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Bethlehem cop found guilty of felony

Christopher Hughes, a notable Bethlehem police officer on medical leave, was arrested on felony charges by State Police on Oct. 18.

Christopher Hughes, a notable Bethlehem police officer on medical leave, was arrested on felony charges by State Police on Oct. 18. Submitted photo

— "Would an average person walking down the street know the police badge of a retired officer is a novelty?," Griggs asked the jury.

A representative from Galls took the stand, as did a representative from Linstar, a company in Buffalo that has made the identifications cards for the Bethlehem Police Department since 2008. The latter witness said there were minor differences in the retired identification card Hughes submitted in order to obtain the badge when compared the ones the ones issued to the town's police force, such as the font.

Hughes never obtained the badge, according to Griggs, because Galls has implemented a security process in which the superior of the person attempting to gain a badge is notified for verification purposes. When Hughes did not receive the badge in a certain amount of time, the Galls representative said he called the company repeatedly. A recording of one such call was submitted into evidence for the jury to hear.

"I think the jury ruled fairly," said Griggs. "It was a short case, but it was straightforward. I really don't know what else they could have done to arrive at their conclusion."

Bethlehem police Chief Louis Corsi took the stand, as did Deputy Chief Timothy Beebe, who helped investigate the incident.

Albany County District Attorney David Soares said the charges brought up against Hughes were serious and the punishment should reflect the act. Hughes now faces up to seven years in prison.

"Companies like Galls make very specific equipment for law enforcement officers and we don't want to make light of the effort Hughes put into creating a perk he no longer had the privilege of having," Soares said.

Hughes was released until the time of his sentencing under the supervision of the Albany County Department of Probation.

Because of the felony conviction, Bethlehem Town Attorney James Potter said the police department can now terminate Hughes as an employee under section 141 of the town code.

Hughes could not immediately be reached for comment.

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