Two Carver County jailers have been charged with the theft of inmate lunches.
Detention Deputy Donald Colt Severs, 33, and Detention Sgt. Kenneth John Koski, 49, both of Chaska, have each been charged with one count of theft, according to District Court records.
Carver County Sheriff Jason Kamerud turned the case over to the Scott County Sheriff’s Office to ensure there was no conflict of interest during the investigation, according to a press release. The prosecuting attorney, Michael Hayek, is also from Scott County. Charges were filed Oct. 9.
Both employees remain on administrative leave pending further investigation, the release stated.
According to the complaint, Scott County Sheriff Det. Kayla Puncochar began investigating employee thefts at the Carver County Jail in downtown Chaska on Aug. 5.
“The jail kitchen manager noticed bag lunches being ordered for inmates at a higher than expected rate,” the complaint stated.
The bag lunches, called “Huber bags” are for inmates on work release who request one.
“Huber bags are purchased by the jail and employees are never allowed to eat any contents,” the complaint stated. “When Huber bags expire, they must be discarded.”
Puncochar reviewed surveillance video and allegedly observed employees taking the bagged lunches.
Severs was allegedly observed taking 12 bags, valued at approximately $36.36, between June 26 and July 21. Koski was allegedly observed taking nine bags, eight sodas and three items from the commissary, valued at approximately $43.27, between June 27 and July 24.
Severs allegedly admitted eating from “many” Huber bags and “was under the impression if a meal was partially eaten employees could eat the remainder of the food as needed to be discarded,” the complaint stated.
He allegedly said he would be willing to pay the county back if an estimate was prepared. “Defendant also stated he was shocked detectives would talk to him about this and it would not be handed internally. Defendant reiterated he believed what he was doing was common practice.”
Koski also allegedly admitted to taking food, “believing it was not wrongful,” the complaint stated.
“Defendant stated he took sodas because the machine would ‘eat’ his money and he would take sodas as ‘payback.’ Defendant eventually admitted he was taking items in excess and agreed the public would probably not trust in him if it learned of his misuse of food and soda. Defendant stated his actions were ‘not the right thing to do’ and apologized,” the complaint stated.
“Sheriff Kamerud believes transparency and accountability are critical to maintaining an atmosphere of trust within the community and is committed to upholding these values,” stated a Sheriff’s Office press release. “Additionally, the Carver County Sheriff’s Office is committed to objectively and thoroughly investigating allegations of employee behavior or actions inconsistent with organizational values — both for the benefit of the community and involved employees.”