A Montgomery County police officer is facing charges that he stole from a store where he worked off-duty as a security guard.
Police announced Monday that Jose A. Barahona, 25, of Silver Spring had been charged with three counts of theft for allegedly taking items from the Walmart on Frederick Road in Germantown.
Police believe Barahona took items ranging in value from $100 to $1,500, although department spokesman Capt. Paul Starks said he did not have details about what Barahona allegedly stole from the store other than “personal items.”
The Washington Post cited court records that note Barahona allegedly stole a pack of condoms, instant oatmeal and a $199 Dyson vacuum cleaner. He also reportedly asked a clerk to remove security packaging from a Microsoft Xbox game system, but she refused.
Barahona worked as an off-duty security guard from Dec. 23 to Feb. 3 for a company that provided security services to Walmart, when police believe he engaged in a “continuing course of conduct of stealing items” from the store.
A Walmart loss prevention employee first reported the alleged thefts, according to police.
Barahona has been suspended with pay by the department while the investigation continues. Starks said Barahona was suspended with pay because the crimes are misdemeanors. If prosecutors change any of the charges to a felony, he would be suspended without pay, Starks said.
Starks described the allegations against Barahona as a “horrible decision made by this officer.” Barahona was hired by the county as an officer in October 2014 and has been working in the Wheaton-based Fourth District. The department suspended his police powers while he’s under investigation.
“It’s theft and it’s against the law,” Starks said. “We take these investigations very seriously. We’ll investigate this to the fullest. As we can confirm additional details and information, we’ll be releasing those details to the public.”