17 Sep 2009
A former Logansport police officer has pleaded guilty to shoplifting in exchange for a brief jail term and probation.
Late last month, Howard Superior Court 3 Judge Douglas Tate accepted the terms of a plea deal in the theft case against 49-year-old Officer Russell Bushaw and sentenced him to four days in jail, 60 days on in-home detention and a year of unsupervised probation.
Bushaw, who pleaded guilty to a class A misdemeanor charge of conversion, was also ordered to serve 60 hours of community service, which he opted out of by paying $300.
Kokomo police arrested Bushaw March 23 after he was stopped by Target security staff while trying to leave the store. According to a Kokomo Police report, security personnel found Bushaw in possession of three Blu-Ray DVDs valued at $180 that he had not paid for and had taken beyond the store's theft-deterrent alarms.
According to court records, Bushaw initially claimed to be a mechanic who had been hired to steal the DVDs. Police determined that story was false after searching Bushaw's vehicle in the Target parking lot and finding a police radio, along with stolen goods.
The presence of the radio led police to think Bushaw might be a volunteer firefighter. After booking Bushaw into jail, however, Kokomo police contacted a Cass County deputy who revealed Bushaw's true occupation.
Concerned for Bushaw's safety if any of the inmates recognized an officer in their midst, an officer confronted Bushaw, who confirmed he was an Logansport Police Department officer.
Bushaw reportedly admitted to numerous thefts from the store. The thefts had reached a level that Target's corporate office sent a special security officer to Kokomo. Store security had reportedly been watching Bushaw for weeks and had captured him on surveillance video committing multiple thefts.
The theft accusation cost the 21-year police veteran his job. Within two weeks of his arrest, Bushaw retired from the police department. However, because of his years of service, he could not be denied his pension, which he will collect from the Indiana Public Employee Retirement Fund.
In submitting his retirement papers, Bushaw reportedly apologized to Police Chief A.J. Rozzi for his legal troubles and the negative attention they had drawn to the department.