Police officer resigns following burglary arrest

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 31 2011 5:31 p.m. MDT

VERNAL — A former Vernal police detective is under investigation, accused of committing two burglaries to steal prescription drugs.

Ben Marland Murray was on duty Aug. 11 in Vernal when he was arrested by investigators with the Utah Attorney General’s Office. Murray, 36, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of burglary.

A 12-year veteran of the Vernal Police Department, Murray resigned the day after his arrest, according to Assistant Vernal Police Chief Keith Campbell. “We were advised of the investigation and, to avoid any conflict of interest, asked to remain uninvolved, but to be advised of the outcome,” he said.

Campbell referred all additional questions about the case to the Utah Attorney General’s Office, where spokesman Paul Murphy said state investigators and prosecutors are not willing to talk about the case.

A jail report indicates Murray took prescription medication from a home on Aug. 1 and Aug. 11. "Post-Miranda, (Murray) admitted taking the prescription medication. The dwelling was occupied at the time of both thefts,” the report states.

Word of Murray’s arrest first surfaced last week when he and his ex-wife appeared in 8th District Court for a protective order hearing.

Documents filed by Tonya Murray accused her ex-husband of engaging in verbal and emotional abuse during their marriage and threatening behavior after their divorce. The documents also mentioned Ben Murray’s arrest, inaccurately stating that it was for “drug charges.”

“Until we know how big of a problem Ben has, I need to protect myself and my children,” Tonya Murray wrote.

Ben Murray disputed his ex-wife’s claims in court papers. He noted that he had recently undergone a substance abuse evaluation and “scored as having a low probability of a substance dependence disorder.”

“I do not abuse prescription medication,” he wrote.

The protective order against Ben Murray was dismissed Aug. 24 after both parties agreed to abide by the terms of a mutual restraining order, court records show.

Efforts to reach Ben Murray through the attorney who represented him in the protective order case were unsuccessful Wednesday. No formal criminal charges have been filed against Murray in the burglary case.

E-mail: geoff@ubstandard.com Twitter: GeoffLiesik

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