Baltimore police officer charged with attempted theft from grocery

Officer Darlene Early, 41, was allegedly undercharged by daughter

March 10, 2012|By Steve Kilar, The Baltimore Sun

A Baltimore police officer has been charged with attempted theft of groceries at a Northeast Baltimore store after a cashier — the officer's daughter — rang up items for her at reduced prices, police said Saturday.

"We demand, we expect more from the people who wear this badge," Baltimore police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. The officer is facing both an internal investigation and a criminal summons.

The charge comes within days of the department's suspending John A. Ward, 32, a four-year veteran of the force. Ward was suspended after the .22-caliber rifle used by two teens in the accidental killing of 13-year-old Monae Turnage was found in his car.

The investigation into Ward has been "moving quickly," and detectives have been meeting the Baltimore state's attorney's office to discuss the case, Guglielmi said.

Darlene Early, 41, was undercharged by about $300 by her daughter, 18-year-old Ciara Anderson, who was working a cash register at the Food Depot in the 2400 block of Belair Road, Guglielmi said.

Police were called to the store about 7 p.m. Friday, he said, after a security guard at the store noticed that Anderson had been incorrectly entering prices on food items that Early brought to the register.

The total bill should have been $401.86; Early was charged $101.28, according to the police report.

Anderson charged her mother as little as 10 cents on items, which included yogurt, soda, deli meat and cereal, the report says.

Early was charged with attempted theft of property valued at less than $1,000. Anderson has been charged with conspiracy to commit theft of less than $1,000 in property. Both charges are misdemeanor offenses with a maximum sentence of 18 months in jail.

Early, who joined the force in September 1990 and is assigned to the Western District Detective Unit, has been suspended from the police force, and an internal affairs investigation is pending, Guglielmi said.

An administrative hearing has been scheduled for Monday, when it will be determined whether Early's suspension is to be without pay, he said. Early was exonerated by the Police Department's internal investigations unit and a Baltimore Circuit Court jury after fatally shooting a fleeing burglary suspect in 1993.

The women live in the 2800 block of Lake Avenue in Baltimore's Belair-Edison neighborhood.

The Police Department has been in the news in recent months for other criminal scandals involving its officers.

Testimony in a federal trial of two officers charged in a towing kickback scheme indicated that more than 60 department employees were involved in the scheme, making it one of the largest police corruption cases in the department's history.

In July, an officer was charged with dealing heroin from a stationhouse parking lot.

steve.kilar@baltsun.com

twitter.com/stevekilar

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