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Former deputy involved in barcode scam faces felony charges

By Shara Park | Posted - Feb 26th, 2013 @ 3:03pm

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CENTERVILLE — A former Davis County sheriff's deputy who was fired several years ago for a drug arrest is in trouble with the law again.

Christopher Kenneth Sorensen, 38, was charged this month in Farmington's 2nd District Court with two counts of felony theft. Prosecutors believe Sorensen and another man were running a bar code scam: printing fake bar codes, putting them on merchandise in big box stores, and then attempting to purchase those items at the reduced prices.

On Jan. 11 and 14, Sorensen went to the Wal-Mart in Centerville and took a safe and a flat-screen TV on separate occasions without paying for them, according to court records. In one incident, investigators say Sorensen just took the TV and walked out. In the other, he attempted to purchase the small safe with the fake bar code attached, but ran out the door with it when the bar code wouldn't work.

Responding officers viewed store surveillance video and immediately recognized Sorensen, said Centerville Assistant Police Chief Paul Child.

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"That's always a sad thing to see, because we are a tight knit group. But we also have a standard that we want each other to uphold, because anything another officer does, whether they're a current officer or a former officer, reflects on us," he said.

The officers went to Sorensen's house and took him to police headquarters for questioning. They also found the missing items from the store in his bedroom, Child said.

Sorensen claimed that when the bar code scheme on the safe didn't work, he "was embarrassed and so he just left without paying for it," according to a Centerville police report. Likewise, he told officers that when he tried a similar scam with the TV but failed, he "was embarrassed because he knew that they knew what he was doing and he decided to just leave with the television," the report states.

Child said Sorensen is believed to have an accomplice who had not been located as of Tuesday. During his initial interview with police, Sorensen told detectives there were three other acquaintances involved, according to the report. Child said Sorensen was cooperative with detectives, even though he also told them that he was having an "internal dilemma" about turning them in," according to the report.

The bar code scam is one that has become common at most big box stores in the area, Child said.

The shoplifters of today are not the shoplifters of 10 or 20 years ago. They're much more sophisticated. They're more brazen.

–Paul Child, Centerville Police

"The shoplifters of today are not the shoplifters of 10 or 20 years ago. They're much more sophisticated. They're more brazen. They take high dollar items. They're very, very organized, They know what they're doing. They're shrewd. They'll go in there and take thousands of dollars of items at one time," he said.

Sorensen was a sheriff's deputy for seven years before losing his job in 2003.

He was convicted of a reduced charge of attempted theft in 2004. He was also convicted of felony drug possession and misdemeanor drug possession in 2008 in separate cases, according to Utah state court records. In 2010, Sorensen was convicted of felony drug possession and felony drug distribution, according to court records. During his attempt to receive treatment, he tested positive for Oxycontin on Jan. 3, 2011, according to court records. But during a hearing on March 20, 2011, the court noted that he had "completed treatment at the jail and six months of aftercare treatment."

This past Christmas Eve, however, Sorensen was again charged with felony drug possession in Ogden's 2nd District Court.

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