A hospital security guard has been charged with impersonating a police officer and raping a woman in Baltimore earlier this month.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison announced the arrest of Richard Stephen Barnes, 50 of Baltimore, a guard at the University of Maryland R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, during a news conference early Tuesday evening at police headquarters. The case has roiled the department for weeks and prompted Baltimore detectives to pull 120 white patrol cars from service as they searched for a vehicle matching the one described by the victim.
The victim told police she believed she was assaulted by a person in police uniform and driving a police vehicle, Harrison said.
“Out of an abundance of caution, our investigators did a thorough check of all Baltimore Police Department vehicles that fit this description. As you can imagine, this was a monumental task,” Harrison said. "They put in a lot of hard work and they should be publicly praised.”
The victim reported that she was near the Charles Village Pub when she met a man named “Rick,” who appeared to be a police officer, according to an internal police memo previously obtained by The Baltimore Sun. She reported the man then took her to a residential area near Camden Yards — she didn’t have an exact location — and forced her to have sex, before dropping her back in the Charles Village area, the memo said. The woman later went to an area hospital to report the incident.
The department’s license plate reader unit and the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center assisted in looking at vehicles that might have been in the area during the time of the assault.
Investigators reviewed hundreds of hours of CCTV and private camera footage from the area, inspected more then 300 body worn camera videos, and 600 daily activity logs from officers, Harrison said.
The vehicle turned out to be dark-colored belonging to a private citizen and not a police officer, Harrison said. Harrison said detectives did a hand search of over 1,600 Maryland Motor Vehicle records to narrow in on a suspect. Investigators were able to identify Barnes, of the 3000 block of E. Northern Parkway, in North Baltimore.
Harrison said that on June 1, Barnes stopped the victim’s vehicle in the 2700 block of Lovegrove St. in Charles Village and identified himself as a police officer, ordered the victim out of her car and into his. He was wearing his security guard uniform at the time. He then drove her to another location and assaulted her.
A warrant was issued for Barnes on Tuesday.
In a statement, a University of Maryland Medical Center spokesperson said hospital officials are “shocked and saddened to learn of the allegations and are cooperating fully with the investigation” and have suspended Barnes without pay.
In the days after the allegations, police started returning cars to the street as the investigation progressed. Ultimately, the department did not process any of the vehicles for evidence because they determined none of the cars were involved, a police spokesman said previously.
Harrison said investigators do not know of any other assaults connected to Barnes but asked any victims to contact police.
If residents suspect they are being pulled over and it is not a police officer, Harrison said, they should call 911. Officers are supposed to be in communication with dispatchers.
“Then if it is not, we will be dispatched to this scene,” he said.