Former Bella Vista detective pleads not guilty to tampering
BENTONVILLE — A former Bella Vista police detective pleaded not guilty to felony tampering charges in connection with stealing narcotics from the evidence room.
Jon Roberts, 36, of Bella Vista is charged with three counts of tampering with physical evidence and faces up to six years in prison on each count.
He entered the plea Monday at his arraignment before Benton County Circuit Judge Brad Karren.
Roberts is accused of taking physical evidence stored for use in the prosecution of felony crimes, according to court documents.
He admitted to detectives with the Benton County Sheriff’s Office he stole pills from current criminal cases, unattended death cases and the department’s drug take-back bin, according to court documents. Roberts also admitted he was responsible for switching pills in evidence packages, according to court documents.
He said he had an addiction and started taking narcotic pills from the evidence room shortly after he was given access in 2015, according to the affidavit. He searched through reports looking at cases involving oxycodone or hydrocodone pills, according to the affidavit.
Roberts said he took pills from the evidence room at least 20 times, according to the affidavit.
He is free on $5,000 bond.
Mike Kugler, a former Bella Vista detective, was fired from the department in connection with problems related to the evidence room.