Cops And Courts – May 10, 2019

Cops And Courts – May 10, 2019

First-Degree Burglary Charge For Mom Theft

OCEAN CITY — An Ocean City man was charged this week with first-degree burglary after an investigation allegedly connected him to the theft of thousands of dollars’ worth of jewelry and other items from his mother’s home in Ocean Pines.

On April 9, an Ocean Pines police officer conducted an investigation into burglary and theft complaint at a residence in that community. The officer interviewed the female victim, who told police she returned from work and noticed pieces of furniture out of place in her residence. Suspecting someone had broken into her home, the victim searched the residence and discovered an Apple iPad was missing from the kitchen counter.

The victim told police she had won the iPad during a raffle at a holiday party thrown by her employer in December, a party she attended with her son, James Hill, Jr., 34, of Ocean City. At the time, the victim told police she had not searched the residence to see if other items had been stolen, but told officers she had jewelry on top of her dresser that appeared to be undisturbed.

Ocean Pines officers searched the residence and found no evidence of forced entry, according to police reports. When questioned further, the victim reportedly told police Hill has a history with heroin addiction and a past criminal history of arrests for theft, drug possession and assault.

The next day, Ocean Pines police contacted Hill via phone and told him about their investigation. Hill agreed to meet with police at the station in Ocean Pines to discuss the investigation, but later cancelled, telling police he was visiting a friend in Pennsylvania. On April 22, police again arranged an interview with Hill, but he failed to show up, according to police reports.

Meanwhile, police again interviewed the victim, who reported two pieces of jewelry including a gold necklace and a diamond ring had apparently been stolen during the April 2 break-in. Last Wednesday, the investigating officer searched a database of items pawned in the area and learned Hill had visited a West Ocean City jewelry store on several occasions between April 2 and April 9 and had pawned various pieces of jewelry including items reported stolen from his mother’s Ocean Pines residence.

The officer made contact with the store’s owner, who remembered making several transactions with Hill during the prescribed period. The store owner said the items of jewelry allegedly pawned by Hill had been shipped out to be destroyed and repurposed, according to police reports.

The officer then told the victim of his findings and asked her to meet him at the police station. Prior to that meeting, the victim prepared and printed out an extensive list of items of jewelry that had been missing since the April 2 break-in. The list included several gold necklaces, bracelets and rings, many with different stones and gems attached. The total value of the list of stolen jewelry came to around $2,000.

The victim told police Hill did not have permission to enter her residence, nor did he have permission to take and ultimately pawn her jewelry. Based on the evidence, Hill was charged with first-degree burglary and theft. He was taken into custody last Thursday and was ordered to be held without bond.


Fatal Collision On Route 113

SNOW HILL — A local woman perished in a two-vehicle accident along Route 113 near Snow Hill last Friday.

Around 5:20 p.m. last Friday, Maryland State Police troopers, the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office and the Snow Hill Fire Department responded to a reported motor vehicle collision on Route 113 near Timmons Road in Snow Hill. The investigation revealed a Dodge Ram truck driven by an 18-year-old Pocomoke man was traveling south on Route 113 when it crossed the center line and collided with a Chevy van driven by Charlotte Teter, 66, of Pocomoke.

The victim succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene. No charges have been filed against the other driver, although the investigation was ongoing as of mid-week. Route 113 was closed in both directions for about three hours in the area of the crash scene during the initial investigation.


Malicious Destruction

OCEAN CITY — A Pennsylvania man was arrested on malicious destruction of property charges last weekend after allegedly destroying a cell phone and hair straightener during a domestic incident at a downtown hotel.

Around 9:10 p.m. last Saturday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers responded to a reported domestic incident at a hotel on 25th Street. The hotel clerk reported a man and a woman had been arguing in the hotel lobby and that the man was now chasing the woman outside the hotel.

OCPD officers met with the female victim, who was visibly upset, near the entrance to the hotel. According to police reports, the victim was carrying a backpack, a pillow and a blanket. The victim reportedly told police she was staying at the hotel with her boyfriend, later identified as John Underwood, 32, of Collegeville, Pa., for the weekend. The victim told police Underwood had been drinking and wanted her to go to dinner with him, but she refused because of his level of intoxication.

The victim told police Underwood then grabbed her cell phone and smashed it on the ground. Underwood also grabbed the victim’s hair straightener and smashed it on the ground, according to police reports. OCPD officers interviewed Underwood, who provided his personal information, but refused to disclose any information about what had occurred between he and the victim.

The front desk clerk told police she observed video surveillance of Underwood grabbing and pulling the victim’s arm before getting on the fifth-floor elevator. The clerk told police the couple got off the elevator on the fourth floor, which is when Underwood allegedly smashed the hair straightener.

The couple then took the elevator to the hotel lobby and Underwood allegedly chased the victim out the front entrance, according to the clerk. Based on the evidence and testimony, Underwood was arrested and charged with two counts of malicious destruction of property.


Officer Assaulted In Open Container Stop

OCEAN CITY — An Easton man was arrested on assault and other charges last weekend after allegedly kicking an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer detaining him for causing a disturbance on a downtown street.

Around 2 a.m. last Friday, an OCPD officer was patrolling in the area of Talbot Street and Baltimore Avenue when he observed a suspect later identified as Dondrell Thomas, 29, of Easton, walking on the public street with an open container of beer. When Thomas saw the officer, he made furtive efforts to conceal the open container.

When Thomas was detained, he allegedly began shouting profanities loudly early in the morning in the downtown residential neighborhood. Thomas was detained and was told to sit on the sidewalk while the officer completed his investigation, but he allegedly failed to comply with the officer’s orders.

According to police reports, Thomas was told by the officer to sit on the sidewalk with his legs extended and his ankles crossed, a position that allows an officer to maintain better control over a suspect’s movements, especially when the officer is alone, according to police reports.

Thomas refused to comply with that order and raised his right foot up to his shoulder height and struck the officer in the wrist with it. He was then arrested.


Probation For Standoff  

OCEAN CITY — A local man, arrested in February after allegedly kicking a female victim down the stairs during a domestic incident, pleaded guilty this week to intoxicated endangerment and was placed on probation for one year.

Around 9:30 p.m. on Feb. 6, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers responded to a residence on Newport Bay Drive for a reported domestic incident. The officers responded to a 911 call from a female victim who reportedly said she feared for her life and that a male suspect, later identified as Michael March, 56, of Ocean City, had locked her out of her residence.

OCPD officers responded to the residence and March would not open the door, but would only speak to police through a second-floor window. When the officers asked to speak to the female victim, whom they knew from prior domestic incidents, March would only bring her to the same second-floor window. According to police reports, while officers were speaking with the victim, she would look back at March and it appeared she would only respond to the officers with what March relayed to her.

After about 20 minutes, March allowed the victim to come outside and talk to police. According to police reports, the victim told officers she feared for her safety, and that if she opened the door for the police that he would kill her. After some discussion, the victim told police she wanted to go back inside the residence for the night.

However, when she tried to re-enter the residence, the door was locked and March would not answer nor would he let her back in. Throughout the incident, March only communicated with police via his lawyer fielding phone calls and relaying information from inside the residence.

Because the victim had legal standing in the residence, OCPD officer requested Ocean City Communications contact a locksmith to respond and get the victim back in her residence. The locksmith responded and was able to gain access to the residence. The victim elected to stay in the residence for the night despite multiple attempts by officers on the scene to find her different accommodations. By then, the victim and the responding officers had been outside at the scene for over three hours, according to police reports.

After the victim was back in the residence, the officers prepared to leave the scene when they heard a loud scream stating “help me, help me,” according to police reports. An OCPD observed through the front door March standing over victim and kicking her down the stairs. All OCPD officers on the scene then entered the residence and located March on the second floor. He was arrested for second-degree assault and other charges. This week, he pleaded guilty to intoxicated endangerment and was placed on probation for one year.