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Ex-deputy gets home detention for ammo theft

A retired Delaware County sheriff's deputy was sentenced to six months of home detention Thursday after admitting to stealing county-owned ammunition.

August 11, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS – A retired Delaware County sheriff's deputy was sentenced to six months of home detention Thursday after admitting to stealing county-owned ammunition.

"I want to apologize to everybody," Arlan Johnson said during his sentencing hearing, in U.S. District Court. "I've let everybody down."

Judge Tanya Walton Pratt also ruled that Johnson would serve three years on probation.

"At a time he should be planning for his retirement from the sheriff's department, (Johnson) finds himself a convicted felon," the judge said.

The 56-year-old Johnson retired last September, after 29 years with the sheriff's department, in the wake of internal and federal investigations.

When the deputy was arrested last February, an FBI agent reported Johnson had sold $8,580 in ammunition owned by the sheriff's department between January 2012 and last August. Customers included friends, a Muncie gun shop and online buyers.

An arrest affidavit detailed Johnson's financial woes, caused in part by more than $100,000 in gambling losses at Hoosier Park Casino in Anderson.

Federal, rather than state, prosecution was pursued because the sheriff's department receives federal funding. The judge on Thursday also ordered Johnson to pay the sheriff's department $8,580 in restitution.

Johnson said Thursday his gambling addiction developed "after I went to that stupid casino and I won a big $6,000 jackpot."

He said he then received repeated solicitations to return to the casino for more gambling, and came to believe he would "score a big win" that could solve his growing financial problems.

"It's idiotic," he said. "I let it overcome me."

Former Delaware Sheriff Steve Aul testified as a character witness.

Aul said he couldn't condone his longtime colleague's actions, but maintained Johnson was "an honorable person" who "messed up."

"He's done a lot of good things for the Delaware County Sheriff's Department over the years," Aul told the judge. "He had common sense and good judgment... He was a good cop."

Defense attorney Michael "Mick" Alexander said after being arrested, his client went into "a self-imposed exile," rarely leaving his home, "out of humiliation and regret."

Johnson said he was determined to rebuild his life and be a productive citizen, and also expressed interest in helping others addicted to gambling.

He said his own addiction had for a time left him homeless. "It made me sleep in my car," he said. "It made me live in my office."

Johnson, a Marine before he began his law enforcement career, said he had "stood for everything that's right for most of my life."

He expressed regret that "in the last two or three years, I've ruined all of that."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tiffany McCormick had recommended the judge impose a brief prison sentence, to show "that we are going to hold (public officials) to a higher standard."

The judge warned Johnson that while he is on probation, he is prohibited from any form of gambling, including purchasing lottery tickets.

If found in a casino during his three years of "supervised release," the judge told Johnson, "You will go to prison, sir."

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