Cops & Courts – June 24, 2022

Storeroom Doors Kicked In

OCEAN CITY — An Ohio man was arrested last weekend after allegedly kicking in doors and burglarizing multiple businesses on the Boardwalk.

Around 6:30 a.m. last Sunday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer responded to a Boardwalk restaurant for a reported breaking and entering. According to police reports, an employee at the restaurant arrived for work and found the back door vandalized and the lock broken.

The officer met with the employee, who said he arrived at around 5:47 a.m. and found the door to a storeroom in the hotel adjacent to the restaurant where food and other supplies are kept had been kicked in. The employee told the officer the storeroom was always kept locked, according to police reports.

Officers made contact with hotel employees to gain access to video surveillance footage. The footage showed a male suspect entering the hotel property and roaming, according to police reports. The investigation revealed the male, later identified as Caleb Short, 20, of Southwest, Ohio, entered the hotel office and asked front desk personnel to allow him to use the phone to contact his girlfriend, according to police reports.

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Hotel employees recalled Short asking them to use the house phone to contact his girlfriend and at least three calls were made. The employees recognized Short as the male who had asked to use the phone from the surveillance video. The hotel employees recalled Short’s girlfriend describing her location as an Airbnb at 2nd Street across the street from a smoke shop.

Officers knew the location and responded to a condo building there. Police presented a photograph to the woman who answered the door to the condo unit, and she said, “Oh yeah, that’s Caleb,” according to police reports. Short was located inside the condo unit and was detained. He was charged at that point with malicious destruction of property.

Meanwhile, another OCPD officer responded to a different reported breaking and entering at beach bar storeroom on the Boardwalk. Security footage revealed Short entering a storeroom owned by a resort hotel group, which provided access to the beach bar’s storeroom. Security footage revealed Short had allegedly kicked in two storeroom doors in the process, according to police reports.

The investigation revealed Short had first broken into the storeroom at the beach bar before breaking and entering the storeroom at the restaurant. At the Mexican restaurant Short entered in the second incident, a bottle of tequila valued at over $47 was stolen, according to the restaurant’s inventory. Short was charged with multiple counts of burglary and malicious destruction of property.

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Truck Driven Off Tow Truck

OCEAN CITY — A Beltsville, Md. man was arrested last weekend after allegedly driving a stolen vehicle off a tow truck attempting to recover it for its owner.

Around 5:40 p.m. last Thursday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers were dispatched to a hotel at 5th Street for a reported hit-and-run motor vehicle crash. Upon arrival, officers met with a tow truck operator who told police U-Haul had contacted his company to recover an abandoned rental vehicle, according to police reports.

The tow truck operator reportedly told police he arrived at the hotel to recover the truck, attached it to his tow truck and was prepared to leave. However, the tow truck driver was approached by three unidentified females and a male suspect, later identified as Dodi Allotey, 21, of Beltsville, Md.

According to police reports, Allotey became aggressive and punched the passenger-side window of the tow truck. The tow truck driver told Allotey he was towing the truck because U-Haul was reporting it as abandoned. Allotey then got into the abandoned vehicle and drove it off of the tow truck, were it had been fully attached via ratchet straps, according to police reports.

Officers contacted U-Haul and the manager there said the company would like to report the truck as stolen. The value of the truck as $34,600. While on the scene, officers observed Allotey walking away from the hotel at 5th Street and Washington Lane and he was detained. When officers attempted to handcuff Allotey, he reportedly began pulling away and resisting arrest.

Officers viewed security footage captured by the hotel, which revealed Allotey entering the stolen vehicle while it was attached to the tow truck and drive off, damaging straps and other equipment in the process. Based on the security footage, the tow truck driver’s testimony and the fact the officer observed Allotey driving the stolen vehicle passed him while he was on his way to the scene, Allotey was charged with motor vehicle theft and malicious destruction of property. A search of Allotey revealed the keys to the stolen U-Haul vehicle in his pants pocket, according to police reports.

Officers located the stolen vehicle in the parking lot of a hotel on St. Louis Avenue and the tow truck driver was told he could recover it. The tow truck driver told officers when he first located the truck back at 5th Street, he had recovered a dog from within the stolen vehicle. The tow truck driver informed police when he removed the dog, it collapsed due to hydration. The tow truck driver told officers he nearly had to break a window to get the dog out of the vehicle.

Because Allotey was in possession of the stolen vehicle and its keys, it was determined he could have provided water and nutrition for the dog, and additional charges of animal cruelty charges were tacked on.

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Handgun Arrest After Chase

OCEAN CITY — A Pennsylvania man was arrested last week on handgun charges after allegedly running from police and discarding the weapon behind a wooden fence.

Around 12:15 a.m. last Thursday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer patrolling in the downtown area reportedly observed two males sprinting north on Wilmington Lane near 3rd Street. The officer observed one of the males, later identified as Codi Refi, 28, of Ephrata, Pa., running awkwardly with his right arm stiff and rigid and his right hand appeared to be holding something in his waistband, according to police reports.

Refi reportedly observed the officer and stopped running. However, he continued to hold his hand at an object in his waistband. The officer observed a bulge in the area of Refi’s waistband that was not in the area of the pockets of his sweatpants. The bulge was not consistent with a cell phone or a wallet, according to police reports.

Refi and the other male walked slowly away from the officer’s position, looking back over their shoulders as they did so, according to police reports. The two men then suddenly began sprinting away again down Wilmington Lane and Refi continued his furtive movements with the object in his waistband as he fled the area. Based on his observations, the officer believed Refi had a handgun in his waistband, according to police reports.

OCPD officers observed Refi in the area of 6th Street and Wilmington Lane near a wooden fence in a position as if he just jumped over the fence, according to police reports. He ran again but was ultimately detained by OCPD officers. Officers frisked Refi with negative results and there was no longer a bulge in his waistband, according to police reports.

OCPD officers did briefly lose sight of Refi, so it was determined if he did have a weapon, he could have discarded it before he was detained. An OCPD officer went to the area of the wooden fence where Refi had been seen and located a .38-caliber handgun with a laser attached laying in the dirt behind the fence. The gun was found in close proximity to where Refi had been seen jumping the fence. Refi was arrested and charged with wearing and carrying a handgun on his person and other weapons charges.

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Suspended Sentence For Trashing Residence

OCEAN CITY — A local man, arrested in April after trashing a residence and stealing items, pleaded guilty last week to malicious destruction of property and was sentenced to 30 days, all of which was suspended.

Around 5 p.m. on April 7, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer responded to a residence on 33rd Street for a reported theft that had occurred. The officer reportedly met with the female complainant, who advised she was in the court process of evicting her tenant, identified as Robert Hill, 71, of Berlin.

The property owner provided paperwork stating Hill had to be off the property by April 7, according to court reports. The victim said she went with her friends to the residence to clean it up, but noticed Hill had not yet vacated the premises.

The victim invited OCPD officers into the unit to show them the damage and advise what items had been stolen. The victim showed the officers a back room that she had kept locked to hold other personal items. The door had a big hole in it and the door knob was broken, according to police reports. The victim provided police with a detailed account of everything that had been damaged or stolen, including a picture frame, the broken bedroom door, an oak kitchen table that had been left out in the elements, a refrigerator with chipped paint and all of the shelves missing, two closet doors missing, and a bunk bed mattress missing, among other things.

The victim also told police she had an antique wooden clock in the unit that Hill allegedly stole. The victim was able to provide evidence that Hill had attempted to sell the antique clock on Facebook Marketplace. OCPD officers located Hill a short time later in the area of Worcester Street and placed him under arrest for theft and malicious destruction of property.

Last week, Hill pleaded guilty to malicious destruction of property and was sentenced to 30 days in jail, which was suspended. He was then placed on unsupervised probation for 18 months.