Cops And Courts – December 14, 2018

Cops And Courts – December 14, 2018

LPR Nabs Theft Suspects

OCEAN CITY — Three local men were arrested on motor vehicle theft charges last week after a license plate reader (LPR) on Route 90 picked up the stolen vehicle as it entered Ocean City.

Around 10 p.m. last Thursday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer was on the scene of an unrelated traffic stop on the westbound shoulder of Route 90 just west of Coastal Highway when the LPR he was monitoring alerted on a reported stolen vehicle heading eastbound in his direction. The officer utilized the LPR to gain a description of the stolen vehicle, a silver 2016 Honda CRV. The officer also utilized his computer to determine the vehicle had been reported stolen by the Maryland State Police-Salisbury barrack on Dec. 1.

Another OCPD officer responded to the scene and the two OCPD officers waited until the stolen vehicle passed their location. As the officers watched, the vehicle continued east on Route 90, turned south on Coastal Highway and then made a right turn into the parking lot of the tennis courts on 61st Street.

The OCPD officers exited their vehicles and withdrew their department-issued handguns and pointed them at the vehicle’s occupants. According to police reports, the officers ordered the occupants to roll down the windows and to not get out of the vehicle. By now, another OCPD officer arrived on scene and pointed his weapon at the occupants.

According to police reports, the occupants were moving around inside the vehicle and it appeared as if the driver was attempting to change seats with the rear passenger. The occupants reportedly were not obeying the OCPD officers’ commands.

Both doors then opened simultaneously and three individuals got out. Keshaun Purnell, 18, of Salisbury, got out of the front passenger side door; Terius Green, 18, of Salisbury, got out of the rear driver side door; and Ja’Quire Hopkins, 18, of Ocean City, got out of the front driver’s side door. All three suspects raised their hands over their heads and complied with the officers’ orders. All three were arrested and charged with unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, theft of a motor vehicle and theft over $1,500 but under $25,000.


Weapon Found At Traffic Stop

OCEAN CITY — A North Carolina man was arrested on weapons charges last weekend after being found in possession of a fixed-blade knife during a routine traffic stop.

Around 1:30 a.m. last Friday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers were conducting a safety check near the parking lot of a downtown bar around closing time when they observed a group of individuals entering a vehicle with open containers of alcohol in plain view. The officers followed the vehicle as it turned first south on Philadelphia Avenue and then north on Baltimore Avenue.

The OCPD officer continued to follow the vehicle as it traveled north, reaching speeds of 48 mph in a 40-mph zone. The vehicle was eventually stopped in the bus lane at 83rd Street. The officer conducted wanted and license checks on the occupants including the driver, identified as Rashawn Winston, 26, of Raleigh, N.C.

While OCPD officers were checking the statuses of the occupants, the occupants were allowed to exit the vehicle. When the front seat passenger exited the vehicle, one OCPD officer observed the handle of a large knife extending out of the space between the center console and the driver’s seat. According to police reports, the knife was with easy reach of Winston and had been concealed until the passenger got out of the vehicle.

As Winston got out of the vehicle, he acknowledged the knife belonged to him, according to police reports. The knife’s blade was in a vinyl sheath and when the OCPD officers removed it, they determined it was roughly eight inches in length with a serrated blade on one side. Winston was arrested and charged with carrying a concealed deadly weapon.


Handgun Found In Vehicle

OCEAN CITY — A Missouri man was arrested on weapons charges last weekend after a handgun and knife were found in his vehicle during a routine traffic stop.

Around 2 a.m. last Friday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer on patrol in the area of 138th Street observed a vehicle without a rear license plate. While the officer observed, the vehicle then turned right onto 139th Street from the right lane and not the bus lane. The officer stopped the vehicle in a nearby convenience store parking lot.

The officer made contact with the driver, identified as John Hale, Jr., 24, of Poplar Bluff, Mo. The officer observed a paper temporary tag in the rear window, but the window was tinted so dark the temporary tag was barely visible, even when the officer was standing right next to it, according to police reports.

The officer ultimately issued two warnings for the traffic violations and told Hale he was free to go. However, as he began to walk away, the officer turned and asked Hale if he had any illegal drugs or weapons in his possession, according to police reports. Hale reportedly said, “Nothing illegal, but I carry a gun.”

According to police reports, Hale told the officer the gun was in the center console and twice reached into the vehicle as if to retrieve it. Hale then changed his story and told the officer the weapon was in the glove compartment.

The OCPD officer then frisked Hale’s outer garments and discovered a four-inch fixed-blade knife in a black sheath attached to his belt. The knife was concealed from view by Hale’s coat, according to police reports. A search of the interior of the vehicle revealed a 9mm-caliber handgun in the front center armrest console. The gun was positioned upside down, directly adjacent to where Hale was sitting for easy access. The handgun was loaded with one 9mm round of ammunition in the chamber and a fully loaded 12-round magazine in the grip, according to police reports.

The search also revealed a second fully loaded 12-round magazine in the front passenger-side glove box along with a full 50-round box of 9mm ammunition in a backpack on the front passenger seat. At that point, Hale was arrested and told the officer he keeps the gun and ammunition for self-defense.

A search of the vehicle revealed a small container of suspected marijuana in the center console and numerous other items of paraphernalia in the center console, glove box and backpack. Hale was charged with multiple weapons violations.


Jail For Boardwalk Flashing

OCEAN CITY — A Beltsville, Md. man, arrested in August after allegedly flashing families with young children on the Boardwalk, was found guilty last week on various counts and was sentenced to six months in jail.

Around 9:30 p.m. on Aug. 18, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) bicycle officer was patrolling the Boardwalk near 3rd Street when he was approached by a female victim who reported a male suspect had just exposed his penis to her and her children. The victim told police she was walking on the Boardwalk with her four juvenile children and her sister and her three juvenile children.

The victim told police a male walked up to them, lifted up his shirt and exposed his bare privates in front of her and her young children. The witness pointed to a group walking on the Boardwalk that included the suspect, later identified as Jose Melgar, 30, of Beltsville, Md. OCPD officers detained Melgar on the Boardwalk at 2nd Street and had him sit on a bench. The victim was brought over for a “show up” and positively identified Melgar as the suspect who had exposed himself to her family.

At that point, Melgar was arrested for indecent exposure and disorderly conduct. A search of his person incident to the arrest revealed a baggie containing suspected cocaine in his pants pocket along with a $20 bill folded in such a way to store the cocaine and drug possession charges were tacked on.

Last week, Melgar was found guilty of two counts of indecent exposure and was sentenced to six months in jail. He was also found guilty of possession of cocaine and was sentenced to 30 days for that count.


Officer Assault Nets 45 Days

OCEAN CITY — A Lusby, Md. man, arrested in June on assault and other charges after allegedly scrapping with an OCPD officer attempting to break up a fight on the Boardwalk, pleaded guilty this week and was sentenced to 45 days in jail.

Around 12:30 a.m. on June 16, an OCPD officer responded to the area of Dorchester Street and the Boardwalk for an active fight in progress. When the officer arrived, he observed a large crowd circled on the concrete pad at Dorchester Street and observed another OCPD officer attempting to make an arrest. The officer pushed through crowd and attempted to gain some space between the throng and the other officer attempting to make an arrest.

The officer was successful in getting most of the crowd to move back, but one individual later identified as Christopher Commodore, 19, of Lusby, would not move back. According to police reports, Commodore told the OCPD officer “[expletive deleted] you, I don’t have to move anywhere.” The OCPD officer then attempted to place Commodore under arrest for interfering with another arrest.

According to police reports, the officer had Commodore back against a wall, but Commodore bolted to his left in an attempt to run. As Commodore ran, he punched the officer in the face with a closed fist. The officer was able to catch Commodore by the waist and successfully got him to the ground. Commodore was charged with assault and disorderly conduct. This week, Commodore pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and resisting arrest and was sentenced to 45 days in jail.


Probation For Kicking Car

OCEAN CITY — A Salisbury man, arrested in November after allegedly getting kicked out of a downtown bar before attempting to drive and ultimately kicking an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) vehicle, pleaded guilty this week to intoxicated endangerment and was placed on probation.

Around 9:30 p.m. on Nov. 2, an OCPD officer was dispatched to a bar on 8th Street for a reported disorderly individual. Bar staff pointed out a suspect, later identified as Matthew Fitzpatrick, 36, of Salisbury, told police he had been kicked out of the bar. Employees told police Fitzpatrick was stumbling in the street and was attempting to drive a vehicle.

The OCPD officer located Fitzpatrick leaning on the exterior wall of the establishment. At least seven times, Fitzpatrick dropped his belongings and stumbled as he attempted to pick them up, nearly falling in the street, according to police reports. Fitzpatrick told police his name, but could not recall his date of birth, telling officers he was “a thousand years old,” according to police reports.

OCPD officers gathered information on Fitzpatrick and told him he was free to leave, but warned him not to drive a vehicle. AS OCPD officers watched, Fitzpatrick reportedly left the area and walked north, stopping to urinate on a building.

OCPD officers continued to follow Fitzpatrick as he stumbled north along Philadelphia Avenue. At 14th Street, Fitzpatrick allegedly walked up behind a marked OCPD cruiser with an officer inside and kicked the vehicle. At that point, Fitzpatrick was arrested and charged with intoxicated endangerment. This week, he pleaded guilty to intoxicated endangerment and was placed on probation for one year.


Guilty Plea For Drugs

OCEAN CITY — A Pennsylvania woman, arrested in July after allegedly crossing Coastal Highway against a pedestrian signal and nearly causing a vehicle collision with cocaine on her, 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 baggies 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.