You are the owner of this article.

Police suspect fraud in car purchase

Suspect sought

Suspect sought

The St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Office is seeking the identity of this man who purchased a vehicle at the Used Car Factory on Monday, March 30, allegedly using a fraudulent Maryland driver’s license as his identification, and basis for a car loan to purchase an SUV from the Used Car Factory in Mechanicsville. The SUV is a black 2017 Dodge Durango with a red interior, which was seen on April 5 at National Harbor in Prince George’s County and on April 6 in Perryville in Cecil County, according to the sheriff’s office. Anyone with information about the suspect or incident is asked to call Detective David Potter at 301-475-4200, ext. 78037, or email

Sign shop damaged by fire

Hilltop Signs and Graphics sustained a minor fire in the rear of its shop early Wednesday morning, according to a state fire marshal’s notice, which says responding firefighters put out the fire in 15 minutes.

The fire was determined to be accidental, with investigators noting the fire “originated near the rear of the shop and was caused by combustibles too close to a fuel filled portable heater.”

Scott Dean at Hilltop said Wednesday there was no major damage, mostly smoke damage, and the shop was working to get back up and running by the end of the week.

Man facing charges for insurance fraud

A California man is facing felony fraud charges alleging he was involved in filing several false insurance claims with agencies over the course of several years.

Troopers began investigating a single insurance fraud claim made by a St. Mary’s resident who told officers in July he had received notice of a claim from an insurance agency and had not been involved in an accident, and a State Farm investigative unit told officers the case “matched the modus operandi of” Damont Eric Barnes, 37, who “has been completing similar fraudulent claims for the last three years,” with no charges filed, according to a charges application filed Wednesday.

When officers spoke to Barnes late last year, he said he had been fueled by a heroin addiction, and an individual in Baltimore had paid him in cash and heroin to read from a script and play the part of the policy holder, telling officers at least seven people were involved in the orchestration of the scams. Barnes was charged with theft and fraudulent information theft from $1,000 to $25,000 for the July incident.

Man arrested after vehicle crash

A Lexington Park man was arrested Monday following a multiple-vehicle collision on Chancellors Run Road where officers describe him as becoming irate amid questioning.

Charging papers say Diontae I. Shorter, 23, began yelling while being questioned about a witness’ statement he had thrown a book bag into nearby grass immediately following the accident and continued to cause a conflict, eventually publicly going live on Facebook and allegedly walking into oncoming traffic to “get away from” an officer.

Officers said in charging papers that force was used to put Shorter’s arm behind his back during his arrest.

Shorter was arrested on charges of obstructing and hindering, failing to obey a lawful order, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Tenant accused of breaking into garage

A tenant of a home in Leonardtown was charged with fourth-degree burglary on the homeowner’s garage, which he does not have access to.

Charging papers accuse Braden T. Johnson, 36, of removing screws of a lock at the garage with a screwdriver and taking a $20 ax before replacing the screws.

Johnson was charged with fourth-degree burglary of a storehouse and using tools in the commission of the burglary.

Sheriff posts crime news on blog

The St. Mary’s sheriff’s office posts news and information on incidents and arrests, including photographs of suspects, online at

The sheriff’s office also posts surveillance images and other information on the website when the public’s assistance is being sought during ongoing investigations, and the website’s links include access to NIXLE alerts and sheriff’s office Twitter posts.

Email addresses can be entered on the website, to receive a daily sheriff’s office summary of information.

In addition, the sheriff’s office posts photos on Instagram, under the username stmaryssheriff, along with the agency’s ongoing entries on its Facebook page.

Online crime reporting option offered

The St. Mary’s sheriff’s office offers citizens a web-based method to report minor crimes where there is no suspect information or other investigative leads. The online reporting system can be used to report any suspicious incidents, lost property, theft, or vandalism.

When no suspect is known or seen in connection with these incidents, the sheriff’s office urges residents to use the online reporting system, including in cases involving missing cellphones, wallets and other items of value.

If information about a suspect is known, residents should continue to call the sheriff’s office’s non-emergency line at 301-475-8008, for a deputy to be dispatched to take a report of the incident.

As always, if there is an emergency, a crime in progress, or an immediate need for medical assistance, dial 911.

The sheriff’s office has described the online reporting system as a valuable adjunct to direct contact with the sheriff’s office in situations where the citizen reporting the offense does not know who committed the crime..

Citizens can access the reporting system by going online to, or through the sheriff’s office website at For more information, call 301-475-8008.