Cops & Courts – September 9, 2022

Theft, Embezzlement

OCEAN CITY — A foreign seasonal worker was arrested last week after a paper trail revealed he was reopening restaurant checks paid for in cash and issuing comps and pocketing the money to the tune of nearly $3,400.

On Aug. 29, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers began investigating a theft investigation at a midtown restaurant. OCPD officers met with the restaurant’s managers, who reported an employee, a J-1 student worker from Romania, later identified as Marius Chira, 23, of Ocean City, had been allegedly stealing money from the restaurant. The managers explained it was Chira’s second season working at the restaurant.

The managers reportedly explained Chira’s last day of work was scheduled for last Thursday and Chira was returning to Romania within the week. A manager advised officers he recently received a call from a customer who reported the amount she was charged at the restaurant did not match the amount on her receipt. Chira had been the customer’s server and the manager began reviewing her sales receipts.

The manager advised officers beginning in July, there was an excessive number of complimentary meals, or comps, provided by Chira to her customers, according to police reports. The manager explained the restaurant seldom issues a comp for a customer’s meal and rarely issues a comp for an entire check.

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The manager reportedly explained a manager’s approval is needed to comp any portion of a customer’s check, much less an entire check. A review of Chira’s receipts showed checks that had been opened by Chira and later comped using a different manager’s four-digit code. A check with the other manager revealed she had not authorized any of the comps on Chira’s receipts.

According to police reports, a check of Chira’s receipts revealed several checks that had been paid for with cash had been later re-opened by Chira and comped using the other manager’s four-digit code, essentially allowing Chira to pocket the cash. All in all, the comped cash checks totaled nearly $3,400.

On August 30, OCPD officers interviewed Chira at the restaurant. Chira admitted he had seen the other manager’s four-digit code and remembered it. Chira admitted using the code to reopen checks that had been paid in cash and keeping the money. Chira told police he was leaving Ocean City last Friday and would return to his native Romania within a week. Chira was arrested and charged with multiple counts of theft and embezzlement.

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First-Degree Assault Charge

OCEAN CITY — A Pennsylvania woman was arrested for first-degree assault last weekend after allegedly choking her friend during an argument.

Around 8:30 p.m. last Sunday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers responded to a downtown hotel for a reported domestic incident. Officers arrived and met with a female victim who advised she had been in an argument with a friend, identified as She Gresham, 21, of Monessen, Pa., about a mutual friend who had recently passed away, according to police reports.

The victim reportedly told police Gresham accused her of not caring about their friend and the two began fighting. The victim told police Gresham pinned her against a bathroom door and began choking her with her right hand while holding her against the door with her left hand.

The victim told police Gresham was choking her hard, but that she never lost consciousness, although she did fear for her safety, according to police reports. The victim reportedly showed signs of injury consistent with her account of the incident, according to police reports. Gresham reportedly told police she did not assault the victim, nor did she choke her. Based on the physical evidence and victim testimony, Gresham was arrested and charged with first- and second-degree assault.

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Blind Man’s Bluff

OCEAN CITY — A Pennsylvania man was arrested last week for allegedly assaulting his wife and then attempting to use his reported disability to explain away the incidents.

Around 1:15 a.m. last Wednesday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer responded to a motel at 24th Street for a reported domestic assault. The caller advised her husband, Christopher Barnes, 55, of Carbondale, Pa., had assaulted her and left bruises on her arms, according to police reports. Ocean City Communications advised they could still hear the couple arguing over the phone.

Upon arrival, OCPD officers met with the victim, who reported Barnes was legally blind and they had been arguing because he wanted to go back home to Pennsylvania, according to police reports. The victim reportedly told police Barnes struck her in the arm with a closed fist and kicked her in the lower back and upper buttocks area.

The victim reported there had been a second argument when she woke up and Barnes was breaking the headboard in the unit. OCPD officers interviewed Barnes, who advised he was legally blind and when he stood up, he lost his balance and grabbed the headboard, which then broke. Barnes told police the couple had argued about that incident, but denied there was any physical altercation, according to police reports.

Barnes was arrested at that point for second-degree assault. During a search incident to the arrest, an OCPD officer took money from Barnes’ pocket and set it next to him, and he could clearly see it when he picked it up. While officers were leading Barnes to a transport vehicle, they told Barnes another officer was holding the door for them and Barnes said he could see the officer, which led OCPD officers to believe while Barnes might be legally blind, he could clearly see to some degree and that the incidents described by the victim were not accidental based on the multiple injuries on multiple locations on the victim, according to police reports.

Another OCPD officer completed a lethality screening with the victim and advised she was clearly scared and distraught. The victim told police she was scared for her life and if she had to pick Barnes up at the police station that he would kill her. The victim reportedly told police Barnes had assaulted her in the past, but has always used his disability to get out of trouble and has police just take him somewhere else for the night, according to police reports.

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Naked Fire Extinguisher Theft

OCEAN CITY — A Selbyville, Del. man was arrested last week after allegedly breaking into and taking a fire extinguisher at an uptown condo building before later exposing himself to resort police officers.

Around 3 a.m. last Thursday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers responded to a condominium building at 145th Street after Ocean City Communications received a call about a suspicious male. Communication advised the caller reported a male suspect, later identified as John Beauclair, 54, of Selbyville, Del., walking around on the fifth floor in just a towel.

The caller advised Beauclair had broken the housing to a fire extinguisher and was walking around with the fire extinguisher in just a towel. The caller then advised Beauclair was walking on the street toward Coastal Highway, but no longer had the fire extinguisher, according to police reports.

Upon arrival, OCPD officers met with Beauclair’s wife, who reported her husband was running around the parking lot naked, according to police reports. OCPD officers observed Beauclair walking near a line of trees in the parking lot, and when he tried to crawl under the trees, the towel he had been wearing fell off, according to police reports.

Beauclair was reportedly trying to put the towel back around his waist when it fell off and he reportedly exposed himself to the officers. At that point, he was arrested for indecent exposure. OCPD officers went to the fifth floor to examine the damage.

They found the housing to the fire extinguisher was broken and the fire extinguisher was missing. OCPD officers later located the missing fire extinguisher in a stairwell in the condo building at the fifth floor. Beauclair was also charged with malicious destruction of property and theft of the fire extinguisher.

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First-Degree Assault Arrest

OCEAN CITY — A Baltimore man was arrested on first-degree assault charges last week after allegedly strangling his wife during a domestic incident.

Around 1:35 a.m. last Thursday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers at the Public Safety Building received a 911 call about a domestic assault that had allegedly occurred. The female victim had not provided any personal information, where the assault occurred or even if an assault had occurred, according to police reports.

The victim had reportedly told Ocean City Communications that she and her children were not in any danger from her husband, later identified as Christopher Perrin, 43, of Baltimore, once he woke up sober, according to police reports. The victim at that time was more concerned with filing a protective order and wanted to go home to Baltimore to file for the protective order, according to police reports.

About two hours later, the victim again called Communications and reported she may be interested in speaking with officers. OCPD officers attempted to call the victim four times and got no response, according to police reports. About an hour later at 4:20 a.m., the victim again called 911 and reported she wanted to speak with officers. She said she was scared because Perrin had taken the car keys in an attempt to prevent she and her children from leaving, according to police reports.

OCPD officers finally spoke with the victim at a residence at 72nd Street. The victim told police around 9 p.m. on Aug. 31, she and Perrin were driving with their children and that the couple was arguing. Perrin reportedly told one of the children to “shut up or he was going to punch her in the [expletive deleted] face.” When the victim told Perrin he should not talk like that to one of their children, Perrin reportedly punched the victim in the chest as hard as he could with a closed fist, according to police reports.

When the family got back to their unit, the argument continued and Perrin put his hands around the victim’s neck and lifted her in the air, according to police reports. The victim said she did not lose consciousness but was scared for her life and thought she was going to die, according to police reports. The victim told police she was scared to report the incident initially because she was afraid for her future and the future of her children, according to police reports.

OCPD officers interviewed Perrin, who reportedly admitted there had been physical altercations, but denied punching the victim with a closed fist and denied choking her. Based on the evidence, Perrin was arrested and charged with first- and second-degree assault.