Self-professed watch stealer working for county again

By Courtney Lane - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - A Smith County sheriff's deputy, who resigned after stealing a watch is back on the payroll.

Daniel Leon is back on the job, working in the Smith County Jail.

Leon was let go in July after admitting to stealing watches at a Dillard's department store where he worked off duty as a security guard.

Smith County Sheriff J.B. Smith says he had a lot to weigh in the decision. To many at the Smith County Sheriff's Department, Daniel Leon is a hero.

You may remember, he was injured in 2006 while trying to save the life of Constable Dale Geddie, who died in a standoff.

Deputy Leon suffered a gun shot in that deadly standoff, and received the first Dale Geddie Officer Award for his bravery.

Sheriff Smith says Leon deserves a second chance.

"That young man has come under a lot of stress," said Smith. "He's been involved in a shootout when a constable was killed. That left a lasting mark on him and some of the others officers who were out there. He was an outstanding, outstanding young man on patrol."

And now, three months after losing his badge, Leon is back, working as a jailer.

Some Smith County residents, however, say it is not fair.

"So, he never stole watches?" I asked the sheriff.

"Yeah, he did," Smith replied. "But, he stole from another individual. And, I have to take all that into consideration and the mental state of that young man and I'm going to give him another chance - let him work in the jail, in a secured environment. We're glad to have him back."

According to Sheriff Smith, another deputy bought that watch and Leon stole it from them, not the store.

Neither parties ever filed charges against Leon.

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