Gary Dean Coonradt, a former Salt Lake police officer honored three years ago for rescuing a deputy sheriff, pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges he stole money that he should have booked into evidence.

Coonradt, 35, entered the guilty plea to third-degree felony theft be fore 3rd District Judge John Rokich, who scheduled sentencing for July 18.

In exchange for the guilty plea, a second charge, possession of cocaine, was dismissed.

Coonradt, who for months had been suspected of stealing property that should have been booked into the department's evidence room, was arrested after a May 2 "sting." Undercover police planted a brief case in a parking lot and then had a dispatcher assign Coonradt to respond on a call of "found property."

The suitcase contained some adult magazines, a gun, $375 cash and 19 grams of cocaine. When Coonradt booked the attache case into evidence, however, the cash and cocaine were missing, according to the complaint.

Upon his arrest Coonradt turned over $250 of the cash, and police found the cocaine in his patrol car, according to the complaint.

Hired from the Ogden Police Department, Coonradt worked in Salt Lake City for about four years. In 1985, Coonradt was awarded the Police Star for rescuing an injured deputy sheriff from a burning car that was rammed during a chase.