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June 3, 2014

County to pay to replace misplaced cell phone

DUNCAN — A misplaced cell phone will end up costing Stephens County more than $400.

The cell phone, which belongs to the grandmother of an inmate, ended up in the care of the county, when the man was arrested. His grandmother’s cell phone was in his possession. The cell phone was lost somewhere in the shuffle, leaving the Stephens County Sheriff’s Office looking for the missing phone for nearly six months.

On Monday, the Stephens County commissioners approved paying $434.79 to replace the cell phone.

“When they’re arrested, the county is responsible for them,” Dee Bowen, District 3 commissioner and board chairman, said. “I guess that goes for their belongings, too.”

Although bills for the monthly charges were also attached to the cost of the cell phone, the commissioners chose not to pay for the monthly bills accrued during the man’s incarceration. The bills added up to about $480, which would cost more than the cell phone replacement. Lonnie Estes, District 2 commissioner, said the grandmother would have to pay monthly bills regardless of the man’s incarceration, and as a result, he didn’t think the county should be responsible for paying those bills.

The cell phone was first noted as missing, when the man was transferred to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. When family members went to collect his belongings, the cell phone was not among the items.

Cindy Kaiser, county clerk, said the cell phone has not been used since the man was incarcerated in the county.

“We have paid to replace things before, but nothing this costly,” Kaiser said.

Jail administrator Dallas Cowen made contact with the county auditors and District Attorney Jason Hicks to discuss the missing cell phone, Kaiser said.

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