Corrections Officer Arrested for Smuggling iPhones

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BEDFORD Heights, Ohio — The Fox8 News I-team has learned a part-time guard at the Bedford Heights jail is in serious trouble after allegedly smuggling an iPhone to a prisoner in exchange for a $1,000 bribe.  

A corrections officer, William Reid, 51, of Euclid was arrested after Bedford Heights authorities say he confessed to the crime. 

“We had information that contraband was being brought into the facility,” Assistant Chief David Leonardi told I-team Reporter Lorrie Taylor.

The part-time guard was exposed after federal authorities received a tip that inmate Damell Owens, 33, was using a cellular phone inside his cell.  Owens was being housed on federal drug charges dating back to 2010. A search of his cell revealed an Apple iPhone hidden inside a sock and Velcro’ed to the underside of a bunk.  

Court records reveal Owens’ wife, Latosha, told investigators she paid Reid $1,000 to take two cell phones to her husband. The Assistant Chief said Reid passed the phones to Owens during a clothing swap.  The second phone was found in a recreation area. 

Leonardi said Reid was confronted after arriving for his shift on August 22nd.  He was terminated and placed in a jail cell with the very inmates he was paid to oversee. 

“He jeopardized everyone’s safety,” said the Assistant Chief.  Leonardi said the incident has led to new security procedures inside the Bedford Heights facility.

“It’s a bad thing but it helps us too,” he said.  

Reid had been employed at the correctional facility since April of 2011. He made $15.79 an hour.

“This was someone that we trusted, we trusted him to work for us and then he turned around and he did something and basically, like I said, over and over, he jeopardized the safety of everybody back here.”

A review of Owens’ iPhone revealed he was making calls to his family and looking at photos sent to the phone.

Reid has been charged with bribery and illegal conveyance into a detention facility.  He was not at home when the I-team knocked.