Sheriff's Deputy charged in bribery

BEL AIR, Md. (WMAR) - A Harford County Sheriff's Deputy is charged with taking bribes to help a towing company repossess cars.

Investigators say Deputy First Class Todd Johnson sold information from the National Crime Information Center database to the Final Notice asset recovery company, in Baltimore City's Curtis Bay neighborhood.

Johnson has been charged with theft and bribery.

"The deputy is alleged to be using a computer and computer access to a privileged database that's restricted for law enforcement use only.  He's also taking money from the individual to use those services which are provided to him to do his job," said Ed Hopkins, a spokesman for the Harford County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators are not saying how many times they believe Johnson helped Final Asset, nor how much money he might have received.

"We believe this scheme has gone back anywhere from 12 to 24 months, but we're still looking and there's a lot of data to come through," Hopkins said.

The investigation began in February, at which time Johnson's access to the NCIC database was taken away; the criminal charges came on Thursday.

Police say the towing company, final notice, remains under investigation.

"We're still looking into the relationship between him and the tow truck operator to see just what's involved between the two of them," Hopkins said.

The towing company was closed on Thursday evening, and there was no answer on a phone number listed for it.

Todd Johnson is a seven-year veteran of the Harford County Sheriff's Office.  He has been suspended without pay while the investigation continues.

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