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Cottonwood Heights officials release records of gas purchases by Beau Babka


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COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS -- Records released Thursday detail gasoline purchases made in November and December by Cottonwood Heights police officer Beau Babka -- some just minutes apart -- but offer no obvious evidence of wrongdoing.

Babka, a Republican candidate last year for Salt Lake County sheriff and 2004 Democratic candidate for Congress, has been placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation.

The police department has turned over to the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office records of 27 gas purchases Babka made between Nov. 11 and Dec. 29. Sources have told the Deseret News investigators are determining whether he used a city credit card to fuel a personal vehicle. The records do not show what vehicle he was driving.

According to the records, Babka bought gas 15 times in Draper, where he lives, 11 times in Cottonwood Heights and once in West Jordan. On four occasions, he bought gas multiple times in one day.

On Nov. 29, Babka bought 7.3 gallons at a Draper gas station at 11:01 a.m., then bought 12.2 gallons more at the same station just 20 minutes later. He bought gas three times on Dec. 12: once in the morning in Cottonwood Heights and at two separate stations in Draper that evening, 18 minutes apart.

On Dec. 26, he bought gas twice at the same Draper station in the space of 10 minutes: 1.9 gallons, then just under 18 gallons.

A law enforcement veteran of almost 20 years, Babka has served as both the police chief of South Salt Lake and as undersheriff to current Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder. He lost his 2010 bid to Winder, the Democratic incumbent who netted 57 percent of the vote.

Babka did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment Thursday.

E-mail: pkoepp@desnews.com

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