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Former Columbus Cop Pleads Guilty to Equipment Theft, Sales

COLUMBUS (Ken Hines) -- A former Columbus police officer pleaded guilty Wednesday to stealing a quarter-million dollars worth of military surplus equipment, and arranging for those items to be sold.

As part of a plea deal, Steven Dean admitted to federal prosecutors that he diverted $251,570. 94 worth of military-grade items -- such as vehicles and construction equipment -- received by the Columbus Division of Police, and then worked with others to sell the pieces for personal profit.

Dean committed the crimes while obtaining items for Columbus police through the Defense Reutilization Marketing Office (DRMO) program, which makes used military equipment available to law enforcement departments.

Dean admitted in court that he arranged for a City of Columbus janitor to sell nearly $100,000 worth of equipment to scrap yards. That janitor told investigators he kept $30,000 from those sales, and left the remainder of the money at the Columbus police warehouse where Dean worked.

Investigators have also accused Dean of arranging for the sale of more than $16,000 worth of equipment on Craigslist.

Dean faces up to 10 years in federal prison per the agreed-upon plea deal. His sentencing date has not been set.

Despite their deal with Dean, federal prosecutors say they have not finished their investigation into the abuses within the DRMO program.
 
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