NRP Blotter
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NRP Blotter

Natural Resources Police LogoThe Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) charged eight people with various violations in Anne Arundel, Garrett and Washington counties this month.

Anne Arundel County ─ A Shady Side waterman is serving 30 days in the Anne Arundel County Detention Center after he was found guilty of multiple fishing violations.

John Edward Smith, 34, a repeat offender of natural resources laws, was also sentenced to two years probation and ordered to pay a $450 fine on charges of fishing without a license, failing to have a commercial tidal fish license and transporting fish without a tidal fish license.

Officers patrolling near Shady Side on March 17 encountered Smith, aboard his 28-foot vessel, who told them he was commercially fishing for white perch in the West River. He told officers that his license had expired.

A records check indicated that Smith had already been found guilty in April 2012 of failing to attend a drift gill net, which subjected him to increased penalties under a 2010 State law.

Smith was found guilty of all three charges and began serving his sentence on October 18.

In May 2011, Governor Martin O’Malley signed into law legislation to protect Maryland’s fisheries and encourage shellfish aquaculture.

As part of an overall focus on enforcement efforts to better protect Maryland’s public fishery resources, DNR also established a tougher penalty system for commercial fishing violations. Previously, a waterman had to receive multiple convictions before the department could impose a suspension; the new system allows the agency to impose suspensions for a single conviction. Additionally, the state increased the penalty for engaging in commercial fishing with a suspended license, a revoked license or without a license, by establishing a fine of up to $25,000 and imprisonment for up to one year.

Garrett  County ─ NRP charged three Cumberland residents Sunday with stealing money from the honor system registration boxes at Savage River State Forest/Big Run State Park.

Acting on a citizen complaint, an officer set up surveillance on the honor box at Big Run State Park. At 8:20 p.m., a red pick-up truck pulled beside the pipe-shaped box and quickly left. The officer stopped the vehicle and questioned the three occupants.

Two suspects admitted they had pilfered three honor boxes using a hand-held camera with a three-foot fiber-optic attachment to survey the contents of each box. They then used a three-foot-long aluminum strip with duct tape on the end to pull the envelopes containing cash up to the slot and pulled the envelopes out with a pair of needle-nose pliers.

Jordan Alexander Garlitz, 28, Mickey Louise Helene Rice, 29, and Brian Parker Garlitz, 40, were charged with theft of under $100. The maximum penalty is 90 days in jail and a $500 fine.

Garrett County ─ NRP charged two Virginia residents on October 26 with possession of marijuana at a campsite in Savage River State Forest.

An officer on patrol at about 6 p.m. observed two people sitting in camp chairs in front of a fire. The officer could smell marijuana smoke and see that the mesh beverage holder in one of the chairs held a glass pipe used for smoking marijuana. He also saw a small baggie of marijuana on the ground next to the other chair.

Roger Alan Fink, 20, of Virginia Beach and Maria Simona Cocito, 26, of Vienna, were each charged criminally with possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Each violation carries a maximum fine of $500.

Washington County ─ Jeffrey Eugene Shaff, 55, of Rohnerville was charged with multiple hunting violations, including hunting with the aid of bait on October 19. An officer on patrol near Gathland State Park noticed fresh tracks from an all-terrain vehicle cutting across State property and in an area not open to hunting. The officer located Shaff and cited him for failing to wear safety orange, hunting over a baited area, driving an ATV in a non-designated area and hunting in non-designated area. In addition, Shaff received warnings for having a permanent stand on state property, possession of alcohol and destruction of trees.

Eddie Lou Kelbaugh, 55, of Hagerstown was charged with hunting with the aid of bait on October 26. Acting on a tip, an NRP officer located a bait pile at Indian Springs Wildlife Management Area and staked out the site. After several weeks, the officer was able to catch the hunter in the act.