A former Washington County deputy sheriff was convicted Tuesday of shoplifting a $210 pair of sunglasses from a Hurricane eye clinic last June.
A 5th Circuit Court jury of four men and two women deliberated for 90 minutes before returning the verdict against Bruce Eric Raftery of LaVerkin.Judge Robert F. Owens scheduled sentencing Nov. 28.
Raftery, 42, had been charged with Class A misdemeanor retail theft, but the jury found the six-year sheriff's department veteran guilty of the lesser Class B misdemeanor charge of retail theft following the half-day trial.
The lesser offense is for theft of materials valued at less than $100. Deputy County Attorney Brent Langston said he did not know why the panel acted as it did, since testimony showed the glasses had a retail value of $210.
Class A misdemeanor theft is for stolen articles valued at between $100 and $250.
The glasses were taken June 24 from the Hurricane Eye Clinic.
Raftery, who surrendered the glasses to Sheriff Glenwood Humphries two months after they were taken, at first was suspended with pay. He later was dismissed from the force following a departmental hearing, but appealed to the county merit commission, which upheld the lower board's finding.
Initially, Raftery claimed to an investigator that he had purchased the glasses from an optometrist in California. But he testified Tuesday that he had found the eyeglasses in a trash can at the LaVerkin post office.
He admitted having been in the Hurricane clinic the day the glasses disappeared, but denied having taken them. The frames in question had a traceable serial number.