Purse Grab Leads To Burglary Charges

OCEAN CITY — A local man was arrested on first-degree burglary and other charges this month after allegedly swiping an expensive purse and other belongings from a guest room in a hotel where he worked.

On Sept. 4, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers responded to a downtown hotel at 14th Street for a reported theft. The female victim reported her purse valued at nearly $2,000, along with her wallet and other belongings, were missing from her hotel room. The victim and her boyfriend had left the purse in the room concealed with some clothes and went to breakfast. When they returned, the purse and its contents were missing.

The victim reportedly told police she and her boyfriend had left the room about 10 a.m., and returned around 2:30 p.m. to retrieve a jacket. When they returned at that time, nothing appeared to be out of place. However, after they left and returned again around 5 p.m., they realized the purse was missing.

Officers worked with the hotel manager, who determined the victim’s room had been opened with a guest card three times on that day, including 12:15 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4:25 p.m. The hotel manager reviewed surveillance footage and noted the victim’s room had been opened with a master key card around 2:30 p.m.

The surveillance footage revealed a hotel housekeeper identified by the manager as Leon Briddell, Jr., 28, of Pocomoke, exiting a linen closet and standing in the hallway, apparently contemplating something, according to police reports. The surveillance footage reportedly showed Briddell standing by the victim’s hotel room door, listening to see if anyone was inside the room.

He then knocked on the door for about 20 seconds. The surveillance footage showed Briddell enter the victim’s room and exit a short time later, without carrying anything. Briddell then positioned his maintenance cart near the door of the victim’s room. About that same time, the victim’s boyfriend returned to the room to retrieve a jacket and left again a short time later.

Surveillance footage showed Briddell then re-entering the victim’s room and leave with something clearly in his pants, according to police reports. He reportedly walked back to the linen closet and exited with something wrapped in a sheet, according to police reports. He put the sheet presumably wrapped around the stolen purse under some trash bags on his cart and entered the elevator.

Briddell reportedly reappeared on the first floor with his cart and the wrapped object believed to be the purse. Briddell was charged with first-, third- and fourth-degree burglary and theft under $25,000.

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.