Arundel officer being investigated

Seized documents mention contract killing, espionage

November 30, 2001|By Tim Craig and Laura Barnhardt | Tim Craig and Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

Baltimore County police are investigating whether an Anne Arundel County police officer, charged with assaulting his wife, might have been planning to go into business as a hit man.

The officer, Stephen M. Brown, is charged only with three counts of second-degree assault based on a complaint from his wife. But his bail was revoked this week after police found papers in Brown's house indicating that someone had an interest in corporate espionage and killings for hire.

Brown, an 11-year police veteran who was a detective in Anne Arundel County's Western District, is being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center. A bail review hearing is set for this morning.

Brown has been in jail since Wednesday night, after he was rearrested when police found the handwritten notes and printed documents in Brown's house.

"The writings talk repeatedly about setting up a business that would be involved in contract killings, espionage, identify theft and other illegal activities," according to a police report written after Brown's wife reported the documents Sunday.

"The papers included lists of materials needed such as rifles, handguns, electronic listening devices and other such items."

Police also found written references to a "phone bomb," and they recovered a telephone keypad, wires and a pipe from the house in the 1300 block of Kingsbury Road in Reisterstown.

Baltimore County police have not charged Brown, 44, with any crime relating to the documents. The information is being reviewed by the state's attorney's office, said Cpl. Vickie Warehime, a police spokeswoman.

Brown was arrested on the assault charges after a series of disputes with his wife, Elizabeth Brown, from Nov. 8 to Nov. 12. Elizabeth Brown says her husband assaulted her and threatened to kill her and the family dog, according to her statement to police.

He "shoved me, hit me with the phone and threw the phone at me after smashing it against the desk" on Nov. 12, Elizabeth Brown wrote in the charging document. The dispute began that week after her husband came "home from anger therapy very mad," she wrote.

Brown was released on his own recognizance two days later and was ordered to stay away from his wife. She received a protective order on Nov. 16, police said.

Elizabeth Brown called police to her home on Kingsbury Road on Sunday after she found several "suspicious" items, including documents possibly involving business plans. A small amount of marijuana was also turned over to Baltimore County police, according to court documents.

Wednesday, prosecutors asked a judge to revoke Brown's bail on the assault charges and have him rearrested. He was picked up Wednesday night in the 1600 block of Furnace Drive in Glen Burnie.

The documents taken from Brown's house appear to outline plans for starting a business that initially would do corporate espionage work and then expand to "contractual work," including "set-ups, death and booby traps," according to court documents.

One page of notes lists equipment needed to start the business, such as poisons, concealed weapons, sniper rifles, silencers, telephone scramblers and night-vision equipment, the documents say. Police also said they recovered false identification with Stephen Brown's name on it and information on poisonous plants from the house.

Lt. Joseph E. Jordan, an Anne Arundel police spokesman, said Brown's police powers have been suspended since his arrest Nov. 12. The department's Internal Affairs Division is investigating, he said.

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