A former Washington County sheriff’s deputy has been convicted of pilfering drugs from the locked pharmaceutical dropbox in the county government building in Stillwater.
A Washington County jury on Monday convicted Ricky Harry Gruber, 43, of Oakdale, of misconduct by a public employee and illegal possession of prescription drugs.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant County Attorney Tom Wedes.
Gruber, while he was employed as a deputy, was observed by hidden surveillance on Feb. 6, removing the secure drug drum from the pharmaceutical drop-off box at the Sheriff’s Office. The drug takeback bin is a public service that allows citizens to drop off used or unwanted medications and drugs for proper environmental disposal.
After being observed taking the bin, Gruber was seen to bring it back 13 minutes later. He was arrested at that time. Gruber then admitted to having stolen the key to the secure area and having made a copy for his own use. He admitted that he took various prescription drugs from the drum and placed them in a red bag in his office in the sheriff’s department.
Sentencing is set for Jan. 10.
“The Washington County Sheriff’s office is to be congratulated for its swift and sure response in investigating the crimes committed by one of their own deputies,” said County Attorney Pete Orput. “Their professional response was responsible for our ability to bring him to justice. While it is disheartening when a law enforcement officer commits a crime, we can be reassured by the fact that they, too, will be brought to answer for their crime.”