Report: No Favoritism In Stop Of Mayor's Daughter
OCEAN CITY - An internal investigation into the alleged mishandling of a traffic stop of then-Ocean City Council President and now Mayor Rick Meehan's daughter back in 2005 revealed the officers involved followed department policy and acted appropriately, although some issues with the chain of communication were called into question.
Several weeks ago, OCPD Chief Bernadette DiPino was contacted by a local reporter who received an anonymous letter alleging OCPD officers mishandled a traffic stop involving Meehan's daughter Kellie back on Aug. 2, 2005. DiPino initiated an Internal Affairs investigation into the incident and the results of that investigation were released this week.
The findings concluded on Aug. 2, 2005, around 2 a.m., Kellie Meehan was clocked going 52 mph in a 35 mph zone on Coastal Highway near 32nd Street and a traffic stop was initiated. She was issued a traffic citation and later paid the $75 fine through District Court.
The report released this week revealed the officer did detect a slight odor of alcohol on Ms. Meehan, but observed no signs of any impairment. Her speech, behavior and overall coherence were found to be normal and the officer did not feel it necessary to ask her to perform any field sobriety tests, according to the official findings released this week.
The officer handling the stop felt then-Council President Rich Meehan should be made aware of the incident. Meehan drove to the location of the stop and picked up his daughter. The report makes it clear in no uncertain terms that Ms. Meehan did not identify herself as the council president's daughter until asked by the officer, nor did she or her father ever ask for or receive preferential treatment.
According to the report, there was a corporal on the scene and a sergeant was also called. The duty lieutenant was also notified of the situation, but no other official notifications were made. The report concluded the officers involved followed procedure and acted appropriately in terms of the traffic stop, but DiPino did express some concern regarding the notification process.
'Our general orders are very specific,' she said. 'When our officers have any official dealing with a member of the Ocean City government, the commanding officer on the scene must notify the Division Commander who, in turn, will notify the Chief of Police sometime after the incident has concluded. In this case, this procedure was not followed.'
No punishment was issued to any officer involved, however, DiPino has counseled her staff regarding proper notification procedures.
CVS Shoplifter Sought
OCEAN CITY - Last Wednesday, OCPD officers were called to the CVS store on 120th Street in regards to a shoplifting incident that had taken place the day before. According to police records, employees had just discovered $1,000 worth of cosmetics had gone missing prior to Wednesday.
Management and officers immediately began looking at surveillance tape when they came across an individual who entered the store at one point, grab a shopping cart and head straight to the cosmetics isle. They then observed the suspect repeatedly place items into the shopping cart and then transfer them to a large handbag.
After about 10 minutes of doing this, the suspect then left the cart in the store and left with the bag full of cosmetics, totaling approximately $1,000, in hand.
The suspect in the surveillance tape is described as a white female, around 55-60 years of age and heavy set with glasses. The woman also had gray hair and was wearing a red horizontal striped shirt and dark pants. According to the tape, she entered the CVS around 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon and left around 2:40 p.m.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the OCPD.
Bank Bag Thief Convicted
SNOW HILL - An Ocean City man convicted earlier this year on felony theft over $500 for an incident last summer when he stole $8,000 from a Boardwalk business where he would frequently help out was sentenced this week to eight years in jail with all but 18 months suspended and was ordered to pay $6,000 in restitution to the business.
In September, resort police arrested and charged Sean Patrick Hawes, 38, of Ocean City
with theft after he stole a bank bag containing $8,000 from Boardwalk Fries.
The discovery occurred on Aug. 7, when the victim called police to report the
missing property. According to court documents, the victim told police Hawes was visiting the business and had permission to be behind
the counter because he helped out occasionally.
Through the investigation, it was determined that Hawes was in close proximity to the money bag and suspicious activity was reported in his bank account. According to court documents, Hawes stole the money and deposited it into two separate bank accounts on the same day. Fourteen days after the theft, however, Hawes allegedly emptied both accounts and each had a negative balance.
Police issued an arrest warrant for Hawes because he was considered a flight risk. He had provided bogus addresses to the bank and previously to police and held a Florida driver's license. Hawes was eventually arrested on Sept. 1.
In February, Hawes was convicted on felony theft charges and a pre-sentence investigation was ordered. Back in Circuit Court this week, Hawes was sentenced to eight years, all of which but 18 months was suspended.
Body Found In Pines Yard
OCEAN PINES - Around 11:40 a.m. on Monday, the Ocean Pines Police Department responded to a residence on Pinehurst Rd. in the community in reference to a possible deceased person.
Upon arrival, a deceased female was located in the yard of the residence. The Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) responded and assisted with the death investigation. The body was transported to the State Medical Examiner's Office in Baltimore for an autopsy. The autopsy results are pending, but no foul play is suspected, according to police reports.
Juvenile Arrested On Drug, Weapons Charges
BERLIN - A Berlin juvenile was arrested last week and charged with possession of controlled dangerous substance, possession with intent to distribute and carrying a concealed deadly weapon after being stopped for questioning about trespassing on private property.
Shortly before 8 p.m. last Friday, Berlin Police noticed two juveniles trespassing on private property on Route 346 near Barrett Rd. in Berlin. The officer who first contacted the juvenile detected a strong odor of marijuana. The officer conducted a protective pat-down of one of the juveniles and discovered a switchblade knife and the juvenile was then arrested for carrying a concealed deadly weapon.
A search of the juvenile suspect incident to the arrest revealed six bags of marijuana, prescription Klonopin pills and cigarettes. Through the investigation, it was revealed the juvenile had stolen the prescription medicine from the other juvenile's home and was attempting to sell the Klonopin and marijuana.
The juvenile was arrested and charged with carrying a concealed deadly weapon, possession of CDS, possession of CDS with intent to distribute and other drug- and theft-related charges. A charge of a minor in possession of cigarettes was thrown in for good measure.
The first suspect was referred to Juvenile Services and later released to the family of the other juvenile, who was not charged in the incident.
Local Cited For Illegal Fish
OCEAN CITY - An Ocean City man last week was cited for possessing illegal striped bass and other finfish after being caught trying to sell his illegal catch at a seafood market.
On Monday, April
9, Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) charged Theron Scott Carmean,
44, of Ocean City, with fishing for, catching and possessing finfish in the
waters of the State of Maryland without a valid license; and catching and
possessing for sale striped bass in the waters of the Maryland without a valid
NRP charged Carmean after checking his commercial fishing vessel, the 'Belinda
Ann,' while it landed its catch at a commercial seafood market in West Ocean
City. During the inspection, NRP discovered the person to whom the Tidal
Fishing License had been transferred had not been on-board the vessel while it
was engaged in fishing activity. Therefore, the owner/captain of the vessel was
fishing without a commercial Tidal Fishing License.
NRP officers seized as evidence Carmean's catch of a little more than 1,500 pounds of several different species of fish.
Drug Charges Filed
OCEAN CITY - A Salisbury boy whose vehicle ran out of gas and later drew the attention of officers while it was abandoned led to a marijuana charge when it was found the driver's license had been suspended.
Michael J. Schneider, 18, was driving eastbound on the Route 90 Bridge on Feb. 10 when his vehicle ran out of gas. Schneider tried to get the vehicle out of the way of traffic as much as possible while he went to get gas, however since space was limited, he had no choice but to leave part of the vehicle in the roadway, causing traffic to swerve into parts of the westbound lane.
According to police records, OCPD Officer Patrick Flynn was dispatched to the area regarding a vehicle that had broken down and had become a traffic hazard. Upon arrival, Flynn noticed a green Toyota Tacoma without a driver blocking part of the eastbound lane.
Flynn called for a tow truck and soon after Schneider returned to his car with a can of gas. The officer then asked for Schneider's license, which he found to be suspended after he conducted a background check.
Following procedure, Flynn placed Schneider under arrest for driving on a suspended license and conducted a search of the car with incident to arrest. According to police records, Flynn found a baggie of marijuana inside the car that Schneider admitted to as belonging to him.
At District Court Monday, Schneider plead guilty to the drug charge and Judge Daniel R. Mumford granted him one year of unsupervised probation and fined him $300.
Drug Case Moves To Circuit
OCEAN CITY - Nicole Lanice Collick, a Pocomoke woman who was arrested on Valentine's Day along with her husband after police found narcotics in their residence, faced Judge Daniel R. Mumford Monday at District Court for a preliminary trial that would decide whether the case would be forwarded to Circuit Court.
Collick, 32, said nothing during her trial as her lawyer argued that she had no knowledge of the crack cocaine that was located within the residence. However, Mumford thought otherwise and believed the evidence found was enough to send the trial on to Circuit Court where her fate will be decided.
It was almost midnight on Feb. 14 when OCPD Officer Pam DeGiovanni responded to the Holiday Inn Express on 126 Street in regard to a domestic dispute. Upon arrival, DeGiovanni met with the husband supposedly involved in the dispute, identified as Laron Jeffery Collick, 26, of Stockton, Md., in the lobby of the hotel. According to police records, Collick said he and his wife had gotten into an argument and she was up in the room.
DeGiovanni then went to the room while other officers remained with Collick. DeGiovanni found the room and the wife, identified as Nicole Lanice Collick, who let the officer in.
She said the argument between her and her husband was only verbal and that no assault had occurred when asked about the dispute. However, according to police reports, while talking with the wife, DeGiovanni detected the smell of burnt marijuana and asked Nicole if she could search the room.
Nicole gave her consent and DeGiovanni began her search, later finding a clear plastic Baggie in a nightstand located in the bedroom that contained three separate baggies with equal amounts of crack cocaine, totaling over 10 grams. Further search led to a partially burnt cigarette in the toilet that was believed to be marijuana.
Nicole said she wasn't aware of the crack cocaine but was
in the room when her husband smoked the marijuana blunt earlier. DeGiovanni
then spoke with Laron who admitted to smoking the marijuana. A search of Laron
later also turned up $1,196 in cash. Both were then placed under arrest and
charged with intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance (CDS),
possession of a CDS and possession of marijuana
Alleged Peeping Tom Busted On Drugs
OCEAN CITY - An Ocean City man arrested back in December came to District Court Monday to face two charges pending against him. The first was a trespassing/peeping tom charge and the second was a possession of marijuana charge that followed later when officers approached the alleged peeping tom at his residence.
According to court records, it was on Dec. 12 at approximately 1 a.m. when officers were called to the area of 7th Street for reports of an individual who was going around and looking into neighbors' windows.
Upon arrival, officers were unable to find anyone matching the description given but soon made contact with witnesses who had seen the man and pointed out the apartment they believed him to be staying in.
Officers attempted to make contact with the individual at his room. Following their inquiry, a man identified as Gavin Paul Devoe, 26, answered the door and began to answer questions posed by the officers. However, while speaking with the police, officers noticed a Baggie on one of the tables approximately 10 feet away from the door that looked to contain marijuana.
Officers soon asked if the substance was marijuana and Devoe admitted it was. He was then placed under arrest. At court Monday, Devoe plead guilty to the marijuana charge and Judge Daniel R. Mumford placed him on one year of unsupervised probation along with a $500 fine.
Drugs Seized In Bust
OCEAN CITY - After a lengthy drug investigation, OCPD officers were finally able to close in last Thursday when they served a warrant on a south-end residence of Ocean City.
According to police records, members of the OCPD's Narcotics Division had been conducting an ongoing investigation of a unit and its occupants at 409 St. Louis Avenue. After obtaining a 'No Knock' warrant, the department's Quick Response Team was at the location to execute the search.
Inside the unit, officers found quantities of crack cocaine, marijuana and $196 in cash. The occupant of the unit, Harold Lankford, 43, was arrested as well and charged with possession of crack cocaine, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
He is currently being held on $15,000 bond.
Surf Shop Burglary
OCEAN CITY - Officers of the OCPD are looking for any leads or suspects in a recent burglary where a local surf shop had several items stolen.
According to police records, it was late Saturday night or early Sunday morning when the Cloudbreak Surf Shop on 58th Street was burglarized. Police say the suspect or suspects threw a brick through one of the windows in order to gain entry into the building. Once inside, they stole a large quantity of merchandise including clothing, shoes, and skateboard accessories.
The total value of all the items stolen is estimated to be about $3,000. There are currently no suspects in the case at this time and anyone with information is asked to call the OCPD.
Fired, Refused To Leave
BERLIN - A Selbyville man faces a myriad of charges this week including assault and obstructing and hindering a police officer after getting fired from a Berlin business and causing a scene.
A little before 3 p.m. on April 11, the Berlin Police Department responded to a business on Old Ocean City Blvd. in reference to a trespassing case. Upon arrival, Berlin PD officers met with William Charles Chamberlain, 53, of Selbyville, Del., who had been terminated from his employment at Stephen's Environmental Consulting and was refusing to leave or return company equipment.
Chamberlain became violent and assaulted Berlin police officers while destroying the company's computer equipment. He was arrested after a brief struggle.
Chamberlain was charged with second-degree assault,
trespassing, obstructing and hindering a police officer and malicious
destruction of property over $500. He was held at the Worcester County Jail on
a $10,000 bond
Seven Days For Possession
OCEAN CITY - The employee of a downtown Ocean City store arrested last August for possession of marijuana and paraphernalia during an undercover bust of the business was found guilty of possession last week in Worcester County Circuit Court and was sentenced to seven days in jail.
In August, the Ocean City Police Department conducted an undercover bust at the Smoke Rings store on 2nd Street that resulted in the seizure of illegal drug paraphernalia. Officers of the department's undercover unit, armed with a search and seizure warrant, entered the store and confiscated hundreds of pieces of drug paraphernalia. Detectives were able to obtain the warrant after an undercover officer purchased a glass marijuana pipe the week before the raid.
The OCPD later reported the bust resulted in the seizure of more than 400 drug paraphernalia items from the store including various smoking devices, scales, bongs and one-hitters. An employee of the store, Janie Cossell, 45, of Ocean City, was later arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia. Last week in Circuit Court, Cossell was found guilty of possession of marijuana after agreeing with the statement of facts in the case and was sentenced to seven days in the Worcester County Jail.
Trespasser Nabbed in Berlin
BERLIN - An Ocean City man was arrested last week for trespassing at a Berlin apartment complex he had been banned from earlier.Last Friday, Berlin Police observed David Matthew Fowler, 43, of Ocean City, hanging around the Bay Terrace Apartments in Berlin. Fowler had been given a no trespassing letter from the management of the Bay Terrace Apartments because of his suspicious activity around the complex earlier. Fowler was arrested and charged with trespassing and later released.