPD officers told Lewis to stop and asked him to place his hands through a portal in the cell door so they could handcuff him, he allegedly removed his penis from his pants and placed it on the portal in the door instead. As a result, indecent exposure charges were tacked on the to assault and trespassing charges he was already facing. This week, Lewis pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and indecent exposure and was sentenced to six months for each count.


Guilty Plea For Drugs

OCEAN CITY — A Pennsylvania woman, arrested in July on multiple charges after nearly causing a vehicle collision before being found with cocaine, pleaded guilty to possession this week and was placed on supervised probation for three years.

Around 2:50 a.m. on July 12, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer on patrol in the area of 59th Street observed a woman attempting to cross Coastal Highway from east to west against a marked pedestrian signal while traffic in the travel lanes had green lights in both directions.

The officer observed the suspect, later identified as Colleen Burke, 40, of Nazareth, Pa., screaming at a male who was telling her to stop and not cross the highway against the traffic signal, according to police reports. However, Burke continued to cross and continued to scream at the man on the opposite side.

As she crossed into the southbound lanes, a van and a taxi cab had to quickly apply their brakes to avoid hitting Burke, which almost caused a collision between the two vehicles, according to police reports. Burke continued to yell at the drivers of the two vehicles as she stumbled across the highway.

Based on the evidence, Burke was arrested on numerous charges including intoxicated endangerment and disorderly conduct among others. During a search of Burke’s person during processing, six individual bags of suspect cocaine were found and additional charges were tacked on. This week, Burke pleaded guilty to possession-not marijuana and was placed on supervised probation for three years.