Parowan mayor, a former police chief, facing misdemeanor theft charges

The mayor of Parowan, who’s also the town’s former police chief, is facing a misdemeanor theft charge.

Preston Griffiths was arraigned Friday on a Class A misdemeanor charge of theft in 5th District Court in Cedar City.

A court document says that Griffiths is accused of taking between $500 and $1,500 in property. According to a statement from the Cedar City Police Department, Griffiths is accused of taking inventory from a previous employer at a discounted rate that he wasn’t authorized to take.

A spokesman for the Iron County Attorney said Griffiths is accused of buying sale items at the True Value hardware store in Parowan, including ammunition, with an unauthorized discount.

Cedar City police began investigating Griffiths in December. The Parowan police handed the case to their Cedar City counterparts because of a conflict of interest, since Griffiths is not only the mayor but the former police chief. Iron County Sheriff Kenneth Carpenter was Parowan’s police chief after Griffiths, so the sheriff’s office couldn’t handle the case, either.

A summons has been issued for Griffiths to appear before a judge on March 26.

Parowan is located about 70 miles northeast of St. George.

It’s not Griffith’s first time as a defendant. In 2011, while he was police chief, Griffith faced misdemeanor charges of official misconduct and obstructing justice when he was accused of shooting a dog and dumping its body west of Parowan. After a diversion agreement, the charges were dismissed.