Thief Seeks Halving Of 10-year Sentence

July 18, 2009|By Don Markus | Don Markus,

The attorney for a former Baltimore police officer who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for taking nearly $380,000 from a Howard County bank in December 2007 has asked a three-judge panel in Circuit Court to have his prison term cut in half.

Debra Saltz said that her client, Robert Flanagan of Dallastown, Pa., was "extremely desperate" and still suffering from the effects of the illness that forced him to leave a nine-year law enforcement career when he took the money from a Bank of America branch.

During a hearing Thursday, Saltz called the sentence imposed by Judge Richard S. Bernhardt excessive to the point of cruel and unusual punishment.

Flanagan, then 38, had worked for a year as a guard for Dunbar Armored Security after leaving the Baltimore police force because of post-traumatic stress disorder. Assistant State's Attorney Lynn Marshall said that Flanagan was dismissed from Dunbar because of discrepancies in the money he collected and what he turned in.

Dressed in his old uniform but lacking proper credentials, Flanagan persuaded an employee at the Bank of America branch on Baltimore National Pike to turn over $379,000 in cash. Flanagan and his wife, Robin, were arrested later that day. About $200,000 has never been recovered.

The employee who gave Flanagan the money as well as the branch manager were later fired, which Bernhardt later cited as one of the reasons for the 10-year sentence. Since it was a first offense, Flanagan could have received as little as six months of probation.

Charges against Robin Flanagan were later dropped when she cooperated with police.

"We don't know what happened to that money, and we'll never know," Saltz said.

But Marshall contends that Flanagan still knows where the money can be found.

"He stashed that money somewhere," Marshall said. "He will do jail time so he can have a nice nest egg when he gets out."

Flanagan, who is being jailed in Cumberland and is receiving treatment for PTSD, according to his lawyer, declined to speak on his own behalf.

At the time of his arrest, Flanagan was out on bond after being arrested in Baltimore County on a similar charge. Flanagan pleaded guilty to taking $70,000 from a Target store in Towson while dressed as an armored guard, and was given five years in jail to run concurrent with his sentence in Howard County.

Saltz said that he should have been given the same length term in Howard County, but Marshall argued that the Baltimore County judge who sentenced Flanagan was aware of his 10-year sentence in Howard County.

Judges Lenore R. Gelfman, Louis A. Becker and Diane O. Leasure will make their decision later.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.