OC Police Use Cell Phone To Track Carjacking Suspects; Wicomico Authorities Nab Suspects After Crash

OC Police Use Cell Phone To Track Carjacking Suspects; Wicomico Authorities Nab Suspects After Crash
File Photo by Chris Parypa

OCEAN CITY — Two Washington, D.C. area men are being held this week without bond after allegedly carjacking a vehicle in Ocean City and fleeing into Wicomico County before crashing last Sunday afternoon.

Around 2:40 p.m. last Sunday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers responded to a parking lot at 9th Street for a reported carjacking. The alleged victim’s cousin had called 911 to report his cousin had just been carjacked at gunpoint and was possibly still in the vehicle.

The victim was not still in the carjacked vehicle and told police what had happened. The victim reportedly told police he had backed his vehicle into a parking space at 9th Street and was talking on his cell phone with his cousin when the alleged incident occurred.

The victim told police he was looking down at his phone and talking to his cousin when he noticed a light-colored four-door sedan pull up. Two suspects, later identified as Brandon Jones, 24, of Silver Spring, Md., and Christian Washington, 28, of Washington, D.C., got out of the vehicle and approached the victim’s vehicle from both sides, according to police reports.

The victim told police he heard a knock on his window, followed immediately by his driver’s side door opening. The victim’s vehicle was running and the remote key fob was in the center console. A male suspect on the driver’s side of his vehicle told the victim to give him everything in his pockets.

The victim said the suspect reached into the vehicle and turned the ignition off, but told the victim to leave the key fob in the center console. The victim told police he did not look up for fear of being assaulted, according to police reports. The suspect reportedly pulled the victim from the vehicle and removed around $350 from his pocket along with his wallet containing various credit and rewards cards. The suspects also required the victim to remove his shoes, a pair of purple New Balance shoes with green and gray accents.

The victim was able to run from the scene and called police, but the victim’s cousin had already called 911 while talking to the victim. A license plate reader on the Route 50 bridge revealed the victim’s vehicle entered Ocean City around 2:07 p.m. last Sunday. The victim’s cousin called 911 around 2:40 p.m. and the LPR on the bridge had the victim’s vehicle leaving Ocean City around 2:50 p.m.

The victim’s cell phone remained active in the vehicle after he was carjacked and allowed Ocean City police to track the stolen vehicle’s whereabouts as it traveled west on Route 50 away from Ocean City.

The first ping from the victim’s cell phone placed the vehicle on Route 50 in Powellville around 3:35 p.m. A few minutes later, the phone pinged again indicating the vehicle was on Route 50 near Walston Switch Road. The Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office located the stolen vehicle on the Route 13 bypass in Salisbury. Wicomico County Sheriff’s Deputies pursued the carjacked vehicle until it crashed west of Salisbury.

Jones and Washington were taken into custody by Wicomico County officials after the pursuit and subsequent crash and were held in Wicomico County. OCPD officers responded to interview Jones and Washington in Wicomico but they refused to speak without an attorney, according to police reports.

The victim’s wallet and one of his distinctive purple shoes with the green and gray trim was located at the scene in Ocean City. The other shoe was still in the victim’s stolen vehicle when it was recovered after the crash. The timing of the pings from the victim’s cell phone was consistent with the timeline of the suspects’ flight from Ocean City into Wicomico before the crash.

Jones and Washington were each charged with carjacking, robbery, assault and theft. Each is being held this week without bond.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.