Two men were arrested in the Town of Ocean View in the early hours of Tuesday, Oct. 30, after OVPD Sgt. Sid Ballentine reportedly observed their vehicle driving slowly through Woodland Park before parking in the driveway of an occupied home.
“Ocean View is a small town,” said OVPD Sgt. Rhys Bradshaw. “We know people’s cars, we know who’s home, who’s not. We know people’s work schedules. So, we do notice when there are people or cars that aren’t usually in certain areas.
“That’s basically what this was. [Ballentine] noticed a vehicle driving slowly through a development that he didn’t recognize as a vehicle of someone who lives there.”
Ballentine observed the two suspects, later identified as Michael Vanderhoeven, 33, of Laurel, and Derrell Gibbs, 28, of Dagsboro, exit their vehicle and run toward the rear of the home, where motion-sensitive lights behind the residence were shortly after turned on, according to police.
According to Bradshaw, Ballentine was concerned that a burglary may have been occurring, and thus he exited the vehicle and knocked on the front door of the home, waking the homeowner.
“He then went to the house and woke up the homeowner who informed him the vehicle did not belong at the house.”
Ballentine then began to check the perimeter of the property where he observed the two suspects behind the home.
“When they saw Sgt. Ballentine, they fled on foot. A short time later he found them in the Giant parking lot.”
Both Vanderhoeven and Gibbs were then taken into custody by Ballentine, and charged with Resisting Arrest and Trespassing. Vanderhoven, whose vehicle was impounded, was also charged with expired temporary tags and failure to destroy expired temporary tags.
During Ballentine’s investigation, he learned the two had “extensive arrest records” including arrests for burglary and theft. He also learned that Vanderhoeven was a fugitive from Maryland, where he was wanted on outstanding theft and stalking charges.
“There is no doubt that Vanderhoeven and Gibbs were up to no good when they were prowling the streets in Woodland Park,” said OVPD Chief Ken McLaughlin. “Fortunately for the residents of Woodland Park, Sgt. Ballentine was diligently patrolling the area and was able to disrupt Vanderhoeven and Gibbs before they could break into a home or steal any items.”
Vanderhoeven was committed to the Sussex Correctional Institute in lieu of $1,300 cash bail. According to Ocean View police, Vanderhoeven will be extradited to Maryland after his charges in Delaware are adjudicated. Gibbs was also committed to the Sussex Correctional Institute in lieu of $1,100 cash bail on the Ocean View charges and an additional $10,680.00 bail on an outstanding Capias related to the violation of probation.
Bradshaw said citizens should feel free to call the police department at any time if they feel something or someone is suspicious.
“It’s important for us to know that so when something is suspicious such as a vehicle or someone walking down the street that we don’t know,” he said. “Anytime you see something suspicious — a person you don’t recognize or cars that don’t look familiar slowly cruising through your neighborhood — call us and we’ll come out and check them. It doesn’t bother us — it’s what you pay us for.”
Bradshaw said the department’s 24-7 police patrol serves as a crime deterrent within the Town.
“We like to go through the neighborhoods. We like to know our citizens. You never know where we’re going to pop up,” he said. “Just our mere presence in an area is a deterrent from people committing crimes. You never know in Ocean View where we’re going to be. We patrol all the neighborhoods, all the backroads — everywhere. The citizens see us, but also the bad guys see us.”
Bradshaw said residents can do a few things to help deter crime, including keeping lights on inside and outside of the house on at night, locking vehicles and removing valuables from vehicles.
“Motion sensitive lights are always a great thing,” he added. “If you’re on vacation and don’t want to leave a light on the whole time you’re gone, get a timer.”
He also noted that residents of Ocean View should sign up for the department’s Residence Check Program when they go on going on vacation.
“It’s a completely free program where you fill out a form and officers will check on your house at least once a week while you’re away.”
The Ocean View Police Department is located at 201 Central Ave. in Ocean View. For more information about the Residence Check Program or to report suspicious activity, call (302) 539-1111.
By Maria Counts