Officer who led raid of relative of Schmoke is accused of theft

March 04, 1994|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Sun Staff Writer

A Baltimore police officer who led a controversial, ill-fated drug raid on the home of a relative of the mayor's wife is under investigation for allegedly stealing equipment from the police property room.

Officer Nicholas S. Constantine has been stripped of his police powers pending the outcome of an investigation into accusations that he stole a bulletproof vest, two replicas of police badges, a uniform jacket and a set of handcuffs, said Agent Doug Price, a police spokesman.

The items were found Feb. 25 when officers from the department's Internal Affairs Division, acting on an anonymous tip that police property was being sold and bartered at collectibles shops in Baltimore and Howard counties, served search warrants at two such shops, Agent Price said.

Officer Constantine, 28, led a July 1991 raid on the home of a cousin of the wife of Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke in an unsuccessful search for drugs, drawing the ire of the mayor, who was running for re-election at the time. Officer Constantine was then accused of lying to obtain search warrants.

Criminal perjury charges against Officer Constantine were dropped, but he was assigned to clerical duty pending the outcome of internal police disciplinary procedures. He had been assigned to the department's property division.

Agent Price said the officer, a 10-year veteran, was ordered to surrender his gun and badge at a department hearing on Monday. On Tuesday, the officer placed himself on medical leave, the spokesman said.

The spokesman could not specify the grounds for the leave.

Agent Price said the city state's attorney's office is reviewing the case to see if criminal charges are warranted.

Officer Constantine did not respond to a request for a comment.

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