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    Lee sheriff's deputy reprimanded for policy violations; State Attorney says insufficient evidence

    By Tomas Rodriguez, Fort Myers News-Press,

    30 days ago
    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=4Fefcf_0tpIpYpy00

    About two months after a Lee County sheriff's deputy was placed on administrative leave for using work databases for personal searches, among others, a sheriff's subcommittee found several policy violations, leading to a written reprimand.

    According to documents obtained by The News-Press, Deputy Mark Elsaid, 39, was placed on administrative leave Dec. 8, 2023. Then, on Feb. 20, the sheriff's office's Discipline Review Committee found Elsaid shared passwords for sheriff's office devices and used work databases for personal gain.

    The committee found him culpable for neglect of duty, the documents indicate.

    "Deputy Elsaid was informed that any further infractions will result in progressive discipline," the written reprimand reads in part. Elsaid's supervisors signed off on the reprimand March 1.

    According to the sheriff's office records, Elsaid's former girlfriend contacted the sheriff's office Dec. 7, 2023, after she discovered an Apple Air Tag tracking device affixed to her vehicle. She reported she had recently ended a one-year romantic relationship with Elsaid.

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    The woman said she had been communicating with Elsaid via Facebook Messenger regarding property return.

    Elsaid at least twice told her that he was aware of where she had dinner or gathered, the reports show.

    The woman found an Air Tag device planted near the front passenger area.

    The device was registered to Elsaid's sheriff's office-issued cellphone.

    The woman said she has an Android cellphone, which is not compatible with the Apple Air Tag device.

    Deputy Elsaid, ex-girlfriend had access to each other's cellphones

    As the investigation unfolded, the sheriff's office uncovered Elsaid and the woman had access to each other's cellphone access codes.

    When asked, Elsaid said he was tracking her, citing stalking concerns.

    However, when detectives obtained search warrants for Elsaid's cellphone, including his Apple account, they said no information revealed Elsaid "was in fact" tracking her.

    Three policy violations against Deputy Mark Elsaid

    In a memo sent Feb. 20 to Sheriff Carmine Marceno, Commander Travis Hicks recommended three policy violations against Elsaid — unlawful conduct; improper conduct; and neglect of duty.

    According to the memo, the woman, who is not named in documents, reported she suspected Elsaid "to have committed an unlawful act against her."

    Documents indicate deputies recovered evidence and completed a preliminary investigative report. The matter was forwarded to the sheriff's office's Major Crimes Unit and the Internal Affairs Unit.

    State Attorney's Office says burden of proof not met

    According to the internal affairs documents, the sheriff's office forwarded its findings to the State Attorney's Office. The reports do not specify the date the State Attorney's Office reviewed the sheriff's office's findings.

    The sheriff's office recommended charges related to public order crimes for installing tracking devices or tracking applications, which is a second-degree misdemeanor.

    The State Attorney's Office concluded there was insufficient evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt, according to the sheriff's office. The State Attorney's Office denied Elsaid's arrest.

    After state prosecutors said no charges would be filed against Elsaid, Hicks assumed the investigation and reviewed the incident for potential sheriff's office policy and procedure violations.

    Elsaid was then served with violations for unlawful conduct; improper conduct; and neglect of duty.

    When asked, Elsaid said he did not believe he violated policies and procedures.

    Elsaid nor the State Attorney's Office could be reached for comment.

    Tomas Rodriguez is a Breaking/Live News Reporter for the Naples Daily News and The News-Press. You can reach Tomas at TRodriguez@gannett.com or 772-333-5501. Connect with him on Threads @tomasfrobeltran, Instagram @tomasfrobeltran and Facebook @tomasrodrigueznews.

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