A fired Salt Lake police officer faces arraignment Monday on charges he stole drugs and money.
Gary Dean Coonradt, 35, is charged with third-degree felony theft and unlawful possession of a controlled substance.Coonradt was arrested Tuesday after a "sting" Monday in which police officers planted a briefcase in a parking lot at 336 S. Fourth East. The briefcase contained $375 cash, drugs, adult magazines and a .357-caliber handgun.
Coonradt was called to investigate the "found property." An undercover detective posing as a visitor from Denver told Coonradt she discovered the briefcase when she backed over it in the parking lot, according to reports.
However, a police report written by Coonradt indicates he only found inside the briefcase the gun,
magazines and a piece of cardboard with white powder on it that "tastes like cocaine."
According to the probable cause statement of a complaint filed Wednesday afternoon in 3rd Circuit Court, undercover detectives observed Coonradt cut open the briefcase. "(Coonradt) placed the briefcase and contents in evidence, except for the cocaine and $375," according to the complaint, signed by Lt. Marty Vuyk of the department's special investigations division.
A four-year veteran of the police department, Coonradt was arrested Tuesday afternoon and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail, then released under the supervision of Pretrial Services. He is scheduled to appear Monday before 3rd Circuit Judge Floyd Gowans.
After his arrest, Coonradt turned over $250 to officers, who found cocaine in Coonradt's police vehicle, the complaint says.
Police administrators on Tuesday terminated Coonradt, who was hired from the Ogden Police Department and was working as a patrolman on the city's east side.
Sources told the Deseret News that Coonradt had been under suspicion of theft for several months.
News of Coonradt's arrest was not made public until after a reporter had inquired. A brief news release dated Tuesday but not made available until Wednesday stated that Coonradt's arrest followed an "extensive investigation."
The sheriff's office, which routinely releases mugshots of crime suspects, would not, at the request of acting Police Chief Ed Johnson, release a photograph of Coonradt.