Koby Wayne Schmittou, a former detective for the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, was released Monday on $10,000 following his arrest on a charge of theft of a firearm valued at less than $2,500.

Schmittou, 42, was booked into the Columbia County Justice and Detention Facility at 6:02 p.m. Monday by the Magnolia Police Department. He was free on bond an hour later.

Schmittou had worked for the Sheriff’s Office for many years as a deputy and a detective until last year. Sheriff Mike Loe confirmed to magnoliareporter.com last fall that Schmittou no longer worked for the department as a rumor arose that Schmittou was facing a possible criminal charge. But Loe said only that Schmittou’s case was a personnel matter.

Loe deferred comment on Wednesday as well, noting that the Magnolia Police Department was handling the Schmittou case. Magnolia Police Chief Todd Dew also declined comment.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Ryan Phillips said he has not yet received a “probable cause” affidavit from investigators in the case. Such affidavits are statements prepared by investigators for a judge, outlining why they believe that there’s sufficient evidence to charge a person with a crime. Once filed with the court, they become public record.

As a detective, Schmittou has been involved in some of the most important criminal investigations in Columbia County in recent years. Last May, Schmittou spotted a vehicle being driven by Keith Demetrius McBride, 38, wanted for questioning in the murder of Janika Dyshun Rankin. McBride was arrested following a brief chase.

In 2012, Schmittou’s use of deadly force during an incident in McNeil was determined to be justified by the 13th Judicial District Prosecutor’s Office. Schmittou shot Larry Pace, 60, on Front Street in McNeil after Pace pulled a knife on him. Schmittou was not injured but Pace soon died at Magnolia Regional Medical Center.

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