Thefts charged to Crisfield's ex-police chief

November 07, 1991|By David Michael Ettlin

Norman C. Swift III, the former Crisfield police chief who avoided going to jail because of his National Guard service in Saudi Arabia, has been arrested twice within a week on theft charges after searches of his home turned up property allegedly stolen from former employers.

State police said items recovered from Swift's Somerset County home included equipment stolen from both a farmer and a gas station owner for whom the former police chief had worked; thousands of rounds of ammunition, a shotgun and uniform equipment from the town police; and "a vast quantity" of military goods.

Swift pleaded guilty a year ago to malfeasance and was sentenced to a year in a work-release program at the county Detention Center. But he was freed to go to Saudi Arabia when his Army National Guard unit, the 1229th Transportation Company, was called to active duty in the Persian Gulf war.

On Oct. 31, state troopers arrived at the Swift home with a warrant, seeking property taken from farmer Steven M. Cullen. The officers reported finding "a large amount of property" taken from the farmer, and charged Swift with two counts of felony theft. He was freed on a $15,000 bond.

During that first search, police said, the troopers noticed other items they believed to be stolen goods, expanded the investigation and obtained a second search warrant executed at the house Monday afternoon. Swift then was charged with two additional counts of theft and released on $40,000 bond.

Items recovered included 4,000 rounds of 9mm and .38-caliber ammunition from the Police Department, equipment belonging to the former owner of a service station where Swift had worked, and such military gear as M-16 rifle clips, padlocks, batteries, earplugs, tools and "numerous combat boots."

A National Guard investigation is under way, state police said.

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