Jury Selection Begins in Police Sergeant Gas Theft Trial

Jury selection began Monday in the trial against a suspended South Florida police sergeant accused of stealing county gas.

Emil Van Lugo, a 16-year veteran of the Miami-Dade Police Department, says he's innocent because he would never use regular gas in his luxury cars.

In May of 2015, state prosecutors released surveillance video showing Van Lugo filling up his patrol car and his personal cars with county fuel.

The embattled sergeant claimed he keeps gas cans that look identical; one filled with county gas and the other with his own gas, for his and his wife's cars.

Van Lugo's attorney, David Edelstein, explained in court Monday that the can filled with county gas is still in Van Lugo's garage.

"He has nothing to put it in, because they took away his police car. They didn't seize his wife's car and they could have tested the gas in her car," said Edelstein.

An internal police investigation tracked Van Lugo fueling up 55-times in an 18-month period. He is charged with organized fraud.

Van Lugo has been suspended pending the trial.

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