East Texas jailer accused of stealing cash from inmates

Crime

This photo provided by Liberty County, Texas sheriff’s office shows Mayra Gallegos-Balderas. The Liberty County Sheriff’s Office says Gallegos-Balderas was arrested Tuesday, July 16, 2019 on a theft of property warrant and freed on a personal recognizance bond. Gallegos-Balderas worked for GEO Group, which operates the Liberty County jail, 40 miles (64.37 kilometers) northeast of Houston. (Liberty County, Texas sheriff’s office via AP)

LIBERTY, Texas (AP) — An East Texas jailer has been charged with stealing hundreds of dollars from inmates who surrendered the cash when booked.

The Liberty County Sheriff’s Office says 23-year-old Mayra Gallegos-Balderas was arrested Tuesday on a theft of property warrant and freed on a personal recognizance bond.

Gallegos-Balderas worked for GEO Group, which operates the Liberty County jail, 40 miles (64 kilometers) northeast of Houston. The charge is a state felony because Gallegos-Balderas was a public servant.

Three people released from jail reported that some or all of the cash they had, documented during booking, wasn’t returned. Capt. Ken DeFoor says Gallegos-Balderas allegedly stole nearly $1,500.

Online jail records didn’t list an attorney representing Gallegos-Balderas, identified by DeFoor as a now-former correctional officer.

The GEO Group didn’t immediately return a message Saturday.

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