Serial Rapist Nabbed In ‘92 To Serve More Time In Del.; Case Spotlights Early Success Of OCPD Bike Patrol

OCEAN CITY — A notorious serial rapist nabbed 30 years ago by the resort’s nascent bike patrol was paroled in Maryland last week but will likely serve out his remaining years in Delaware.

On Aug. 20, 1992, Michael Stiple, now 57, was arrested for rape and sexual assault in Ocean City after Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers heard a female victim’s calls for help while patrolling the downtown area on bicycles. The OCPD’s bike patrol had only been created a short time earlier thanks to the President Bill Clinton-era bill providing more funding for community policing.

Siple was eventually convicted for his crimes in Ocean City in Worcester County Circuit Court and was sentenced to 32 years. Last week, he was paroled in Maryland after serving 29 years of a 32-year sentence with the Department of Corrections, but he was immediately turned over to the Delaware Department of Corrections where he will likely serve out the rest of his life.

Siple was connected to a similar unsolved sexual assault case in Ocean City in the same unit on St. Louis Avenue in the resort two years earlier. OCPD detectives, collaborating with law enforcement in Delaware, were able to connect Siple to dozens of similar incidents in that state over the course of three years.

Because he was arrested in Ocean City, Siple was charged and eventually convicted in Worcester County and sentenced to 32 years for his crime here. The state of Delaware also eventually convicted Siple of dozens of cases in that state, and he was sentenced to 50-years-plus to life in that jurisdiction, but Delaware had to wait until Siple had served his time in Maryland to put him behind bars. With Siple’s parole in Maryland last week, he is now in the custody of Delaware.

Bill Paves Way Bike Patrol

As a candidate for president in 1992, one of the planks in Bill Clinton’s platform was enhanced resources for community policing in jurisdictions all over the country. Shortly after being elected, Clinton was able to push through a $200 million bill to provide more resources to local police departments around the country, including $4.8 million to jurisdictions in Maryland.

The OCPD applied for and received a grant to begin its brand-new bicycle patrol and a handful of officers, including retired cop and now-City Councilman Mark Paddack and officers Brett Case and Glen McIntyre were among the first to develop and participate in the early program, which proved to be mobile and agile in policing, particularly in the downtown area.

On the night of Aug. 20, 1992, Paddack was patrolling on his police bike downtown in the area of St. Louis Avenue when he heard screaming from a unit. At first, Paddack was not immediately alarmed by the screaming in an area where many young summer workers tended to live and party. However, when he heard a female voice yelling “police” he quickly retreated and called for backup.

Case and McIntyre, also on bicycles, quickly responded and were able to apprehend Siple in a nearby parking lot. Siple, then 28, had sexually assaulted a young woman in a downtown apartment and fled on foot before the bicycle police were able to capture him. Paddack this week recalled the incident from 30 years ago.

“I remember hearing the victim scream on a St. Louis Avenue balcony,” he said. “I almost peddled by her unit, but divine intervention said turn around. Thank God Brett Case and Glen McIntyre were only two blocks away. They got Siple in a parking lot after my radio calls for backup. I was simply part of a team effort of downtown bike patrol. Thank God for the collective efforts of the OCPD and teamwork that Siple is in prison for life.”

The OCPD bicycle patrol has become an integral part of the department’s policing and law enforcement over the years and has grown by leaps and bounds. Particularly in the downtown area, the bicycle cops are highly visible, mobile and respond quickly to incidents and calls for service when a traditional vehicle-based officer might be snared in traffic or other obstacles. Paddack himself filled out the grant application for the bike patrol funding and the rest is history.

“The OCPD bike patrol is a mainstay in crime control,” he said. “Decades later, I see the benefits and will support all efforts to support our police. Resort communities are not immune to elements of metropolitan communities just hours away. The OCPD and the town staff are on top of the trends always.”

More Time In Del. For Siple

Siple was convicted in Worcester County for multiple counts of rape and sexual assault and was sentenced to 32 years. Shortly after his arrest by the OCPD bike patrol in August 1992, resort detectives collaborated with law enforcement in Delaware to link him to around three dozen similar cases in that state and the surrounding area.

Various law enforcement agencies in Delaware had been investigating a series of rapes and sexual assaults with considerable resources dedicated to the capture of the suspect. At the height of the investigation, about 20 law enforcement officers in various departments were working the case and eventually, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) became involved to no avail.

Allied law enforcement agencies reportedly waded through thousands of tips and leads but could not identify of locate the suspect in the growing number of cases. When the alert OCPD bicycle patrol officers were able to nab Siple after a sexual assault incident in a downtown apartment on St. Louis Avenue, resort police were able to collaborate with law enforcement in Delaware to link him to a series of similar crimes in that jurisdiction.

Siple was tried and convicted first in Maryland and was ultimately sentenced to 32 years, of which he served 29 prior to being paroled last week. He was also tried and convicted in Delaware for his three dozen or so similar crimes there and was sentenced to 50 years to life. With his time in the Maryland Department of Corrections served, he was turned over to officials in Delaware to serve out his remaining time there, which will likely be the rest of his life.

OCPD Feted At White House

Again, one plank in Clinton’s campaign platform was enhanced resources for community policing, an ironic concept in a new era of efforts to defend local police departments, and the spending bill he was able to push through early in his administration provided resources to local police departments including more personnel, better or newer equipment and other initiatives. One of the early success stories of those initiatives was the OCPD bike patrol, which gained funding through the program.

Clinton was advised of the early success of the OCPD bicycle patrol and the arrest of Siple by then-Senator Paul Sarbanes. As a result, then-OCPD Police Chief Dave Massey, Paddack and McIntyre were invited to the White House to showcase the success of the president’s initiatives. Case was also invited but had to decline because of commitments with the court system to adjudicate cases in which he was involved.

According to reports, Massey explained the success of the OCPD bike patrol to the president. For his part, Clinton said the OCPD bicycle patrol was a shining example of the intent of his community policing program and praised the department for its success overall and for nabbing convicted serial rapist Siple. During the White House event, Clinton praised the OCPD and local law enforcement agencies all over the country who were having similar success.

“I think all Americans know that we can never be strong abroad unless we are first strong at home,” Clinton reportedly said during the event. “Our ability to make our people secure is the critical element of personal freedom that rests at the root of our strength as a nation.”

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.