Cops & Courts – March 6, 2020

Cops & Courts – March 6, 2020

Motor Vehicle Theft Arrest

OCEAN CITY — A Snow Hill man was arrested on motor vehicle theft and other charges last weekend after being caught allegedly driving a van stolen from Berlin in Ocean City.

Around 5 a.m. last Sunday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer responded to a convenience store at 85th Street for a reported civil dispute. Upon arrival, the officer met with Azam Purnell, 29, of Snow Hill, who appeared agitated and was talking in a loud tone, according to police reports.

A background check revealed Purnell had no warrants and his driver’s license status was listed as eligible. When asked about his driver’s license, Purnell reported told police he had a learner’s permit. With the civil dispute resolved, OCPD officers told Purnell he was free to leave, but that he could not drive the vehicle away without a licensed driver with him.

According to police reports, Purnell walked over to the vehicle and got in the driver’s seat. A short time later, he started the vehicle and pulled away. An OCPD officer pulled behind the vehicle, a blue van, and asked Ocean City Communications to run a registration check on it. The check revealed the vehicle had been reported stolen from Berlin the day prior.

OCPD officers pulled the stolen van over and took Purnell into custody. A check of the vehicle confirmed it was the same one reported stolen from Berlin. According to police reports, Purnell was irate and yelling and could not be persuaded to calm down. When told he was being arrested for driving without a license, Purnell reportedly voluntarily said, “Stolen vehicle? I got proof my body was letting me buy it from a cash app and I’m allowed to have this vehicle.”

Purnell was arrested and transported to the Public Safety Building for processing. During processing, he made the point if the van had been stolen, then nothing inside of it belonged to him, which turned out to be a bit of foreshadowing. A subsequent search of the van revealed a plastic cylinder under the driver’s seat containing crack cocaine, according to police reports.

While the arresting officer was completing paperwork, he was informed by the custodial officer that Purnell was allegedly damaging the cell in which he was being held. The officer reviewed surveillance video and learned Purnell had allegedly scratched the lens of the surveillance camera completely with metal screws he had removed from a bed in the cell.

At that point, Purnell allegedly threw the screws out of the cell through the slot in the door and made threatening remarks to the arresting officers. He was charged with motor vehicle theft, possession of controlled dangerous substance, malicious destruction of property and other traffic-related violations.


Chronic Thief Arrested Again

OCEAN CITY — A local homeless man, arrested twice during the month of February for theft and burglary, was arrested again last week after allegedly setting up housekeeping in a vacant downtown hotel room undergoing maintenance.

Last Wednesday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer was dispatched to a Boardwalk hotel for an apparent trespassing incident. According to police reports, the third floor of the hotel had been undergoing maintenance on that day and none of the rooms on that floor had been assigned to a guest. However, the door to room 312 was closed and video surveillance reportedly showed an unidentified male suspect walking furtively in the hallway before entering the room and closing the door behind him.

OCPD officers reviewed the surveillance video and observed a suspect later identified as Alex Alexis, 31, of no fixed address, huddling close to the wall in the hallway as if to avoid detection before entering room 312. OCPD officers were familiar with Alexis, a known homeless individual, from prior run-ins with law enforcement. In fact, Alexis had been arrested twice during a one-week span in February for allegedly stealing bicycles in the resort.

OCPD officers met with the hotel manager, who told police after reviewing the surveillance video, he went to room 312 and looked through the room’s vacant peep hole, which had been removed as part of the maintenance project. The manager told the officers he observed Alexis inside the unit, which is when he called the police.

OCPD officers went to the unit and knocked on the door. According to police reports, Alexis answered the door and complied with the officers’ commands, saying without being asked, “I’m not supposed to be in there,” according to police reports. Alexis reportedly advised the officers he was homeless and had nowhere else to go.

Because he was compliant, Alexis was allowed to go back into the room to collect his things and advised the officers he had a small amount of marijuana in his boot. He also advised police he had fake bills in his jacket pocket which he reportedly used to play craps, according to police reports.

At that point, Alexis was arrested for trespassing. Because he admittedly been in the room for an extended period of time, Alexis was also charged with theft for the cost of the room, or around $79, along with burglary. Again, Alexis had been charged twice with theft and burglary over the period of a week or so earlier in February and each time he had been released on personal recognizance pending trial and the officer believed the pattern of theft and burglary would continue. Nonetheless, he was released recognizance after last week’s arrest.


Stolen Bicycle Recovered

OCEAN CITY — A local homeless man was arrested on theft charges last week after he was observed riding a bike reported stolen last summer.

Around 11:25 p.m. last Wednesday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer responded to the area of 2nd Street for a reported stolen bicycle. The officer met with a representative of a resort bike shop who told police he had observed an individual riding a bicycle that belonged to the store. The witness told police the suspect locked the bike on a rack in the area of 2nd Street and left the area.

The officer examined the bike and found it had a rental sticker on it from the bike shop. That particular bike, a light blue ladies beach cruiser, had been reported stolen in June. The bike shop owner arrived at the scene and identified the locked bike as the only one of its kind in his fleet of rental bikes.

While speaking with the bike rental shop owner, the OCPD officer learned the suspect, later identified as Gerald Gannon, 57, of no fixed address, was currently at the bus stop at 3rd Street and Baltimore Avenue, according to police reports. The officer asked Gannon if he had just locked his bike and 2nd Street, to which he replied yes, and then asked him to walk back to the bike with him, according to police reports.

Gannon walked back with the officer and identified the bicycle locked to the rack as his. It was also noted in the report the bike was secured with a combination lock and Gannon knew the combination. When questioned, Gannon told police he had borrowed the bicycle from and individual known only as “Bill.”

Based on the evidence, Gannon was arrested and charged with theft from $100 to $1,500. The bike was valued at around $500.


Disorderly Conduct Arrest

OCEAN CITY — A local man was arrested on multiple charges last week after allegedly causing a scene outside a downtown bar.

Around 1:45 a.m. last Thursday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers responded to the area of 8th Street for a reported disorderly male. OCPD officers arrived and made contact with the suspect, later identified as Ecimovic Miroslav, 25, of Ocean City, who was reportedly yelling at employees of a nearby pub.

OCPD officers instructed Miroslav to stop yelling and stand by them, but he reportedly continued to walk away in another direction before complying with their orders. Patrons of the establishment walked the long way around Miroslav to avoid his continued yelling, according to police reports.

At that point, officers attempted to take Miroslav into custody because he was in violation of the city’s noise ordinance and because he continued to disturb the peace. Nonetheless, Miroslav continued to launch his expletive-laced tirade at the police officers and bar staffers.

When OCPD officers attempted to handcuff Miroslav, he reportedly refused to put his hands behind his back and additional resisting arrest charges were tacked on. All in all, he was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, intoxicated public disturbance, failure to obey a lawful order and the noise violation.


No New Jail Time For Boardwalk Theft

SNOW HILL — An Ocean City man, arrested in December after allegedly stomping a local homeless man on the Boardwalk and stealing his bottle of vodka, was found guilty last week of theft under $100 and was sentenced to 63 days, or the amount of time he spent in jail awaiting trial.

Around 7:15 p.m. on Dec. 26, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer was dispatched to a residence on North Division Street for a reported theft that had already occurred. The officer arrived and met with the victim, a local homeless individual with whom the OCPD is familiar and who had recently fallen into ill health and was physically disabled.

The victim told police he was lying on the ground and covered with a blanket due to the extreme cold near the comfort station on the Boardwalk at Caroline Street. The victim told police there was a plastic bottle of vodka on the ground next to him, according to police reports. The victim told police while he was lying under the blanket he was approached by another man, later identified as Walter Everett, 57, of Ocean City. OCPD officers are familiar with Everett from numerous run-ins with the suspect on various assault cases.

The victim told police he poked his head out from under the blanket and observed the man he knew only as “Walt.” According to police reports, Everett told the victim “give me that [expletive deleted] bottle and angrily kicked an aluminum can at the victim, striking him. According to police reports, the victim told Everett to leave him alone and that he only wanted to sleep.

The victim reportedly told police Everett kicked him in the left side of his face three times. When the victim looked out from under the blanket, he reportedly walking north on the Boardwalk carrying the plastic bottle of vodka. Meanwhile, the OCPD officer located Everett crossing Philadelphia Avenue between 15th and 16th Streets and he was carrying the plastic bottle of vodka allegedly stolen from the victim. According to police reports, Everett admitted taking the bottle from the victim, but denied any physical altercation had occurred. Based on the evidence, Everett was arrested and charged with first-degree assault and other charges related to the incident.

Last Friday, Everett was found guilty of theft under $100 and was sentenced to 63 days, or the amount of time he was in jail awaiting trial. The other charges against Everett were not prosecuted.