Cops & Courts – January 20, 2023

Motor Vehicle Theft Arrest

OCEAN CITY — A Maryland man has been charged with motor vehicle theft and other counts after allegedly taking his girlfriend’s car without her consent.

Around 5:35 p.m. last Sunday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer was dispatched to a hotel at 21st Street for a reported unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Ocean City Communications advised it was the second time officers had responded to the same complainant for the same issue, the first being on Dec. 26.

The OCPD officer met with the female complainant, who advised she had been staying at the hotel with her four-year-old child and her boyfriend, whom she identified as Isaiah Bowden, 27, of Galena, Md. The victim reportedly told police she and Bowden had gotten into an argument on Dec. 26 and Bowden took her vehicle. The victim called police, but Bowden had returned, and she did not want him charged at that time, according to police reports.

The victim reportedly told police she and Bowden had again argued last Sunday and Bowden got out of her vehicle at 15th Street. The victim locked the vehicle and returned to the hotel at 21st Street, according to police reports. The victim told officers while she was checking into the hotel, Bowden and entered and left the hotel lobby multiple times.

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The victim reportedly told police she had left her vehicle in a 15-minute parking space in front of the hotel with a spare key in the cup holder. She said she was away from the vehicle for about 10 minutes while checking in, and she observed Bowden enter the hotel lobby and leave again.

The victim reportedly told officers after she checked in, she went back out of the hotel lobby and Bowden and her vehicle were gone, according to police reports. The victim reportedly told police her wallet containing her driver’s license and money were in the vehicle at the time it was taken.

Ocean City Communications provided a lookout broadcast for the vehicle to the Maryland State Police, the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office and Salisbury Police. OCPD officers searched the area around the hotel to no avail. Around 9 p.m. last Sunday, the victim called OCPD officers and advised she had finally heard from Bowden and he told her he had taken the vehicle to Salisbury and parked it near her mother’s house, according to police reports. Salisbury Police were contacted and searched for the vehicle, but it was not located.

Based on the evidence and testimony, OCPD officers filed for charges against Bowden including unlawful removal of the motor vehicle and theft, along with various traffic charges including driving without a license.

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Uptown Domestic Assault

OCEAN CITY — A Delaware man was arrested last weekend after allegedly striking his girlfriend in the head with a beer bottle and grabbing her by the neck during a domestic incident at an uptown hotel.

Around 10:25 a.m. last Sunday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers responded to a hotel at 118th Street for a reported assault that had allegedly occurred. Officers met with a female victim, who reportedly had red marks and scrapes on the front and sides of her neck. The victim also had a raised bump on her forehead above her left eye, according to police reports.

The victim reportedly told officers she was staying in the hotel with her daughter and her daughter’s father, identified as Donniel Murray, 38, of Delmar, Del. The victim reportedly told officers she was lying in bed with her daughter around 9:30 a.m. last Sunday while Murray was still consuming alcoholic beverages from the night before.

The victim said an argument ensued when Murray accused her of trapping him in a relationship when she became pregnant with her daughter, according to police reports. Because Murray was yelling at the victim in front of her child, she wanted to check out of the hotel, according to police reports.

The victim reportedly told officers Murray was not happy with the idea of her checking out and picked up a beer bottle and struck her in the forehead with it, although the bottle did not break. The victim reportedly told officers she then turned to walk away from Murray when he grabbed her by the neck, wrapping his hands around her throat although she was still able to breathe.

The victim told officers once she was able to get away from Murray. She grabbed her daughter and attempted to grab her belongings to leave, but Murray stood in the passage of the only exit to the hotel room and would not let them leave, according to police reports. The victim reportedly told officers she felt “trapped” in the room and feared if she attempted to leave, he would hit her again.

When Murray went to the opposite side of the room, the victim was able to grab her daughter and her bag and had the opportunity to sneak out. The victim told officers she went down to the lobby and attempted to check out, but when hotel staff saw her injuries, they called the police.

The victim reportedly told officers moments before they arrived, Murray entered the lobby and snatched her car keys from her and left. OCPD officers located Murray in the vehicle, and he was detained. He reportedly admitted being in an argument with the victim. Based on the victim’s injuries and testimony, Murray was arrested and charged with second-degree assault and false imprisonment.

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Bar Tab Scofflaw Arrested

OCEAN CITY — A Willards, Md. man was arrested last week after resort police were able to connect him to a theft last summer when he allegedy ran out on a bar tab.

Around 7 p.m. last July 26, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer received a call from an employee at a bar at 8th Street about a theft that had occurred. The employee reportedly told the officer on July 11 around 6 p.m., an unidentified male had walked out on his tab for $25.86 without paying. The employee said the establishment did not contact police at that time because the bill was not excessively large, according to police reports.

However, the employee told police he was calling officers now because he had recently learned of a similar incident at a restaurant and bar on 22nd Street. In that case, the establishment was able to post a still shot of the suspect, later identified as Jason Heil, 44, of Willards, Md., and a bartender recognized him and identified him to police.

The employee at the bar at 8th Street learned of the incident at the other establishment and was able to compare screen shots taken from his place of employment to the pictures posted on social media by the other establishment. OCPD officers were allegedly able to identify Heil as the suspect in the screen shots through prior interactions with the suspect, according to police reports. Heil was served with an arrest warrant last week for one count of theft. He was held initially on a $1,500 bond before being released.

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Phone Scam Warning

BERLIN — The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office this week is reminding the community to be aware of a phone scam circulating.

The sheriff’s office has had several calls from community residents advising they have received suspicious calls from an “officer” informing them they had outstanding warrants and needed to send money to have the warrants taken care of. The sheriff’s office is reminding residents and visitors no police agency will ever call them over the phone to have warrants taken care of. Community members are advised if they ever receive a call suspicious in nature to not give out any personal information and call any police agency to report the incident.