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December 6, 2013

Probation, restitution in Tipton theft case

Street commissioner to pay former employee more than $33,000.

TIPTON — Tipton Street Commissioner Gary Harpe will pay friend and former employee Floyd Ogden more than $33,000 in restitution while serving three years of supervised probation after pleading guilty to three counts of theft on Wednesday in Tipton County Circuit Court.

Harpe pleaded guilty to three Class A misdemeanor counts of theft and will pay Ogden, who left him in charge of his finances, $33,245.16. Harpe will pay $5,000 within 10 days of his sentencing and continue paying $784.60 per month until the restitution is paid in full.

Ogden, 67, filed a theft report with the Tipton Police Department on April 15 stating Harpe had taken more than $29,000 from his bank account between 2009 and 2012. Harpe originally was charged in July with five Class D felony counts for the theft.

Ogden, who worked with Harpe for 20 years before retiring, said his mother used to handle his finances and when she got sick, Harpe offered to help.

Harpe was given power of attorney over Ogden’s accounts in 2008.

Special prosecutor Mark McCann said the desired outcome in the case was to make sure Ogden was repaid.

“Based upon the defendant’s lack of criminal history and that [Ogden] felt this was a fair resolution, I’m satisfied with the result,” McCann said. “In speaking with [Ogden], the main goal was to get him repaid and to make sure the defendant was convicted for the crime committed.”

Tipton County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Lett said restitution was the most important element in reaching a plea agreement.

“The fact that [Harpe] agreed to repay all of the money and the victim and his representatives were asking that [the plea] be accepted were the main reasons it was accepted,” he said.

Tipton Mayor Don Havens, who was out of town during the sentencing, said he will wait to review the content of the plea agreement before making any decisions on Harpe’s future employment with the city.

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