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WASTE WATCH: Taxpayers Foot the Bill for Prisoner's Pricey Alligator Shoes

FREMONT, Ohio (Brooks Jarosz) -- Taxpayers are footing a hefty bill after an inmates shoes went missing.

James Barnes, 41, has been to the Sandusky County Jail four times since 2009 for dealing cocaine or other drug-related charges.  He has expensive taste too because his family dropped off a $650 pair of Fennix Italy black alligator shoes.

ABC 6 Investigators obtained emails between the jail and county officials.  They say Barnes family dropped off some clothes and the shoes for his trial. Later, after searching the property room, it was determined one of his shoes must have fallen into a waste container.

Barnes demanded repayment of $650 for his alligator shoes. His wife even provided a written statement from the store Barnes says he bought the shoes from in Detroit. While the store owner could not confirm he made the purchase there, they did confirm the shoes cost $650 up to $1,200, according to the county administrator.

In a split decision, the Sandusky County Commissioners approved paying for a new pair. A check will be cut from the Sandusky Sheriff's Office budget -- that's your tax dollars.

The county administrator admitted mistake are occasionally made, and regrets having to pay back Barnes.

ABC 6 Investigators dug into the details and found the money Barnes will receive will go into an account tied to the court to pay fines and for court documents. There is a chance the county may get some of the money back, according to county officials.
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