A 15-year veteran with the Bureau of Criminal Identification has been accused of embezzling $12,055 from the department before resigning his job in July.

Terry L. Dennis, 39, Salt Lake, has been charged with felony theft, misusing public monies and mutilating public records.Public Safety Director D. Douglas Bodrero said Dennis returned $12,055 to the department after an audit showed the money was missing.

"I don't know what drives an otherwise responsible, hard-working employee to this end," Bodrero said. "But I do know we have many dedicated, honest people working in the Department of Public Safety, and I don't want this isolated incident to reflect poorly on them."

Dennis' job involved taking money from customers who were paying for criminal record expungements and record checks. The bureau had previously allowed customers to pay only by check but began accepting cash in July 1993 to accommodate customers who did not have checking accounts.

The fiscal year-end reconciliation audits turned up discrepancies between cash projections and final budget figures, said Public Safety spokesman Gary Whitney.