The Ocean View Police Department is seeking the public’s help in locating Brent Cierkowski, 26, of Ocean View, in connection with lawn-ornament thefts in the area.
“They’re stealing whatever’s not tied down, unfortunately. And, it’s something they’ve been able to take to yard sales and flea markets and other locations and sell them readily,” said Ocean View Police Chief Ken McLaughlin.
Cierkowski, who is still wanted by police, has warrants charging him with two counts of theft under $1,500 where the victim is 62 year of age or older, two counts of theft under $1,500, three counts of trespass 3rd, one count of conspiracy 2nd, and two counts of conspiracy 3rd.
“Some of these lawn ornaments had some value. They were the concrete-type lawn ornaments. You see these concrete benches, things like that,” said McLaughlin.
Identifying Cierkowski, along with Andrew C. Desmond Jr, 34, of Bethany Beach, was the result of follow-up interviews related to the theft investigations in which two other suspects were arrested earlier this summer.
Desmond had warrants approved charging him with two counts of theft under $1,500, one count of conspiracy 2nd, and three counts of trespass 3rd. Desmond was arrested by Delaware State Police and was arraigned at the Justice of the Peace Court, where he was released on unsecured bond.
McLaughlin said these types of crimes are difficult for citizens to avoid due to their nature.
“It’s an awareness thing. Be aware. If you do see anything suspicious, contact the police department. The only other defense is to bring everything in at night, and when you’re talking about one of these concrete benches that weighs 70-some pounds, it’s really not practical for most people,” he said.
McLaughlin believes these types of crimes are related to the drug epidemic that is plaguing the town, county, state, country and world.
“They’re stealing these items so they can swap them for some quick cash to purchase narcotics,” he said. “There’s a slew of flea-market-type stores on the 113 corridors between Selbyville and Dagsboro — some of the items were recovered there. Again, they’re taking them to sell for $10, $20 and get some quick cash.”
To avoid purchasing potentially stolen goods, McLaughlin suggested stopping and considering the deal before buying the items.
“Well, if you see a deal that’s too good to be true… If it’s something that would normally be a $200 item and somebody is trying to sell it to you for $25, there’s a chance that it may be stolen.”
Once Cierkowski is arrested, McLaughlin said the investigation of the summer lawn ornament thefts will be closed for those thefts in Ocean View. He noted, however that there may be some thefts outside of the Town’s jurisdiction to which he cannot speak.
“I’m sure there were other items taken outside of the town limits in the jurisdiction of the state police. If there’s anybody else out there, if they call in Ocean View call us, or if they live outside of town, they should report it to the State Police Troop 4.”
He stressed the department hopes the public will help them locate Cierkowski.
“He’s currently wanted by the Ocean View Police Department. If anybody knows where he is, we’d like to know about it.”
Those have any information regarding Cierkowski’s location are asked to please contact the Ocean View Police at (302) 539-1111 or Det. Alan Bluto at Delaware State Police Troop 4, at (302) 856-5850.