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A retired Utah Highway Patrol trooper accused of robbing motorists while impersonating an officer has been sentenced to jail.

Christopher Mark Topham, 51, was spared prison time when he was sentenced Tuesday by 6th District Judge Marvin Bagley. Instead, Topham was ordered to spend 180 days in jail with credit for 21 days already served.

Topham pleaded guilty in July to three counts of obstruction of justice, all third-degree felonies, in connection with a string of motorist robberies.

Topham was originally charged with eight counts of first-degree felony aggravated robbery and seven other crimes, including impersonating an officer. According to Sevier County Sheriff's Office reports, Topham posed as an officer in 2007, making traffic stops during which he allegedly took money from drivers' wallets and cars.

At a 2008 preliminary hearing, a Fort Collins, Colo., couple testified that Topham rapped on their car window as they slept at an Interstate 70 rest stop and asked for identification. According to their testimony, a $50 bill was missing when Topham returned the man's wallet.

Aaron Falk