Senior Harford Deputy charged with theft scheme

BALTIMORE — This story is updated from an earlier version.

A senior deputy with 18 years of service with the Harford County Sheriff’s Office is facing possible termination after he was indicted on two counts of theft scheme, the Sheriff’s Office reported Friday.


A Harford County Grand Jury indicted Senior Deputy Christopher Jay Allen, 42, of the 200 block of Mount Royal Avenue in Aberdeen and assigned to the Police Operations Bureau at the Southern Precinct in Edgewood, on July 31. Allen was served a criminal summons, without incident, Thursday.

According to the indictment filed in Harford County Circuit Court, Allen is charged with theft scheme $1,000 to $10,000 and theft scheme $1,500 to $25,000. He is alleged to have stolen from Aberdeen Parks and Recreation between Feb. 2, 2017 to April 30, 2018, according to the indictment.


He is scheduled to have an initial appearance in circuit court at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 10, according to court records.

In an emailed statement Wednesday, Assistant State’s Attorney Mark Meehan explained the nature of the charges against Allen.

“Christopher Allen has been charged with two counts of theft scheme,” Meehan wrote. “The charges stem from Mr. Allen’s time as head of the Aberdeen Parks and Recreation Lacrosse program. During that time it is alleged that Mr. Allen was depositing funds from the families of athletes meant for the Aberdeen Department of Parks and Recreation into his personal accounts and that some of that money was misappropriated. Mr. Allen is presumed innocent of the charges throughout the entire legal process.”

Allen had been suspended with pay since May 9 after a Sheriff’s Office suspension hearing. After he was indicted, the Sheriff’s Office reported, his status was changed, according to the Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights, and he is suspended without pay.

Harford County Sheriff's Office Captain Lee Dunbar, left, has been named commander of the Criminal Investigations Division and Captain Michael Crabbs will be replacing Dunbar as commander of the Narcotics Task Force.

“The outcome of the criminal prosecution and/or the internal investigation could result in Allen’s termination from employment with the Agency,” a Sheriff’s Office news release issued Friday states.

“Deputies from the Harford County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division and Office of Professional Standards initiated parallel investigations into theft allegations received earlier this year,” the release states.

The Sheriff’s Office offered no further description or explanation of the allegations or how they were made. The release also said Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler “will not discuss the incident further as he does not want to jeopardize the integrity of the administrative or criminal investigations.”

The sheriff did make a general comment about the agency’s integrity.

The ACLU of Maryland has filed a lawsuit seeking the release of records and policies detailing the Harford County sheriff's involvement in a federal immigration enforcement program.

“As Sheriff, I firmly believe the community we serve deserves transparency and accountability and the actions taken in this case demonstrate our deep commitment to earn and maintain our community’s trust,” Gahler said in the release.

The release also said the following:

“The Harford County Sheriff’s Office holds its employees to the highest standards and will thoroughly investigate all allegations of misconduct, remaining vigilant to insure our efforts are professional and meet the high standards the public has come to expect from our deputies. The acts alleged are not reflective of the hard work and dedications of the men and women of the Harford County Sheriff’s Office. Members of the public are reminded the defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.”

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