Former Hart County Sheriff Pleaded Not Guilty

A former South Central Kentucky county sheriff has pleaded not guilty to charges that he took items seized by police as evidence.

Jeff Staples was the Hart County sheriff from 1993 to 2005. He was indicted earlier this month on seven counts of abuse of public trust, 16 counts of receiving stolen property and one count of receiving a defaced firearm. The 50-year old was arraigned on the charges Sept. 19, 2006.

Staples turned himself into author ties on Sept. 5, 2006, but was then released on a $20,000 property bond. State police spent nearly a year investigating Staples for keeping recovered stolen items. Prosecutors claim that Staples took property seized by the department, including cash, a four-wheel all-terrain vehicle, night vision goggles and several guns.