For­mer con­gres­sional can­di­date faces theft charge

Port Repub­lic in­ci­dent al­legedly spurred by neigh­bor dis­pute

The Calvert Recorder - - News - By AN­DREW CEPHAS acephas@somd­ Twit­ter: @CalRecANDREW

For­mer con­gres­sional can­di­date Mark Ar­ness faces a theft charge for an Aug. 18 in­ci­dent in which he al­legedly stole prop­erty from his neigh­bor’s yard dur­ing an on­go­ing dis­pute.

Ar­ness, 53, of Port Repub­lic was charged with a sin­gle count of theft val­ued less than $1,000, on­line court records show.

The for­mer con­gres­sional can­di­date ran un­suc­cess­fully as a Repub­li­can against U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md., 5th) in 2014 and 2016.

On Aug. 19, Dfc. Dean Naughton of the Calvert County Sher­iff’s Of­fice re­sponded to the 2800 block of Ivory Lane in Port

Repub­lic for the re­port of a theft made by David Mark Diehl. Ac­cord­ing to the charg­ing doc­u­ments, Diehl said he re­cently had an on­go­ing dis­pute with his neigh­bor, Ar­ness, about their prop­erty lines. Diehl told au­thor­i­ties he had his yard pro­fes­sion­ally sur­veyed by Ad­vanced Sur­veys Inc. on Aug. 17. Four wooden, yel­low-capped stakes were placed ad­ja­cent to four steel, yel­low-capped stakes to mark the prop­erty lines be­tween Diehl’s and Ar­ness’ prop­er­ties, the po­lice re­port states. Diehl found all the stakes and the orig­i­nal marker holes miss­ing the morn­ing of Aug. 19.

Although he was un­able to pro­vide pho­to­graphs for docu-

men­ta­tion, Diehl said he was in the process of get­ting pa­per doc­u­men­ta­tion from Ad­vanced Sur­veys Inc., the doc­u­ments re­port. He told au­thor­i­ties the sur­vey, in­clud­ing the stakes, cost him $650, adding that he will have to pay another $650 to have his yard sur­veyed again.

Naughton then made con­tact with Ar­ness on his front porch and ques­tioned him about the miss­ing stakes. Ac­cord­ing to the charg­ing doc­u­ments, Ar­ness ini­tially said he didn’t have any idea of the miss­ing stakes be­cause he was out of town. When asked if there was any­one in the house when he was gone, Ar­ness said his chil­dren were home and some­times play in the yard.

Naughton asked Ar­ness if he could ask his chil­dren whether they re­moved the stakes, prompt­ing Ar­ness to say he didn’t want the of­fi­cer speak­ing to his chil­dren and en­ter the house to ask them him­self. Ap­prox­i­mately two min­utes later, Ar­ness re­turned to the porch, re­port­ing that his chil­dren never saw the stakes, the doc­u­ments al­lege. Ar­ness said there was some heavy rain, which may have washed the stakes away. Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, Naughton said Diehl placed mo­tion cam­eras around his prop­erty that would be checked for ev­i­dence, at which time Ar­ness re­port­edly be­came “very de­fen­sive and back­track[ed] on his story” be­fore sub­se­quently in­form­ing of­fi­cers he would check around his prop­erty for the stakes that may have washed into the woods be­hind his house. Naughton left his con­tact in­for­ma­tion for Ar­ness if the stakes were found.

Naughton then made con­tact with a third neigh­bor, re­sid­ing across from Ar­ness, who said he wit­nessed Ar­ness with a shovel in his yard re­port­edly dig­ging up the wooden stakes and steel mark­ers around 7 p.m. Aug. 18. He said the theft oc­curred right be­fore a bad thun­der­storm, the re­port al­leges.

A crim­i­nal sum­mons was is­sued to Ar­ness on Aug. 24 and served Sept. 1. He is ten­ta­tively sched­uled for an Oct. 2 pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing in district court.

At­tempts to reach Ar­ness were not re­turned by time of press.

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