Former Illinois county sheriff pleads not guilty to thefts

OREGON, Ill. (AP) — A former northern Illinois county sheriff has pleaded not guilty to charges he used thousands of dollars of government money for personal items.

The (Dixon) Telegraph   reports former Ogle County Sheriff Michael Harn entered the plea Thursday morning to two counts of felony theft between $500 and $10,000. Court documents say Harn bought electronic and boat equipment, radio-controlled toys, party tents, coolers, weapons, Harley-Davidson clothing and accessories, adult novelty items, outdoor fountains and other items with county money.

Michael Harn during a court appearance. Photo by Taylor Utzig, WREX.

Michael Harn during a court appearance. Photo by Taylor Utzig, WREX.

The charges come from an Illinois State Police investigation that started after an internal audit of the department in December 2014 and January 2015. Investigators say the thefts occurred between June 1, 2011, and Dec. 2, 2014. Harn was sheriff from 2010 to 2014. He’s next due in court Dec. 19.