Major Mark Forwood, the Harford County Sheriff’s Office chief investigator, faces a new charge of theft under $1,000 in connection with a Sunday incident in Bel Air.
Forwood is also currently facing charges filed Nov. 1 for his alleged involvement in a theft scheme, a felony, and for misconduct in office, a misdemeanor. Forwood was suspended without pay on Nov. 4, and had been suspended with pay since mid-April while the investigation was underway.
He was scheduled to appear in Harford County Circuit Court at 1:30 p.m. today for arraignment on those charges.
According to a tip received by The Dagger, Forwood attempted to shoplift a bucket of tools from the Home Depot in Bel Air. The source said Forwood was talking on his cell phone while walking out of the store. An employee followed him and told him he didn’t pay and Forwood said he was on the phone and he forgot to pay.
Forwood’s attorney, Gus Brown, said Monday he had heard about the incident, but had no details other than that Forwood had not been charged.
“I don’t know if he will but I have no details yet,” Brown said.
Harford County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Monica Worrell said the department was unable comment, other than to confirm Forwood’s current status as suspended without pay:
Mark Forwood was suspended without pay on November 4, 2010. Should that change or until I am informed otherwise, as of November 29th at 1pm, that is all I am aware of at this time.
I am unable to comment on any more than what I provided at this time, as it is a personnel matter.
Forwood’s case was the political hot potato of the election season, and the first charges came just a day before Sheriff Jesse Bane, who hand-picked Forwood as his head of criminal investigations, narrowly defeated Republican Jeff Gahler in the general election.
The Dagger broke the news of an investigation into Forwood for allegations of “improper conduct” on April 13, when he was suspended with pay. The investigation continued through the summer and fall with little word on the nature of the allegations facing the 20-year veteran of the department.
Through the last weeks of the election season, Gahler accused Bane of holding up the investigation until after the election for political gain. Bane strongly rebuked the allegation, and said Gahler, a member of the Maryland State Police, had no right to comment on or interfere on an investigation into a member of the Sheriff’s Office which was conducted by Baltimore County authorities.
Check back with The Dagger for further details on this breaking story.