Police officer not called for reserve duty as he had said

Arundel man accused of theft from department

October 24, 2004|By Sarah Schaffer | Sarah Schaffer,SUN STAFF

An Anne Arundel County police officer charged with theft after being accused of collecting a paycheck from the department while falsely claiming to be serving in Iraq had not been called up for reserves duty during the past four years, military officials said last week.

Steve Stromvall, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Reserve, confirmed that Officer Andrew Barnett, 48, of Hanover is a member of the Individual Ready Reserve. But, he said, military records show that Barnett is not among the more than 5,600 such reservists who have been or are being called up to play support roles in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The IRR is a rarely used pool of Army reservists who do not train or belong to units but collect several thousand dollars a year.

Barnett has been suspended without pay since February. Police revealed last week that Barnett had been charged in August.

Laura Robinson, one of Barnett's lawyers, said last week that her client "vehemently denies" the allegations against him.

Suspicions about Barnett, a patrolman in the county's western district, arose in February, when a review of personnel files revealed he had not submitted the required military service paperwork after going on leave in December.

In accordance with department regulations, which have since changed, Barnett was paid about two months of his $48,303 annual salary, Lt. Edward Bergin said. That adds up to about $7,400 before taxes. But military officials confirmed to police that Barnett had not been deployed, Bergin said. A felony theft conviction carries a sentence of up to 15 years.

Sun staff writer Molly Knight contributed to this article.

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