Monthly Archives: December 2012

Ocean City Police Department Welcomes Five Eastern Shore Criminal Justice Academy Graduates

On December 18, 2012, the Ocean City Police Department proudly graduated five new

New OCPD Officers and Chief DiPino pictured from left to right:

New OCPD Officers and Chief DiPino pictured from left to right:
OFC Neshawn Jubilee, OFC Philip Paterson, Chief DiPino,
OFC Michael Kirkland, OFC Benjamin Berry, OFC Kenneth Reed

officers from the Eastern Shore Criminal Justice Academy’s 69th police academy class.

Officers were formally recognized as certified police officers of the Ocean City Police Department, after 24 weeks (950 hours) of intense training. 

The recruit class was comprised of various law enforcement agencies from all over Maryland’s Eastern Shore.  These officers continued the long established tradition ofOCPD officers by graduating from the police academy with top honors. 

Four of the five OCPD officers finished in the top four performace standings of the class as follows:

  • OFC Benjamin Berry -Pistol Expert Award and was recognized for having an overall 100% pistol proficiency during training.       
  • OFC Neshawn Jubilee – Pistol Expert Award           
  • OFC Michael Kirkland – Pistol Expert Award            
  • OFC Philip Paterson  – Pistol Expert Award                                  
  • OFC Kenneth Reed  – Academy Class Leader               

“It’s an honor to welcome these five officers to our department,” said Ocean City Police Chief Bernadette DiPino.  “They exemplify all that is good in law enforcement and will serve the Ocean City community with pride, integrity and professionalism.”

After their graduation from the police academy, the five new officers will enter into a nine week field training program.  During this time they will hone the skills they have acquired in the police academy under the direct supervision of a veteran OCPD field training officer.  They will be routinely evaluated and critiqued on their performance and judgment and will be exposed to the various shifts and divisions that make up the OCPD.

Deceased Male Recovered from Ocean City Beach

On December 18, 2012, at approximately 7:55 a.m. Ocean City Police responded to 45th Street and the Beach, in reference to an unresponsive male who was lying on the beach with a rifle in his lap.

Officers arrived at the scene and determined the male subject was deceased. The preliminary investigation has revealed the deceased male identified as a 27-year-old Mt. Airy, Maryland resident died of what appears to be a single self-inflicted gun wound. The deceased name is not being released. Next of kin has been notified.

Police recovered a .22 caliber rifle from the scene. The male’s remains have been taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Maryland for autopsy.

The incident remains under investigation by the OCPD pending the Medical Examiners findings.

OCPD Officers Recover 3 Guns During DUI Arrest

On December 16, at approximately 12:30 a.m., Ocean City police officers stopped a vehicle

Scot Donald Randolf

Scot Donald Randolf

in the area of 65th Street and Coastal Highway in reference to drunk driving. Prior to the stop, officers received information that the driver of the vehicle, who was identified as Scot Donald Randolf, 43, of Ocean City, was very intoxicated.  In addition to receiving information describing Randolf’s vehicle, officers were informed that Randolf possibly had three firearms in his car. 

During the traffic stop, police recovered two handguns, a shotgun and ammunition from the interior passenger compartment of the car.  At the time, the weapons were unloaded. Also located in the vehicle was drug paraphernalia with suspected marijuana residue.

Randolf was arrested and charged with:

  • Possession of handgun in a vehicle.
  • Possession of a handgun on person.
  • Possession of a controlled dangerous substance, marijuana.
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia.

During the investigation Randolf submitted to a breath test.  Randolf was found to have a blood alcohol content that was over three times the legal limit.  Randolf was charged with drunken driving related charges as well.  Randolf was seen by an Ocean City District Court Commission and was released on his own recognizance.

OCPD Scam Alert:

The Ocean City Police Department is investigating a check fraud scam involving the possible misuse of actual bank accounts and check numbers.  The scam, which targets an un-suspecting victim, by sending a check drawn from a well know retail bank in an amount between $800 – $1000.  Along with the check is an elaborate letter of instructions for the victim, which claims the victim has been “pre-selected” for employment as a “Customer Service Evaluator.”  The instructions in the letter advise the victim to deposit the check into the victim’s checking account, at which time the victim is then instructed to call a number printed on the letter.  Each letter has a unique “Rep I.D.” number and when the victim calls the number on the letter, they are asked to provide the unique “Rep I.D.” number to the person on they are speaking with.

The preliminary investigation has revealed that the check sent to the perspective victim is not real, however; the account number and the check number are.  Because of this, there have been incidents where victims have had the check actually clear and deposits have resulted.  At this time,  the victim’s bank will later contact the account holder of the compromised bank account and will contact their bank advising of the invalid transaction, which will eventually be traced to the deposit made by the unsuspecting originating victim who deposited the check. 

Prior to the discovery that the check is bad, the victim has been in telephone contact with the scam-artist, who is usually cleaver and sounds very convincing.   The scammer has instructed the victim to go to the nearest large chain retail store, which is usually a Wal-Mart.   Victims are instructed that they are employed as a “customer service evaluator” and will be evaluating the stores customer service, cleanliness and security.  The victim is then advised to ask someone in customer service to conduct the following transaction:

  •  Purchase a Green Dot, Money Pac Reload Card in the amount of about $900.00. 
  • They are told to rate the customer service during the transaction on a scale of 1 to 10.
  • The victim is instructed to not purchase a pre-paid “VISA” card only the Green Dot, Money Pac Reload card.
  • The victim then has to re-contact their assigned “Global Test Market training coordinator” at the original number the victim called. 
  • Once in contact with the scammer pretending to be the “training coordinator” the victim is asked to provide the Green Dot, Money Pac Reload Card number over the telephone as a means of verification the victim has actually completed the task.
  • The scammer has even asked the victim to send the actual store receipt to the address on the letter. 
  • The victim is then told the balance of the unused funds, which is usually $120. Is theirs to keep.
  • The victim is then instructed to wait a day or two and attempt to use the card to make a purchase.  (By this time, the scammer has used the card number previously provided by the victim to either deposit the value of the card or make a purchase) When the victim attempts to use the card for a purchase the card will not have sufficient funds for the purchase. 

Citizens should be cautious when receiving funds that are unfamiliar.   “As a general rule, citizens should go with their instinct,” said Chief Bernadette DiPino.  “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”  Further, citizens should never provide personal information including social security number, birth dates, passwords or home addresses to unknown “businesses or individuals. Also, never give out banking information or credit card account numbers over the phone to persons or businesses you cannot verify as legitimate.  

The Ocean City Police Department reminds citizens that the holidays are an opportunity for criminals to take advantage of us when we are at our most vulnerable.  By practicing a few easy proactive measures and reporting these type of scams, citizens can make it tough for criminals to dampen the holiday spirit and take advantage of friends and family members.  With the holiday season upon us, citizens tend to make a lot of purchases on the internet and through catalogues. Citizens should make certain the credit card you use is not directly linked to your checking/savings or money market accounts.  In addition, bank and credit card accounts should be routinely monitored for suspicious and unauthorized transactions.

If you feel you believe there is unauthorized activity occurring on any of your financial accounts (bank or credit) immediately contact your financial institution and report the issue.  If you are the victim of a theft report the theft to your local law enforcement agency.

Have a safe happy holiday season and a happy new year.

UPDATE: OCPD Arrests 26 Suspect’s In Heroin Distribution Investigation

The OCPD is currently seeking 5 wanted persons in in reference to the illegal distribution of heroin.

Upon further investigation, the warrant for Thomas Kelly Myers, 35, of Ocean City, MD, has been rescinded by the Worcester County States Attorney.

The remaining five persons pictured below are still wanted:

  1. Jessica Stone Vincent, 29, Ocean City, MD (Not in Custody)
  2. Joshua Allen Drennan, 20, of Ocean City, MD (Not in Custody)
  3. Charles Darick Andrews, 33, of Ocean City, MD (Not in Custody)
  4. Sheron Levette Purnell, 40, of Berlin, MD (Not in Custody)
  5. Michael Anthony Jones, 42, of Ocean City, MD (Not in Custody)

 

OCPD Operation Smackdown Supsects still at large

OCPD Operation Smackdown Supsects still at large

If you have any information regarding the whereabouts of the five fugitives listed above, please contact the OCPD at 410-723-6610 or your local law enforcement agency.

 

 

Sgt. Regina Custer Retiring After 30-Years of Service to Town of Ocean City

Sgt. Regina Custer is retiring after 30 years of service with the Ocean City Police Department. Prior to joining the police department full-time in January 1984, Custer was seasonal records clerk and a seasonal police officer.  She has since worked her way up the ranks, being promoted to PFC in 1981, Corporal in 2006 and Sergeant in January 2012. 

OCPD SGT Regina Custer and Family, OC Mayor and Council & Chief DiPino- Pictured Holding Her Retirement Badge

OCPD SGT Regina Custer and Family, OC Mayor and Council & Chief DiPino – Pictured Holding Her Retirement Badge

Custer holds a Masters and Bachelor’s Degree in Management from Johns Hopkins University.  Also, she has an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Montgomery College.  In May 2002, Custer was the first law enforcement officer from the Eastern Shore of Maryland to be accepted into the highly competitive “Police Executive Leadership Program” at Johns Hopkins.  She completed the three year program in 2005.

Throughout Custer’s career, she has been involved in several services to the department.  She co-founded the department’s “morale committee” in 1991, co-founded the departments Christmas toy-drive in November 1994, served as an active member of the Honor Guard for over 22 years, has been a member of the departments “peer support” team since 1998 and is the department’s historian.  She spearheaded a committee that researched the OCPD history and managed several events celebrating the police department’s 100th Anniversary that took place throughout 1998.  In 2009 she was part of a select team of officers who provided security at the 56th Presidential Inauguration, in Washington, DC.

During the course of her career with OCPD, Custer received numerous commendations and citations including Excellent Police Performance awards and Meritorious Service awards for various investigations handled throughout her career.  In 1998 she was awarded the Neighborhood Watch Outstanding Service Award for her work on the preservation of the department’s history.  Custer has also been awarded two Maryland State Police Superintendent Awards, a Baltimore County Commander Award and Mid-Atlantic Association of Women in Law Enforcement Scholarship Award.

“I would like to thank the Mayor, City Council, and citizens of Ocean City for the opportunity serve them,” Sgt. Custer said. “I would also like to thank my family for their support.  Without them, I would not have been able to accomplish such a rewarding career and service to community.”

After retirement, Sgt. Custer plans on spending more time with family, continuing genealogical work on family history and traveling back to Alaska to visit with friends.  She has an avid interest in photography, searching for old shipwreck debris and traveling.

OCPD Arrests 26 Suspect’s In Heroin Distribution Investigation

The Ocean City Police Vice/Narcotics Unit has been involved in an aggressive and extensive six week undercover drug investigation which involved multiple suspects throughout Ocean City.    The investigation, which was initiated by the Ocean City Police Department due to an overwhelming increase in heroin abuse this year, resulted in approximately 72 drug buys of heroin, cocaine, prescriptions and marijuana. The drug purchases were predominantly heroin.

On November 27, 2012, Ocean City Police narcotics detectives went before the Worcester County Grand Jury which resulted in the indictments of 23 suspects for various drug distribution charges. The bonds on the indicted suspects ranged from $100,000 to $300,000.

The indicted suspects are identified as:

  1. Bruce Culver Bennett, 31, of Ocean City, MD (In Custody)
  2. Jessica Stone Vincent, 29, Ocean City, MD (Not in Custody)
  3. Joshua Allen Drennan, 20, of Ocean City, MD (Not in Custody)
  4. Edward Allen Paddy, 37, of Ocean City, MD (In Custody)
  5. Charles Darick Andrews, 33, of Ocean City, MD (Not in Custody)
  6. Sheron Levette Purnell, 40, of Berlin, MD (Not in Custody)
  7. Anthony DeLarry Hayward, 31, of Berlin, MD (In Custody)
  8. Michael Anthony Jones, 42, of Ocean City, MD (Not in Custody)
  9. Thomas Wayne Purnell Jr., 25, of Berlin, MD (In Custody)
  10. Hunter William Davis, 25, of Ocean City, MD (In Custody)
  11. Michael Eugene Helmbright, 41, of Ocean City, MD (In Custody)
  12. Erik Ryan Curry, 24, of Berlin, MD (In Custody) (In Custody)
  13. James Joseph “Joey” Glenn, Jr., 22 of Berlin, MD (In Custody)
  14. Christopher Shaun Fitzpatrick, 32, of Ocean City, MD (In Custody)
  15. Cody Lee Bradshaw, 26, of Cambridge, MD (In Custody)
  16. Jennifer Lynn Adams, 36, of Ocean City, MD (In Custody)
  17. Shelly Ann Brittingham, 41, of Delmar, DE (In Custody)
  18. Daniel Zellman, 19, of Whaleyville, MD (In Custody)
  19. Taylor David Bakke, 22, of Berlin, MD (In Custody)
  20. Tracey Lee Shaffer, 43, of Ocean City, MD (In Custody)
  21. Nicholas Alexander Palmisano, 18, of Ocean City, MD (In Custody)
  22. Tori Logan DeCelles, 21, of Ocean City, MD (In Custody)

On Thursday, November 29, 2012, OCPD detectives served a search and seizure warrant on Louis Joseph Rychwalski III, 27, of Ocean City.  Rychwalski was found to be in possession of four “bundles” of heroin, which amounted to 46 bags of heroin.  Detectives also arrested two additional suspects (Nicholas Alexander Palmisano, 18, of Ocean City and Edward Allen Paddy, 37 of Ocean City) who were coming to meet with Rychwalski to buy heroin from him.  Rychwalski, who was not one of the OCPD indicted suspects, has been charged with various drug charges including possession with the intent to distribute heroin. He is being held on $75,000.00 bond. 

During the search and seizure warrant at Rychwalski’s residence detectives located additional heroin, drug paraphernalia, and two replica handguns in the house.

On November 29, while police were attempting to locate and arrest indicted suspects, officers stopped a vehicle containing an indicted suspect, Shelly Anne Brittingham, 41, of Delmar, DE.  During the stop, police recovered a total of 63 bags of heroin from the vehicle. Further investigation revealed two additional suspects, identified as Quamaine Lamar Huggins, 20, of Delmar, DE and Stephanie Lynne Orick, 24 of Hebron, MD, who were both charged with possession with intent to distribute heroin and a third suspect who was the driver/owner of the car, identified as Markel Lamar Barkley, 21 of Quantico, MD, was arrested and charged with possession of heroin.  The vehicle was seized pending forfeiture.  (Pictures of indicted suspects and arrestee’s are available upon request)

Police arrested additional wanted suspects as a result of the indictments.  In all, 26 suspects were arrests, three vehicles were seized,110 bags of heroin were confiscated, along with five bags of cocaine, five replica handguns, and $656 in cash.

There are still five outstanding wanted persons from this investigation; they are identified as:

OCPD Operation Smackdown Supsects still at large

OCPD Operation Smackdown Supsects still at large

The OCPD will continue the search for the indicted suspects in Ocean City.  If they are unable to be located in Ocean City, they will be turned over to the Maryland State Police Fugitive Recovery Squad.

The OCPD conducted this investigation with cooperation and support of the Worcester County Sheriff’s Department/Criminal Enforcement Team, Maryland State Police and the Worcester County States Attorney’s Office. 

If you have any information regarding the whereabouts of the five fugitives listed above, please contact the OCPD at 410-723-6610 or your local law enforcement agency.

Ocean City Police CARRY OUT MASSIVE ENFORCEMENT EFFORT

Project Saving Our Loved Ones (SOLO) Intensifies Patrols

To Catch Impaired Drivers and Save Live

Ocean City, MD (November 24, 2012) – [Ocean City Police engaged in Project Saving Our Loved Ones (SOLO), a Statewide initiative to combat impaired driving and underage drinking.  An expansion of the standard enforcement efforts launched last month, Project SOLO deploys mass patrols on area roads that are known to have higher instances of alcohol related crashes. The high risk zones, which are identified through data analysis of crashes, will be targeted and saturated by law enforcement through the end of the year.

“Impaired driving is a grave issue that results in the death of someone in Maryland every 57 hours,” said Chief Bernadette DiPino. “Just one loss of life is one too many, and a dedicated effort such as Project SOLO will help reduce such preventable, shocking consequences from happening on our roadways.”

The intense enforcement effort began in November and on November 24th, 2012 at 8:00 p.m.,multiple Ocean City Police officers saturated specific stretches of roadway until early Sunday morning to identify and arrest drunk drivers. The enforcement effort was successful and led to the arrests of multiple drunk drivers.

Project SOLO enforces Maryland’s Impaired Driving Laws, most prominently, at night. In 2010, alcohol impairmed fatal crashes were four times higher at night than during the day, nationwide. Fifty five percent of drunk drivers were involved in fatal crashes between midnight and 3:00 a.m., and 42 percent between 3:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.

“Project SOLO is about taking impaired drivers off the road, saving lives and raising awareness of the importance of safe driving,” said Chief DiPino. “Every law enforcement official involved in this initiative is thoroughly trained and briefed to effectively target impaired driving.”

For more information about Project SOLO or to arrange an interview with the Maryland Highway Safety Office, Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, Ocean City Police, Maryland State Police, or family members of drunk driving victims, please contact Pfc. Michael Levy at 410-723-6665 or mlevy@oceancitymd.gov.

There will be four more Project SOLO enforcement initiatives conducted in Ocean City during the month of December.