SALISBURY — Local law enforcement officials this week are reminding motorists to use caution when encountered by “police officers” after a woman was attacked by a suspect acting as a cop on the Salisbury bypass earlier this month.

Around 11:40 a.m. on Oct. 1, Maryland State Police troopers responded to a reported assault that had occurred on the Salisbury Bypass. Troopers learned the victim had been taken to Peninsula Regional Medical Center for treatment of head, neck and other bodily injuries.

Troopers met with the 61-year-old female victim at PRMC. The victim told MSP troopers she was traveling on the Salisbury Bypass when she was pulled over by a dark-colored unmarked vehicle with emergency lights in the dash, which she believed was a police officer. An unidentified man walked up to the victim’s vehicle and immediately began assaulting her and eventually robbed her.

The victim described the assailant as an African-American men about 5’9” tall in his mid-40s. The suspect was wearing a dark-colored blue shirt and matching pants at the time of the assault and is believed to have been impersonating a police officer. Anyone with information on the incident is urged to contact the MSP Salisbury barrack at 410-749-3101, or the Wicomico Bureau of Investigation at 410-548-4898.

In the meantime, motorists are reminded if they are unsure a vehicle with flashing emergency lights is actually a police vehicle, they should proceed within the speed limit to a well-lit public area such as a convenience store parking lot where there are other people and potentially surveillance cameras. Motorists are urged, when possible, to call 911 and report their location and concerns.

Communications can then verify if the unit attempting to stop a motorist is an actual police officer. If a motorist is stopped and approached by a person they do not believe is a police officer, they are urged to lock their doors and open windows no further than a crack. Motorists are urged to request the alleged officer show them a badge or photo ID. If a motorist is still suspicious, they are instructed to ask the officer to request another officer in uniform to respond to their location.


Burn Victim Hospitalized

BERLIN — A local man was flown to a burn center in Baltimore last Wednesday after getting severely burned by a fire at a residence in Berlin.

Around 2:30 p.m. last Wednesday, Berlin EMS was alerted for a reported individual with burn injuries at a residence on Austin Circle in Berlin. When Berlin EMTs arrived on the scene, they quickly requested Maryland State Police Aviation to transport the victim to the Bayview Burn Center in Baltimore.

The Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office was called to conduct an investigation because the victim’s injuries were caused by an open flame. The investigation revealed the victim was smoking a cigarette while on home oxygen. The Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office is urging residents and visitors to remember to never smoke or allow anyone to smoke in an area where medical oxygen is used.

Medical oxygen can cause materials to ignite more easily and make fires burn at a faster rate the normal. In addition, medical oxygen can make an existing fire burn faster and hotter. Anyone with additional questions about the incident specifically, or the dangers of smoking around medical oxygen in general, is urged to call Chief Deputy Matt Owens at 410-632-5666.


Attempted Murder Alleged

SALISBURY — A Salisbury man was arrested on attempted murder charges last week after allegedly stabbing another man during an argument.

Around 11:30 p.m. last Wednesday, Salisbury Police responded to the area of Lake Street for a reported stabbing. Officers located the victim, identified as Christopher Williams, 27, of Salisbury, with a stab wound to his shoulder area. Williams was taken to PRMC for treatment and was later released.

The investigation revealed the victim had been in an argument with the suspect, later identified as Nelson Sharps, 60, of Salisbury, which culminated in Sharps stabbing Williams. Sharps was located near the scene and taken into custody without further incident. He has been charged with attempted second-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and wearing or carrying a deadly weapon with intent to injure.


Armed Home Invasion

SALISBURY — Local law enforcement officials this week are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the suspects wanted in connection with an armed burglary in Eden on Monday.

Around 9 a.m. on Monday, Maryland State Police responded to the area of Upper Ferry Rd. for a reported burglary. First responders were advised three young African-American males entered the residence, brandished pistols and demanded money and car keys from the elderly occupants of the home, who were asleep in their bed.

One of the suspects then struck the elderly male victim in the head with a pistol, causing an injury. The victim was taken to PRMC and was treated and released. The suspects then fled the residence prior the arrival of police. MSP troopers and Wicomico County Sheriff’s Deputies arrived on the scene and began a search of the area. A police K-9 unit from the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office was also utilized in the search effort to no avail.

The Wicomico County Bureau of Investigation was contacted and responded to the scene to take over the investigation, along with the MSP crime lab. Anyone with information about the armed invasion or the suspects is urged to contact WBI at (410) 548-4898.


Berlin Man Get Jail

Time For Child Porn

SNOW HILL — A Berlin man arrested on child pornography charges last spring pleaded guilty this week to multiple counts and was sentenced to six years, all but 18 months of which were then suspended.

In April, Jose Lopez, 21, of Berlin, was arrested on child pornography charges after computers and other items seized during the execution of a warrant on his residence. The warrant service revealed Lopez was allegedly promoting and distributing the illicit materials.

On April 17, members of the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI), the Department of Homeland Security, the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office executed a search and seizure warrant at an address on Pin Oak Drive in Berlin. The search warrant was the result of several months of prior investigation, which revealed someone inside the residence was downloading and sharing pictures and videos of child pornography.

Onside inside the residence, officers seized numerous computers and other related items. The investigation determined Lopez was the sole user of the computers and other items. He was charged with six counts of promoting and distributing child pornography, six counts of possession of child pornography and one count of possession and distribution of obscene matter.

On Tuesday, Lopez pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute child pornography and was sentenced to six years, all but 18 months of which were then suspended. He was also fined $500 and placed on probation for three years upon his release. Lopez also pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of child pornography and was sentenced to five years on each count with all but 18 months suspended.

The investigation and subsequent arrest of Lopez was the latest in a series of similar arrests in Worcester as part of the recently added Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which is dedicated to protecting and preventing the abuse and exploitation of children.

The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office is a member of the Maryland Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which is comprised of police agencies from across the state. Its primary mission is to protect children from computer-facilitated exploitation.


Cocaine Dealer Sentenced

SNOW HILL — One of two men arrested on drug distribution and other charges in March after a large quantity of cocaine was found in the engine compartment of their vehicle following a routine traffic stop pleaded guilty this week to possession with intent to distribute and was sentenced to seven years in jail, most of which was then suspended.

Around 1:45 p.m. on March 2, a Maryland State Police trooper was patrolling in the area of Route 13 and Brantley Rd. in Pocomoke when he observed a vehicle with its passenger not restrained by a seatbelt. The trooper initiated a traffic stop and made contact with the driver, later identified as Vashawn Walker, 27, of Newark, N.J. The passenger did not have any identification.

While talking with the occupants, the trooper noticed several criminal indicators and called for another trooper to assist in identifying the passenger. During questioning, both Walker and the passenger gave false information regarding the passenger’s identity. The passenger was later identified as Thomas Lee Richardson III, 31, of Norfolk. Richardson was found to be wanted on an extraditable warrant in Virginia for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession with intent to distribute.

While speaking with Richardson, the trooper noticed the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle and a search was conducted. During the search, troopers opened the air cleaner box in the engine compartment and located a black plastic bag. Inside the plastic bag was a quantity of compressed powder cocaine weighing over 121 grams.

Richardson and Walker were arrested and transported to the Berlin barrack for processing. MSP troopers were assisted by the Worcester County Criminal Enforcement Team, the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office and Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs officials. Both Walker and Richardson were charged with possession and possession with intent to distribute cocaine and false statement and Richardson was also charged as a fugitive from another area.

On Tuesday, Walker pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine. He was sentenced to seven years in jail with all but 18 months suspended. He was also fined $500 and placed on probation for three years upon his release. Richardson, meanwhile, had his trial postponed this week with a new date set for next week.