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Unified police officer charged with stalking

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 6 2013 12:20 p.m. MST

SOUTH SALT LAKE — A veteran officer of the Unified Police Department has been charged with stalking a former girlfriend and hacking her computer accounts.

Neil Poff, 41, was charged last week in 3rd District Court with stalking, a third-degree felony; computer crimes, a third-degree felony; electronic communications harassment, a class B misdemeanor; and illegally obtaining records, a class B misdemeanor.

Poff has been on extended administrative leave since August. Both an internal investigation and a criminal investigation being conducted by the Utah Attorney General's Office are ongoing.

Poff was involved in a romantic relationship with a woman who was a part-time Unified police employee from 2010 to 2012, according to charging documents. At one point the two lived in the same house.

During the last few months of their relationship, the woman told investigators that "Poff became very jealous" of her male friends. Ultimately, the woman claimed Poff gained access to her phone records and Facebook page, and continued to send her criminal history information about many of her male friends, the charges state.

In one incident, Poff allegedly questioned the woman about why she and another man exchanged 112 texts. He confronted her with a mugshot and criminal record of the man he believed she was texting, the charges state. It turned out that man was the previous owner of the cellphone number and not the man she was texting. But prosecutors say Poff's knowledge of the woman's texting "reveals that he was accessing her private information."

On July 23, 2012, the woman received notification that her AT&T account password had been changed, even though she did not request a change. She changed it, and it was changed again the next day without her knowledge, court records state. On Aug. 1, 2012, her Facebook password was changed without her knowledge.

Poff was placed on administrative leave Aug. 1. In the days that followed, the woman received numerous threatening emails from anonymous addresses saying nude pictures of her would be distributed, the charges state. Friends and relatives of the woman also received texts asking if they wanted pornographic pictures of her. The woman told investigators that Poff was the one who took the pictures. He also allegedly threatened to post them on public websites.

Poff made posts on his own Facebook account suggesting possible violence, according to court records.

"The behavior linked to Poff has created fear, anxiety and uneasiness with (the woman), and she has been nervous about what could happen to her and her children," the charging documents state.

Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal said Poff has been with the department for 18 years.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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