WEEKEND #13, 2006

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware



Hundreds of people potentially saw somebody Sunday afternoon harvest the belongings of several beach goers on the beach in Rehoboth. But as of Sunday afternoon, the beach patrol and police had no suspect description, not even a gender.

In about a 20-minute period, police and the beach patrol received several complaints from beach visitors reporting thefts of their purses, beach bags and other possessions. One of the first calls came at 2:40 p.m. at the Brooklyn Avenue lifeguard stand for a stolen beach bag. That was followed within minutes by thefts at Wilmington Avenue, Delaware Avenue, Hickman Street, and Rehoboth Avenue.

One lifeguard said the thefts were similar to an incident from Saturday, where discarded stolen possessions where discovered near the public restrooms on Delaware Avenue.

Police received a call later Sunday afternoon after somebody discovered several stolen beach bags and purses in the dumpster behind the Surfside Arcade on Delaware Avenue (below).

Police searched the dumpster for evidence and provided some belongings to the victims. At least two victims, however, had to summon a locksmith to open their vehicles.

Not all of the victims reported the thefts immediately. One person reportedly left the area, and another man called police around 7:30 p.m. from Baltimore Avenue to report that his pants, keys, wallet and cell phone were taken earlier.

Ironically, less than an hour before these thefts were reported on Sunday, a lifeguard radioed that the police were on the beach inspecting beach visitors (presumably for alcohol) in the area of Norfolk and Hickman Streets.


EMS personnel called for a medevac helicopter Friday after a man was injured in the Dewey Beach surf near Mckinley Street around 4:25 p.m. Joe Hopple, Sussex County EMS spokesman, said the 46-year-old man told EMS personnel that he could not feel anything below his waist shortly after being removed from the surf.

The victim reportedly had been struck by a wave and was thrown onto the bottom. Hopple says the man later reported feeling tingling in his feet, which is hopefully a good sign. That happened as he was loaded in the state police helicopter Trooper 2 which landed at the Rehoboth Beach Elementary School (below). He was flown to Christiana Hospital.


Several beach goers between Cape Henlopen and Ocean City were injured in the surf this past weekend. Ocean City flew two of the injured on Sunday -- one from 121st Street around 10:30 a.m. followed by a 45-year-old woman injured at 133rd Street around 2:40 p.m. She was complaining of numbness and tingling in her extremities but noted improvement once she wore a neck collar.

Ocean City EMS personnel had asked for a third medevac helicopter around 1:55 p.m., but they were told it was unavailable. That was for a disoriented 51-year-old man who was injured in the surf at 13th Street. He was taken by ground to Salisbury.

Around 12:45 p.m. on Saturday, a 39-year-old man was also flown by medevac helicopter after he was injured in the surf at 123rd Street. Also on Saturday, a man was reported unconscious with a broken leg around 2:20 p.m. at 6th Street. The dispatcher said the closest Maryland State Police helicopter was in Saint Mary's County. So the patient was taken by ground to a trauma center.


Boy Scouts Learn about Water Safety

Ironically, this weekend was the Fifth Annual Water Safety Event at the Dewey Beach Patrol for Boy Scout Troops 495 and 1083. The scouting event was founded by Susan Johnson, a Wheaton, Maryland woman whose 24-year-old son, Michael, drowned on August 23, 1998 in Rehoboth Beach after he was caught in a rip.

Josh Basile, now a paraplegic who lives in Potomac, Maryland, was a special guest for the Boy Scout water safety event. He broke his neck when he was struck by a wave at an unguarded beach near Bethany Beach on August 4, 2004.

Basile has become a spokesperson for improved public education and research on preventing injuries at the ocean, and has formed a foundation (Determined2Heal.org) to further beach safety.

He addressed the U.S. Lifesaving Association in April. Basile says he wants a universal system of signs or flags that could be used on swimming beaches. He also stressed the importance of more research and statistics on injuries, particularly for beaches where sand has been recently replenished causing the slope to change, and increasing the number or seriousness of injuries.

Read more about Basile in these Washington Post articles:

July 4, 2005
July 25, 2005
April 30, 2006



Rehoboth Beach police investigated a complaint Saturday that picnic tables were tossed down the canal bank. It was reported around 11:50 a.m. An officer spotted at least these two tables south of the canal bridge.


All it takes is 30 days and three unpaid tickets to get your vehicle towed in Rehoboth Beach. Each parking meter fine is $15 but increases to $50 if not paid after 30 days. Any vehicle with $150 or more in fines can be towed if found on public property in the city.

This Jeep was removed from Martin's Lawn off Christian Street after it was spotted around 2:40 p.m. on Saturday. It owed $175 in fines, and the parking supervisor said it would cost a total of $345 if towed. Coastal Towing removed it to the city's impound.

The Jeep was one of at least three wanted vehicles Rehoboth Beach nabbed since Friday. Such tows are more common this time of the season since the unpaid tickets have met or exceeded the $150 towing threshold.


This picture was taken as the Astro Carina passed Rehoboth Beach on Friday evening. This massive 332-meter double-hull Greek-flagged crude oil tanker was built by DHI-Korea in 2003 and certified in November, 2004. Its Automatic Identification System indicated that it is headed to Qua Iboe Nigeria.


Smoke was visible for miles as firefighters from three counties battled this all-day blaze at a former plywood factory near Pocomoke City. The fire started early Thursday morning, continued to burn into the evening hours, and rekindled a couple times since Thursday.

Firefighters drafted water from the Pocomoke River just off of Riverside Drive (below). Tanker trucks, parked along side a yacht, refilled every 15 to 20 minutes.

Fire apparatus responded from 13 fire companies in three counties: Worcester (Pocomoke, Stockton, Girdletree, Newark, Berlin, and Ocean City); Somerset (Marion Station, Crisfield, and Princess Anne); and Accomack (Accokeek, New Church, Greenbackville and Fairmont).

See the Salisbury Times article for more info.

Photos by Christopher Casale/Jessica Wagaman, Breaking News Network freelance photographers.