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Former sheriff's deputy accused of stealing from Rx drug drop boxes

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Prescription drug drop-off boxes have become part of a nationwide effort to safely dispose of unwanted medicines and keep drugs out of the hands of would-be abusers.

A former Washington County Sheriff's deputy is accused of abusing the program by stealing several drugs from the department's drug takeback bins.

The Pioneer Press reports 43-year-old Ricky Harry Gruber of Oakdale, a 15-year veteran of the sheriff's office, is charged with felony drug possession, two counts of felony theft, misconduct of a public officer and unlawful possession of a prescription drug.

The criminal complaint states Gruber was seen on videotape removing a drug bin and taking several bottles of medications, according to the Star Tribune. When he was confronted by a commander and sergeant, he tried to run but was subdued and stripped of his revolver.

Gruber told investigators he found a way to open a locked desk where the key was kept to open the drug box.

Many types of illegal pills were found on Gruber's desk and in his pickup truck.

Sheriff Bill Hutton says Gruber worked on special projects and in records management. He resigned Feb. 12 during the investigation of the alleged theft.

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