Cop Assaulter Tough to Get Down
Stolen Car Connected To Local Beer Theft
OCEAN CITY - A New Hampshire man was arrested on auto theft and theft charges this week after the stolen car he was driving was connected to the theft of a 30-pack of beer from a downtown gas station.
Shortly before midnight last Wednesday, Ocean City police were told to be on the lookout for a possible stolen car, a PT Cruiser, The call came from a Berlin police officer who told OCPD the vehicle was allegedly involved in a hit-and-run accident in Berlin. The Berlin officer spoke to the owners of the vehicle who told her the car was unlawfully taken by their daughter's boyfriend, later identified as William Lawrence Cloutier, 30, of Rochester, N.H.
Around 1:20 a.m. on Thursday, about an hour and a half after the initial call, an OCPD officer on patrol observed the stolen vehicle at 1st Street and St. Louis Ave. Several officers converged on the scene and pulled the PT Cruiser over at 17th Street. Cloutier was identified as the driver of the vehicle.
About six minutes after that, the OCPD got another call about a man running out of the Bridge Shell station with a 30-pack of beer and fleeing in a blue PT Cruiser. Police discovered the 30-pack of beer in the back of the stolen vehicle and the store clerk was brought over and positively identified Cloutier as the man who fled from the store. He was arrested and charged with felony and misdemeanor theft and unlawful taking of a motor vehicle.
Raid Nets Drugs, Gun
OCEAN CITY - During the execution of a search and seizure warrant for a downtown apartment last week, OCPD narcotics agents recovered several illegal drugs in various quantities along with a handgun.
Around 4:15 a.m. last Thursday, the OCPD Quick Response Team (QRT) executed a search and seizure warrant on a residence on Philadelphia Ave. occupied by Gene L. Sams, 38, of Ocean City. The QRT team located and detained Sams, who was sleeping in one of the bedrooms.
During a sweep of the residence, OCPD officers discovered various amounts of marijuana, Roxicodone, Oxycontin, paraphernalia and a scale. They also found an unloaded revolver on top of a dresser in the apartment. Sams was charged with possession of marijuana and other CDS, possession of paraphernalia and possession of firearms.
Area Police Looking For Hit-and-Run Suspect
WEST OCEAN CITY - Maryland State Police are looking for the suspect who struck three unattended vehicles in a parking lot in West Ocean City early last Friday morning.
According to police reports, three Ford F-250 trucks were struck by a hit-and-run driver on a parking lot near the intersection of Sunset Ave. and Golf Course Rd. around 2:45 a.m. last Friday.
Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to contact the Maryland State Police Berlin barrack at 410-641-3101.
Fire Results In Minor Damage
OCEAN CITY - The Ocean City Fire Marshal's Office this week ruled the fire at a north end restaurant on Tuesday night was accidental and likely caused by a pilot light igniting near a propane gas line.
Around 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Ocean City fire units were dispatched to the Greene Turtle on 116th Street for a reported building fire. Upon arrival, firefighters located a fire in a rear storage area and quickly extinguished the fire although they remained on site for about 45 minutes to assist with overhaul operations.
The OC Fire Marshal's Office investigated the fire and determined it to be accidental. It was likely caused by the accidental opening of a liquid propane gas line, which was ignited by a pilot light. The fire was contained to the storage area and there were no injuries reported.
Scrap Metal Thieves Nabbed
BERLIN - Two Berlin men were arrested on theft charges last week after getting caught removing scrap aluminum from a siding business's recycling bin.
Around 11 p.m. last Thursday, Maryland State Police troopers were dispatched to Shore Siding on Friendship Rd. in Berlin for a report of a possible theft in progress. Witnesses reported observing two suspects, later identified as Robert Alan Constant, 45, and Helan Lee Lynch, 23, both of Berlin, removing scrap metal from the company's recycling bin without approval of the owner.
When troopers arrived, Constant's Dodge Shadow was loaded full of scrap metal. The company's owner was contacted and estimated the value of the load of scrap metal in the truck was around $200 with the current price of aluminum. Constant and Lynch were both arrested and charged with theft under $500. They were later released on their own recognizance by the court commissioner in Ocean City.
Speeding Leads To Three Pot Arrests
BERLIN - Three Washington, D.C. area residents were arrested for marijuana possession last week after getting pulled over for speeding on Route 50 first in Wicomico County and later in Worcester County.
Around 11 p.m. last Friday, a Wicomico County Sheriff's deputy initiated a speeding stop on a vehicle on Route 50 near the Worcester County line. The vehicle was ultimately pulled over on Route 50 in Worcester County near Bent Pine Rd., and troopers from the MSP Berlin barrack were called to assist because of jurisdiction issues.
During the traffic stop, an odor of marijuana was detected inside the vehicle, which precipitated a search of the vehicle and its occupants. During the search, marijuana was located and the three occupants, identified as Dejuan Etheridge, 20, and Emmanuel Dudley, 18, both of Washington, D.C., and Mathew Walker, 18, of Capitol Heights, Md., were arrested and charged with possession of marijuana.
Beer Bottle Bashing Goes To Circuit Court
OCEAN CITY - Richard G. Ortiz, Jr., 37, of Odenton, Calif., faced a preliminary hearing in District Court this week on first- and second-degree assault charges for hitting another man over the head with a beer bottle.
Officer Joe Melena testified that on May 18, at approximately 1:09 a.m., he was dispatched to the fire station at Dorchester Street and Baltimore Avenue where he observed a male being treated by paramedics. The victim had a laceration on his left ear as well as lacerations on the side of his head, from which he was bleeding profusely.
The victim told Melena that an individual, who was later determined to be Ortiz, struck him in the head.
According to the victim, he and a friend were at the Purple Moose at the same time as Ortiz when Ortiz was reportedly thrown out of the establishment after flashing a badge and saying he was a federal agent. The victim left shortly after and was walking down Talbot Street when Ortiz hit him over the head with a beer bottle. The victim and his friend chased Ortiz, but ultimately lost sight of him at Dorchester Street, where they found help.
Police were able to locate Ortiz shortly thereafter, at which point Melena brought the victim over to identify Ortiz. The victim identified Ortiz as the assailant, however Ortiz told a different story.
According to the officer's report, Ortiz told him that the victim and his friend approached him, trying to fight. Ortiz reportedly felt threatened and used the bottle as a means of self-defense.
Ortiz's attorney argued this week in District Court that Ortiz was acting in self-defense, also suggesting that there are no grounds for first-degree assault charges. Despite those arguments, probable cause was found to forward the case to Circuit Court.
Felony Charges Dropped In Knife Assault Case
OCEAN CITY - A Whaleyville man faced a preliminary hearing for first-degree assault charges this week after allegedly threatening a local woman with a knife in front of her child in the parking lot of her place of employment at a north-end shopping mall.
Ocean City Police Officer Charles Bean testified that on May 16, he was dispatched to Gold Coast Liquors, where he met with the victim in the case. The victim informed him that she had been assaulted and threatened earlier in the day by her boyfriend, David Kenneth Baker, 28.
According to the victim, Baker took the victim's daughter for the day while she was at work and returned shortly before she got off. Baker asked her to meet him at her truck, where he demanded that she take him home. After the victim refused, Baker, who was reportedly highly intoxicated, pulled out a utility knife from his front pocket, threatening the victim and her daughter. The victim then ran inside with her daughter to call police while Baker fled the scene.
The officer testified that the knife was later found in Baker's pants pocket. Baker was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault, and possession of a dangerous weapon with the intent to injure.
Judge Darryl Fletcher dismissed both counts of first-degree assault, ruling that the remaining charges be re-scheduled for trial at the District Court level.
Child Abuse Charges Dropped
OCEAN CITY - Leslie Elizabeth Alvez, 45, of Showell, Md. had charges of second-degree child abuse dismissed with second-degree assault charges continued this week during a preliminary hearing of a case involving an alleged assault on her 14-year-old daughter.
Officer Chris Snyder testified that on May 12, he responded to the Clarion Hotel shortly after midnight for a reported assault that had already occurred. Upon arrival, Snyder met with the victim, a 14-year-old girl, who claimed that her mother had assaulted her.
The officer testified that the girl told him she and her mother were asleep when her mother woke her up, screaming in her face. The girl then pushed her mother out of her face, causing her to fall to the floor.
According to the girl, her mother then grabbed her, pulling her hair and ultimately slamming her head into the door at least three times. The girl eventually left the room, calling security. Snyder noted that he took the girl to be honest and straightforward with him, adding that a witness across the hall reported hearing a child screaming as well as seeing a highly intoxicated Alvez earlier in the night.
Snyder testified that Alvez was found two blocks away from the hotel and appeared intoxicated. Alvez reportedly told police that it was her daughter who woke up in the night and assaulted her, not the other way around. However, Alvez admitted to police later that she did pull her daughter's hair and push her in an attempt to escape the room.
Judge Darryl Fletcher dismissed the felony child abuse charges, ruling instead to have the remaining misdemeanor charge of second-degree assault rescheduled for District Court.
Local Woman Found Not Guilty
OCEAN CITY - Judith Lynn Wade-Griffith, 47, of Berlin, was found not guilty of disorderly conduct this week in District Court after being arrested for the offense in late May.
Officer James Webb testified that on May 23, he was dispatched to the Rodeway Inn and asked by staff to issue a trespassing warning to Wade-Griffith. After approaching Wade-Griffith at a neighboring building and informing her about the trespassing warning, she reportedly became very emotional and upset, yelling and causing a crowd to gather. After repeatedly asking her to be quiet and warning her that she could be placed under arrest, Webb arrested Wade-Griffith for disorderly conduct.
Wade-Griffith took the stand, testifying to the incident as well as the events leading up to it.
According to Wade-Griffith, who has worked at the building next to the Rodeway Inn for the past six years, her son and his girlfriend were staying at the hotel the weekend before. While the couple was out of the room for a few hours, another couple allegedly claimed to be staying in the room, tricking a housekeeper in to letting them in without a key. Upon returning, Wade-Griffith's son found their room emptied of their belongings, including their two computers, wallets and credit cards, which were later used up and down the boardwalk for a variety of purchases. Wade-Griffith arrived to speak with management and help with the situation but was told to leave the premises after becoming upset with an employee.
A few days later, Wade-Griffith testified that she warned a hotel patron that a room in the hotel had been robbed, but claimed she was never on the Rodeway property when she spoke with the woman, nor did she discourage her from staying there. Shortly afterwards she was confronted by police and placed under arrest. After hearing the series of events from the visibly upset defendant, Judge Darryl Fletcher found Wade-Griffith not guilty.
Possession Charges Stick
OCEAN CITY - Steven G. Baker, 27, of Bridgeville, Del. pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana this week in District Court, after being arrested for the offense during a hit-and-run investigation in early February.
According to police reports, Officer Patrick Flynn was in the area of 7th Street and Coastal Highway when he heard a crash and soon after observed a black vehicle speeding away, leading him to suspect a hit and run. Officer Danielle Giordano stopped the vehicle a few streets away and noticed fresh damages to the rear of the vehicle. Giordano also noticed the smell of marijuana emanating from the vehicle. Baker admitted to smoking in the vehicle and also admitted that he thought he hit something, but wasn't sure and drove away.
Baker was found guilty of possession of marijuana this week and was sentenced to probation before judgment with one year of unsupervised probation and a $357.50 fine.