Crime

Retired Jackson County deputy: I pawned county equipment to pay rent

TIM ISBELL/SUN HERALDAlexander Kieper pleads guilty to embezzlement in Judge Dale Harkey's courtroom Friday, June 16, 2016. Kieper is a former deputy accused of embezzling equipment he tried to sell at a Gulfport pawn shop. Kieper will be sentenced on July 8.
TIM ISBELL/SUN HERALDAlexander Kieper pleads guilty to embezzlement in Judge Dale Harkey's courtroom Friday, June 16, 2016. Kieper is a former deputy accused of embezzling equipment he tried to sell at a Gulfport pawn shop. Kieper will be sentenced on July 8. ttisbell@sunherald.com

JACKSON COUNTY -- A retired Jackson County deputy pleaded guilty Friday to selling Sheriff's Department equipment to a pawn shop.

Alexander Herman "Kip" Kieper Jr., pleaded guilty to embezzlement. Judge Dale Harkey set a July 8 sentencing.

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

The case has raised concerns about other sheriff's equipment that was never inventoried, and prompted Sheriff Mike Ezell, who took office in December 2014, to launch an internal inquiry.

Kieper declined to comment after court Friday, on his attorney's advice.

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

He told the judge he turned in his gear when he left the sheriff's office in 2011, after 18 years of service, but forgot about the scopes.

"They sat in my closet. I needed $200 to pay my rent or I was going to be evicted," he said. "I had already sold everything else, so I sold those."

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