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Former JSAP director accused of theft

March 15, 2001

Former JSAP director accused of theft



By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

kimy@herald-mail.com

The former director of Washington County's Jail Substance Abuse Program has been charged with stealing beer from two city liquor stores.

Charles Ray Messmer, 44, of 710 Chestnut St. in Hagerstown was charged with two counts of theft under $500 Tuesday. He was released on his own recognizance Wednesday.

"It was a misunderstanding," Messmer said Thursday.

He returned to the liquor stores Thursday and paid for the alcohol, he said.

He said that before his arrest he had been sober for four months and had been attending Alcoholics Anonymous.

Messmer was convicted of driving while intoxicated in Nov. 1999 and given probation before judgment. It was revoked in September 2000 after he violated his probation twice.

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Messmer was sentenced to 10 days in jail and given credit for 10 days of an in-patient treatment program in Henryville, Pa.

Hagerstown City Police alleged in charging documents that Messmer went to Market Lot Liquors at 54 Church St. at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday and attempted to buy a six-pack of Coors Light with a check.

The store owner told Messmer the store doesn't accept checks, so Messmer picked up the beer and left the store without paying, charging documents alleged.

Police also were told that a man matching Messmer's description had stolen a six pack of beer from Dad's Place at 806 Maryland Ave., charging documents said.

The clerk at Dad's Place wrote down the man's license plate number, which police traced back to Messmer, charging documents alleged.

Two police officers went to Messmer's home, while two others went to Dad's Place.

The clerk at the liquor store told police Messmer attempted to pay for a pint of rum using a personal check.

When the clerk refused him, Messmer said he would take a 16-ounce bottle of Budwieser instead, charging documents said.

The clerk placed the rum back on the shelf and when he turned around he saw Messmer leaving the store with a six-pack of Budweiser.

Officers arrested Messmer at his home.

Messmer was removed as director of JSAP following his DWI conviction. Since then, he has worked compiling statistics for the Health Department, he said.

A secretary for Rod MacRae, Washington County Director of Environmental Health, said the Health Department had no comment.

Begun in 1989 as the first jail-based alcohol/substance abuse treatment program in Maryland, JSAP was used as a model under Messmer's leadership.

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