Corrections officer arrested after more than 100 cell phones found inside car

PENDLETON, Ind. – Police arrested a corrections officer after finding more than a hundred cell phones inside his car.

According to Indiana State Police, investigators from the Department of Correction contacted detectives Tuesday morning after finding the cell phones, which were inside sealed plastic bags concealed inside an employee’s car.

The employee, 23-year-old Taylor Hardesty, had dropped the car off at the Pendleton Correctional Facility to get the brakes repaired. With Hardesty set to pick up the car in the afternoon, police tracked him a home on the south side of Indianapolis.

He was arrested and taken to Madison County on charges of trafficking with an inmate and bribery. The investigation was a joint effort involving Department of Correction Internal Affairs and Indiana State Police.

Officials at Pendleton Correctional Facility said Hardesty planned to smuggle the phones into the facility. The 103 phones, chargers and SIM cards have an estimated value of $100,000 in prison, according to Superintendent Dushan Zatecky.

“It is disheartening that a staff member with less than a year’s experience would allegedly turn his back on his fellow co-workers and his duties as a Correctional Officer to traffic with an offender for personal gain,” Zatecky said in a statement. “Cell phones remain one of the greatest threats to the safety and security of our facility.”