Former Pierce County Deputy Charged with Theft of Spring Valley PD Money

The Countryside Cooperative Cenex station in Spring Valley, Wisconsin. Photo: Google Maps
The Countryside Cooperative Cenex station in Spring Valley, Wisconsin.

September 13, 2017 01:45 PM

A former Spring Valley, Wisconsin, police officer faces charges he spent nearly $8,500 of taxpayer money on unauthorized gasoline purchases between November 2012 and August 2017.

Thirty-five-year-old Robby Jaeger was charged Tuesday in Pierce County with one count of theft of movable property and one count of unauthorized use of an entity's identifying information or documents. Both are felonies.

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Jaeger had been a Pierce County sheriff's deputy until he resigned August 24, the sheriff's office said. The case was investigated by the St. Croix County Sheriff's Office because of a conflict of interest.

According to the criminal complaint, Jaeger continued to use a Spring Valley police credit card to make purchases at the Countryside Cooperative Cenex station after he had left the police department in 2012. The unauthorized charges amounted to $8,407.50 between November 2012 and Aug. 1, 2017.

But the amount of unauthorized purchases is likely higher, according to the complaint. The department's police chief and the Village of Spring Valley clerk determined there was an additional $6,726.57 in unauthorized purchases charged to the card while Jaeger was still employed by the department but off duty.

The transactions came to light following a Spring Valley police department policy change in 2015 requiring receipts accompany all transactions turned into the city clerk. Since that change, the clerk reported missing receipts each month, according to the complaint, despite directives from the police chief to officers to turn in all receipts.

Spring Valley Police Chief John DuBois told investigators the department has two squad cars, and each has a gas card for the Cenex store. The unauthorized charges had been made on a third card, which had been issued to the department in 2009.

In reviewing footage from the gas station at the time of two recent unauthorized purchases, DuBois determined they were likely made by Jaeger, who owned a gray 2017 Ford F150 pickup truck. The truck was seen at the gas pump in the video footage at the time of the transactions, the complaint says.

Jaeger told investigators he had kept the card in his wallet since his last day with the department, Nov. 15, 2012. The card was a department-issued replacement for a card lost in 2009, he said. The missing card was later found under a seat in the squad car, Jaeger said, according to the criminal complaint.

He said he first used the card for a personal purchase sometime in 2011 or 2012 by accident because he had an identical card in his wallet, and he "didn't even catch it," according to the complaint. 

Jaeger told investigators he was scared to tell anyone, and afterward it "was like I forgot about it," the complaint says. Jaeger turned the card over to investigators during a mirandized interview. 

He'll make his first court appearance Nov. 6.

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Michael Oakes

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