Ex-Ogle officer senteced in theft

Ex-Ogle officer senteced in theft

By Joe Baker

By Joe Baker

Senior Editor

A former lieutenant in the Ogle County Sheriff’s Department has been sentenced to a 90-day jail term following his conviction on felony theft.

Circuit Judge Stephen Pemberton also gave Tony Russell 30 months of probation, ordered him to attend counseling and to pay restitution of $44,685.00. Russell also is to be confined to his home for 90 days after he is released from jail.

“This was a very serious crime,” said Doug Floski, Ogle County state’s attorney. “Forty-four thousand dollars was stolen, it was stolen from taxpayers, and it was stolen by a law enforcement official who was hired to uphold and protect the public trust.”

Floski said he believes the sentence was appropriate and that the conviction should send a message to the community that law enforcement official will be held to the same standard of justice as the general public.

Russell, 51, of Oregon, was charged with embezzling more than $44,000 from the sheriff’s department while he was commander of the county jail.

Paul Goddard, assistant state’s attorney, said the case would not have been discovered had it not been for the honesty of others in the sheriff’s department and elsewhere in county government who discovered discrepancies and told authorities.

Sheriff Mel Messer said he was very disappointed with Russell’s actions. He was pleased, however, that other members of his staff were honest in bringing the crime to his attention.

“Any crime involving a law enforcement official is disturbing,” Messer said. “Fortunately, this sort of thing is extremely rare.”

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