Former congressional candidate faces theft charge
Port Republic incident allegedly spurred by neighbor dispute
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.