Sheriff Gerald Hege of Davidson County, N.C., known for painting his jail pink, dressing in paramilitary uniforms, and inscribing “No Deals” on patrol cars, has been indicted Monday on charges of embezzlement and obstruction of justice. Davidson is a rural county southwest of Winston-Salem.
The Raleigh News & Observer reports that Hege is accused of taking $6,200 from a fund used for undercover drug buys, some of which he used to pay for re-election celebrations in 1998 and 2002, and for an employee’s personal travel. The indictments say he refused to investigate the disappearance of money seized by his office during a criminal investigation.
Hege also is accused of using a former county maintenance director to repair gas logs at his home and of working with the employee to illegally monitor unspecified conversations.
Hege had billed himself as the country’s toughest lawman. The News & Observer says that he won voter support, and sometimes the ire of other politicians, by humiliating criminals and brushing off his critics.
Hege avoided becoming an inmate in his pink jail by posting $15,000 bail and going home. A judge suspended him and ordered him not to return to his office. He has run the department of about 200 employees since 1994.
Hege installed television lights in his office, which was decorated to look like a military bunker. He had a show on Court TV called “Live from Cell Block F ,” in which inmates described their crimes and he berated them. Hege wore a black uniform and drove a black Chevrolet Impala with tinted windows that he called “Swamp Thing.”