Crime

Ex-Jackson County deputy pleads not guilty to embezzlement

Alexander Kieper
Alexander Kieper

PASCAGOULA -- A former Jackson County sheriff's deputy accused of selling Sheriff's Department equipment to a pawn shop waived his arraignment Wednesday on a felony charge of embezzlement in the case.

By waiving the arraignment, Alexander Herman Kieper Jr. automatically pleaded not guilty to the embezzlement charge.

Kieper is tentatively set to go to trial May 18 in Jackson County Circuit Court.

Kieper, a veteran Jackson County sheriff's deputy who served 18 years until his resignation in 2011, is accused of selling for cash two gun scopes, two gun lenses, two tripod stands for the weapons and a pair of binoculars, all valued at $10,000.

The Sheriff's Department didn't know the items were missing when an employee of Dad's Super Pawn called to report the former deputy had just pawned the items for cash. The pawn shop had sold the high-end equipment to the Sheriff's Department.

Sheriff Mike Ezell said officials had to use the receipt from the pawn shop sale to find the purchase order confirming the Sheriff's Department purchased the items. A Department of Homeland Security grant the department received in 2006 was used to pay for the equipment.

Kieper served under former Sheriff Mike Byrd, now a twice-convicted felon.

Ezell said the incident has raised concerns about other equipment the Sheriff's Department may have purchased in the past that was never inventoried.

Kieper is out of jail on bond pending trial. According to court records, he now works for a car dealership.

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