Ex-Arundel officer pleads no contest to theft charge

February 24, 2005|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

A suspended Anne Arundel County police officer pleaded no contest yesterday to a charge that he wrongly collected his county salary while not coming to work under the pretense of having been activated for Army Reserve duty in Iraq.

Andrew Barnett Jr., 49, did not acknowledge guilt in the unusual agreement that included county prosecutors and the Police Department.

Under the deal, prosecutors reduced a felony theft charge to a misdemeanor, the department accepted the resignation Barnett submitted a year ago and the county is deducting about two months of pay from the value of leave he was owed. At the time, officers called to active duty received paid leave while they served in the military.

Barnett also was placed on 30 days' unsupervised probation.

Barnett, described by his lawyer as a decorated eight-year member of the force, made no statement before Circuit Judge Joseph P. Manck, who called the plea a "proper" resolution.

Deputy State's Attorney William D. Roessler told the judge that Barnett, falsely claiming he was activated for overseas duty, received about $6,000 in paid leave. For about two months between December 2003 and February 2004, he neither reported to his job as a patrolman nor served overseas, Roessler said.

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