Officer appeals conviction for cable TV fraud

July 27, 2000|By Nancy A. Youssef | Nancy A. Youssef,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore County police officer has appealed his conviction for stealing about $1,700 worth of cable television service over two years, his lawyer said yesterday.

In March, county police charged Officer Michael Joseph Stephens Jr. of the 3500 block of Dunhaven Road in Dundalk with tapping Comcast Cablevision lines. District Judge G. Darrell Russell found Stephens guilty last week of obtaining cable television service by fraud. He ordered Stephens to pay $1,776 in fees and imposed a six-month jail term, with all but two days suspended.

Stephens appealed that ruling this week. "The results in District Court were unfair and disproportionate," said Stephens' attorney, Michael Belsky. "The case will be retried in Circuit Court, where we trust that we will get a more just verdict and disposition."

Stephens has been suspended with pay since March 17, said Cpl. Vickie Warehime, a county police spokeswoman. That will continue pending his appeal. He joined the department in 1995.

According to charging documents, an audit by Comcast showed that Stephens had cable service but did not have an account. Police said that when they executed a warrant at his home in March, they discovered he had cable programming on his television.

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