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Former Polk detention deputy accused of stealing $15K through false time cards

Detectives say he embezzled $15,357 by claiming overtime hours he didn't work.

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — A former Polk County detention deputy was arrested for stealing more than $15,000 by falsely claiming overtime hours he didn't work, the sheriff's office reports.

Detectives say 33-year-old Bruce West was arrested on Thursday after he admitted to embezzling $15,357 of unearned money during his time with the Polk County Sheriff's Office. He was taken into custody at the Central County Jail in Bartow where he had been re-assigned.

"It’s a major disappointment when someone working in law enforcement runs afoul of the law, but it stings even more when it’s someone within your own work family," Sheriff Grady Judd said in a statement.

"He knew better and still betrayed his co-workers, his profession, and the taxpayers of Polk County, and we arrested him — we intend to not only hold him criminally accountable, but also to recover taxpayers’ money."

West faces three felony charges:

  • grand theft between $10,000 and $20,000,
  • obtaining property by fraud less than $20,000 and
  • false entries to corporate books.

West was hired by the Polk County Sheriff's Office as a detention deputy on Aug. 30, 2021, and was sworn in on Oct. 19, 2021. The agency said he would have been fired had he still been with the sheriff's office at the time of his arrest.

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