Details behind theft charges not released by Dallas County Sheriff’s Department

Published 3:09 pm Tuesday, December 24, 2013

By Sarah Mahan

The Selma Times-Journal

VALLEY GRANDE — Valley Grande City Council member Ronald Sawyer turned himself into the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department Monday after learning a theft of property charge had been filed against him.

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Sawyer, 67, has been charged with theft of property first degree and, according to the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, Sawyer turned himself in after learning of the warrant being issued.

Sgt. Mike Grantham of the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department said his charge is considered theft first degree because the value of the stolen property totaled greater than $1,000.

“It’s been an ongoing process,” Grantham said. “The theft actually occurred in the last two to three months. There wasn’t one particular item that totaled that amount.”

Grantham said other charges could be added as the investigation continues.

“There still may be some more stuff [he stole],” he said. “More charges may be added. It’s still under investigation, but right now that’s the only charge.”

Sawyer posted his $15,000 bond Monday soon after being processed at the jail. Efforts by The Selma Times-Journal to reach Sawyer for comment were not returned.

Wayne Labbe, mayor of Valley Grande, said he did know the specifics of the charge.

“You know anytime whether it be on council or as a friend or a church member, when you hear something like that it’s a surprise to you,” Labbe said. “Again, you don’t expect anything like that.”

Labbe said the charges have nothing to do with Sawyer’s position on the Valley Grande City Council.

Sawyer, who is in his first term, was elected during Valley Grande’s municipal elections in August 2012.

“I know for a fact it had nothing to do as far as his relationship with his duty as far as being on council,” Labbe said. “If it was with the city, I would certainly be aware of it.”

As a council member, Sawyer oversees the city park, the walking trail and the ballpark. He also plays a role in Valley Grande’s day-to-day operations like setting the city’s budget along with the other council members, Labbe said.

“We’ll assess and see what comes down as far as the city’s concerned, and we’ll precede in the way that we need to,” Labbe said. “But again we’re going to gather all the facts together before you make a move for sure.”