Bel Air Town Commissioner Terry Hanley was present for the municipality’s regularly scheduled meeting Monday, four days after he was formally charged with theft in a Cecil County used car deal.
Hanley made several comments during the meeting related to the council’s brief agenda, but entered and exited the meeting without commenting to reporters about the charges.
According to charging documents dated Sept. 7, Hanley allegedly withheld $5,000 in cash from the sale of a vehicle made at his former employer, Ramsey Ford of Elkton.
The documents state that Hanley allegedly sold a Ford Focus vehicle for $14,500 in cash, but that he only turned over $9,500 to the dealership and recorded the trade-in value of the customer’s Chevrolet Lumina as $7,320.38, while police said it was worth approximately $2,000. Hanley allegedly intended to sell the vehicle to a wholesaler.
On June 15, a day after police began investigating the case, Hanley allegedly paid Ramsey Ford with a personal check in the amount of $3,500, and the dealership withheld a bonus check to Hanley worth approximately $1,600.
Hanley told police that his actions were “in the best interests of the customer,” and that the money was accounted for throughout the transactions. However, according to the documents, Cecil County Sheriff’s Office Det. Cpl. Andrew Tuer, the officer investigating the case, doubted Hanley’s explanation, saying he did not believe Hanley would have given the money back until he was confronted, and that he believed Hanley knew he had acted wrongly.
“My gut feeling is to hope it’s not true,” said Bel Air Town Commissioner Eddie Hopkins, upon being told of the allegations. “But being a former police officer, whatever evidence there is, you’re innocent until proven guilty.” Hopkins was not at Monday’s meeting; Commissioner Chairman David Carey said Hopkins was feeling ill.
Several days before Monday’s meeting, Carey also expressed his support for Hanley.
“It’s a sad thing,” he said. “I hope it all works out for Terry, I feel bad for his family, but everyone deserves their day in court.”