MOUNT VERNON — Former Danville Police Officer Thomas Looney pleaded guilty today to a reduced charge of attempted grand theft and receiving stolen property. Both are fourth-degree felonies, with maximum possible sentences of 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Looney will be sentenced at 8:30 a.m. Monday, Jan. 23, 2012, by visiting Judge James DeWeese of Richland County.
Looney’s trial was scheduled to begin this morning, but when the court finally convened about 9:50 a.m., Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Springer announced that the state had reduced the original charge of grand theft, a third-degree felony, with a gun specification to attempted grand theft, and dropped the gun specification.
She said Looney had paid restitution of $1,653.96 to Bryan Staats, a member of the military.
Looney was originally charged with taking a .223 caliber Bushmaster rifle from Staats, apparently with the intent to make upgrades to the rifle, but never returned the gun or paid for it. He was a member of the Danville Police Department at the time, resigning in May 2010.
Looney left the state, and was not arrested until this summer, when he was arrested by the Fredericktown Police Department.
Springer said the reduced charge was with the understanding Looney would plead guilty to the reduced charge and the prosecution would recommend that he receive community control, rather than a jail sentence.
Judge DeWeese said he would hand down a sentence after a presentence investigation. He did not promise community control and no jail sentence, but if the investigation showed nothing unexpected, he would like to follow the prosecution’s recommendation in sentencing.
Judge Otho Eyster recused himself from the case because of Looney’s status as a former local police officer.