- Associated Press - Friday, May 9, 2014

SANDPOINT, Idaho (AP) - An Idaho State Police trooper has been suspended without pay as authorities investigate accusations he engaged in criminal activity in two northern Idaho counties in 2013.

The agency in a statement on Thursday said 48-year-old Daniel Charles Howard of Athol is suspended pending the outcome of criminal charges.

The agency said it placed the 19-year, decorated veteran on paid leave in December at the start of an investigation, and then without pay in April after Kootenai County authorities announced charges.

Howard faces charges of grand theft, petit theft, and possession of an untagged deer involving acts authorities say occurred in Kootenai County and that include stealing more than 17,000 rounds of ammunition from his employer. The Bonner County Daily Bee reports (https://bit.ly/1g4lirG ) that a preliminary hearing in that county is planned for Thursday.

In neighboring Bonner County, he’s charged with forgery, title fraud and grand theft for actions authorities say occurred when he misrepresented to the state the price of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle he purchased in Oregon. Authorities say the fake purchase price meant Howard paid taxes of only $30 as opposed to more than $1,000. A preliminary hearing in that county is planned for Wednesday.

Authorities said that Howard registered the motorcycle with the Bonner County Assessor’s Office in August 2013 and presented a handwritten receipt listing the purchase price as $500 for the Electra Glide Ultra Classic peace officer-edition motorcycle. At the time he registered the bike, authorities said, he was in uniform.

Investigators said they contacted the seller in Oregon, who reported selling the motorcycle to Howard for $19,000. But he said he didn’t put an amount on the receipt.

“While we would like to comment about this matter, this is not the appropriate time to do so,” said Chris Bugbee, Howard’s attorney, in a statement to the newspaper. “Mr. Howard maintains his innocence. We are confident that this matter will be resolved favorably to him as this case progresses.”

In Kootenai County, investigators say they searched Howard’s home and discovered some 17,000 rounds of Idaho State Police ammunition. They returned with a warrant to seize it but only 85 rounds were recovered.

Some of the rounds were later brought to the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office by a private investigator hired by Bugbee. However, authorities say that about 14,000 rounds valued at about $5,500 are still missing.

During the search of Howard’s home, authorities say they discovered the carcass of a white-tailed deer which hadn’t been properly validated with a tag.

Howard received the Idaho State Police’s Silver Star in 1995 and 2000. The Silver Star is awarded for heroism in the face of danger, and is the second-highest accolade a sworn trooper can receive.


Information from: Bonner County (Idaho) Daily Bee, https://www.bonnercountydailybee.com

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