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Western Md. officer allegedly stole paralyzed woman’s pain pills

(Mike Pellinni /

(Mike Pellinni /

HAGERSTOWN — A police sergeant in Maryland has been charged with stealing prescription opioids from a paralyzed woman after she and a friend caught him on video.

The Herald-Mail reports that the paralyzed woman noticed her pain pills missing after Sgt. Christopher Barnett questioned her about an unrelated case.

Documents say Barnett returned to her bedside minutes later after she called Hagerstown Police and asked for the name of the officer who stole her medicine. She told him she couldn’t afford more pills. He asked what he could do “to make this right,” and said he’d be back in 15 minutes.

That’s when Barnett’s friend set up a camera to secretly record the sergeant’s third visit. The video allegedly shows him putting four replacement oxycodone pills of a different strength into her hand. The woman also says he gave her $35 in hush money.

Police Chief Victor Brito says they acted quickly after seeing the video, putting Barnett on leave without pay and having him arrested at his home in Three Springs, Pennsylvania on Thursday.

“I am sickened by this betrayal of this criminal act,” Brito said at a news conference. “I know in my heart and in my soul that the men and women of the Hagerstown Police Department serve HPD with integrity, and do so in a selfless fashion each and every day.”

Barnett, 45, was released from custody Friday. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on theft and drug charges.