Cops & Courts – September 2, 2022

Hotel Altercation

OCEAN CITY — A New York man was arrested on assault charges last weekend after allegedly striking his juvenile daughter during an argument about who paid for their beach vacation.

Around 10 a.m. last Friday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers responded to a motel at 20th Street for a reported assault that had already occurred. Dispatchers advised a girl came out of a room on the second floor of the motel screaming, according to police reports.

OCPD officers responded and met with the victim, a juvenile female with a fresh cut over her right eye, according to police reports. The victim, who was with her juvenile boyfriend, reportedly told police the suspect, later identified as David Piccoli, 51, of Kingston, N.Y., was leaving and pointed to a Jeep backing out of the spot in the parking lot.

Police interviewed each of the juveniles separately about the incident. The female juvenile victim told police she and the other juvenile were staying with Piccoli in the motel and he was the only adult staying in the room. The victim told officers Piccoli had been upset for the duration of their stay because he had been paying for everything and they had not contributed, according to police reports.

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The victim told police as they were about to check out, an argument ensued and Piccoli was yelling. The victim told police she mentally blacked out because of the argument and the yelling, but remembered getting into a physical argument with Piccoli, which is when she sustained the cut over her eye, according to police reports.

The juvenile male reportedly told police Piccoli had been upset because he had been paying for everything during the trip and the children had not contributed. The juvenile male told officers Piccoli became further angered when the children had not been packing fast enough before they checked out and got into a physical altercation with the juvenile female victim and grabbed her face, which is when she sustained the injury over her eye.

For his part, Piccoli confirmed he was angry because he had been paying for everything during the trip, and said when they argued about it, the juvenile female came at him swinging, according to police reports. Piccoli said he pushed her away, but denied striking her and causing the injury. Based on the injury to the victim and testimony of the two juveniles, Piccoli was arrested and charged with second-degree assault. He was also found to be driving on a suspended license and additional traffic violations were tacked on.

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Brotherly Love

OCEAN CITY — Two New Jersey brothers were arrested on assault charges last weekend after allegedly fighting each other and then making up false stories about an unknown assailant following them from a nightclub and attacking them.

Around 1:25 a.m. last Friday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers responded to a reported assault that had already occurred in the area of 5th Street. Officers responded to the area and observed two males, later identified as Zachary Manente, 25, and Jacob Manente, 23, both of Colonia, N.J., entering an apartment.

Officers knocked on the door and Zachary Manente answered. The officers observed Jacob Manente at the kitchen sink attempting to clean his face from multiple lacerations that were actively bleeding, according to police reports. Officers also observed multiple injuries on Zachary Manente. When Jacob Manente retreated into a bedroom, OCPD officers interviewed Zachary Manente.

Zachary Manente reportedly told police both he and Jacob Manente had been drinking and were just trying to get home when both of them fell, which caused their injuries. When asked if he had been involved in a fight, Zachary Manente said neither of them had been, and that their injuries were caused by both of them falling down, according to police reports.

OCPD officers spoke with an independent witness who advised observing Zachary and Jacob Manente in a physical altercation. When interviewed, Jacob Manente reportedly told police he had been assaulted by an unknown assailant and his brother came to his assistance.

Jacob Manente told police he and his brother had been at a midtown nightclub earlier and had gotten into an argument with an unknown male. Jacob Manente told police he and his brother had taken an Uber back to where they were staying at 5th Street, and somehow the individual with whom they had been arguing at the nightclub had followed them back to 5th Street.

Jacob Manente told police the unknown assailant attacked him and his brother Zachary came to his assistance.

Jacob Manente told officers the assailant then fled north on foot. Police interviewed Zachary Manente again and he changed his original story about the two brother simply falling down and told officers about an unknown assailant somehow following their Uber from the midtown nightclub to 5th Street and attacking his brother.

Based on the ever-changing stories and the fact that both brothers had significant injuries consistent with a fight, and no assailant had been seen leaving the area, both Zachary and Jacob Manente were arrested and charged with second-degree assault.

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Multiple Assault Charges

OCEAN CITY — A Baltimore man, arrested last weekend for obstructing traffic on Coastal Highway, was charged with multiple counts of second-degree assault after allegedly spitting on officers attempting to book him.

Around 12:30 a.m. last Saturday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers were patrolling in the area of 49th Street when they observed a male individual later identified as Michael Keener, 52, of Baltimore, sanding in a travel lane on Coastal Highway. OCPD officers observed one vehicle stopped on the highway in front of Keener with other vehicles beginning to stack up because of Keener’s obstruction in the roadway.

Once Keener moved out of the roadway, the first vehicle, and then the others behind it, began to move freely on Coastal Highway again. Keener then stepped in front of an OCPD vehicle with his arm extended in a motion to stop the officer’s vehicle, according to police reports.

Keener was advised to step out of the way and onto the public sidewalk, an order for which he complied. OCPD officers twice saw Keener obstructing traffic with a green traffic signal by standing in the highway. After he was asked multiple times to sit on the curb and cooperate and failed to comply, Keener was arrested for blocking free passage, according to police reports.

Keener was transported to the Public Safety Building for booking and when a public safety aide attempted to search him, he allegedly spit on the officer. The arresting officer pushed Keener against a wall and ordered a spit hood to be placed on him, but before that could happen, Keener allegedly spit on another booking officer, according to police reports.

Once finally in a cell, another booking officer attempted to take the handcuffs off of Keener, but Kenner slammed her hands against the cell door, ripping her glove in the process and causing her to wince in pain, according to police reports. Essentially, Keener had allegedly assaulted three OCPD officers in a matter of minutes, according to police reports.

Officers consulted with bar staff from whence Keener said he had come and staffers said he had been kicked out for spitting on a bartender. In addition to the blocking free passage, Keener was charged with multiple counts of second-degree assault on police officers. The bartender on whom which Keener allegedly spit did not want to press charges, according to police reports.

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Sleeping In Furniture Store Tent

OCEAN CITY — A local homeless man was arrested last weekend after resort police found him sleeping on a couch in a tent at an uptown furniture store.

Around 1:40 a.m. on Monday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer patrolling uptown was dispatched to a furniture store in the area of 130th Street. Ocean City Communications advised there was a person sleeping in a tent where merchandize was displayed.

The officer made contact with the business owner, who advised the tent was a semi-permanent structure with vinyl walls and the parking lot on which it was located was gated and had been locked when the business closed the prior day. The officer arrived on the scene and opened the door to the tent, shined a flashlight in and observed a male sleeping on a couch that was for sale with a blanket over him, according to police reports.

The officer woke the male, later identified as Scott Ferris, 40, of no fixed address. The officer noticed a puddle of liquid on the ground directly next to the couch on which Ferris had been sleeping believed to be urine. There were also empty food containers in close proximity to the couch.

Ferris collected several bags of his belongings that were in the tent near the couch on which he had been discovered sleeping. The parking lot and the business itself were dark. Ferris was ultimately arrested for burglary and malicious destruction of property. The value of the couch on which he had been sleeping was $999, according to police reports.

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Warrant Leads To Drugs

OCEAN CITY — A local man was charged with multiple drug possession and possession with intent to distribute counts last week after a search warrant was executed on his north-end residence.

During the month of August, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) detective initiated a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) investigation into a local man identified as Joseph Richardson, Jr., 37, of Ocean City. OCPD detectives identified Richardson’s residence at 120th Street in the resort and secured a search warrant for the premises.

The search warrant was executed at Richardson’s residence last Wednesday by the Ocean City Narcotic Unit and the Worcester County Criminal Enforcement Team. During a search of the residence, detectives from the allied agencies located a digital scale with suspected powder cocaine residue, a plastic container with tied-off plastic baggies of suspected cocaine weighing about a half an ounce, according to police reports.

The search continued to the master bedroom where detectives allegedly located various baggies of marijuana weighing over 10 grams when counted as a whole, according to police reports. Also found was another digital scale and various items of paraphernalia, according to police reports. Detectives also located a pill bottle containing suspected MDMA, or Molly, according to police reports.

At the time of the execution of the search warrant, Richardson was already in the custody of the OCPD for a separate drug-related arrest. He was charged with multiple counts of possession and possession with intent to distribute.