In March, Vineland's Darren Ford came off a spring training where he hit .500 and was considered one of the San Francisco Giants' most outstanding minor league baseball players.

Now, Ford faces charges that he lied to Vineland police when he told them he was robbed of $300 at gunpoint last fall.

In November, Ford told police he was carrying a bank deposit bag from RK Chevrolet when he stopped at a state Motor Vehicle office before going to the bank. Then, a gunman pointed a double-barreled shotgun at him and demanded he turn over his belongings, Ford said.

Police say the Nov. 18 robbery did not happen that way. They charged Ford on July 2 with making false reports to law enforcement officers, obstruction of administration of law, conspiracy, and theft by failure to make proper disposition of property received.

Ford was released that same day on a summons complaint.

The 24-year-old is the starting center fielder for the Richmond Flying Squirrels, the Giants' double-A affiliate. He led off for Richmond on Wednesday in their game in Harrisburg, Pa.

Ford returned to Richmond on Saturday and missed just one game last Friday.

When reached by phone, Ford would not comment and referred any questions to his lawyer, Henry Hockeimer, who also declined comment.

Representatives from the Flying Squirrels could not be reached for comment.

Heading into Wednesday's game, Ford was hitting .236 with four home runs, 26 RBIs and 26 stolen bases in 77 games.

Ford was added to the Giants' 40-man roster in November. In more than five seasons in the minors, Ford is a career .266 hitter with 32 home runs, 248 RBIs and 277 stolen bases. Speed has been Ford's biggest asset as he's averaged 50.2 stolen bases during his first five minor league seasons.

He won the Harry S. Jordan award this spring given annually to the top Giants player in his first major-league spring training camp.

The 5-foot-11, 195-pounder was selected as the 526th pick of the 18th round by the Brewers in the 2004 amateur draft. Milwaukee traded him to the Giants in July 2008.

Police released information about the charges Wednesday and said the investigation is continuing. No other information would be released, police said.

Police are asking that anyone who was in the area of 76 W. Landis Ave. that day contact Detective Kristin Kirchner at 856-691-4111, ext. 4656.

Crime Stoppers of Vineland is offering a reward of as much as $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of suspects. Crime Stoppers' telephone number is 856-691-0345.

Susan Lulgjuraj, Dan Good and Patrick Carrgher contributed to this report.

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