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Former Bagby Restaurant Group CEO faces burglary, theft charges after alleged break-in at Bagby offices

The former CEO of the Bagby Restaurant Group was arrested this week on burglary and theft charges after being accused of breaking into the restaurant group’s Towson office.

Chris Becker was charged with two counts of fourth-degree burglary, one count of second-degree burglary, theft less than $100 and malicious destruction of property valued at $1,000 at the Bagby Restaurant Group’s office, according to court documents.

Becker first entered the restaurant group’s offices at 10:12 a.m. July 22, according to charging documents from Baltimore County District Court. Security footage from the building at 29 W. Susquehanna Ave. shows Becker going in and out of the building several times wearing different clothes, court documents allege.

The charging documents indicate Blake Smith, president of Bagby Pizza Brands, and employee Keith Ramalho identified Becker in the surveillance video and said he was “wearing a dark-colored wig to disguise himself.”

Ramalho said he arrived at the business at 9:20 a.m. July 23 and found the door unlocked and the keyhole damaged. The door to his office was open and bank statements were missing, he told police. Adria Giattino, a human resources representative for the Bagby group, told police she found filing cabinets open in her office and a file for Becker lying out.

Becker ultimately left at 11:33 a.m. July 22 carrying two large brown office boxes and a backpack he brought inside with him, court documents allege.

Becker was arrested Tuesday and released the same day after posting bond.

Bagby Restaurant Group — which owns restaurants and wine shops including Bagby Pizza Co., Cunningham’s and Foundry Row Wine & Spirits — filed a lawsuit against Becker in April alleging he stole from the group, committed fraud, misappropriated company trade secrets and solicited escorts using a work email account during his tenure at CEO. That case is ongoing.

Paul Evelius, a partner in Wright, Constable & Skeen LLP representing Becker in the civil case, said in an emailed statement the theft and burglary charges stemmed from their business dispute.

“There is an ongoing business dispute between Bagby and Mr. Becker relating to their long-term employment relationship, which ended in March of this year,” he wrote. “The recently-filed criminal charges ... relate directly to that business dispute and are simply allegations. It would be entirely wrong to draw any conclusions from the mere fact that those allegations have been made. Business disagreements often become quite hostile, and this matter is unfortunately no exception.”

Neither Becker nor Kate Thompson, a spokeswoman for the Bagby Restaurant Group, could be reached for comment Friday.

Baltimore Sun reporter Danielle Ohl contributed to this article.

smeehan@baltsun.com

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