Officials of the Baltimore sheriff's office believe that John M. Staubitz Jr. may have fled Maryland to avoid sentencing for his part in the State Games scandal, but they can't understand why and they can't get help from the FBI in looking for him.
"He's not running from felony charges. He's running from a misdemeanor," said David L. Deangelis, a city chief deputy sheriff. "We just don't understand it."
Mr. Staubitz, 44, Maryland's former deputy health secretary, failed to appear Monday in Baltimore Circuit Court, where he was to be sentenced for conspiracy in the State Games scandal. The charge is a misdemeanor, as is the contempt-of-court charge a judge filed against Mr. Staubitz when he didn't show up.
Mr. Deangelis said investigators have information that Mr. Staubitz may have left Maryland, but they can't call in the FBI.
"We can't get involved because he hasn't been charged with a felony," said FBI spokesman Andy Manning. "He's apparently fled on a misdemeanor. It's unusual."
Mr. Staubitz pleaded guilty on May 27 to conspiracy to commit misconduct in office. Prosecutors say he billed the state for such personal expenses as vacations, country club fees and an Ocean City condominium. Prosecutors were going to ask a judge to impose a five-year prison sentence, with all but two years suspended, and $30,063.27 in restitution.
Mr. Staubitz's family awaited his arrival in the courthouse for Monday's sentencing, but he never arrived.
His mother-in-law's car, which he had been seen driving before he disappeared, was found late Monday night at the Double T Diner on U.S. 40 in Catonsville. Mr. Staubitz had been seen there Sunday evening.
Louis Korologos, one of three brothers who owns the Double T Diner, said he recognized Mr. Staubitz from his photograph.
"He's probably been here before, but I don't know if he came inside Sunday," Mr. Korologos said. "Maybe he met someone out in the parking lot."
A private bus service runs daily service from the diner's parking lot to Atlantic City, N.J., but officials of the bus service said that no one resembling Mr. Staubitz got on the bus Monday.