Former Utah police officer charged with stealing money, evidence
By Bob Mims
The Salt Lake TribuneFirst published May 15 2013 02:22PM
A former veteran Park City police officer has been charged with multiple counts of theft for allegedly stealing more than $50,000 from his police union over a period of five years and embezzling money from his department’s evidence room.
Ex-sergeant Robert John Lucking, 49, is charged in 3rd District Court with second- and third-degree felony theft counts or, in the alternative, multiple counts of third-degree felony unlawful dealing of property by a fiduciary and third-degree felony failure to keep/pay public money.
Court documents obtained Wednesday detail three separate cases covering alleged incidents between 2007 and late 2012, according to Summit County Attorney Matthew Bates.
"Our office is always disappointed when we have to file charges like this against a police officer," Bates said. "Police officers are in a position of trust in the community, and we taken that very, very seriously."
Lucking, who resigned last fall, was arrested Wednesday morning in Salt Lake City at an unspecified work location. He was booked into the Summit County jail, where he was being held in lieu of $25,000 cash bail.
In one case, Lucking used a debit card he obtained for the Park City Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), while he was its president, to withdraw amounts ranging from $4,500 to $17,000 between 2007 and 2012, according to charges. Over the five years, the withdrawals amounted to more than $50,000. Records from the lodge’s checking account at U.S. Bank show that Lucking made withdrawals in such locations as Minnesota, Las Vegas, St. Louis and Hawaii. According to other past and president lodge officers, there were no legitimate expenses that would justify the withdrawals.
In another case, Lucking allegedly took money from the Park City Police evidence room while assigned to act as its custodian. A probable cause statement accompanying the charges states that in the fall and winter of 2012, the Utah Attorney General’s Office conducted an investigation into "embezzlement of money from the evidence room of the Park City Police Department" allegedly committed by Lucking.
Lucking had been the custodian evidence room custodian for about eight years up until March 2012, and was the only person authorized to access the room’s cash safe, prosecutors contend.
Court documents indicate that questions about how the cash was being handled arose in May 2012 when a local court ordered that $394 held by the PCPD be returned to a defendant in a criminal case. However, there was no record of the money having been deposited, and when the evidence room safe was checked, it was found to be empty.
Asked about the matter, Lucking allegedly "agreed to look into it [and] a few days later…deposited $921 to the Park City Finance Department. The deposit slip indicated that money had been seized in five different Park City cases, including [the case involving the original $394]," prosecutors claim.
The rest of the $921, according to the deposit slip, had been booked into evidence from three separate Park City cases from 2011 and 2010.
In August 2012, new evidence custodian Det. Jeremy Eaton performed an audit of the evidence room and found "a substantial amount of money had been logged into the evidence room during Lucking’s tenure…but was not in the cash safe and had not been deposited" with the city’s finance department, either.
An independent audit conducted by the Layton Police Department discovered nearly $2,600 unaccounted for — as well as four firearms, including a semi-automatic pistol Lucking allegedly had logged as "destroyed." However, there was no record confirming that particular weapon, a Glock 19, had been destroyed, court documents state.
In a third case, Lucking — who in 2010 was secretary to the Utah State Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police — allegedly accepted a $2,000 loan repayment check from the Layton Police Lodge No. 25, which had borrowed the cash the previous year to found their charter.
But instead of depositing the check into the state lodge account, charges state that Lucking deposited the money into the account of the Park City Lodge.