I-Team: Guard Accused of Smuggling iPhone

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BEDFORD HEIGHTS, Ohio — A former corrections officer at the Bedford Heights jail told a judge he’s not guilty of smuggling an Apple iPhone to one of his prisoners. 

William Reid, 51, is accused of passing the phone to an inmate in exchange for a $1,000 bribe.  

Bedford Heights authorities said the part-time guard was arrested and jailed after confessing 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 stuck with Velcro 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 second phone was found in a recreation area. 

Leonardi told Taylor Reid was confronted after arriving for his shift on Aug. 22.  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 was declared indigent at his arraignment Wednesday morning and remains free on a $5,000 bond. 

He has been charged with bribery and illegal conveyance into a detention facility. 

He was not at home when the I-Team paid him a visit at his Euclid house.