Crime

Retired deputy set to enter plea in sale of Sheriff's Department gear

Kieper
Kieper

Sheriff Mike Ezell says he is doing all he can to prevent more items from disappearing.

PASCAGOULA -- A former Jackson County deputy is set to plead guilty Friday to selling Sheriff's Department equipment to a pawn shop.

Alexander Herman "Skip" Kieper Jr. is expected to enter the plea before Judge Dale Harkey.

"I broke the law," Kieper told the Sun Herald earlier this month. "I had the stuff in my closet for years. I did it. I admit it. I am going to plead guilty."

A grand jury indicted him on a felony embezzlement charge in February.

Kieper, court records say, sold high-end equipment for weapons, including two gun scopes, two gun lenses and two tripods, as well as a pair of binoculars, at Dad's Super Pawn in Gulfport in June 2015.

He was with the Sheriff's Department for 18 years until he retired in 2011. He served under former Sheriff Mike Byrd, now a twice-convicted felon.

Sheriff Mike Ezell said the department didn't know the equipment was missing until a pawn shop employee called to report the retired deputy had sold the shop the gun accessories, valued at $10,000. The employee recognized the equipment because the shop had sold it to the Sheriff's Department years earlier.

Jackson County investigators, with help from the FBI, later identified Kieper as the suspect.

Prior to the employee's call, Ezell said, "we didn't even know the items existed. We had no record of them here. It's very disturbing. I believe it is very possible there is other equipment out there that's in somebody else's hands."

If Kieper had sold the equipment anywhere else, Ezell said, "chances are we would have never known this stuff was missing."

The items had never been inventoried.

Ezell is concerned other Sheriff's Department equipment was never inventoried during Byrd's administration.

Check back with sunherald.com for updates to this story.

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