Cops & Courts – February 21, 2020

Cops & Courts – February 21, 2020

Bike Thief Nabbed Twice

OCEAN CITY — An Ocean City man was arrested twice this month after allegedly stealing bicycles around the resort area.

Around 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 10, a bicycle matching the description of one reported stolen was seen northbound on Coastal Highway around 43rd Street. Ocean City Communications provided a detailed description of the stolen bicycle along with a detailed description of the individual riding it, according to police reports.

An Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer who handled the original bike theft complaint three days earlier at a Boardwalk hotel at 17th Street had submitted a picture of the suspect, believed to be Alex Alexis, 31, of Ocean City, from prior run-ins with police in the resort, to his colleagues who were on shift.

Another OCPD officer detained Alexis on the bicycle around 70th Street. Alexis was asked where he got the bicycle and told police he had found it in the street around 16th Street a few days earlier. OCPD officers made contact with the bike’s owner, who provided a detailed description down to the cup holder and phone holder.

The owner was also able to provide the combination to the lock attached to the bike, and when the officers entered the numbers, the lock opened. At that point, Alexis was arrested for theft. Alexis reportedly asked the officer what would happen to the bike and the officer told him it would be returned to the owner. Alexis then told the officer to let the owner know he was sorry and that he knew the bike did not belong to him.

Around 3:30 p.m. last Saturday, an OCPD officer responded to a residence on 23rd Street for a reported burglary. The officer met with the complainant, who told police he noticed two bicycles had been stolen from a storage closet on the back patio area of the residence. The complainant noticed the bikes had been stolen sometime the day before and notified the property owner of the alleged theft.

The officer contacted the homeowner via telephone and the owner provided detailed descriptions of the two bikes. The descriptions of the style of the bicycles were nearly identical except for the colors, one of which was light blue and the other was gray.

On Saturday, an OCPD officer observed Alexis allegedly riding the stolen blue bicycle on Coastal Highway near 45th Street and detained him. The blue bicycle matched the exact description down to the same serial number provided by the victim. According to police reports, Alexis told the officer he had found the bike near the Ocean City Library, which is dozens of blocks away from the alleged theft scene at 23rd Street, and that he took it even though it did not belong to him.

However, the investigation determined Alexis climbed over the door to the enclosed patio at the residence on 23rd Street sometime on Feb. 14 and had taken the bicycles. He was arrested again and charged with two more counts of theft.


Assault Over Social Media Post

OCEAN CITY — A Washington, D.C. man was charged with assault last weekend after allegedly slapping his girlfriend in a resort hotel room in a dispute over a social media post.

Last Saturday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers were dispatched to a hotel on 16th Street for a reported disturbance. Ocean City dispatchers advised responding officers a woman had been screaming for help from a room on the fifth floor.

OCPD officers arrived and met with a hotel employee, who had just walked the suspect, later identified as Duane McKinney, 49, of Washington, D.C., off the property. The employee reportedly told police McKinney told him, “she’ll be calling me to come back soon,” according to police reports. McKinney was detained a short time later on the Boardwalk at 19th Street.

OCPD officers went to the hotel room to interview the victim, who reportedly told police she and McKinney were a couple and were staying in Ocean City.

The victim reportedly told police she was sitting on the hotel balcony and posted a picture on social media, which angered McKinney. The victim said an argument ensued, resulting in McKinney allegedly slapping her in the face. The victim told police McKinney hits her with an open hand because he does not believe that is the equivalent of punching someone with a fist, according to police reports.

According to police reports, the victim attempted to use the hotel phone to call for help, but he placed his hand on the phone to prevent her. McKinney then allegedly shoved the victim to the floor and held her down with his forearm across her throat, according to police reports.

The victim told police she began to scream for help in the hopes McKinney would get off her. The suspect eventually stood up and left the room, which was roughly the time the officers arrived, according to police reports. The victim had a fresh cut on her lip, which officers believed was the result of McKinney striking her. Ocean City EMTs were summoned, but the victim refused treatment, according to police reports.

Other OCPD officers interviewed McKinney, who acknowledged there was a verbal argument between the couple, but denied it ever turned physical. Based on the evidence and testimony, McKinney was arrested and charged with second-degree assault. A background check revealed McKinney had been charged with either second-degree assault or battery 10 times previously.


Hoax Device Brought To School

SNOW HILL — Worcester County Public Schools and the Fire Marshal’s Office last week investigated what turned out to be a hoax device brought to school by a Snow Hill Elementary student.

Last Wednesday, the fire marshal’s office was requested to assist the Board of Education and a school resource officer at Snow Hill Elementary with a hoax device that a six-year-old student brought to school. The school resource officer reported the incident and a Worcester County deputy fire marshal confirmed it was a hoax device.

The device was primitive-looking structure that contained batteries taped together along with a wire. The investigation revealed the six-year-old student had constructed the device and brought it to school that morning. The fire marshal’s office assisted the school and the Board of Education with the investigation and removal of the hoax device. No additional information has been provided.


Failure To Appear Arrest Warrant Issued

OCEAN CITY — A Delaware man, arrested in November after allegedly being found with a weapon and drugs during an eviction from a hotel room, failed to appear for trial last week and a warrant was sworn for his arrest.

Around 3 p.m. on Nov. 26, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer was dispatched to a hotel on 11th Street for a reported disturbance. The officer met with hotel employees who advised two men had been staying in a unit on the fifth floor for two days and were supposed to check out last Tuesday by 11 a.m. When the employees went to check on the room, the two men became belligerent and refused to leave, according to police reports.

The employees called police and advised they wanted the two men evicted. The OCPD officer responded to the hotel room and made contact with a suspect later identified as Michael Gardiner, 28, of Delaware City, Del. According to police reports, Gardiner first provided a different name to the officer and a background check revealed the name provided was wanted on an outstanding warrant for drug-related charges and resisting arrest in Elkton, Md.

While the OCPD officer was speaking with Gardiner, he reportedly observed him wearing multiple necklaces, one of which included a knife concealed in a plastic cover. The knife necklace was partially concealed by the other necklaces and a scarf Gardiner was wearing, according to police reports.

Meanwhile, information to the officer by Ocean City Communications led the officer to believe he was not interviewing the suspect with the name and date of birth provided by Gardiner. At that point, Gardiner was taken into custody for carrying a concealed deadly weapon and on suspicion of providing a false name to police in order to conceal his identity.

During a search incident to the arrest, the officer located a key chain around Gardiner’s neck containing a small metal vial. In the vial, the officer located five blue pills that turned out to be amphetamines and alprazolam, which are considered controlled dangerous substances.

According to police reports, Gardiner continued to maintain he was the individual belonging to the name he provided to the officer throughout the entire booking process. Through further investigation, it was learned the name provided by Gardiner belonged to a man wanted on active warrant in Cecil County and a fugitive warrant in Delaware for being involved in a burglary during which he was armed with an explosive deadly weapon.

After police accurately identified Gardiner, he was charged with carrying a concealed dangerous weapon, making a false statement to police concerning his identity, knowingly and willingly assuming the identity of another individual and possession of CDS. Gardiner failed to appear for trial last Friday and had a warrant sworn out for his arrest.