One year dealt for theft of Lusby state park donations
Pair used claws to take money from fee box
A Lusby man was sentenced Friday to an additional year of jail time after pleading guilty to stealing funds from the donation box at Calvert Cliffs State Park last November.
Derek Craig Bradley, 30, entered the guilty plea to fourth-degree burglary, theft scheme and forgery. He was sen- tenced to one year, which will be added on to the 18 months he is serving now for a violation of probation, and is required to pay back $60 stolen from the donation box.
Although he does not have to serve probation for this case, he does have to remain on probation for a previous case in which he was involved.
His co-defendant, Jessica Rose Phelps, 29, had previously pleaded guilty to fourth-degree burglary charges this past August.
According to a police report, the sheriff’s office was notified of the alleged theft Nov. 21, 2017, by the park’s volunteer president, Charles Grubby, who said he saw someone driving a white Chrysler Town and Country and stealing money out of the donation box.
The box, located on a pole near the entrance booth to the state park, is used by patrons of the park to pay an entrance fee. The box is locked and has a small slot on the front where patrons insert their money.
After detaining Bradley and Phelps at the north parking lot near the maintenance shed, police reportedly found a bottle cap and a metal eating utensil — items police said are often used for drug injection preparation — in the car.
Two metal snakes with moveable claws on the end were also reportedly found inside the vehicle, which Calvert deputies believed could explain the metal sound a park volunteer reportedly heard and would make it possible to pull money out of the donation box through the small slot.
While sitting in the patrol vehicle, Bradley admitted he took money out of the box “a few times.” When asked how many times, he answered four or five. He confessed to using the metal grabbers to take money from the box and said the most he had ever taken from the box was $27, according to police.
After reviewing the surveillance tape the next day, Dfc. Timothy Mohler said the footage showed the Chrysler pulling in front of the donation box for lengthy periods of time Nov. 10, 13, 16 and 17. Mohler wrote in the charging documents that it is uncommon for someone to stay at the donation box for longer than 15 to 45 seconds. In each instance, however, the van was stopped for at least five minutes in front of the donation box, the documents state.
According to park personnel, the box is emptied about once a month. When emptied, it often has more than $400 in it.