Earlier this summer, Ocean City Police arrested 23-year-old Kyle Smith after witnesses reported that he was seen defecating in the streets and then throwing his feces at passersby. After a long wait, we finally know his fate.
On Monday, September 2, Kyle Smith, of Port Royal, Pennsylvania, pled guilty to a single count of indecent exposure and was sentenced to five months in jail.
The story originally was just too crazy to believe. Ocean City Police at the scene of a tourist who had truly gone wild. Officers observed Smith yelling at pedestrians and even saw him drop his shorts to expose his genitals. They immediately took him into custody and prepared to book him on indecent exposure charges. After Smith was handcuffed, multiple witnesses approached the officers and thanked them for taking this public menace off the street.
Why? Well, the witnesses told the officers that just prior to them arriving, Smith was seen openly defecating in the street. But he didn't just stop there. He was also seen picking his feces off the pavement and flinging it at innocent bystanders. The witnesses told the officers that the public pooping took place right in the middle of the 5th Street and Baltimore Avenue intersection and they even pointed to cars that Smith had also urinated on.
As we reported when this story first broke, the officers really earned their paychecks that night. They actually searched the streets and located Kyle Smiths... puddles. They bagged and tagged the "evidence" and combined with the witness testimony, it was enough to tack on an additional charge of disorderly conduct.
At the time, we laughed at how something so disgusting could only be given the same charge as what police would give someone who was drunk on the boardwalk. Since most disorderly conduct charges in Ocean City either get pled down or dropped all together, this seemed like a pretty meaningless gesture.
Sure enough, when the case got to trial, the disorderly conduct charge ended up being dropped as a part of a plea deal. Kyle Smith pled guilty to one count of indecent exposure. However, the judge and prosecutors would not let him off the hook that easy. For defecating in public and throwing it at passersby, Kyle Smith will now spend five months in jail.
The crackdown on these indecent exposure cases comes as more and more people question Ocean City's status as a family resort town. In many ways, Ocean City has tried for years to split the baby: they want to cater to families while also creating an environment where twenty-somethings can let loose and party. That balance has been difficult to achieve.
The Summer of 2017 saw a number of high-profile indecent exposure, disorderly conduct, and other random cases in Ocean City that have forced visitors to take a second look at whether they should bring their families here anymore. Whether it is all the cases of debauchery or the fact that a young woman was found dead on the beach, buried alive, Ocean City is definitely struggling to hold onto its family image after this year's tourist season.
With many of these indecent exposure and disorderly conduct cases now reaching the courtroom, it is clear that local prosecutors are not going easy on those who were caught literally with their pants down. Whether that is enough to save Ocean City's image is yet to be seen.
But for now, the message to next year's tourists couldn't be clearer: if you defecate in the streets and throw your feces at innocent bystanders, you will see the inside of a jail cell. Let's just hope those jail cells also have toilets.