For­mer Bella Vista de­tec­tive pleads not guilty to tam­per­ing

The Weekly Vista - - News - TRACY M. NEAL NWA Demo­crat-Gazette

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.


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