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.
Todd Holden says
what’s the charge from this past Sunday? Theft under $1000, what was it, where did it occur, who filed the charges?
Come on Dagger, you can give us more information than this!
Just out of curiosity whats the going pay for a MAJ with the HCSO. Is it that bad you have to shoplift from Home Depot..one bad apple doesn’t spoil the bunch though. Its unfortunate nonetheless if this allegation proves true.
With Forwood’s 20 years in the HCSO it would have to be somewhere from $107,661 to $121,181 per year without any overtime or shift differential. The man does not have to steal.
Todd Holden says
thanks Dagger for the details…good job…
a bucket full of tools, eh?
c’mon dude, lighten up…making it bad for everyone in the department
Who is the Dude you want to lighten up… Forwood or Cahall?
So when they cut off his pay, did they cut off his insurance and pension or are we still paying for a thief to have health when lots of honest americans have no job and no healthcare?
Excellent question. Also, does he still accrue annual and sick leave, and time toward his retirement percentage?
An additional thought… We pay for the health care of thousands of thieves who are in jail.
Just think, this guy Forwood will still be able to collect his HCSO retirement even after it is proven that he is a thief!
$121,181 per year X 44 percent (2 percent for each year of service) equals $53,319 annually for the rest of his life. Let’s see, $53,319 for 25 years (he’s currently 43) is only $1,332,975 in retirement. Yep, ya read that right: One Million Three Hundred Thirty Three Thousand, Nine Hundred Seventy Five Dollars. Hey, we treat our thieves right in Harford County!!
Rob in Bel Air says
Is there some information out there that indicates he will be keeping his reitrement or do you just need something to complain about?
I’m not complaining about anything. It is what it is. He will not lose his retirement. I am only stating that fact and pointing out what an excellent retirement it will be.
This man is clearly in need of mental health treatment. What would cause a seemingly regular police officer to do these things? Does he have a gambling problem? What else has he done during the course of his career? Someone out there must know…
Carl Phillips says
We have had the pleasure and honor of Maj. Forwood’s service and sacrifice to our community. We owe something to him by giving him the benefit of the community’s confidence and respect. We need to consider the incident a sincere oversight by ascribing no ill will or criminal motive behind the Home Depot affair. Presumably there are no other similar
incidents in his past which would lead us to believe or doubt that the matter was not a simple human mistake.
Also, if he did intentionally attempt to steal the material then I would give the man all the respect and care by allowing him to confess his mistake and pay neccessary damages and or render service to the community he serves
… and move on…
Move on? One of the highest paid employees in the County who is a law enforcement officer to boot betrays the public trust and the oath of his office and you want to move on? I saw a post on here prior to the election where someone inquired as to if there has been an audit of the things this guy had access to! God only knows what might be missing from property rooms or evidence, but hey, lets move on! Carl you must be another Jesse supporter.
Perhaps you think it was an “oversight” with no criminal motive but Major Forwood has a pattern of theft from various Home Depots. He has been indicted and charged with running a theft scheme and misconduct in office. These charges stem from him stealing in his past and have nothing to do with what he is accused of doing this past Sunday. “No other similar incidents”… hardly, this man has an extensive history of stealing.
Your compassion is a virtue! However, this person is a highly paid, executive of a law enforcement agency that knows what the hell is going on. Ostensibly, he has a gambling problem, mental illness or other matter that compounded this situation. His recent termination was obviously the smart move by HCSO mgt.
Please allow me to address your comments: “…We have had the pleasure and honor of Maj. Forwood’s service and sacrifice to our community. We owe something to him by giving him the benefit of the community’s confidence and respect…”
This was no simple human mistake as you wrote. This is an embarrassment to the HCSO and law enforcement in general. This appears to be part of a complex scheme to defraud. If a kid from the street did this, he would be prosecuted, despite the fact that the kid may have no education and was not a law enforcement officer (LEO). Honest hard-working LEO’s want this guy prosecuted to prove a point, that none of us are above the law.
My sympathies to the Major’s family. That said, Justice is the most important point that must be addressed here. The Major will be afforded all rights via the court system as any other run of the mill Defendant would.
I agree, it is time to let the court handle this “MOVE ON.”
King of Common Sense says
Since he did not make his 25 years of service, he is not eligible to collect any retirement until he is 62 or 63 years of age. The amount he will collect is still too much but it is not the 1.3 million that was estimated above.
Forwood is still a member of the Sheriffs Office. He has not been fired by Bane. One of the questions above was in regard to Forwood and does he still accrue time toward retirement even though he is suspended without pay.
Perhaps you know the answer.
Al J Thong says
This guy didn’t just walk out of Home Depot with a bucket of tools while on the phone. He could beat that.
Brian Goodman says
Forwood fired this afternoon:
I think that everyone needs to stop for a second and remember that while you are sitting in your homes prosecuting Major Forwood for his alleged crimes he has a wife and two children at home that are seriously suffering. They live, work and go to school in our community and they are not oblivious to these vicious words people are saying. I am a Harford County tax payer as well and I am obviously concerned about those that represent me in office. But I think I can forget about how this situation has so minimally effected me and think instead about how this has effected his innocent children and wife.
The police department will recover. Home Depot will recover. But will his family ever recover???
Things will probably never be the same for the Forwood family. They have only Mark Forwood to thank for that. Most of this could have been avoided had Sheriff Bane and Major Forwood done the right thing back in April 2010. Forwood should have tendered his resignation and absent that Bane should have fired him. When you don’t do the right thing in the first place it never ends well!!
I’m sure Sheriff Bane thought that if he kept the Forwood situation low key during an election year it would play out best for Bane. That calculation appears to have been correct, Bane was reelected. Since Sheriff Bane fired Major Forwood today, we now see that he could have done this all along, even though Bane alleged that he could not fire Forwood until Forwood was actually found guilty of a crime. I said back in October that Bane was hiding behind LEOBR, and that Bane could fire a member of his senior command staff anytime he chose to do so. Senior Command Staff are not protected by LEOBR. Today Sheriff Bane has, by his actions, proven what we knew to be true all along. What does that say about Jesse Bane? In my opinion, not much. I guess Jesse Bane can live with it, but what about the Forwoods?
I hate to be cynical, but as soon as i read this story i could only think of one thing; what a cleaver ploy to lay the ground-work for a mental health defense in his felony trial.
Kudos Gus Brown and Mark Forwood. I am sure you will successfully avoid any punishment for your actions.
You may be right regarding the defense strategy. But Forwood is a thief, plain and simple. I hope whoever he faces in court sees the plain and simple truth about this man.
Billy Jack says
You may well be Jaded but you certainly aren’t stupid. I had the exact same thought. Given his current situation there had to be a reason for the Home Depot theft. Forwood is laying the groundwork for something.
That could be, but mental health defenses very rarely work. He deserves to go jail for an extended period of time if/when he’s found guilty.