ASSATEAGUE – Two Ocean City men were arrested on disorderly conduct charges and other offenses after a wild incident on Assateague Island involving attempting to ride wild ponies and tackle sika deer.
Around 6 a.m. last Saturday, Aug. 18, Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) responded to a campsite in Assateague State Park for a report of two highly intoxicated men, later identified as Thomas A. Chapman, 33, and Anthony J. Marchiano, 27, both of Ocean City. Witnesses advised NRP officers Chapman was attempting to ride wild ponies and tackle sika deer. He was also observed running nude around the campsite.
When NRP officers made contact with Chapman, he continued to yell profanities until he was placed under arrest. Chapman was charged with disorderly conduct and attempting to feed, touch, tease, frighten or intentionally disturb wildlife in a state park. He was taken before a Worcester County District Court Commissioner and released on an unsecured bond. Marchiano was issued a citation for disorderly conduct and released on his signature.
Inlet Bust Yields Drugs, Guns
OCEAN CITY – An Ocean City Police officer on routine foot patrol at the Inlet parking lot last Saturday observed four people in a car with marijuana in clear view and a subsequent arrest and search of the car turned up a significant amount of pot and loaded guns.
Shortly before 10 a.m. last Saturday, an Ocean City Police officer was walking on patrol at the Inlet parking lot when he observed four people in a Chevy Cavalier with the two front doors of the vehicle standing open. The officer observed a man, later identified as Ronald Lee Ziegel, 21, of Listie, Pa., sitting in the front passenger seat with a magazine open on his lap with marijuana on it.
Ziegel noticed the officer and quickly put the marijuana in a clear plastic baggie and handed it to a female, later identified as Hollie Star Smith, 24, of Mount Pleasant, Pa., in the right rear passenger seat. The officer later identified the suspect in the driver’s seat as Ray W. Foster, 25, of Hopewell, Pa., and the suspect in the other rear passenger seat as Stavros Joseph Bebedelis, 21, of Zephyr Hills, Fla.
The officer placed Ziegel under arrest, and while searching his person found a marijuana grinder in his pants pocket and another baggie of pot in his shirt pocket. At that time, Ziegel spontaneously stated, “All the marijuana in the car is mine,” according to police reports.
The initial officer, with the help of assisting officers, searched the vehicle and found marijuana and paraphernalia all over the passenger compartment including marijuana and rolling papers in the center console, a loaded flare gun in the glove compartment, more marijuana in the back seat and throughout the vehicle, a hypodermic needle, a spoon with suspected heroin residue and other evidence.
When the officers searched the trunk of the vehicle, they found even more damaging evidence against the four suspects. Inside a blue satchel in the trunk was a loaded 9 mm handgun with nine rounds in the magazine, one knife, two large bricks of pot, several boxes of clear plastic baggies, two scales and various other amounts of marijuana and paraphernalia. Ziegel was charged with possession of marijuana, possession with intent to distribute, possession of paraphernalia, carrying a firearm within a motor vehicle on a public parking lot and possessing a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime. Smith, Bebedelis and Foster were all charged with possession of marijuana.
Shoplifting, Then Assault
BERLIN – A Salisbury man, who is no stranger to local law enforcement agencies, was arrested last week in Berlin and charged with theft and assault after getting caught shoplifting at a local grocery store.
On Aug. 10, Berlin Police officers were dispatched to the Food Lion on Route 113 and Route 346 for a reported shoplifter. Upon arrival, the officers were informed the suspect, later identified as Ernest Menickheim, 44, of Salisbury, was attempting to flee and was being held by the manager of the store.
Berlin Police arrested Menickheim and charged him with theft for stealing steaks and assault on the manager. He is being held on a $2,500 bond. Two years ago, Menickheim was arrested and charged with several counts of theft after being connected to a string of car break-ins in the Berlin area.
Two Busted For Fighting
BERLIN – Two men were arrested on disorderly conduct and other charges last week after getting caught fighting at a Berlin community parking lot.
On Aug. 10, Berlin Police responded to a fight in progress at the Homes of Berlin II community on Bay Street. As they approached the scene, officers observed the two suspects, Anthony James, 18, of Hyattsville, and Jorma Wilson, 22, of Berlin, engaged in a fight in the parking lot. The officers then ordered the combatants to stop.
Wilson did stop fighting, but James attempted to flee. He was subdued a short time later. Both suspects were arrested and taken to the Berlin police station for processing. Each was charged with disorderly conduct and affray. James was also charged with resisting arrest.
Body Found In Surf
FENWICK ISLAND – An unidentified body was found floating in the surf on Monday evening, Aug. 20.
Around 7 p.m. on Monday, Delaware State Police troopers responded to the Delaware Seashore State Park in Fenwick after a civilian located a dead body floating in the surf. The witness contacted Delaware Natural Resources (DNREC) officials, who removed the body from the surf and contacted the state police. The victim is described as a middle-aged male, possibly in his 50s, wearing cut-off jeans and no shirt.
A preliminary investigation suggests the body may have been in the water for one or two days. There are no signs of external injury to the body. The medical examiner and detectives were examining the scene of the discovery as of mid-week and no further information is available.
Berlin Park Vandal Arrested
BERLIN – An 18-year-old Berlin man was arrested this week for vandalizing Stephen Decatur Park after a witness alerted police about the ongoing destruction.
Shortly after 8 p.m. on Monday, Berlin Police received an anonymous call about several suspects causing damage to property in Stephen Decatur Park. The caller gave a description of one of the suspects and when police arrived, they located a man, later identified as Brandon Bishop, 18, of Berlin, who matched the description given by the caller. After a brief investigation, Berlin Police arrested Bishop and charged him with malicious destruction of property under $500.
Damage to the park consisted of overturned picnic tables and pickets kicked out of the fence surrounding the children’s play area. Bishop was released on a citation.
Arrested Twice In Less Than One Day
BERLIN – An Ocean Pines woman was arrested by Berlin Police twice in less than 24 hours in practically the same place for roughly the same charges this week.
Around 6:38 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 19, Berlin Police on routine patrol noticed an occupied vehicle in the parking lot at 113 Flower Street. After speaking to the driver, officers learned his girlfriend, later identified as Lisa Sofronski, 40, of Ocean Pines, had entered one of the apartments to purchase crack cocaine. A warrant check revealed Sofronski was wanted on failure to appear charges from a prior drug arrest.
She was arrested on Sunday evening on the warrant and was taken before a District Court Commissioner and released after posting a $2,500 bond. Around 2:47 p.m. the next day, Aug. 20, Sofronski was seen again on Flower Street. A consent search of her person revealed a glass pipe, which she admitted she used to smoke crack cocaine. Sofronski was arrested again for the second time in less than 24 hours and was taken before a commissioner again and released on her own recognizance.
Speeding Stop Leads To Heroin
BERLIN – A routine traffic stop for speeding last week led to the arrest of three local men for heroin possession.
On Aug. 15, a Berlin Police officer observed a vehicle going 15 mph over the posted speed limit and conducted a routine traffic stop. A background check revealed the driver, Brian Dirzuweit, 39, of Ocean City, was driving on a suspended license and he was arrested. The officer noticed the three occupants moving around suspiciously inside the vehicle as he approached.
A search subsequent to the suspended license arrest revealed heroin and drug paraphernalia. As a result, Dirzuweit was also charged with possession of heroin and paraphernalia. The two passengers were also charged. George Seltzer, 28, of Berlin, was charged with possession of heroin, while Charles Mumford III, 38, of Berlin, was charged with possession of heroin and two counts of possession of paraphernalia.
Teen Damages Trailer Park
BERLIN – A Berlin man faces a slew of charges this week after causing damages in a mobile home park with his vehicle before fleeing on foot.
On Aug. 12, Worcester County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to the Sunset Lake Trailer Park in Berlin for a reported reckless driver. Upon arrival, the deputies located the suspect’s vehicle in the parking lot of the trailer park and noted damage to the vehicle and to other property. Witnesses were able to provide a name and a description of the suspect, later identified as Matthew Justice, 18, of Berlin, who had fled the scene on foot.
A short time later, the deputies located Justice hiding behind one of the trailers in the community. He was charged with malicious destruction of property over $500 for damages to a vehicle window and damage to trailer park property. Justice was also charged with disorderly conduct and possession of an alcoholic beverage by a minor.
Construction Site Thief Pleads Guilty
OCEAN CITY – A Seaford, Del. man arrested last winter in connection with a string of construction site burglaries in the resort area pleaded guilty last week to theft over $500 and now awaits his fate pending the outcome of a pre-sentence investigation.
Two men, Troy Holmes, 32, of Seaford, Del., along with Aaron Myers, 19, of Delmar, Del., were arrested and charged in a series of construction site thefts in Ocean City that occurred between Dec. 27, 2006 and Jan. 12, 2007. The suspects specifically targeted construction sites with spools of copper wiring, which they stole and melted down to recycle the copper.
The copper was taken to a private recycling center in Delaware where it was sold for about $2 per pound. The two were charged with 11 counts including burglary, theft and malicious destruction of property.
Meyers and Holmes stole from construction sites in Ocean City including locations on 2nd Street, 42nd Street and 46th Street. Loss from theft and damage from the locations totaled just under $10,000. During the investigation, it was learned Meyers and Holmes are awaiting trial in Delaware for similar offenses.
Last week, Holmes pleaded guilty to theft over $500 and a pre-sentence investigation was ordered. Meanwhile, Myers did not appear for a District Court hearing and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.
As always, the OCPD encourages construction site managers to secure their sites and to lock up all potential theft targets. In theses cases, the stolen wiring was stored on large spools for use by electricians for residential wiring. While not a common item targeted for theft, the spools became inviting to the suspects because of the increased resale value of copper.
Guilty Plea for Assault Charges
OCEAN CITY – A 22-year-old Chevy Chase, Md. man came before the District Court Monday morning, claiming that he didn’t remember the events that led to his arrest.
Gregory Lewis Trageser, 22, of Chevy Chase, Md., came before Judge Richard Motsay Monday morning, pleading guilty to charges of second-degree assault.
On July 3, Officer Daniel Jacobs was on marked vehicle patrol when he responded to reports of assault. Upon arrival at the scene, Jacobs learned that Trageser had slapped another individual, drawing the attention of a crowd of people. Trageser was arrested and charged with second-degree assault.
Trageser told the judge that he didn’t remember any of the events due to the extreme amount of alcohol he consumed that evening. Motsay was alarmed that Trageser drank so much as to not remember anything but was more alarmed that a man Trageser’s size, 5’4’’, would assault other people.
“You’re not that big,” Motsay said. “You shouldn’t go around slapping people because someone’s liable to slap you back.”
Trageser was sentenced to probation before judgment with $557.50 fine.
Local Man Guilty Of Disorderly Conduct
OCEAN CITY – A local Ocean City man, identified Monday as the “town drunk”, came before the District Court to plead guilty to charges of disorderly conduct.
Lewis F. Harvey, 48, of Ocean City, pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct charges, adding to a long list of charges that Harvey has acquired in Ocean City.
On June 29, a plain-clothes officer noticed Harvey in a highly intoxicated state on the Boardwalk. He explained to the court Monday the various actions of Harvey that led to the arrest for disorderly conduct. Harvey reportedly yelled to several groups of females, responding confrontationally to the ones who acknowledged him. He then yelled, “Hey, how about it baby” to a female walking with a male, presumed to be her boyfriend, causing the male to become upset. Harvey reportedly continued to yell rudely to people as they passed by. His highly intoxicated state also caught several people’s attention as Harvey staggered and stumbled up and down the Boardwalk.
A uniformed police officer arrived, informing the plain-clothes officer that there had been several complaints about Harvey’s behavior. They then placed Harvey under arrest for disorderly conduct.
Harvey was not cooperative with police, yelling a slur of obscenities and calling the officers names that the officers did not see fit to repeat in court. Harvey also reportedly requested that his name-calling be recorded and reported to “Mumford,” which officers assumed to mean Judge Daniel Mumford.
When visiting Judge Richard Motsay asked if Harvey had been in trouble before, laughter could be heard from several of the police officers in the back of the courtroom.
“He’s sort of the town drunk,” the prosecutor informed Motsay, explaining that he had a long list of charges and convictions dating back to 1991.
Harvey was sentenced to time served, due to the fact that he had been in jail since the arrest on June 7.
Possession Charges Stick
OCEAN CITY – A Coatesville, Pa. man faced charges of possession of marijuana and open container in District Court Monday.
Alex James Lyons, 19, came before Judge Richard Motsay Monday morning. After pleading guilty to the charge of possession of marijuana, the open container charges were dropped.
On June 9, shortly after 2 p.m., officers noticed an individual, later identified as Lyons, on 13th Street and the Boardwalk, drinking out of a red cup that emitted the strong smell of alcohol. Officers discovered that Lyons was drinking Southern Comfort out of the red cup. Officers then asked Lyons if he had any drugs in his possession, at which point Lyons admitted to having marijuana in his possession. Lyons was then arrested for open container and possession of marijuana.
Motsay asked Lyons what he did for a living and Lyons informed the judge that he worked at a label factory that produces “no smoking” signs. “You make no smoking signs yet you’re smoking marijuana,” Motsay asked. “Don’t you feel there may be some conflict there?”
Lyons was sentenced to 60 days with all 60 days suspended and one year of supervised probation.
Pair Found Guilty Of Possession Charges
OCEAN CITY – Two Delaware men appeared before Judge Richard Motsay in District Court Monday morning to face similar charges of possession of marijuana.
Frank Richard Vito, 23, of Wilmington, Del., and Gregory Alan McDaniels, 24, of Newark, Del., both pleaded guilty to charges of possession of marijuana.
On June 9, around 3 p.m., officers patrolling the Inlet parking lot noticed a car parked with two individuals in the car. Officers observed one of the individuals, McDaniels, holding a glass pipe that the officer recognized as a marijuana-smoking device. Officers approached the car and found a small bag of marijuana in the center console. Both Vito and McDaniels were arrested for possession of marijuana.
Vito informed Motsay that he had a prior arrest for possession of marijuana when he was 17 but that June 9 had been the first time that he had smoked marijuana since then.
“This is the first time you’ve used it in seven years, you expect me to believe that,” Motsay asked.
McDaniels also had a prior possession of marijuana charge but admitted that he had smoked marijuana occasionally since then.
Both Vito and McDaniels were found guilty.
Open Container Charge Deemed ‘Legitimate’
OCEAN CITY – An 18-year-old Dagsboro, Del. man appeared in District Court Monday morning, pleading guilty to open container charges but arguing, without the aid of an attorney, that the charge was not legitimate.
Michael Joseph Marciano Jr. of Dagsboro, Del. came before Judge Richard Motsay on Monday to face open container charges from an incident earlier this month.
On Aug. 3, two individuals flagged officers in a patrol vehicle down on 23rd Street and Baltimore Ave. Officers were told that a silver Audi had hit someone on a bicycle and left the scene. The silver Audi was stopped on 33rd Street and the passenger was identified as Marciano. Officers found two, 12-ounce Natural Light beer cans and arrested Marciano for possession of an open container.
Marciano informed Motsay that he had not been drinking and that he had requested officers to give him a Breathalyzer several times, arguing that they had no right to arrest him if he hadn’t been drinking.
“Is that really legitimate?,” Marciano asked Motsay of the open container charge.
Motsay assured Marciano that both the charge and the arrest were warranted, explaining that the charge does not have anything to do with consuming alcohol, only with being in possession of an open container of alcohol.
After learning that Marciano had past probation before judgment sentences, Motsay sentenced Marciano to a 90-day suspended sentence, a $557.50 fine, and two years of supervised probation.