Sheriff’s deputy charged with burglary

SEATTLE — A Snohomish County sheriff’s deputy has been charged with burglary after a stove and other items were taken from a vacation property near Skykomish in May.

Earlier this month, Deputy James E. Hager, 43, was charged in King County Superior Court with second-degree burglary, third-degree theft and third-degree malicious mischief.

Hager pleaded not guilty Nov. 15, said Dan Donohoe, spokesman for the King County prosecutor’s office.

Hager was placed on paid administrative leave immediately after the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office learned about the allegations in May, spokeswoman Shari Ireton said Friday. His authority as a law enforcement officer also was suspended.

Hager has been with the sheriff’s office for six years. He remains on leave pending resolution of the criminal case. The sheriff’s office also has begun an internal investigation.

“Determination of any disciplinary action will be based on the results of the investigation and applicable sheriff’s office policies,” Ireton said.

Prosecutors allege that Hager visited a vacation property in the Skykomish area May 4 and took several items, including a wood-burning stove, a stove pipe, some cedar flooring and an electrical cord. He was off-duty at the time.

Hager was pulled over about a week after the alleged burglary along Highway 2 near Index. A cop recognized the truck from surveillance video recorded near the property.

Hager reportedly admitted to taking the items. He reportedly told investigators that he knew a man who had owned the property at one time and he had permission to pick up the man’s belongings.

That man owned the property about 10 years before, court papers show. That man has a criminal history and had been ousted from the property. He denied asking Hager to retrieve his belongings.

The current property owner told police he doesn’t know Hager and that some of the items allegedly stolen belonged to him, not the previous owner. The items have since been returned to their owner.

Hager was scheduled for a court hearing Thursday, but it was rescheduled for next week. He has no criminal history.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com

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