Police sergeant is arrested after being caught on camera 'stealing a paralyzed woman's prescription opioids and offering her hush money'Daily Mail
February 5, 2018
A Hagerstown police sergeant in Maryland has been arrested after stealing prescription opioids from a paralyzed woman, who caught him on video.
Sgt. Christopher Barnett, 45, stole the woman's pills after entering her home to allegedly question her about an unrelated case. When she alerted police, he returned to her offering replacement pills and $35 in hush money.
Barnett, who has worked for the force for 15 and a half years, has been placed on unpaid leave for his charges.
Police arrested Barnett on Thursday after receiving a video that showed Barnett distribute opioids and hush money to the woman he allegedly robbed.
Barnett first contacted the paralyzed woman at a residence in the Potomac Towers housing complex in Maryland to question her about a friend's brother.
The woman, paralyzed in a car crash, was prescribed oxycodone and OxyContin to control her pain and muscle spasms.
According to the woman, he asked to enter her home and began 'messing' around with two of her pill bottles. After he left, her friend checked the bottles and found three oxycodone pills missing. The bottle originally held seven pills as it was filled for seven days of usage.
After realizing her pain medication was stolen she phoned police for his contact and Barnett showed up at her door minutes later, promising to 'make this right' and saying he would return in 15 minutes.
The robbed woman and a friend set up a camera to record the sergeant's third visit to her home. When he returned he offered her four more potent replacement oxycodone pills and $35 in hush money.
The camera, hidden behind papers, caught Barnett on tape removing a medication bottle from his coat and offering pills to the paralyzed woman's male friend. He then directs Barnett to place the pills in the woman's hand, according to Herald Mail Media.
Barnett has been charged with one felony count of distribution of a controlled-dangerous substance, two counts each of malfeasance in office and possession of a controlled-dangerous substance, as well as theft of less than $100.
Police Chief Victor Brito says they acted quickly after seeing the video, putting Barnett on leave without pay and having him arrested at his home in Three Springs, Pennsylvania on Thursday.
'I am sickened by this betrayal of this criminal act,' Brito said at a news conference.
'I know in my heart and in my soul that the men and women of the Hagerstown Police Department serve HPD with integrity, and do so in a selfless fashion each and every day,' he added.
Barnett was released from custody Friday. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on theft and drug charges.