State judge orders former Calcasieu sheriff's deputy to pay restitution in theft case

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, The Republic, therepublic.com
Link to Article

Calcasieu Parish, LA

LAKE CHARLES, La. — State Judge Wilford Carter has ordered a former Calcasieu Parish sheriff's deputy to pay restitution after he pleaded guilty to felony theft, malfeasance and drug possession.

The American Press reports (http://bit.ly/qjfACs ) Troy Taylor, 44, was arrested in May 2008 after he was accused of stealing money and other items from the sheriff's office evidence room. Taylor was an evidence custodian.

Investigators who searched Taylor's home found items from the evidence room there, including a laptop computer, fishing poles and iPods, authorities said.

Taylor was also charged with several counts of drug possession after detectives reportedly found more than 3,000 pills — including hydrocodone, alprazolam, Valium and Ecstasy — in a safe in his office.

After his first arrest, Taylor posted $10,000 bond. He was arrested again in July 2008, when the drug charges were assigned.

An investigative audit revealed that $98,528 was missing, authorities said.

Carter sentenced Taylor Tuesday to five years in prison for each charge, with the terms to run at the same time. Carter suspended the sentence and ordered Taylor to pay $30,000 in restitution.

Prosecutor Brent Hawkins said the defendant admitted to taking about $30,000, much less than the audit showed was missing. Hawkins asked to reserve the right to increase that amount if evidence surfaces to show Taylor stole more money.

Hawkins set a restitution hearing for Jan. 18. At the hearing, he and Taylor's defense attorney, John LaVergne, can present evidence as to which amount they each believe Taylor owes.

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Information from: American Press, http://www.americanpress.com

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