Cops & Courts – January 17, 2020

Cops & Courts – January 17, 2020

Alleged Baby Jesus Thief Busted For Drugs

OCEAN CITY — A Towson man was arrested on drug charges in the Inlet parking lot last week on the same day his trial for swiping the baby Jesus from a church was postponed.

Around 11 a.m. last Wednesday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer was patrolling in the Inlet lot when he observed a Ford truck parked with its occupant acting erratically inside the vehicle, according to police reports. The officer approached the truck and engaged in a consensual encounter to check on the vehicle’s occupant, later identified as Cameron Coke, 43, of Towson.

Coke was scheduled to stand trial on the same day in District Court for allegedly stealing the baby Jesus statue from a downtown church’s nativity scene on Dec. 31, 2018. The officer approached the vehicle and observed in plain sight on the center console a glass vial containing a white powdery substance. The officer asked Coke, who reportedly admitted to being high, about the vial, and Coke told the officer is “it’s just a little Coke,” according to police reports.

The officer also observed Coke holding a blue and white capsule in his hand, and when the officer asked about it, Coke reportedly told the officer it was “scramble,” a street name for a mixture of heroin and other substances. Coke also freely admitted there were syringes in the truck. At that point, Coke was arrested for possession of controlled dangerous substances.

A search of the vehicle revealed a Camel Snus can containing two more glass vials of suspected cocaine and another glass vial of suspected heroin. In a blue bag on the rear driver’s side seat, the officer reportedly found an Advil bottle containing three Adderall pills. On the front passenger seat, the officer located a camouflage bag with a tin container inside containing more cocaine and heroin along with a plastic bag containing syringes.

Coke’s arrest at the Inlet parking lot came on the same day he was scheduled to appear for trial to face theft charges for allegedly swiping the baby Jesus from a downtown church nativity scene in late 2018. Shortly after 6 a.m. on Dec. 31, 2018, a statue was stolen from a nativity scene at a church on Baltimore Avenue at 3rd Street.

For 10 months or so, OCPD detectives pursued leads and investigated the theft before identifying Coke as the suspect. Coke was charged last October with fourth-degree burglary and theft under $100. The baby Jesus statue was never recovered.


Assault, Malicious Destruction

OCEAN CITY — An Ocean City woman was arrested last week after allegedly smoking crack cocaine in her residence and attacking her roommate when he called police to report it.

Around 5:50 p.m. last Thursday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer was dispatched to a residence on 79th Street for a reported drug violation. The officer responded to a complaint from a male resident who advised his roommate, identified as Tristen Vice, 34, of Ocean City, was using crack cocaine in the bathroom and that he wanted her to leave the residence.

As the officer approached the residence, he observed the male caller standing outside on the deck still on the phone, according to police reports. The officer entered the unit and found a chair lying in the doorway and a computer monitor and hard drive strewn across the floor. The officer also observed Vice lying on the floor screaming. According to police reports, Vice told the officer her male roommate hit her in the face several times and threw her on the floor.

Vice reportedly told the officer the assault occurred just one minute before he arrived. However, the officer had just observed the male roommate outside on the deck still talking on the phone with Ocean City Communications when he arrived on scene, making Vice’s alleged timeline of the assault implausible, according to police reports.

Vice told the officer her face was swollen and she had marks on her arms and chest from her roommate’s alleged assault. However, the officer observed no signs of injury on Vice. The officer did observe Vice scratching her own chest several times to make it appear red and injured.

The officer interviewed the male roommate, who reportedly said he had called the police because Vice had been using crack cocaine in the bathroom. The victim told police when Vice was told he was calling the police, she became irate and attempted to punch and kick him. When the victim held out his arms to thwart the attack, Vice reportedly threw a computer monitor at him, striking him in the hand. Vice also attempted to throw a chair at the victim, but missed, according to police reports.

The victim also reportedly said when Vice heard him and the officer walking up the stairs, she began punching herself in the face. The officer observed a bloody cut and scratch on the victim’s hand and wrist. Based on the evidence and testimony, Vice was arrested and charged with second-degree assault and malicious destruction of property.


Alleged Sofa Stabber Arrested

OCEAN CITY — An Ocean Pines man was arrested last week after allegedly stabbing a sofa with a knife during a dispute over stolen cash.

Around 1:10 a.m. last Friday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers responded to a reported assault and malicious destruction of property that had already occurred. Ocean City advised a knife had been involved in the incident and provided the responding officers with a description of the suspect. When officers arrived on scene, they observed a male suspect matching the description, later identified as Michael Larock, 36, of Ocean Pines, and detained him on the curb.

Officers interviewed the female victim, and when they entered the unit, they observed the handle of a kitchen knife sticking out of the back of a sofa. The victim told police she and Larock had been in an argument because she had a $100 bill in her wallet that had disappeared. The victim said the $100 bill was in her wallet in the nightstand at around 12:30 a.m., but was not there at 12:50 a.m. and Larock was the only other person in the residence.

The victim told police, during the argument, Larock allegedly grabbed her wrist and bent it back past the normal range of motion. When the victim told Larock she was calling the police, he let her go and left the room, according to police reports. As the victim was calling 911, she walked back into the living room and discovered a kitchen knife had been stabbed into the sofa. Based on the evidence and testimony, Larock was arrested and charged with assault and malicious destruction of property.


Suspended License Fine

OCEAN CITY — A Tennessee woman, charged in August with motor vehicle theft when the she was driving triggered a license plate reader on the Route 50 Bridge, pleaded guilty this week to driving on a suspended license and was fined $357.

Around 11:25 p.m. on Aug. 26, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers were made aware of a possible stolen vehicle entering the resort after a license plate reader on the Route 50 bridge alerted on stolen tags on a 2003 Toyota Corolla. The vehicle had been reported stolen by the Fairfax, Virginia Police Department.

A short time later, an OCPD officer observed the vehicle heading north on Baltimore Avenue and tried to keep it within eyesight while on bicycle patrol. The vehicle eventually parked on 10th Street and OCPD officers conducted a high-risk stop and covered the vehicle and the suspects with drawn handguns.

Both occupants were successfully detained without incident. The driver was identified as Latasha Fletcher, 30, of Church Hill, Tenn., and the passenger was identified as Donte Williams, 23, of Reston, Va. When asked to whom the vehicle belonged, Williams told police, “I don’t know, I found the keys,” according to police reports.

Williams reportedly told police he found the keys to the vehicle at his work site, located the vehicle to which they belonged and drove off in it. When asked why he thought it was okay, Williams reportedly told police, “I found the keys, I didn’t take them.”

Williams told police he had met Fletcher at a hotel in Virginia and that they decided to drive to Ocean City together. For her part, Fletcher acknowledged she had just met Williams three days earlier and they decided to drive to Ocean City, but told police she believed the vehicle belonged to Williams.

Both were arrested on motor vehicle theft charges. A background check revealed Fletcher had an outstanding warrant in Tennessee for driving on a suspended license and she reportedly acknowledged her license had been suspended for over two years.

Last week, Fletcher pleaded guilty to driving on a suspended license and was fined $357. The other charges against Fletcher were not prosecuted. Williams was also scheduled to appear for trial last week on vehicle theft and other charges, but his case was postponed until Feb. 21.