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Con Artist Dupes 'America's Toughest Sheriff'

Sheriff Joe Arpaio who touts himself as "America's toughest sheriff" is apparently not America's smartest sheriff.

Reputed flimflam man David Michael Pecard, 34, wooed his way into the sheriff's heart with empty promises of helicopters, tents and other military surplus. Pecard, an army Sgt. and military policeman, was introduced to Arpaio by Lt. Col. David Lynch who heads the army recruiting office in Phoenix, Arizona. Arpaio gave Pecard an office down the hall from his and carte blanche access to the records division, business offices and detention units of the entire Maricopa county jail system.

On several occasions Pecard flashed a phony badge then checked women out of their cells and sexually fondled and abused them. He went unchecked until a woman prisoner complained to her husband at a visit how she had been taken out of the jail to a side street and molested by Pecard.

Pecard was subsequently jailed for forgery, fraudulent schemes, theft and sexual assault allegations from several women. In his possession were various badges and ID's which falsely identified him as a sheriff's deputy, an FBI agent, a U.S. marshall and a Defense Department investigator. Records had been copied or removed from the jail by Pecard but at this stage investigators are not sure which ones or how many. He is being held under a $2 million bail.

Sheriff Joe is known for his own antics with staged media shows to introduce female chain gangs, the tent city jails and making male prisoners wear pink underwear and black and white striped uniforms. "I've come across some phony cops in 35 years of law enforcement, but this guy takes the cake," remarked a befuddled Arpaio.

During Pecard's reign of deception he married the records clerk at the sheriff's department. This marriage may be headed down a rocky road. Since being arrested and his true identity being established, it has come to light that Pecard is married to two, possibly three other women.

"You've got to understand, he's a con artist. He certainly had us fooled, just like he had Sheriff Arpaio fooled," said Lt. Col. Lynch.

Rocky Mountain News, Arizona Republic

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