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Fayette detective forced out over thefts, sheriff says

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Fayette County sheriff's detective resigned last week after he allegedly stole from a business raising money to benefit a boy with cancer.

Sgt. Steve Gray, a 17-year member of the department, would have been fired if he hadn't resigned, Fayette Sheriff Steve Kessler said Thursday.

Gray came to Kessler on Aug. 29 and admitted taking money from two businesses he is associated with, Kessler said.

Gray and several other deputies work at New River Concealed Carry, which offers concealed-weapons permit training courses. That business had started a fundraiser to benefit a boy with cancer. The business owners noticed money missing last week.

Gray admitted to taking money from that fund -- and also from the Fayette County Sheriff's Association - of which he is a member, Kessler said.

Gray repaid the money he took and later admitted to Kessler what he had done.

"I gave him two options," Kessler said. "'Either you'll resign or I'll fire you, because you can't work here anymore. Your credibility is shot.'"

Gray did not face any charges Thursday afternoon. It's up to the business owners or members of the sheriff's association if they want to press the matter, Kessler said.

Fayette County Prosecuting Attorney Carl Harris said he's waiting to see if charges could be filed. The business' owners are going to meet this week to decide what they want to do, Harris said.

A working phone number for Gray could not be found.

Detectives are looking at Gray's work at the sheriff's department to determine if had taken anything from the department, Kessler said. They have not discovered that any money is missing, he said.

Two former sheriff's department employees were arrested earlier this year for allegedly taking money from the department. In June, Cheryl Lynn Gray, 42, of Oak Hill, was charged with embezzlement and forgery for allegedly taking $30,000 from an account. Patricia Ann Walker, 52, of Oak Hill, was arrested in February after an audit revealed she allegedly took $150 from a cash drawer. She was charged with falsifying accounts and misdemeanor embezzlement.

Reach Travis Crum at travis.crum@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.


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