A deputy with the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office was arrested and placed on administrative leave following a theft investigation.
In the early morning hours of July 30, 2021, a citizen complaint was received alleging a deputy had stolen money from a vehicle during a call for service. Supervisors immediately began looking into the complaint. During that process, it was determined that criminal conduct had possibly occurred involving the deputy. Sheriff Hunter requested the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) to conduct a criminal investigation.
The outcome of that investigation resulted in the arrest of Ruslan Lipelis (50) of Lake City. Lipelis has been placed on administrative leave pending the conclusion of an internal investigation.
Sheriff Mark Hunter stated, “We hold our employees to the highest standards of professional conduct. There is no tolerance for this behavior, and we will act swiftly to hold those accountable who violate public trust. While I am extremely disappointed in the actions of this individual, I am proud of our employees who work each day to serve our community with integrity.”
Sheriff Hunter and FDLE will conduct a joint press conference about this incident on Monday August 2, 2021 at 1:00pm. The conference will be held at the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office Operations Center.