OCEAN CITY — What began as a request to leave a Boardwalk store for not wearing a mask followed by shoplifting resulted in a wild scene on the Boardwalk last weekend with the suspect battling with police.
Around 5:50 last Friday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer was dispatched to the area of a store on the Boardwalk at 5th Street for a reported theft that had just occurred. The officer met with the store manager who advised a short time earlier, a female suspect later identified as Romina Santibanez-Lagos, 23, of Alexandria, Va., had entered the store with a male and a child.
The three customers were asked to leave the store because they were not wearing face coverings. Santibanez-Lagos and the other male and child did leave the store, but returned a few minutes later. The manager told police she observed Santibanez-Lagos leave the store with a Marky Sparky Doink It Darts dartboard valued at around $32 without paying for it.
Store surveillance video reportedly showed Santibanez-Lagos leaving the store with the dart board set and she walked with the male and child north on the Boardwalk. OCPD officers located the trio and detained Santibanez-Lagos for theft. The suspect was told to sit down on a bench, but refused. She was also asked to produce her identification, but also refused. The male asked officers if he could leave with the child because he was not being detained, and the officers allowed him to leave with the child.
Santibanez-Lagos was again asked for her ID, but refused to give it to police because she wanted to wait for her child to be completely out of the area. Once the male and the child were out of the area, Santibanez-Lagos did sit on the bench as requested, but appeared to be stalling the investigation by refusing to identify herself.
At that point, Santibanez-Lagos got up from the bench and attempted to run south on the Boardwalk. An OCPD officer was able to grab her to prevent her from fleeing and she was ordered to get on the ground. Santibanez swung her arm back and punched an OCPD officer in the face with a closed fist. OCPD officers tackled the suspect to the ground to prevent her from assaulting anyone else, but she continued to resist and scream loudly on the crowded Boardwalk, according to police reports.
As a result of her battling with police and flailing on the ground, Santibanez-Lagos’ bikini top dropped down, exposing her right breast. Bystanders on the Boardwalk reported yelled to officers to cover her up as they attempted to gain control of her and carry her to the transport vehicle. Santibanez-Lagos continued to fight with police, kicking one officer in the leg and stomach in the process, according to police reports.
OCPD officers were eventually able to carry Santibanez-Lagos off the Boardwalk to the waiting transport vehicle. By now, a large crowd had gathered on the Boardwalk and on nearby balconies to watch the scene unfold. When she continued kicking and scrapping with police, Santibanez-Lagos had to be put in a violent prisoner restraining device.
She was charged with theft, obstructing and hindering, three counts of assault on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest, indecent exposure, disorderly conduct and other counts.