Employee arrested in theft from state office

Computer equipment was taken in Columbia

August 22, 2002|By Jason Song | Jason Song,SUN STAFF

Howard County police have arrested a social services employee on charges that he stole nearly $25,000 worth of computer equipment from his workplace in Columbia late last month.

Troy Jim Powell, 26, of the 3700 block of Seven Mile Lane in Baltimore was arrested Tuesday and charged with second- and fourth-degree burglary, theft, malicious destruction of property and conspiracy to commit burglary. He is accused of stealing equipment from the state Department of Social Services offices in the 7100 block of Columbia Gateway Drive on July 24.

Powell's girlfriend, Tamra Deniece Jackson, 25, of the 3700 block of Twin Lakes Court in Baltimore, also was arrested Tuesday and was charged with conspiracy to commit burglary. Police said she is suspected of helping to hide the stolen equipment.

Powell is charged with entering the building through a side employee entrance late July 24 and stealing 14 computer monitors, three computers and other accessories, police said. The building was ransacked, causing an estimated $500 in damage, and three computer monitors were destroyed.

Social services workers had to cancel appointments and close the offices July 25 while police and social services workers investigated. The offices reopened July 26.

Police think Powell was "disgruntled," said Cpl. Lisa Myers, a spokeswoman. State officials said Powell remains on the payroll, but they declined to comment further.

"We're cooperating with police, and beyond that we can't say anything," said Erlene Wilson, communications director for the state Department of Human Resources, which oversees the Department of Social Services.

Police said an attempt was made to keep the stolen equipment in a unit that Jackson had rented at Rolling Road Mini-Storage in Baltimore County. Instead of Jackson's unit, the equipment was accidentally placed in another unit and locked in, police said.

When Mini-Storage employees noticed the mistake, they cut the lock, saw equipment marked as property of the Department of Social Services and notified Baltimore County police. They informed Howard police, who made the arrests.

Jackson told police she was unaware of Powell's activities. Although she rented a U-Haul and a storage unit for him, she thought her boyfriend was moving furniture, according to charging documents.

Powell was released Tuesday on a $25,000 bond, and Jackson was released the same day on her own recognizance, court officials said.

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