A former Anne Arundel County police officer will serve 18 months in jail for stealing $120,000 worth of jewelry and handguns from a dead man’s house he searched while on the job.
Jacob Miskill, 28, pleaded guilty on June 3 to misconduct in office and theft over $100,000 — charges that carry a maximum sentence of 20 years and a $25,000 fine. He has been fired from the department since the crime, according to court records.
As part of his plea deal, all but 18 months of Miskill’s 13-year sentence was suspended. He was ordered to pay the money back and has $2,000 left in restitution. Miskill was sentenced to three years on supervised probation.
A spokesperson for Anne Arundel County police did not immediately comment on the plea.
Miskill was caught on a video camera recording taken at a jewelry store with a gallon-size bag of jewelry he took from a house owned by a man whose death he was investigating, according to testimony during a hearing in county Circuit Court. A neighbor told prosecutors they saw Miskill arrive at the Wall Drive home in his police uniform and marked police car around 5 a.m. the day after police first responded to a reported unattended death. Miskill later took the jewelry, including family heirlooms, to the store.
On April 27, 2020, Miskill responded to the Pasadena home of Roger Neal, whose body was found in the bathroom with no signs of foul play. Miskill arrived with a new officer he was training in his role as a field training officer.
While investigating Neal’s death, officers searched the home for information to notify Neal’s family of his death. Several pistols and locked boxes that contained rifles were found scattered throughout the house during the search, along with a safe that held family jewelry and cash. A friend of Neal’s who found him and searched the house with police but left the search early. He allowed Miskill to lock the house behind him, he told police.
Miskill called the friend the next day and told him he wanted to take the numerous firearms at the house back to the police station for safekeeping. Neal’s friend testified that he helped Miskill load the guns into his marked police car. Miskill was on duty and did not give the man a property sheet to document taking the firearms.
The officer also asked the man if he knew the electronic codes for Neal’s phone, house and safe, and if the man could help him get into the safe, he told police. The man told Miskill he believed Neal had a large bag of jewelry, a Rolex watch and bracelet, and cash totaling several thousands of dollars in his safe.
When Neal’s sister Stephanie Deal came into town she searched the home for an old revolver that was her grandfather’s, a former police officer. But the weapons were gone. Deal and Neal’s friend used a saw to open the safe and found Neal’s jewelry and cash were also gone.
Assistant State’s Attorney Lawrence Caporale said at the plea hearing in Annapolis that a neighbor saw Miskill in his uniform and police car return to Neal’s house around 5 a.m. on April 28. Another neighbor told prosecutors she told Miskill that Neal had multiple firearms, including AR-15s, in his house and that she didn’t want Neal’s weapons to be left unattended.
Miskill later asked Neal’s friends to take the firearms he took from the house, saying “I screwed up can you help me out?” Caporale said.
Security footage from the Jewelry Repair Center in Arbutus captured Miskill entering the store on July 18, 2020, with a large plastic bag of jewelry and another box he told clerks were items of his recently deceased grandmother.
Miskill stayed at the store for one or two hours and sold 67 pieces of jewelry valued at $120,000. David Smith, the store owner, told prosecutors Miskill showed him his Maryland ID.
Deal later identified all the items, including two rings with her father’s and mother’s initials engraved, as jewelry that belonged to her family. The pieces were returned to her.
In a victim impact statement, Deal said Miskill’s theft shook her to the core.
“With both our grandfather and father being police officers and being raised all our lives backing the blue and trusting the blue, this has shook me to my very core,” Deal wrote. “The thought that someone stole from my dead brother was bad enough but to find out that it was the responding police officer that stole from him, made me question everything I thought was good in this world.”
Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess said in a statement that Miskill’s sentence is a clear reminder that no one is above the law.
“It’s truly unsettling that Miskill used his access to the deceased victim’s home to steal property. It was an abuse of power for which he is held accountable,” Leitess said.
Although Police Chief Amal Awad did not comment on the sentence, the department and County Executive Steuart Pittman condemned the officers’ actions when he was charged.
Acting Chief William Lowry said Miskill’s actions were contrary to the oath officers take and tarnished the badges of all county officers. He ordered Miskill suspended without pay in August.
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Awad was appointed in November.