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County Sheriff's Deputy Charged in Theft

County Sheriff's Deputy Charged in Theft

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A Salt Lake County deputy has been charged with theft for allegedly stealing $400 from a courthouse office to pay his utility bill.

James Coleman, 40, has been charged in 3rd District Court with a class A misdemeanor for the alleged theft which occurred on Jan. 3, court documents state. A class A misdemeanor is punishable by a one-year sentence in the county jail and/or fines.

A Matheson Courthouse surveillance video shows Coleman in a security office removing a folder from a filing cabinet, court documents state. It also shows Coleman repeatedly going to the security office door and looking out.

Prosecutors say Coleman told another officer he needed to use the office phone because his cell phone had died and he needed to call his girlfriend to get a ride home from work.

Later that day, Coleman is seen on a surveillance tape from a check-cashing business talking on his "dead" cell phone and paying his $150 power bill with cash.

Court documents show Coleman said the power at his home had been shut off. Coleman also told detectives he used the rest of the money to buy food.

Coleman has been a corrections officer with Salt Lake County for seven years, sheriff's office Lt. Paul Jaroscak said. He was transferred from the jail to court security just prior to the alleged theft.

The sheriff's office has placed Coleman on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the case, Jaroscak said.

Information from: The Deseret Morning News

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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