UPDATE: Champaign police officer facing burglary charges in Fisher thefts

UPDATE: Champaign police officer facing burglary charges in Fisher thefts

UPDATE, 2:45 p.m.:

URBANA — Bond has been set at $10,000 for a former Champaign police officer accused of stealing from unlocked vehicles in his home community of Fisher while he was off duty.

Justus Clinton, 43, waived his right to a preliminary hearing and pleaded not guilty to three counts of burglary to motor vehicles.

Dressed in shorts and a black T-shirt, Clinton was to be arraigned via video from the county satellite jail but was brought to the courthouse after a power glitch that Judge John Kennedy said had occurred prior to the hearing left the speaker system in the courtroom on the fritz.

Kennedy set a pretrial hearing date of July 3.

Clinton was arrested at his home Monday in connection with a string of vehicle burglaries that occurred between 1 and 6:30 a.m. Sunday in Fisher. The three vehicles included in the charges were all trucks.

Fisher police had received reports of at least 10 different unlocked vehicles that had been entered at seven different addresses, according to Fisher police and the Champaign County Sheriff's Office.

Clinton was identified in a surveillance video provided by one of the victims, police said.

Among items recovered by police were debit and credit cards, electronics, purses and change.

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Original story, published 11 a.m.:

FISHER — A Champaign police officer has been formally charged with burglary for allegedly entering cars, intending to steal items from them, in Fisher while off duty.

Champaign County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Allen Jones said R. Justus Clinton, 43, of Fisher was arrested Monday for entering "at least 10 cars" between 1 and 6:30 a.m. Sunday at seven different residences.

The car burglaries, including one inside a garage attached to a home, were reported to Fisher police starting Sunday. Jones said Fisher police asked the sheriff's office for help, and sheriff's investigators and Fisher police got a search warrant for Clinton's home. It was served Monday. They had surveillance video from a homeowner that identified Clinton.

"Evidence of the burglaries was recovered and an arrest made," Jones said.

Among the items recovered were debit and credit cards, electronics, purses and change.

Jones said Clinton cooperated with investigators but was not aware if he made any formal statement.

"This was certainly a very troubling set of circumstances," Jones said.

All of the vehicles were unlocked. There were no break-ins or damage, Jones said.

Clinton is expected to be arraigned this afternoon.

Champaign police spokeswoman LaEisha Meaderds said Clinton was placed on administrative leave March 13 for violations unrelated to his arrest. She said he subsequently "entered into a separation and release agreement" with the city on May 8 in lieu of termination.

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