Facebook Leads to Skatepark Arrests

Police were alerted via facebook to three men who they say tried to steal from an Ocean City skatepark.

A week after facebook helped police nab an alleged burglar, the social media site is again receiving credit for helping authorities make another arrest.

Erik Sammartino, 19, James O’Brien, 24 and John Rutkowski, 20, all of Somers Point, were arrested on Thursday after allegedly trying to steal from an aging Ocean City skateboard park.

The dismantling of the park, located on the 800 block of 6th Street, was recently authorized by the city. On Wednesday, police were alerted to facebook messages related to the park’s removal. One message from Sammartino caught their attention.

“The one suspect said, ‘I didn’t walk out of the place empty handed last night,” said Captain Steve Ang of the Ocean City Police.

Police established surveillance at the park Wednesday night. Around 8 p.m., police say they spotted two men exiting a parked vehicle and attempting to break into the secured park. They left the area when they couldn’t find an entrance, according to investigators.

Around 12:45 a.m. on Thursday, police say the two suspects returned to the park along with a third person riding a bike. One suspect allegedly broke into the park through a hole in the fence. Police say he tried to remove a 20-foot aluminum skateboard rail and hand it to the other two men. Police quickly moved in and arrested Sammartino, O’Brien and Rutkowski.

All three men are charged with theft while O’Brien is also charged with trespassing.

“Facebook, it’s used by the good people, it’s used by the bad people,” said Captain Ang. “In this day and age, people just put it out there for the world to see and police can use it as a tool to solve crime.”

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