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updated: 7/10/2014 2:20 PM

Round Lake Beach police officer faces gas theft charge

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A 17-year Round Lake Beach police veteran has been charged with theft and official misconduct for buying $3,700 worth of gasoline using department money, authorities said.

Kenneth Rydz, 41, a former K-9 officer with the department, was placed on administrative leave after 12 counts of theft and official misconduct were filed against him by the Lake County State's Attorney's Office this week.

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Rydz, of McHenry, was released from custody on a $50,000 personal recognizance bond.

Round Lake Beach Police Chief David Hare said the department recently stopped purchasing gas from Thorton's Gas Station on Rollins Road in Round Lake Beach, and instead told officers to fill up police vehicles at the village's public works department.

However, he said, the village maintained an account with Thornton's on an as-needed basis and in cases of an emergency.

Hare said a questionable Thorton's bill came into the department that was initially thought to be a mistake. An investigation revealed the charge was not a mistake and more information was needed.

"When we couldn't look at that bill as a mistake any longer, we called in the state's attorney's office to investigate," he said.

Lake County State's Attorney spokeswoman Cynthia Vargas said investigators found transactions from Rydz between February and May totaling $3,700.

Vargas would not comment on how the gas was being used.

Charges against Rydz were filed July 7, and he turned himself into police July 8.

Hare said the entire investigation was handled by the state's attorney's office to avoid any conflicts of interest that may arise.

"It would be a conflict of interest for us to investigate one of our own," Hare said. "So, we handed everything off to the state's attorney's office and they investigated and charged it."

Rydz is due back in court Aug. 6, court documents show.

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