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Dirty detective going to prison - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Dirty detective going to prison

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Tucson -  Former Pima County Detective David Tarnow was sentenced today to four and a half years in prison.

Superior Court Judge Richard Fields gave Tarnow prison time for a Fraudulent Scheme charge.  He got five years probation on a theft charge. Restitution, which could be as much as $275,000, will be announced in 90 days.

The 56-year old Tarnow showed no emotion after sentencing. He had faced between 3 and-a-half and 12 years as part of a plea deal. Tarnow changed his plea to guilty last month. 

"He crossed the line, so four and a half years is pretty minimal to the damage that he did to the citizens of  Pima County." That was the reaction from Sgt. Luis Cornidez, who led the sheriff's department investigation of Tarnow. It began in 2015 after a tip from a Foothills resident who had more than $1 million worth of jewelry and art stolen from his home. Tarnow found some of the jewelry at pawn shops, and instead of returning it to the victim, he sold it. The News 4 Tucson Investigators obtained many pawn shop transaction slips with Tarnow's name on them as the seller. Before sentencing, Tarnow spoke publicly, and calmly, about the charges for the first time. He said the death of his young daughter years ago drove him to a deep depression, then he became a compulsive gambler and declared bankruptcy.  He also said when he was freed on bond, he attended 200 Gamblers Anonymous meetings.

"No sympathy at all, Sgt. Cornidez said. "It's decisions that he made and decisions that he knew were unethical and not professional when it came to working in law enforcement."

Tarnow also admitted that he stole jewelry from the sheriff's department property room, sold it and replaced it with costume jewelry. His guilty plea was a far cry from what he told Internal Affairs investigators in 2015. On the audio tape obtained by the News 4 Tucson Investigators, Tarnow said, "I know it looks bad, but I had no reason to ever take anybody's stuff."

Sgt. Cornidez said although Tarnow is going to prison, this case may not be over. "There's possibly more victims out there that haven't come forward. Hopefully they will call the sheriff's department and and we can try and investigate and see what else we can come up with," Cornidez said. 

Tarnow's attorney asked that he serve his TIME at a prison in California, near the home of his elderly mother, and so that he would be away from any inmates who might recognize him as former law enforcement. Judge Fields said he would recommend to the Arizona Department of Corrections that it does all it can to protect David Tarnow. 

If you have a story you would like us to investigate, email us at investigators@kvoa.com or call our tip line at 520-955-4444. 

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