Cops And Courts – February 1, 2019

Cops And Courts – February 1, 2019

Homeless Man Arrested On Burglary Charges

OCEAN CITY — A homeless man was arrested on first-degree burglary charges last week after allegedly taking up residence in a vacant midtown condo.

Around 7 a.m. last Sunday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer responded to a unit on 32nd Street for a possible breaking and entering. The owner of the unit had advised Ocean City Communications he received alerts on his mobile phone app that the unit’s thermostat at his vacation home had been adjusted manually.

OCPD officers arrived and set up at the front and rear of the residence. After knocking on the front door, a man, later identified as Alex Alexis, 29, of no fixed address, exited the rear patio door and was immediately taken into custody. According to police reports, Alexis was carrying numerous items of clothing and boots in his arms and had a white blanket over his shoulders.

According to police reports, Alexis told officers he was cold, which is why he entered the home. He reportedly told police he would not have entered the residence if the door was locked. OCPD officers contacted the unit owner, who told police he did not know Alexis and no one had permission to be in the residence.

While searching Alexis, OCPD officers found two separate keys in the pocket of a sweater he was carrying, both of which were on a Century 21 key ring. Alexis also told police the slippers he was wearing and the blanket over his shoulders did not belong to him and that he got them from inside the house.

Alexis told police he was homeless and had entered the unit through an unlocked rear patio door. He reportedly told police he entered the unit the day before around 4 p.m. and stayed overnight, during which time he had consumed some food and took two sets of door keys.

He told police he did not know what the keys opened, but found them near a closet inside the home and took them. The unit owner later told police the keys were spares he kept on hand for rental purposes. According to police reports, Alexis told officers he was out of work because of the offseason in Ocean City and only entered the home for shelter.

Based on the evidence and Alexis’ own statements, he was charged with first-, third- and fourth-degree burglary along with theft for allegedly swiping the keys. Alexis was initially held on a $5,000 bond. After a bail review hearing on Monday, he was ordered to be held without bond.


Weapons Charges

OCEAN CITY — A Berlin man was arrested on weapons charges last weekend after metal knuckles and a knife were found on his person during a traffic stop.

Around midnight last Saturday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer was patrolling in the area of 94th Street when a license plate reader (LPR) alerted his in-vehicle computer of a driver with a suspended license coming across the Route 90 bridge. The LPR provided a description of the vehicle and the driver.

A background check revealed the driver, identified as Trent Crame, 23, of Berlin, had his license suspended for a pending driving under the influence arrest on Jan. 17. The officer stopped the vehicle around 122nd Street. According to police reports, Crame acknowledged his hard-copy license had been taken following his DUI arrest about a week earlier, but that he had in his possession a temporary paper license pending trial provided by police.

While Crame was searching for his temporary license, the OCPD officer observed in the glove compartment a set a silver metal knuckles. Crame acknowledged the weapon was his and that he kept them in his vehicle because they were a family antique. Crame also told police he was carrying a knife on his person, which turned out to be a spring-assisted knife. Based on the evidence, Crame was arrested and charged with two counts of possession of a deadly weapon.


Hotel Burglar Sentenced

OCEAN CITY — A Salisbury man, arrested in June on first-degree burglary and other charges after Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) detectives were able to connect him to a series of break-ins at a mid-town hotel, pleaded guilty last week and was sentenced to five years, all but one of which was suspended.

Around 8:15 p.m. on June 16, OCPD detectives were dispatched to a hotel at 55th Street for a reported theft that had already occurred. The officers met with two victims, one of whom told police he had noticed his cell phone valued at around $600 missing from the drawer in his hotel room. Another victim told police he had noticed a Louis Vuitton belt valued at around $740 was missing from his hotel room.

The OCPD officer followed up the next day at the hotel and met with an assistant manager, who showed police video surveillance she had taken from the hallways in the hotel. The video surveillance showed a male suspect entering different rooms in the hotel at various times over a two-day period from June 15 to June 16. At least five different rooms were entered by the suspect.

The OCPD officer was able to determine the suspect was able to enter each of the rooms using a master key each time. The assistant manager provided police with a print out of the number of times and locations the master key was used to enter the various rooms.

The staff at the hotel was also able to determine the suspect, later identified as Benjamin Giles, 20, of Salisbury, had been staying in room 316, which was one of the rooms accessed by the master key. The staff had found Giles’ belongings in the room including a Maryland identification card, phone chargers and other items.

The OCPD officer compared the identification card to the description of the suspect caught on surveillance video and determined it to be Giles. OCPD officers returned to the hotel on June 18 after hotel staff had found other belongings hidden in a cabinet in room 312, a black draw-string bag in room 312 and a backpack containing various sets of clothes in room 316.

Through the investigation, OCPD officers were able to determine Giles had been staying in both room 316 and room 312 without any reservation, payment or permission for a period of two days, based on the master key entry log provided by staff.

In the backpack found in room 312, OCPD officers located the Louis Vuitton belt that had been reported stolen by one of the victims. On June 19, Giles reportedly returned to the hotel and tried to claim his belongings from room 316. Hotel staff immediately called police and issued a trespass warning. Last week, Giles pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary and was sentenced to five years with all but one suspended. He was also ordered to pay $594 in restitution to one of the victims.


Restaurant Assault Results In Jail Time

OCEAN CITY — A Pennsylvania woman, arrested last June after jumping the fence of a Boardwalk business after it was closed and scrapping with employees attempting to get her off the property, was found guilty this week of affray and resisting arrest and was sentenced to 45 days for each conviction.

Around 11 p.m. last June 15, multiple Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers responded to a reported disorderly individual on the Boardwalk near the Hooter’s restaurant on 5th Street. When officers arrived, they observed a woman, later identified as Tajaee Johnson, 19, of Wilmerding, Pa., actively throwing punches at restaurant staff.

Johnson was still fighting with employees when an OCPD officer was able to wrap his arms around her waist, lift her up and throw her to the ground where she was placed under arrest. The officer then escorted Johnson to an area near 5th Street and sat her on the ground. According to police reports, Johnson was still screaming and yelling and kicking her feet and continued to try to stand up when she was told by police to stay seated.

Another OCPD officer was instructed to get a violent person restraint device, which only incensed Johnson further, according to police reports. Johnson was ultimately subdued and was carried to a transport vehicle for transportation to the Public Safety Building for processing.

OCPD officers interviewed the bar staff including the manager to determine what had happened. The manager told police the restaurant was already closed and the gate to the outside seating area was locked. The manager told police he went out to make sure the outside area was clean and secure for the night when Johnson jumped the fence.

The manager told police Johnson was asking for the bathroom, but he told her the restaurant was closed and did not have a public bathroom. The manager went to unlock the gate to let Johnson back off the property, but when he turned back around, Johnson was heading toward the restaurant, according to police reports.

The manager told police he went back toward the restaurant and with the help of other employees attempted to escort Johnson off the property. During the attempt to get Johnson off the property, the manager and one employee were pushed by Johnson, another employee was punched in the jaw by Johnson’s closed fist and yet another employee was punched in the eye with a closed fist by Johnson, according to police reports. The other employees’ version of the events corroborated the manager’s story.

However, two people claiming to be friends of Johnson told a distinctly different version. One witness told police the group was walking south on the Boardwalk when Johnson said she had to go to the bathroom and jumped the fence at Hooter’s and was greeted quickly by the manager.

According to the witness, Johnson attempted to go into the restaurant to use the bathroom when she was greeted at the door by six males who viciously beat her. According to Johnson’s friend, the six males then pushed Johnson and threw her back over the fence. However, OCPD officers viewed security footage from the restaurant, which matched the story given by the restaurant manager and the employees.

Based on the testimony and video footage, Johnson was charged with multiple counts of second-degree assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.


Jail For Bridge Jumper

OCEAN CITY — An Ocean Pines woman, arrested last July for causing a disturbance in public and other charges hours after jumping off the Route 50 Bridge, pleaded guilty last week to disorderly conduct and was sentenced to 10 days in jail.

Around 9:20 p.m. last July 29, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Ocean City Police Department, the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) and the Maryland State Police helicopter Trooper 4 were all dispatched to the area of the Route 50 Bridge to initiate a search effort for a reported jumper. Several people in the area had contacted the bridge tender and the Coast Guard and advised a woman had jumped off the bridge into the water.

The allied agencies searched the area for over two hours, but did not locate anyone in the water or in the surrounding area. The Ocean City Fire Department fire boat was also launched from its berth at 14th Street to join the search efforts, but was later recalled. The MSP helicopter searched the area with several passes over the bayside in the downtown area.

Around 11:30 p.m., several people walking off the Route 50 bridge alerted OCPD officers they saw a woman in a bikini stumbling around in the gravel parking lot on the bayside at North Division Street and that she had fallen on her face.

OCPD officers contacted the woman, later identified as Brooke North, 39, of Ocean Pines, who told police she had jumped off the bridge and had been washed up on the rocks.

According to the OCPD, North told the officers she was in an argument while crossing the bridge and decided to jump over the rail and into the water. North reportedly told police she did not intend to harm herself, but rather jumped into the bay because she “likes swimming and wanted to get away.”

According to police reports, North told OCPD officers she had been lying in the gravel passed out for several hours and did not know what time it was. She also told police she was drunk at the time she was in the water and was slammed against the rocks several times before she could get out.

While OCPD officers were interviewing North, she would randomly start screaming at vehicles passing by and at the police. She was ultimately arrested and charged with causing a disturbance in a public place while intoxicated and disorderly conduct.