Cops & Courts – January 31, 2020

Cops & Courts – January 31, 2020

Arrest Made in Hotel Theft Case

OCEAN CITY- A Selbyville woman was arrested on theft charges last weekend after allegedly swiping $200 from a guest checking into a north-end hotel.

Around 7 p.m. last Saturday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer responded to a hotel at 112th Street for a reported theft. The officer met with front desk staff who reported a guest in the hotel had checked in, but had left her clutch wallet on the front counter when she went to her room.

The staffers reportedly told police another couple had been checking in at the same time and provided their description to the officer. The front desk staff called the guest’s room and advised her that she had left her clutch wallet at the front desk.

When the guest came down for the wallet, she advised the front desk staffers there was $200 in cash missing from it. The front desk staff advised the victim the hotel’s security surveillance could not be viewed until two days later on Monday when the manager returned to work.

The victim then went back to her room and called the police. The OCPD officer went to the victim’s room and interviewed her. According to police reports, the victim told the officer she had $200 in cash in the form of 10 $20 bills in the wallet, which is an amount her some had given to her for rent.

The officer completed a report and provided the victim with a case number and advised she would be updated on the investigation when police had an opportunity to review the hotel’s video surveillance footage on Monday. The officer then went back to the front desk to get more information from the staff.

While the officer was interviewing staffers, a couple matching the description of the couple checking in at the same time of the reported theft exited the elevator. The officer introduced himself and asked the couple if they had found a wallet while they were checking in. According to police reports, the couple told the officer that they had found a wallet.

When asked if they taken any money from it, they denied doing so. The officer identified the female suspect as Catherine Lozupone, 55, of Selbyville. A background check revealed Lozupone was wanted on an outstanding warrant from Wicomico County. At that point, she was taken into custody for the outstanding warrant.

During a search incident to the arrest, the officer found 10 $20 bills folded in half in the suspect’s wallet. During the booking process, Luzopone reportedly told the officer “Can I be honest with you? I found the money on the floor in the lobby. I have no other money except the money I found.” Luzopone was charged with theft from $100 to under $1,500.


Downtown Ruckus Leads to Arrest

OCEAN CITY- A local man was arrested on multiple charges last weekend after allegedly causing a ruckus outside a downtown pizza parlor.

Around 2:40 a.m. last Sunday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers responded to a pizza restaurant at 7th Street for a reported disorderly male. When officers arrived, a restaurant patron pointed to a suspect later identified as Nicholas Pittman, 35, of Ocean City, as the source of the incident.

A restaurant employee informed OCPD officers Pittman had been disorderly and had attempted to fight other patrons before their arrival. When the officers arrived on scene, Pittman began screaming at them, along with restaurant patrons. At one point, Pittman could be heard screaming from at least 100 feet away, in violation of the town’s 50-foot noise ordinance.

According to police reports, other patrons exhibited signs of disgust with Pittman’s actions. An OCPD officer approached Pittman, informed him his actions were violating state laws and the town’s ordinances, and asked for identification. According to police reports, Pittman yelled “Why I got to identify myself? This America. You don’t need my ID.”

When OCPD officers gave Pittman multiple orders to stop yelling and disturbing the peace, he reportedly continued to yell “It’s America, I got a right to yell,” according to police reports. Pittman was ultimately arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, obstructing and hindering, failure to obey a lawful order and intoxicated public endangerment.


Flailing Around in Police Station Lot

OCEAN CITY- An Ocean City woman was arrested last week after allegedly screaming obscenities at police officers and flailing around in the parking lot of the Public Safety Building.

Around 7 p.m. last Thursday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers assisted another officer with a disorderly citizen at the police station at 65th Street. Upon arrival, an OCPD officer located an allegedly intoxicated suspect identified as Janice Benny, 60, of Ocean City, in the parking lot of the Public Safety Building. After a brief conversation with Benny, the officer advised her she was free to go, according to police reports.

The initial officer advised the responding officer about five minutes earlier, Benny had been in the lobby of the Public Safety Building and was screaming obscenities at police in front of at least two other people who were in the police station on unrelated business. When the OCPD officers walked back outside to the parking lot, Benny was allegedly still on the scene, flailing in the parking lot and screaming undiscernible words and phrases, according to police reports. She was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.


Domestic Assault Yields Probation

OCEAN CITY- A Virginia man arrested in October after assaulting his girlfriend and later being found in possession of a loaded handgun pleaded guilty last week to second-degree assault and was placed on probation.

Around 12:30 a.m. on October 27, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer was dispatched to reported domestic assault that had already occurred in the downtown area. According to police report, the victim’s mother called Ocean City Communications to report her daughter had been hit by her boyfriend, later identified as Benjamin Gooden, 25, of Elkton, Va.

The officer was able to obtain the victim’s cell phone number and called her to find out what had happened and where she was located. The victim told police she was staying on the fifth floor, but that she didn’t know which room number. The victim told police she had been assaulted by Gooden, who had left the room just before she called the police. The victim also provided a description of Gooden.

As the officer was approaching the building, he observed a male matching the Gooden’s description walking near the building. The officer asked the suspect “are you Ben?” to which he replied yes. Gooden was asked to sit down on the curb while the officer questioned him. According to police reports, Gooden was carrying a plastic bag containing clothes and other belongings, and when he set it down on the sidewalk, the officer detected the sound of metal hitting the ground.

When the officer asked Gooden if he was carrying any weapons, he reportedly admitted carrying a pistol. The officer inspected the bag and found a .40 caliber Smith and Wesson handgun in the bag concealed under a T-shirt, according to police reports.

The officer rendered the weapon safe and noticed a round in the chamber and nine more rounds in the magazine. When questioned, Gooden said he always carried the handgun with him for protection. “I take it everywhere I go, I even had it on the Boardwalk earlier,” he said, according to police reports. Gooden told police Virginia was an open-carry state and that he didn’t know he wasn’t allowed to carry it in Maryland.

As far as the alleged assault goes, Gooden told police he had a verbal argument with the victim, but it had not been physical. Based on the evidence, Gooden was arrested at that point for carrying a loaded handgun on his person. OCPD officers then interviewed the victim, who told police she and Gooden had been in an argument and that he had slapped her. Last week, Gooden pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and was placed on probation for one year.


Guilty Plea for Obstructing and Hindering

OCEAN CITY- A local woman arrested in December after getting pulled over for a routine traffic violation and scrapping with police attempting to question her pleaded guilty last week to obstructing and hindering and was placed on probation.

Around 2 p.m. on December 5, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer patrolling in the area of 59th Street observed a vehicle with a crack on the driver’s side of the windshield, which was reportedly obstructing the driver’s field of vision. The officer pulled the vehicle over and determined the crack was 10 to 12 inches in length.

When the officer made contact with the driver, later identified as Jazmine Snell, 21, of Ocean City, he detected an odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle, according to police reports. As a result, the officer asked Snell to exit the vehicle, but she refused and said “you’re not searching my car,” according to police reports. Snell reportedly refused to step out of the vehicle at last three different times, stating “I’m not getting out of the car,” and “you can’t make me get out of the car.”

The officer reportedly asked Snell to turn off the vehicle’s ignition for safety purposes and to keep her from leaving the scene, but she refused multiple times. Another officer arrived on the scene and opened the vehicle’s passenger side door and attempted to reach across to turn off the ignition. According to police reports, Snell forcibly pushed the officer’s arm away to prevent him from reaching over to the driver’s side of the vehicle.

At that point, the initial officer on the scene forcibly pulled Snell from the vehicle and ordered her to put her hands behind her back. As the officer attempted to put handcuffs on Snell, she reportedly pulled away and twisted her body to the point OCPD officers had to push her to the ground in order to gain control of her. A search of the vehicle turned up a baggie of marijuana.

A background check revealed Snell’s Delaware driver’s license was suspended. The check also revealed Snell had been cited for driving while suspended four times in the last year. All in all, Snell was charged with second-degree assault, obstructing and hindering, resisting arrest and multiple traffic violations.

According to police reports, when Snell was advised she was being charged with arrest, she said “Don’t charge me with assault,” and “I’m driving without a license, but I didn’t assault anyone.” Last week, Snell pleaded guilty to obstructing and hindering and was placed on probation for one year.


Juvenile Runaway Located in Pines

OCEAN PINES- A runaway from Pennsylvania was located in Ocean Pines last weekend after allegedly swiping the family vehicle and navigating it to Worcester County.

On Sunday, Ocean Pines Police received information from Pennsylvania that a 13-year-old female had runaway from that state and was believed to be operating a motor vehicle in Ocean Pines. Ocean Pines Police stopped the vehicle and identified the driver and sole occupant as the missing juvenile, who had taken a family vehicle without permission.

The juvenile runaway had apparently operated the vehicle safely from Pennsylvania to Ocean Pines. Officers took the juvenile into custody and referred the matter to the Juvenile Justice Administration for adjudication. The vehicle was returned to the lawful owner.