Wild OC Spree Includes Attempted Dog Theft, Vandalism

Wild OC Spree Includes Attempted Dog Theft, Vandalism
File photo by Chris Parypa

OCEAN CITY — A Delaware man was arrested last weekend after trying to steal a dog and then smashing liquor and wine bottles.

Around 5:30 p.m. last Saturday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers responded to the area of 29th Street in reference to an attempted theft of a dog. While on their way, OCPD officers received numerous other calls in reference to the same male. Officers observed Jamal Gambrel, 29, of Wyoming, Del., walking north near 30th Street.

An OCPD officer exited his vehicle and ordered Gambrel to stop. Two of the complainants yelled to the officer Gambrel had been the suspect who attempted to steal their dog. The officer again yelled to Gambrel to stop, but he turned back and yelled, “no, you stop,” according to police reports.

Gambrel then reportedly ran across the highway, causing numerous vehicles to slam on their brakes to avoid hitting him. The officer did not cross the highway on foot due to the large volume of traffic and alerted other officers in the area to locate him. Gambrel was now on the opposite side of the highway, and as the officer observed. Gambrel then picked up a large rock and threw it into the windshield of a vehicle parked in a hotel parking lot.

By now, the original complainants and large crowd were also chasing Gambrel. Another officer located Gambrel in a liquor store at 33rd Street and placed him under arrest. The initial officer arrived and observed an abundance of broken liquor bottles on the floor of the establishment. OCPD officers spoke with store employees, who reportedly told officers Gambrel had just run into the store and immediately began breaking bottles of alcohol.

All in all, it was determined Gambrel had run into the store, picked up bottles of alcohol and smashed them on the floor. A total of 18 bottles of alcohol were destroyed during the incident with an estimated value of $450 to $530.

The couple reportedly told police they were walking their dog when Gambrel ran up to them, grabbed the dog by its harness and started yelling, “It’s a free animal, let her go,” as he tried to undo the leash. The male in the couple said he pushed Gambrel away, but Gambrel still tried to free the dog. Fearing for the couple’s safety and the dog, the male victim said he pulled out his pocket knife and told Gambrel to go away, according to police reports.

Police interviewed employees at another convenience store, who reportedly advised Gambrel entered the store and walked straight to the wine collection and broke at least five bottles of wine by smashing them on the floor. Gambrel then left the store, but not before stealing several bags of candy and a bottle of Gatorade.

Gambrel was charged with numerous counts of theft, malicious destruction and numerous other counts.

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.