UPDATE: Court documents: Former Plymouth County deputy burglarized pharmacies, stole prescription pills while serving as deputy

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Photo courtesy of the Iowa Department of Public Safety

LE MARS, Iowa (KCAU) – A man is facing multiple charges related to burglaries and theft while serving as a Plymouth County deputy.

Agents with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation arrested former Plymouth County Deputy Aaron Leusink on Thursday.

Officials said Leusink was charged with multiple criminal charges related to burglaries and thefts that occurred while he was employed as a Plymouth County Sheriff’s deputy between December 2017 and January 2020.

The Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office conducted a review of their internal records and became aware of potential criminal acts that involved Leusink on April 16. Plymouth County Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo then requested that the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) review and handle the investigation.

Court documents said that, after a search of Leusink’s residence on April 20, authorities found more than 1,600 prescription pills in plastic baggies in a safe and in other parts of his bedroom. In another safe in a different room, they found $5,432 cash was found. Authorities also found evidence bags either ripped open or unsealed in his residence. Some evidence recovered included a thumb drive and iPhone from a case Leusink previously worked on. From a ripped open evidence bag, 17 Hydrocodone pills were missing in another case Leusink was involved in.

The next day during a search of his desk area, the DCI found evidence bag ripped open and missing prescription pills from cases he worked on previously. They also found a set of bolt cutters and pry bar in his patrol car.

After an investigation, the DCI linked Leusink to five unsolved pharmacy burglaries in Plymouth County. They said he used technology as a deputy to access programs needed to prevent detection and gain information.  They also said that injected himself into the investigations. He also tried to collect video of the burglaries without invitation.

On the evening of December 8, 2017, the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office conducted a joint search warrant with the Le Mars Police Department. Leusink, who was not involved with the search warrant, arrived unannounced. He later left but was found when a Le Mars officer returned to retrieve some supplies for the search warrant. The officer found Leusink alone leaving the Le Mars Police Department’s evidence in-take room, which was the storage area for a “Safe-Meds” return box.

Court documents said Leusink wrote a search warrant for 22843 Hedge Avenue in Merrill on December 19, 2019, where he seized multiple prescription bottles with pills and a large baggie of pills. He failed to list the pills when returning. He is even seen and heard on his body camera intently covering it while handline the pills. They said he also took a 1964 vintage Playboy magazine from the scene.

On January 7, 2020, Leusink assisted other deputies with executing a search warrant at 28847 South Ridge Road in Hinton. Documents said he went into the residence and picks up medication bottles in a plastic box. After leaving and reenters, covering his body camera again but leaves a small portion uncovered. He goes back to where the medication was and sounds familiar to opening and pouring pills is heard.

Leusink is also accused of breaking into Thorson Drug in Akron on December 4, 2019; into Lewis Family drug in Kingsley on December 16, 2019; and into 35008 C30 in Le Mars on January 16, 2020.

Leusink was terminated on April 23 from the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office.

In a statement, Plymouth County Sheriff Michael Van Otterloo said that Leusink neglected his oaths and will face the consequences of his actions. He also said it’s “disheartening to have that effort tarnished by the actions of one person,” adding that the misconduct does not define them.

Van Otterloo promised the sheriff’s office will continue to serve the community with honesty, professionalism, accountability, and integrity, all part of their mission statement.

Leusink was charged with the following:

  • 1 count of Burglary 1st Degree (Class B Felony)
  • 2 counts of Burglary in the 2nd Degree (Class C Felony)
  • 2 counts of Burglary in the 3rd Degree (Class D Felony)
  • Felonious Misconduct in Office (Class D Felony)
  • Unlawful Possession of Prescription Drugs (Serious Misdemeanor)
  • 1 count of theft in the 4th Degree (Serious Misdemeanor)
  • 3 Counts of theft in the 5th Degree (Simple Misdemeanor)

A $30,000.00 cash or surety bond has been set for Leusink.

Read the sheriff’s full statement below.

On 9/24/2020, The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) executed an arrest warrant on AARON JOHN LEUSINK, former deputy with the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office, for multiple acts of burglary and stealing relating to prescription medications. Leusink was placed on administrative leave during an independent investigation by the DCI, then terminated from the sheriff’s office in April, 2020.

While conducting an internal investigation into misconduct while on duty, Sheriff Van Oterloos and Cheif deputy Te Brink suspected alleged criminal activity by Leusink and immediate contact was made with the DCI requesting their assistance in this investigation.

Every day the employees of the Plymouth County Sherif’s Office put forth a tremendous amount of effort to serve with integrity, honesty, and public trust. It is disheartening to have that effort tarnished by the actions of one person, whose misconduct does not define who we are. Former deputy Leusink neglected his oaths in acting in a manner unbecoming of an officer of the law. He will face the consequences of his actions. Meanwhile, the men [and women] of the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office are dedicated to serve and protect and will continue to do so.

As the Plymouth County Sheriff, I promise to continue serving our constituents with the values we have outlined in our “Mission Statement:” HONESTY and INTEGRITY, COMMITMENT, TEAMWORK, PROFESSIONALISM, ACCOUNTABILITY, and COMMUNITY. I want to publicly thank my tremendous staff for their support and encouragement during this time.

Michael Van Otterloo, Sheriff of Plymouth County

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