Ex-Eaton Co. jail officer faces theft charge

An undated courtesy photo of former Eaton County corrections officer Allan Coker.

CHARLOTTE, Mich. (WOOD) — The Eaton County Sheriff’s Office says one of its former corrections officers resigned after admitting to stealing money from some jail inmates’ accounts.

Monday afternoon, Allan Coker was arraigned on a charge of embezzlement of more than $50 by a public official and released on a $500 personal recognizance bond.

The Eaton County Sheriff’s Office says that in December 2015, it started looking into why cash wasn’t put into some inmates’ accounts when they were booked into the county jail. They soon realized that Coker was involved in each of the bookings in question.

In January, a Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office detective lieutenant and a Kent County corrections sergeant were called in to investigate. It’s common for an outside agency to investigate allegations of criminal wrongdoing within a law enforcement agency to avoid any possible conflicts of interest.

The investigators told the county prosecutor that Coker stole less than $100 total during two incidents and requested the criminal charges.

The sheriff’s office says that as the investigation was ongoing, Coker admitted to “violating procedures” and resigned. He had been with the county since 2010.

In a Monday statement, Eaton County Sheriff Tom Reich condemned the theft:

“I find it reprehensible that this former employee would look for and seize opportunities to circumvent booking procedures to steal money – no matter the amount – from any inmate entering our jail,” he said. “My employees are required and expected to obey the law, the same as any citizen – but as public servants to and for the residents of Eaton County, I hold them to a higher standard and Allan Coker has been held accountable internally through our employment process.”

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