Miami-Dade police officer accused of stealing gas for private vehicle

Sgt. Emil Van Lugo arrested on charges of organized fraud, petit theft

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - A 16-year veteran Miami-Dade police officer is accused of stealing county gas to fill up his wife's BMW.

Sgt. Emil Van Lugo was arrested Friday on charges of organized fraud and five counts of petit theft.

According to authorities, surveillance video from a county refueling station at 7900 SW 107th Ave. and home surveillance cameras showed Lugo filling up gas cans and then refueling his wife's car at his home.

Authorities said Lugo did this from January through March of this year.

Miami-Dade police and the Miami-Dade County state attorney's office began investigating Lugo after they said computer records tracing the amount of fuel consumed appeared to exceed the miles driven by his police-issued vehicle.

"It is a shame that a veteran police officer would go out of his way to steal from Miami-Dade County just to save a few dollars on gasoline," State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said.  "A police officer, who would sell his good name and his integrity just to put gas into his wife's car, tarnishes the reputation of every good officer on the force.  I applaud the actions of the Miami-Dade Police Department to investigate and correct this theft problem."

"Integrity is the foundation of the Miami-Dade Police Department, and it is imperative that we maintain the community's trust," Miami-Dade Police Director J.D. Patterson said. "Anytime one of our officers tarnishes the badge, we will hold them accountable to the law, in order to not jeopardize that trust."

Lugo is being held in jail in lieu of a $10,000 bond.

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