Former Washington County sheriff's deputy sent to jail for drug theft

  • Updated: January 15, 2014 - 12:58 PM

A former Washington County sheriff’s deputy will spend 30 days in jail for stealing drugs from the locked pharmaceutical dropbox in the county government building in Stillwater.

Ricky Harry Gruber was sentenced Friday on charges of misconduct by a public employee, a gross misdemeanor, and illegal possession of prescription drugs, a misdemeanor. The Ramsey County Community Corrections department will decide when and where he serves time, but it won’t be at the Washington County jail.

Judge Catherine McPherson also attached several conditions relating to Gruber’s future prescription drug use.

Gruber, while he was employed as a deputy, was observed in February 2013 removing the secure drug drum from the pharmaceutical drop-off box at the sheriff’s office in Stillwater. The bin is a public service that allows citizens to drop off used or unwanted medications and drugs for proper environmental disposal before they’re stolen from medicine cabinets and cupboards. County service centers in Forest Lake and Cottage Grove have similar depositories.

Gruber admitted stealing a key to the locked drug bin after he was observed by hidden surveillance. A jury convicted Gruber, 44, of Oakdale, in November.

Gruber, who had worked for the county since September 1997, “resigned the night we caught him in the act,” Sheriff Bill Hutton said at the time. “He’s not a person we want working in law enforcement.”

Kevin Giles

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