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Putnam County detective fired for allegedly stalking girlfriend

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Updated: 8/31/2013 9:13 am
PALATKA, Fla. -- Putnam County Detective John Merchant was terminated from the sheriff's office Friday for stalking and violating conduct standards, according to deputies.

Merchant was placed under the microscope after Sheriff Jeff Hardy ordered an internal affairs investigation into the detective's actions.

The investigation reportedly revealed that Merchant texted his former girlfriend off and on for 53 days, after being told repeatedly to stop. 

"I am disappointed to lose a veteran detective like John, but I am committed to maintaining a professional organization. We continue to demand high standards and expect every employee to meet them," Hardy said.

The sheriff's department states that a criminal complaint with the State Attorney's Office was filed because the unwanted messages caused significant emotional distress to the victim.
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