Cops And Courts – March 22, 2019

Tossed From Bar, Scraps With Cops

OCEAN CITY – A Berlin man was arrested on assault and other charges last weekend after getting kicked out of a downtown bar and refusing to leave before scrapping with police and ultimately harming himself.

Around 8:30 p.m. last Saturday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer was dispatched to a bar on 8th Street for a reported disorderly individual who was refusing to leave the property.

The officer met with bar security who told them a suspect later identified as Joshua Petersen, 23, of Berlin, had been asked to leave the premises because of his level of intoxication but had snuck back in the back door and had to be removed again.

Bar security provided a description of Petersen and he was located a short time later in the area of 7th Street. According to police reports, Petersen had abrasions on his forehead and complained of pain in his ribs but refused medical treatment at that time. Also according to police reports, Petersen exhibited signs of being intoxicated.

OCPD officers informed Petersen he would not be allowed to return to the bar. However, Petersen told police he left his wallet at the bar. OCPD officers warned Petersen not to return to the bar that night and advised him to call about his wallet in the morning and police officers would meet him there to retrieve it. He was told if he returned to the bar, he would be arrested for trespassing.

About five minutes later, the same OCPD officer saw Petersen allegedly walk right up to the entrance of the bar on 8th Street from whence he had been kicked out. At that point, OCPD officers attempted to arrest Petersen for trespassing, but he reportedly resisted and fought with officers to the point he had to be taken down to the ground. By now, a large crowd had gathered to watch the incident unfold, according to police reports.

About an hour after his arrest at the Public Safety Building, Petersen reportedly began slamming his head against a cell wall and punching himself in the face with a closed fist. Ocean City EMTs responded and determined he needed to be taken to Peninsula Regional Medical Center.

OCPD officers rode with Petersen in the ambulance to the hospital and during the transport, he allegedly attempted to unbuckle the safety straps to the stretcher.

When EMTs attempted to use bandages to keep Petersen from trying to remove the safety straps, he began to violently shake his head from side to side to hinder their efforts on his behalf.

When an OCPD officer attempted to hold steady Petersen’s head while EMTs worked on him, Petersen allegedly began to spit and tried to bite the officer’s hand. He was ultimately restrained without further incident.

During the transport back to Ocean City from PRMC, Petersen reportedly made comments about moving to California and said, “Maryland won’t come get me for not coming to court if I’m in California.” He was charged with assault, trespassing, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.


Berlin Fire Attributed To Electrical Malfunction

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An electrical malfunction has been determined as the cause of a residential house fire in Berlin early last Wednesday morning. No injuries were reported and the displaced family was assisted by the Red Cross.
Submitted Photo

BERLIN – An electrical malfunction has been determined as the cause of a residential house fire in Berlin early last Wednesday morning.

Around 4:15 a.m. last Wednesday, firefighters from Berlin, Showell, Ocean Pines and Bishopville responded to a reported residential fire on Showell Street in Berlin. According to the Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office, it took firefighters an hour to bring the blaze under control.

The occupants of the residence awoke to the smell of smoke, according to a fire marshal’s office release. There was no smoke alarm activation, nor was the residence equipped with a residential fire sprinkler system.

The cause of the fire is accidental and attributed to an electrical malfunction. No injuries were reported and the displaced family was assisted by the Red Cross.



Traffic Stop Yields Gun Bust

OCEAN CITY – A Baltimore man was charged with transporting a load-ed handgun after a routine traffic stop in Ocean City last weekend.

Around 12:20 a.m. last Friday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer on routine patrol clocked a vehicle going 60 miles per hour in a 40-mph zone along Coastal Highway near 75th Street. The officer conducted a traffic stop in the area of 64th Street and detected a strong odor of raw marijuana coming from the passenger compartment, according to police reports.

The rental vehicle was occupied by the driver, later identified as Joseph Harris, 33, of Baltimore, and his female passenger. Harris was identified by numerous documents in the vehicle including the rental agreement. Harris and his passenger were told to get out of the vehicle while OCPD officers searched it.

During the search, OCPD officers found a Glock .357 caliber handgun under the driver’s seat with one round in the chamber and eight other rounds in an attached magazine. Upon discovery of the weapon, the investigating officer told other officers to handcuff Harris and his passenger, but Harris said aloud “It’s mine, it’s not hers,” according to police reports.

The search also revealed a quantity of marijuana and some blue tablets of an unknown substance. A check with the Maryland Gun Center revealed the gun was not registered and Harris did not have a handgun permit. He was arrested and charged with transporting a handgun.


Apparently Really Hates Seinfeld

OCEAN CITY – A local woman was arrested last week for allegedly assaulting her sleeping boyfriend because of watching Seinfeld television show reruns.

Around 10 p.m. last Wednesday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers responded to 142nd Street for a reported domestic incident. Ocean City Communications advised the responding officers a female suspect had left the scene, heading east on 142nd Street on a mountain bike. OCPD officers responded to the residence from whence the call had originated and met with a male victim sitting shirtless on the porch.

The victim told police he had been sleeping for around 12 hours when his girlfriend, later identified as Jennifer Pieroni, 48, of Ocean City, woke him up by scratching his face and neck. The victim told police Pieroni was upset because she had to watch reruns of the television show Seinfeld.

When the neighbors knocked on the door during the fight and told the victim and Pieroni they were calling the police, the suspect fled the area on a bicycle.
OCPD officers located Pieroni a short time later and she was taken into custody. It was learned through the investigation Pieroni was wanted on at least five separate warrants from Wicomico and Cecil County.

Pieroni reportedly told police the victim was the primary aggressor but later recanted her story. According to police reports, the victim had fresh wounds on his face and neck consistent with his version of the events. Pieroni was arrested and charged locally with assault and was also held on the outstanding warrants from other jurisdictions.


Disorderly Arrest Over Alleged Stolen Watch

OCEAN CITY – A local man was arrested on disorderly conduct charges last weekend after allegedly screaming expletives at someone who allegedly stole his watch before turning his racially charged tirade in the direction of resort police.

Around midnight last Saturday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers were dispatched to an apartment building near the base of the Route 50 bridge for a report of a disorderly male banging on doors. OCPD officers responded and encountered Levin Martin, 34, of Ocean City, who had since moved down to the public sidewalk. According to police reports, OCPD officers knew Martin from numerous prior encounters.

According to police reports, Martin was screaming racial statements that an unnamed individual had stolen his watch. When OCPD officers told Martin to calm down and lower his voice so they could investigate his claims, Martin allegedly directed his expletive-laced tirade at the police.

Martin could not be dissuaded from his racially charged tirade at police and was ultimately arrested and char-ged with disorderly conduct and failure to obey a lawful order. Incidentally, during a search of Martin’s person incident to the arrest, his watch was found in his pocket, according to police reports.


Suspended Sentence For Loaded Handgun

OCEAN CITY – A Pennsylvania man arrested last August after waving a loaded handgun around on a downtown street while intoxicated pleaded guilty last week and was sentenced to 90 days, all of which was suspended in favor of probation.

Around 12:53 a.m. last Aug. 24, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers were dispatched to the area of 9th Street and Dayton Lane in reference to a man with a handgun. The 911 caller told dispatchers the man was intoxicated and refused to leave their residence and provided a description of the suspect.

Upon arrival, OCPD officers observed the suspect, later identified as George Warden, 41, of Tarentum, Pa., crouched behind a vehicle in a parking lot. According to police reports, Warden appeared to be taking his clothes off. When Warden observed the officers, he began walking toward them, according to police reports.

Warden was detained without further incident and was visibly intoxicated, according to police reports. He reportedly had saliva all over his face and the clothes he still had on were soiled. According to police reports, Warden told the officers, “I got into a fight with a wave in the ocean and lost.”

OCPD officers went over to the area where Warden had been seen shedding his clothes and found a soiled pair of jeans with the grip of a handgun sticking out of the pocket. The weapon was identified as a .38-caliber handgun with a fully loaded magazine. A witness in the area told police Warden had been waving the gun around and had racked the slide. He was arrested for possession of a handgun and other charges.

Last week, Warden pleaded guilty to possession of a handgun and was sentenced to 90 days, all of which were suspended. He was also placed on supervised probation for 18 months.


Jail Time For Speeder Who Refused To Stop

OCEAN CITY – A Selbyville man arrested in November after barreling down the bus lane along Coastal Highway at a high rate of speed before reportedly refusing to cooperate with police attempting to detain him plead-ed guilty this week and was sentenced to two days in jail.

Around 4 p.m. on November 28, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer patrolling in the area of Convention Center Drive and Coastal Highway observed a vehicle traveling 50 miles per hour 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 far-right lane, or 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, of Selbyville, 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 that 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. On Wednesday, Bernstein pleaded guilty to attempting to flee by eluding police and was sentenced to two days in jail.