Plymouth County, Iowa — A former Sheriff’s Deputy in northwest Iowa is accused of burglarizing five pharmacies, interfering with the investigations into those incidents and stealing prescription pills and vintage pornography all while he was a member of the force.
Aaron Leusink, who was fired from his job as a Plymouth County Sheriff’s Deputy in April, was arrested on Thursday and charged with five counts of Burglary, four counts of Theft, as well as Unlawful Possession of Prescription Drugs and Felonious Misconduct in Office. The charges are linked to the theft of evidence and the alleged burglaries of multiple businesses.
The investigation into Leusink began on April 17th, 2020. According to court records, DCI agents were investigating a “possible on-the-job inappropriate relationship” involving Leusink. While reviewing Leusink’s body camera footage in that investigation, agents found video of Leusink stealing prescription pills from a home in LeMars while executing a search warrant.
Three days after discovering that video, the DCI conducted a search warrant of Leusink’s home. Inside a safe in his bedroom officers found a baggie containing 1,600 prescription pills. In another safe in the home, $5,432 in cash was found. Agents also discovered multiple Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office evidence bags that were either ripped open or left unsealed as well as a thumb-drive and a cell phone case that were both evidence from cases Leusink had previously worked.
The next day Leusink’s work area was searched. Inside his desk officers found more ripped open evidence bags. In his patrol car agents discovered bolt cutters and a large pry bar. It was at this time that the DCI began working to connect Leusink to a string of unsolved pharmacy burglaries, according to the criminal complaint filed in Plymouth County courts.
Five pharmacy burglaries in Plymouth County had gone unsolved since 2017, and connections to Leusink were found in each case. The DCI says Leusink insinuated himself into each of those investigations. Charging documents accuse Leusink of using his PCSO computer to “gain information needed to attempt to stay ahead of the the investigation into the pharmacy burglaries”. He is also accused of trying to collect video evidence from the investigations “without authority or invitation”.
Leusink was fired from his job as Deputy Sheriff on April 23rd, 2020, but the investigation into his alleged misconduct didn’t end. Authorities have linked him to two more alleged crimes while wearing his badge.
Leusink is accused of taking several pill bottles, a bag of pills and a 1964 Playboy magazine from a home in Merrill, Iowa while conducting a search warrant in December 2019. The DCI says Leusink appears to intentionally cover his body camera while in the home. None of the items he took from the home was checked into evidence.
Leusink is accused, again, of covering up his body camera as he stole pills while searching a home in Hinton, Iowa in January of this year. Charging documents say the sound of a pill bottle opening and pills being dumped out can be heard on the recording.
Leusink has a history of on-the-job misconduct involving evidence and prescription pills. In December 2017, Leusink was found alone in the evidence room at the LeMars Police Department without permission. The room is where the department kept its drug drop-off box where unwanted prescription pills can be disposed. He was suspended three days without pay for the incident.