Columbia County deputy arrested, accused of stealing money during a call

File photo of Columbia County Sheriff's Office SUV (Courtesy of Columbia County Sheriff's Office)

A Columbia County Sheriff’s Office deputy has been arrested and placed on administrative leave after he was accused of stealing money during a call for service.

The Sheriff’s Office said it received a citizen complaint early in the morning on July 30 about Deputy Ruslan Lipelis, 50. The complaint alleged Lipelis had taken money from a vehicle during a call for service.

The Sheriff’s Office said supervisors began looking into the complaint right away and found it was possible criminal conduct had occurred, so the Florida Department of Law Enforcement was brought in to conduct a criminal investigation.

That FDLE investigation resulted in the arrest of Lipelis, who has been placed on administrative leave pending the conclusion of an internal investigation, the Sheriff’s Office said.

“We hold our employees to the highest standards of professional conduct,” Sheriff Mark Hunter said in a news release. “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.”

Hunter and the FDLE will hold a joint news conference about the arrest at 1 p.m. Monday in Columbia County.

About the Author:

A Jacksonville native and proud University of North Florida alum, Francine Frazier has been with News4Jax since 2014 after spending nine years at The Florida Times-Union.