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Man Posing As Cop Steals Guns

Man Posing As Cop Steals Guns

Posted - Feb. 16, 2004 at 5:42 p.m.



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John Hollenhorst ReportingBernarr Furse, Midvale: "I'm astounded by it, see, because I called Midvale police, and I thought I was getting one of their staff, a policeman."

Suppose you call police and a crook answers the phone. That's what happened to one Midvale man. Now the former police-dispatcher who ripped the man off is under arrest. The dispatcher is in jail, charged with nine criminal counts ranging from theft by deception to impersonating a police officer.

The suspect worked as a 911 call-taker and dispatcher for about two years until he was fired a year ago. Whether it's part of a pattern or not, we don't know, but he allegedly used his position at least once to take advantage of an unsuspecting citizen.

Bernarr Furse is the retired state superintendent of schools. Three years ago he decided to get rid of a hunting rifle, a shotgun and a pistol.

Bernarr Furse: "I just didn't need any guns. And I just decided to get rid of them. So I called Midvale police."

Many police and fire calls in the Salt Lake Valley are actually routed into an agency you may never have heard of. It's the Valley Emergency Communications Center. Operators take the calls. Dispatchers send out police, paramedics, and fire trucks.

The dispatcher who handled Furse's call was Casey Hall. He allegedly dispatched himself to Furse's house, after hours when he was off duty.

Bernarr Furse: "I had a little inkling when he came that something was wrong."

Hall gave Furse a handwritten receipt, supposedly from Midvale police. And Furse helped him load the guns into a civilian car.

The theft of the guns went undetected for almost three years. But then last week hall allegedly threatened a man with a gun. When police investigated, he admitted being a regular drug user and he admitted stealing the guns.

Hall was fired from his dispatch job a year ago for unrelated reasons. When he was originally hired, he passed a screening process of background checks, psychological profiling and drug tests.

Terry Ingram, Valley Emergency Communications Center: "I think our system is an excellent system. But that doesn't preclude that after you hire someone that they can't go out and do something that's against the law."

Hall is being held in the Salt Lake County jail. Bail was set at $75,000.

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