PERRYVILLE — Investigators are blaming a dispute over purported stolen cologne for a home invasion incident in which a man and a woman allegedly barged into a Perryville motel room early Thursday morning and beat two adults in front of three children, police reported.
Cecil County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested one of the suspects, Seth Daniel Gerhart, 28, at his residence in the 2000 block of Colora Road in Colora, shortly after the incident, according to Chief Robert Nitz of the Perryville Police Department, which handled the investigation.
Facing eight charges, including first-degree assault, first-degree burglary and home invasion, Gerhart remained in the Cecil County Detention Center without bond on Tuesday, Cecil County Circuit Court records show.
As of Tuesday, with the investigation ongoing, criminal charges had not been filed against the woman who reportedly was with Gerhart, according to Nitz, who identified her as Cierra Nobles and further reported that she remains at large.
“Charges are pending against her in this case,” Nitz told the Cecil Whig, before instructing “anyone with information as to her whereabouts” to call the Perryville Police Department at 410-642-3725.
PPD officers rushed to the Perryville Motel in the 5000 block of West Pulaski Highway (Route 40) at approximately 1 a.m. Thursday, after a motel guest reported that she heard “loud noises and commotion” coming from Room 115, close to where she was staying, court records show.
The woman who had called police told investigators that she saw Gerhart, with whom she is acquainted, walking by her room and when she asked him if everything was OK, he replied, “They (expletive) stole from me,” police reported.
Because she had heard “a woman and little children screaming and crying,” she walked down to Room 115, where she saw a woman she did not know, and said, “Yo, there are kids in here,” police said. At that point, police added, the unknown woman walked away, got into a white Chevrolet Malibu with Gerhart, and they drove away in the car.
PPD Officer T. Pierson III, lead investigator, spoke with the occupants of Room 115 — a man, 32; his girlfriend, 30; and her three children, ages 9, 7 and 4.
The couple and the three children were inside Room 115 shortly before 1 a.m., when they heard a “hard knock” on the door, according to charging documents, which further indicate that Gerhart was standing there when the woman answered.
“(Gerhart) accused her of stealing his cologne, stating that it was valued at $200,” police said, adding that he also said he was missing a pair of shoes.
Gerhart gave the woman 30 minutes to return his belongings, telling her that he would be returning to Room 115, police reported. The woman maintained that she hadn’t stolen his cologne and shoes and told Gerhart he wasn’t welcome in their motel room, according to to police.
Approximately 20 minutes later, the occupants heard loud knocks on their motel room door and a voice coming from outside demanding, “Open the door,” court records show.
When the woman opened the door, Gerhard and Nobles allegedly barged into the room and “swarmed around her,” before punching her several times in the face while “yelling and screaming” about the stolen items, court records allege. (The woman told investigators that she was once friends with Gerhart and Nobles, court records show.)
They also allegedly struck her boyfriend in the head several times and told the couple, “You are unsafe and we will be back,” according to charging documents.
The woman told investigators that her three young daughters witnessed the attack and that they were “crying and scared, fearing further violence,” court records show.
As Gerhart was leaving the room, he turned around and allegedly punched the woman several more times in the face, before he and Nobles drove away from the motel, according to charging documents.
The woman and her oldest daughter also described the car as a white Chevrolet Malibu with temporary license plates, prompting PPD Officer Lenzi to radio a be-on-the-lookout bulletin, police reported.
The woman expressed concern for her boyfriend because he had suffered a broken neck in the past — a preexisting injury that Gerhart and Nobles were aware of — and because they allegedly did not avoid hitting him in that area of his body, court records show.
Pierson spoke with the boyfriend, who was seated in the bathroom, police reported.
“There was blood coming from his left ear . . . I observed several reddening contusions consistent with punching on the top, sides (of his head) and his right-side face area . . . I observed there to be several reddened areas and markings to his back, appearing to be consistent with a shoe/boot. The injuries on his back were close to his spine and neck area and, because of his prior injury to his neck, the injury could cause further possible injuries and become or have become a direct threat to his life,” court records show.
The boyfriend told investigators that, after one of the blows had knocked him to the floor, Gerhart allegedly started to “stomp him on the back and shoulder area,” court records allege.
Paramedics treated the boyfriend at the scene, police reported.
The paramedics also “insisted that he go to the hospital for further treatment and checks, as this could be more serious of an injury than what (could) be seen on the outside,” police said. The paramedics insisted several times that they take him to the hospital, but the boyfriend refused, telling them that he would get a ride later if he felt that he needed to go, police added.
CCSO Deputy White located Gerhart at his Colora Road residence later that morning and arrested him there, police reported.